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LocalOutdoor preschools

March 1, 2017

Preschools help young children (ages 3-5) get ready for school. Now a new type of outdoor preschool is attracting parents and children in Washington. These unusual preschools offer children an active learning environment outdoors in all kinds of weather.

Currently there are about 40 outdoor preschools in this state. These “classrooms without walls” may be new here, but they are not new in Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.

Preschool children in outdoor schools receive clothing for all kinds of weather. They spend their entire class time outdoors and in parks. They use park restrooms. They nap in shelters. They have regular classes with trained teachers.

Outdoor preschool supporters say, “…outdoor school will allow children to learn through play.” For example, children dig in the dirt and find rocks and bugs. They see animals in nature. According to teachers at Fiddleheads preschool, children saw bald eagles coming together this past year. They also saw how young owlets learned to fly and how the praying mantis hunts. These experiences connect children to the earth and nature.

Parents are happy about the cost of outdoor preschool, too. Regular preschools charge between $12,000 to $20,000 for a year. However, outdoor preschools cost only about $7,000 because they don’t have buildings.

Published March 2017

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