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Try This: Explore a new outdoor learning classroom for preschoolers

The Tiny Tots Development Center gets kids in touch with nature at an early age.

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The Tiny Tots outdoor classroom uses a very squishy turf throughout its space to make sure it’s extra comfortable for the kids.

Photo by SEAtoday

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Looking for a metro Seattle preschool that teaches your child about the wonder of the great outdoors?

Meet: The Tiny Tots Development Center in South Seattle, which is about to celebrate the anniversary of its first, one-of-a-kind outdoor classroom.

“As a Main Street Bank, PNC strives to be an integral part of the communities where we live and work,” said Laura MacNeil, PNC regional president of Washington State and West Coast Territory executive. “PNC’s community commitment is led by the bank’s sustained investments in high-quality early childhood education through PNC Grow Up Great® and by our support of complementary projects such as this outdoor classroom.”

We got to take a look at this nature-filled learning area and see what kind of impact this playful environment can have on our local kiddos.

What we tried:

blue, green, and yellow tricycles on a lawn outside

The students can even get some early bike riding practice in.

Photo SEAtoday

All of the features in the classroom are meant to help introduce students to the natural world. There are sanded wooden stumps that are used for seating, raised garden beds for planting, a bug-identifying table (all toys, of course) for learning, natural wooden blocks for building, and more.

What not to miss:

a wood bench in an outdoor space

This log has been many things in the kids’ imaginations: an alligator, a boat, a desk, and a whale.

Photo by SEAtoday

Landscape architect Jan Satterwaithe sourced wood to make seats and the classroom’s archway directly from her own property. Kids who may never have had an opportunity to wander the forest can learn how to tell how old a tree is by its tree rings, learn about bark, and even let a log function as an alligator swimming in the water.

Plus, the matching wooden features help to create the classroom’s beautiful and whimsical aesthetic.

What we’re still talking about:

raised garden beds in an outdoor space

These berry bushes will be really exciting once they start to produce fruit.

Photo by SEAtoday

We love all the creative ways kids get to learn in this classroom.

The classroom’s raised garden beds are used as a hands-on way to teach kids about how to take care of plants. Students help put the seeds in the soil and watch as their plants stretch and grow with consistent love and care. Soon, the kids will be able to taste the fruits of their labor as the grapevine and berry plants get ready to produce their own mini harvests.

an outdoor bench with a bin where kinds can identify different bugs

Bugs aren’t scary — they’re actually pretty fascinating.

Photo by SEAtoday

Is it the number of legs or the color of their shells? At the bug-identifying table, the little entomologists can learn how to use a magnifying glass and find the details that separate one bug from the next.

How you can experience this:

Tiny Tots Development Center offers open houses and tours for parents who want to check it out themselves. Those who are interested in checking out the space should give the center a quick phone call to schedule an appointment.

Things to know if you go:

  • Experience: Outdoor preschool classroom
  • Price: $950+ per month (free programs available for low-income residents)
  • Website: tinytotsdc.org
  • Address: 3939 S. Othello St., Building C, Seattle, WA, 98118
  • Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Social: Facebook | Twitter