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University of Washington Botanic Gardens


Washington Park Arboretum
Center for Urban Horticulture

Fiddleheads Forest School: Nature Preschool

            into a puddleholding hands
            on a walkworking at
            the art table


painting in the fairy villageFiddleheads Forest School

Take a moment to envision a three year old. This person is probably full of energy and exuding curiosity. Their hands are on everything, tuning into the world with their senses. Their excitement, energy and curiosity are contagious. This small human is developing on a massive scale. They are creating neural connections faster than at any other point in their development. They are learning about the world, and their curiosity knows no bounds. They are also learning about themselves and how to interact with other humans.

Now envision a preschool with those energetic, curious three year olds at the UWBG Washington Park Arboretum. Those small, curious hands look for bugs in the leaf litter of our forested areas. Their eyes and ears are fine-tuned by looking and listening for birds in our wetlands, their noses by smelling flowers in our Winter Garden, their taste buds by tasting ripe huckleberries in the Woodland Garden and their imaginations by laying in the grass along Azalea Way looking for cloud shapes.

Download our 2014-2015 Parent Handbook

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Fiddleheads' Reflections


The Fiddleheads Forest School believes in supporting the growth of the whole child through attention to their social and emotional development, self-regulation and physical development.

When children leave the Fiddleheads Forest School to enter their next phase they can...


Program - 2015-2016

making leaf angelsTiming: 8:30am-12:30pm
Class options: M/W/F or Tu/Th or M-F
Class size: maximum 14
Student to Teacher ratio: 1:7 (14 kids, 2 lead teachers + 1 or 2 UW student interns)
Classrooms: Trillium (2 and 3-day options) and Magnolia (2, 3 and 5-day options)

This is an entirely outdoor, nature-based program where the premise for our day-to-day activities is play and exploration. As children engage with the world around them and inquire about it we will supplement with curriculum to further engage their curiosity.


We will...


Requirements:team work with balancing

running in the ash meadow 2014-2015 Schedule

September 15th: First Day of School
October 13th: School CLOSED, In-service
November 11th: School CLOSED, Veterans Day
November 27th-28th: School CLOSED, Thanksgiving Break
December 22nd- January 2nd: School CLOSED, Winter Break
January 19th: School CLOSED, Martin Luther King Jr. Day
February 16th-17th: School CLOSED, Mid-Winter Break
March 19th-20th: School CLOSED, In-service
April 13th-17th: School CLOSED, Spring Break
May 25th: School CLOSED, Memorial Day
June 19th: Last Day of School



The UW Connection UW logo & Internships

This program is part of the University of Washington and will involve UW students as well as students from other area schools. We are developing a Pipeline Project to connect students studying in fields related to Early Childhood Education with the Fiddleheads Forest School. They are future educators, psychologists, social workers, nurses, etc. and we believe they will benefit from the opportunity to work in a nature-based early childhood program. Conversely, we will benefit from the new and innovative ideas they will bring to our program.

Interested in doing an internship, service learning project or volunteering with us? Contact us at ffschool@uw.edu. We are looking for students for the 2014-2015 school year

Contact Information

Sarah Heller, Director and Teacher
ffschool@uw.edu; (206) 221-6427

Kit Harrington, Director and Teacher
ffschool@uw.edu; (206) 616-5261

Last modified:
Thursday, 16-Jul-2015 15:25:53 PDT