Welcome to the PlayGarden Preschool! We are a fully inclusive outdoor preschool serving children ages 3-5 with and without disabilities in our one acre PlayGarden.
Founded on the core principles of full inclusion, exploration of the natural world and play based education, PlayGarden preschool blends the best of outdoor education with the warmth and security of an indoor classroom.
Preschool operates Monday through Friday from 9:00am-1:00pm from September to June. Children may attend any combination of 2-5 days per week. Class is led by a master’s level teacher and two assistant teachers with 15 children attending per day. Approximately 50% of the children enrolled have a disability. The preschool teachers look forward to working closely with parents to provide support and carry out each child’s therapy programs and Individualized Education Programs. Children are not required to be toilet trained and staff will work with parents on dietary restrictions, specialized feeding requirements, mobility needs and communication supports.
Each day begins an adventure! Children arrive ready to explore the gardens, say good morning to the chickens and bunnies and play with their friends. Art, music, science and literacy fill the days. We serve snack and lunch which the children help prepare and that often include fruits and vegetables we have grown in our garden. The daily schedule is predictable so that the children know what to expect and also includes periods of “free choice play” to encourage independence, social-emotional learning and sustained attention and focus. At PlayGarden Preschool we are kind to ourselves and others, learn how to make friends and how to be a good friend, how to listen to each other and how to speak up for ourselves. We celebrate the seasons and the gifts nature has given us. Come join us!
At the Seattle Children’s PlayGarden we follow the seasons and celebrate the natural world. This book is divided into monthly lesson plans with songs, books, art explorations, special topics, and monthly newsletters that make up our fully inclusive, nature-based curriculum. You will learn from real students, real parents and teachers in a nature based setting.
Our goal in presenting this book is to change people’s hearts, minds and practices around inclusive preschool programming. Each reader will enter this book at a different starting place. We welcome you. We are here to support your efforts. We believe the time has come to create community-wide change, starting with a child’s first school experience. Thank you for coming on this journey through a year in a fully inclusive, nature based preschool.
This book is available as a free electronic download. Or, as a hard-copy book for purchase. Hard copies cost $35. All proceeds from the book go directly back to supporting the PlayGarden’s inclusive programs and community-eduction efforts.
*Please patient with the download time. There are many beautiful photos that need time to load.
The first section begins in August as parents, teachers and administrators prepare for the school year.
September is filled with ideas on how to build an inclusive preschool. In this section you will meet our roster of children.
In October we delve into risky play and conquering fears.
November arrives and we turn our hearts and minds to practicing gratitude.
In December, we write on how to make mealtimes meaningful and how to mange mealtimes for children with a diversity of eating and dietary needs.
We begin the new year in January by sharing how we practice art every day!
February includes a discussion of just the right amount of structure, how daily routines can enable easier flow and how to handle transitions in the day.
March is all about muddy, messy play and how parents, teachers and child care providers can see all behavior as a form of communication.
In April we share the many benefits of having animals as a part of a preschool program.
In May, we begin to help both parents and children plan for transition to a new school.
Finally, in June we offer lessons on how to practice inclusion beyond school.
“Discovering somewhere where your child is truly loved, accepted, and cherished for who they are while meeting all of their needs is every parents dream. Well our family found that place, and that place is The PlayGarden.”