Five Mile Lake Park

A partnership with King County Parks

Our Five Mile Lake location has a creative outdoor classroom space in a park that includes the lake, towering trees and acres of meadows. This location also includes easy beach access, great indoor spaces (with a kitchen and bathrooms) and a large, nearby playground that provides a great place to play or visit with other students and families before or after class!

We are excited to pilot a new extended day program at Five Mile Lake in fall of 2020, with full-day childcare hours from 8 am to 5 pm. We offer this unique new programming in partnership with the Department of Children, Youth and Families and the Outdoor Preschool Licensing Pilot. Becoming a licensed childcare program means that families can apply for the States Working Connections Childcare subsidy to help pay for childcare at Tiny Trees. We are proud to be leading a movement to make outdoor preschool more accessible for working families. 

We are developing partnerships with King County Parks and Recreation to develop existing indoor space for napping and other care routines. We’ll be working together with staff, partners and parents to design the full-day programming opening in September 2020. 

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 build sand castles on the beach and learn about the blooming plants in their classroom and during hikes. 

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. Our teachers live nearby and appreciate ways to develop opportunities for students to learn about our surrounding neighborhoods and communities, and to build community connections and partnerships.

Our outdoor classroom provides numerous learning opportunities and ample materials to inspire imagination and curiosity. Our students learn about healthy risk-taking and play, how to harvest herbs and make tea, and visit special park features like the forested knoll area, and the beach and fishing dock. 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 short drive from I-5 and, WA-167, and WA-18, Tiny Trees at Five Mile Lake Park is most accessible for families in Auburn, Federal Way, Puyallup, Fife, and East Tacoma.

This Tiny Trees Preschool is a partnership with King County Parks.

A big thank you to all of the King County staff & community allies who have made this school possible.