Opening in Fall 2020, a 9-hour program will be available at White Center Heights Park. This classroom is located in the heart of the vibrant White Center community. White Center Heights Park features garden plots nearby the classroom, offering opportunities to watch how the changing seasons turn seeds to plants to vegetables. On trips to the pond, your kiddo will witness ducks swimming through lily pads and turtles coming ashore. Bat and bird houses are scattered throughout the park for many opportunities to watch and learn about local fauna and food webs. A beautiful amphitheater and benches offer community gathering spaces for families and neighbors.
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 listen for bird calls 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 and visit special park features like the pond area. 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.
We are excited to pilot a new extended day program at White Center Heights Park next year, 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 the White Center Community Development Association, Educare Early Learning Center and other local community partners to share nearby indoor space for napping and other care routines. We are also working with King County Parks to place temporary shelter at the park. We’ll be working together with staff, partners and parents to design the full day programming opening in September 2020.
**NOTE: Since this program is still in development, we are not yet accepting enrollment deposits. We are happy to accept your application, and the $50 application fee will serve to hold your spot on our waitlist, in first come first served order. We will contact you later in the spring to complete enrollment when we can share more about the classroom environment and daily schedule.
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.