Fiddleheads Forest School: Nature Preschool
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.
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...
- Participate as a member of an interdependent community
- Care for themselves, others, and the community
- Treat others with love and compassion
- Cooperate with other children to accomplish group goals
- Laugh and play with a sense of joy
- Express many human emotions in language and art
- Be inquisitive
- Initiate new ideas and invent solutions to problems
- Stick at difficult tasks or come back to them later in order to succeed
- Run, catch, throw, kick and tumble
- Sing and dance with exuberance
- Paint, draw, sculpt, and construct objects of beauty
- Care for common spaces and materials toward cleanliness and order
- Greet guests with courtesy and charm
- Act in stewardship for the environment and one's own health and well-being
Class options: M/W/F or Tu/Th
Class size: maximum 12
Student to Teacher ratio: 1:6 (12 kids, 2 lead teachers + 1 or 2 UW students)
This is an almost 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.
- Promote social skills and positive self-image through group play and cooperative learning
- Develop activities that encourage cognitive growth, problem-solving skills and development of physical motor skills
- Encourage problem-solving and reflection by asking open-ended questions and provide information in response to children's ideas, insights, and concerns
- Provide a supportive, safe learning environment to encourage discovery, questioning and experimentation
- Cultivate emotional literacy and empathy to develop self-esteem
- Nurture self-expression, creativity and reflection
- Encourage family involvement to help students appreciate the wisdom of their first teachers — their families
- Celebrate diversity of all living things and the individuality of children and families
- Instill respect and appreciation for the natural world
- Feed your child a nutritious, organic snack mid-way through the morning
Open House – April 11, 3-4pm
There is no need to pre-register. You may drop-by anytime between 3-4pm to meet our staff and learn more about our program. At 3:30pm there will be an optional walk to explore and see some of the Arboretum. Everyone is welcome to attend (prospective students, parents, grandparents, siblings). Graham Visitor Center courtyard, 2300 Arboretum Drive E, Seattle, WA 98112.
- Your child must be 3 and no older than 5 by August 31, 2013 (i.e. if your child turns 6 before 8/31 he or she is not eligible to enroll)
- Your child must be potty trained (no pull-up diapers) by the start of preschool
- Your child must be prepared to (and want to!) be outside rain or shine
- Those interested in a 10-month preschool program
Tuesday/Thursday Class, 9am-12pm:
Tuition is $2,150 for the 10-month program. Parents are encouraged to pay tuition prior to the first day of preschool, but may choose to pay in monthly installments of $215/month due on the 25th of the month for the next month. For example, payment for September will be due on August 25th.
Class begins on September 10th, 2013 and ends on June 19th, 2014.
Monday/Wednesday/Friday Class, 9am-12pm:
Tuition is $3,250 for the 10-month program. Parents are encouraged to pay tuition prior to the first day of preschool, but may choose to pay in monthly installments of $325 per month due on the 25th of the prior month.
Class begins on September 9th, 2013 and ends on June 20th, 2014.
*UPDATE 5/20/2013 We have two girl spots open in the Monday/Wednesday/Friday class and one in the Tuesday/Thursday class. We will accept applications for our waitlist.
Owing to the overwhelming demand and limited availability, enrollment will be done using a lottery system. This is the only fair way we can think of. We will include all applications post-marked by April 19th, and notify families by April 26th of their enrollment or waitlist status.
Tuesday & Thursday Class:
Fill out an application and mail it in with your deposit of $215 to be discounted from your full tuition payment or put toward the June 2014 monthly payment. Applications are due by April 19th and should be mailed to:
Attn: Sarah Heller
2300 Arboretum Drive E
Seattle, WA 98112
Monday, Wednesday & Friday Class:
Fill out an application and mail it in with your deposit of $325 to be discounted from your full tuition payment or put toward June 2014 monthly payment. Applications are due by April 19th and should be mailed to the address above.
Selection - the selection will be almost entirely random. If possible, we would like to balance the age and gender of both classes.
Deposit – The deposit check is to ensure your child's place in the program. We will only deposit checks for the children who will fill the 24 slots. The deposit money will go towards your tuition payment. For everyone else, your deposit will be fully refunded in the form of your original check mailed back to you, and you will have the option of being put on the waitlist.
Both classes meet from 9am to 12pm.
September 9 – First day of M/W/F class
September 10 – First day of Tu/Th class
November 11 – No class, Veteran's Day
November 28 & 29 – No class, Thanksgiving break
December 23 – January 3 – No class, winter break
January 20 – No class, Martin Luther King Jr. Day
February 17 – No class, Presidents Day
April (dates TBD) – Spring Break (SPS calendar)
May 26 – No class, Memorial Day
June 19 – Last day of Tu/Th class
June 20 – Last day of M/W/F class
The UW Connection
This program is part of the University of Washington and will involve UW students. 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.
Sarah Heller, Nature Preschool Director and Co-Lead Teacher
email@example.com; (206) 221-6427