About

AT TINY TREES PRESCHOOL, WE PLAY TO LEARN

We help kids enter kindergarten already thriving.

We provide children with a world class education: one where reading, math, science come alive as children interact with the world around them and we offer a gleefully muddy childhood: one full of play, exploration, and wonder in the great outdoors.

And yes, you heard that right! Tiny Trees is all-outdoors. We partner with public parks and create a class space that affords children even more than the traditional classroom can.

The best part is we offer this joyful education to all families, with an equitable approach to financial assistance available and a commitment to inclusive, anti-bias practices. Tiny Trees Preschool is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

MISSION


Our mission is to use outdoor classrooms to make a quality education in reading, math and science accessible for families and to give children a joyful, nature rich childhood – one full of play, exploration and wonder.

Our vision is to create a community where all children have access to high quality education and develop the social, emotional and academic skills needed to thrive in school and life.

CORE VALUES


As we grow, stumble, innovate and change these are the constants that guide our work.

PHILOSOPHY


We believe in a middle path to preschool education where children receive both the reading, math and science necessary to succeed in school, the social and emotional skills to thrive in life, and the vibrant, nature rich childhood they deserve.

We believe that children are strong, capable and full of potential. In our outdoor classrooms, there are limitless opportunities for children to solve problems, make plans, develop grit and find self worth.

We know through extensive research that children learn through play and that nature (whether in the cracks of a sidewalk or in the deep woods) provides the most amazing platform for that learning. With nature as a springboard, children can become citizens and stewards of the world around them.

We are influenced by the work on executive functions (aka emotional and social skills) by Dr. Adele Diamond at the University of British Columbia (see her TED Talk here)  and by the frontiers of innovation initiative at Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child. We are inspired by research at the Institute for Learning and Brain Science (I-LABS) at the University of Washington which demonstrates that children learn best from people (not screens) and that the quality of your teachers = the quality of your learning.

We also implement an anti-bias curriculum, a proactive approach to helping children to build a more equitable, just world through their interactions with one another. Students and teachers will engage in dialogue in celebration of difference and be challenged to think critically about how they treat one another.

Lastly, we are rooted in the publicly funded forest kindergarten models that have been so successful in Scandinavia and northern Europe (countries that lead the world in educational outcomes). Schools like this one in England or this preschool north of the arctic circle in Norway

EDUCATIONAL GOALS


A Vibrant, Nature Rich Childhood: One full of play, adventure and wonder.

Emotional & Social Development: Help children develop essential executive functions like impulse control, communication and empathy.

Kindergarten Readiness: Prepare children for a lifelong love of learning and academic success.

To meet our goals we will use a celebrated, evidence based curriculum called High Scope. We chose it because:

1) It has a strong evidence base (they ran the first study on preschool learning 50 yrs ago – the perry preschool project).

2) The City of Seattle recommends it as a standard of quality for their preschool program.

3) It works outdoors. The model is dependent on the quality of the interaction between the teacher and student not expensive props, prepared worksheets or ipads.

HighScope provides a framework for how we deliver high quality education. Nature, our students, our educators, and the community around us provides the filler. Teachers construct opportunities for children based on their needs, interests, and what’s happening in nature. It is the ultimate emergent curriculum.

We aim to measure our quality the Preschool Quality Assessment (PQA) and the Guidelines for Excellence for Early Childhood Environmental Education Programs. We are in partnership with the Department of Children, Youth and Families to develop additional standards for outdoor preschools.

Our teachers will be tracking student progress by documenting their daily experiences and using reflective practices to support them. Our observations are based on the teaching strategies gold system, which offers developmental milestones and learning objectives. We use these tools to make sure we are meeting the individual need of every student no matter where they are in their learning progression.

We welcome all children and families. Read our non-discrimination policy here.