With 220 acres of forest, meadows, wetlands and creeks, our Carkeek Park location is a special outdoor classroom space. Our students enjoy hiking new trails, visiting the beach, or searching for salmon from the banks of Pipers 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 eagerly await the return of spawning salmon to Piper’s creek. In the winter, students stay warm through active games and adventures exploring the incredible park features ,like the beach and Piper’s Orchard featuring 100 year old apple & pear trees. During spring, students notice and learn about new plants in their classroom and during their hikes through the old growth forest and visit (and feed!) the salmon fry at Carkeek’s Salmon Imprint Pond.
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. We are also grateful for our relationship with the Carkeek Park Environmental Learning Center, and for the Seattle Public Library’s monthly BookMobile visits.
Our outdoor classroom provides numerous learning opportunities and ample materials to inspire imagination and curiosity. Students visit and learn about the nearby salmon, how to harvest herbs and make tea, and enjoy special park features like the extensive trails and lush forest areas. 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.
Tiny Trees Preschool is a partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation.
A big thank you to all of the park staff & community allies who have made this school possible.