Andrew Jay, one of the school’s founders told Good News Network that “When I heard about outdoor preschools, how they can make it much more affordable for families and provide a rich, vibrant program for kids, I was really inspired.”
“Instead of being a teacher pouring knowledge by the cupful into each student, you are helping each child collect raindrops of knowledge,” he added.
The school is not structured in the typical way that most schools are either, instead Tiny Trees is based on the Montessori method of teaching, which to some extent allows children to direct their own path in learning. This method is named after and was developed by an Italian educator and physician by the name of Maria Montessori. Her work rested upon the idea that when given freedom and independence children will grow into far more responsible adults and will have a continued interest in learning. Montessori took what she knew about developmental psychology and applied that to her work with children and had great success with improving the outlook and learning abilities of her students.
It is actually also more affordable to teach children outside, with the average cost of preschool being roughly $12,000, and the Tiny Trees budget of just $7,000.
Pilot programs operating under the same philosophy have had a successful two-year run at the University of Washington and Fiddleheads Nature School tested in Seattle. In Europe, the idea began to spread in the 1950’s and has continued to grow over the years. There are currently 1,000 outdoor preschools that operate in Europe, while prior to the opening of these schools in Seattle, there were only 3 outdoor preschools in the US.
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