Our Beer Sheva location has a creative outdoor classroom space that includes the lake, forest and farm. The park also includes 440 feet of natural stream channel (connecting Mapes Creek to Lake Washington through the park) with rearing habitat for Chinook salmon and native plants along the creek. Several principles that guide our work include building a sense of curiosity and wonder, cultivating civic engagement and stewardship, and using natural materials. We are immersed in the changes from season to season. In the fall, students count colorful tree leaves and build piles and forts to play in. In the winter, students stay warm through active games and adventures exploring the incredible park features. During the spring, students learn about (and taste!) items from the urban farm.
At Tiny Trees, we use a Place-Based Learning (PBL) approach to developing curriculum. Through observation and activities, students develop a knowledge and appreciation of the plants and animals in our shared spaces. Our teachers work to scaffold students’ understanding of stewardship, connection to place and human impact on nature. We develop opportunities for students to learn about our surrounding neighborhoods and communities, and to build community connections and partnerships. For example, we are grateful for our relationship with the nearby Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands (RBUFW). Approximately half of RBUFW is dedicated to organic food production (it is Seattle’s largest urban farm!), and the other half of the site is dedicated to restoring the natural wetlands and buffer zone. Located in one of the country’s most linguistically diverse zip codes, Beer Sheva provides many opportunities to learn about culture, language and history. With the foundation of a strong anti-bias curriculum, we aim to engage students in real-life, meaningful learning around social justice and equity, especially in ways that pertain to our classroom community.
Our outdoor classroom provides numerous learning opportunities and ample materials to inspire imagination and curiosity. Our students learn about planting and growing vegetables, how to harvest herbs and make tea, and visit special park features like the beaches of Lake Washington and the neighboring forest. Students conduct their own experiments, hear and share stories, play with quantities and numbers, and engage with symbols, letters and ideas. Using the evidence-based HighScope curriculum as our framework, our teachers construct their daily plans by focusing on activities that strengthen students’ skills and lessons that align with students’ interests. To learn more about our programming, curriculum and tools that support our work, please visit our Curriculum Page.
A big thank you to all of the Seattle Parks staff & community allies who have made this school possible.
This Tiny Trees Preschool is a partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation.