Be part of our first circle of young farmers at The Mason Jar Farm! Opening September 2017!
Our next tour is scheduled for Monday, May 1st from 11am-Noon. Meet our teachers, the farmers, and get your feet wet exploring the farm. For more information and to RSVP, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the summer of 2013, we had the pleasure of meeting Jenni Lee Sample at a local farmer’s market in Maple Valley, WA. Our first experience with her was of her kindness towards our young children and her deep interest in sharing her delicious farm veggies with us. Watching young children delight in the taste of kale chips was exciting and got us thinking, a lot, about the importance of providing healthy, organic food as part of all of our programs and classes. It also renewed and supported our passion for the nurturing arts – working the soil, baking bread, canning goods for winter, and caring for animals. All of these play a very important role in early childhood – authentic experiences for young children, and opportunities for them to be part of a productive, vibrant community.
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. ~ W.B. Yeats
Our Little Sparrows Farm School program developed out of the idea that working farms are full of experiences that, like forest school, work to engage all of the senses. Students in these settings learn about the weather, for example, because they can feel it on their face or notice changes in the behaviors of their bird and animal friends. The germination of a seed is experienced because we can see it with our eyes, and later, taste it with our mouths as we enjoy a meal together. Aligning our students to the natural cycle of the seasons brings about a rhythm that is unparalleled in many other preschool settings.
Following in our Forest School tradition, our farm school is a play-based, all outdoors program for children ages 3-6. We are located at The Mason Jar Farm in Enumclaw, WA. Jenni’s farm is located on 9 acres of beautiful pasture-land, and includes numerous raised garden beds, fruit trees, chickens, rabbits, mini horses, as well as a barn, high tunnels, fire pit, and a seasonal creek.
AGES: 3-6. Children must be age 3 by September 1st of the school year. Children who turn 7 before January 1st of the school year are not eligible to enroll.
STUDENT-TO-TEACHER RATIO: 5:1
CLASS SIZE: 10 children
PROGRAM OPTIONS: Monday & Tuesday
View our 2017-18 Fee Schedule
Our mixed ages approach benefits children in many ways and helps us build a community that models the love and care which is more naturally in sync with how children learn.
Our program includes two snacks; a warm and hearty, organic snack and in-season fruits and vegetables. We are a nut and dairy free program. Families who enroll in our preschool class fulfill an annual parent volunteer commitment and are invited to share their talents throughout the year.
We follow the Enumclaw School District’s calendar for closures, holidays, and vacation schedules.
We know that providing the best quality education for your child represents a financial commitment. We also believe that every child and family, regardless of economic status or circumstance, should have equal access to our programs and services. If you would like to apply for financial assistance, please contact Sarah at email@example.com. All information we receive will be completely confidential.
To view our organization’s non-discrimination policy, click here.
To learn more about our talented teachers and staff, click here.
1. All interested families are required to tour our program before submitting application materials. Our first tour is scheduled for March 20th at 10:30 am at the Mason Jar Farm. Sign up for our Interest List to receive program and event updates.
2. If after meeting us, you feel our program is good fit for your child and family, please fill out and mail in our Forest_Farm_School_Application. We require an $85.00/family registration fee, which is refundable if we are full and unable to offer a spot.
3. It is our tradition that priority be given to returning students and families. Greenplay Cooperative reserves the right to make enrollment decisions to maintain an optimal learning environment; spots are filled on a first come, first served basis, and upon consideration of age and gender to balance each class.
Q & A
Q: What curriculum does our farm school use?
A: Little Sparrows is a play-based early childhood program committed to helping families raise happy, healthy, and capable children. We use an emergent curriculum to support individual and group learning processes, allowing for our activities and agenda to be interest-led and child-driven. We are equally inspired by the traditions of Waldorf and Reggio Emilia; protecting the senses, promoting beauty and reverence, using the environment as our 3rd teacher, and viewing children as competent, capable, and creative learners.
Q: Will my child be outside the whole time?
A: Yes! We are a full nature-immersion program so we will be spending all of our time outside, rain or shine. In the case of severe weather, we have access to a heated, indoor shelter area.
Q: Does my child need to be potty-trained?
A: No. We welcome young children who are at all stages of potty training and request that parents inform us of the strategies they are using at home so we can support the process. We take bathroom breaks as needed throughout the morning, but if we’re out in the field or forest and a child really needs to go potty, we allow him/her to “water” the bushes. We understand, too, that accidents can and will happen, and handle these situations with the utmost sensitivity and care.
Q: Is snack/lunch provided?
A: We provide a snack each day and invite children to participate. Examples of our snack include organic steamed brown rice with sesame seeds and soy sauce, cinnamon oatmeal, or vegetable soup along with an herbal tea. Throughout the year, we may also prepare baked potatoes, warm apple sauce, homemade bread and muffins, and eat local berries, fruits, and veggies when they are available. Snack is served family style, and all children have a chance to participate in the set-up, clean-up, and washing of dishes.
Q: What kind of equipment/clothing must my child bring?
A: All registered families will be given a seasonal geart list. It is imperative that children come to school prepared for the weather so that they are able to spend all of their energy on playing and learning, and less on trying to stay warm and dry.
Q: What does a mixed age group look like?
A: Mixed age groupings provide unique opportunities for children to learn and grow as part of a home-like community. We engage 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds according to their age and abilities, while they imitate the mood, gestures and work of our teachers (and their older friends). Our 5 and 6-year-olds develop the independence and sense of responsibility necessary to become leaders in the class, while also working on extended projects and goals.
Q: Is before and after school care provided?
A: At this time, we are unable to offer extended care to children in our program. However, we realize there is a great need for full-day care, especially for our working families, and hope to add this service as our program grows.
Q: Can parents participate and/or volunteer?
A: Yes! We welcome parents and community volunteers to participate in all aspects of our programming. We appreciate the talent, enthusiasm, and loving presence of parents in our community who are willing to share their work and wisdom with us. Volunteering can take on many forms – helping us reach out to new families, staffing our school booth at community events, sharing musical and artistic talents with our students, providing leadership for special events, or joining our Board of Directors.
Q: Does your program incorporate incorporate religious teachings?
A: No. However, we do believe that all humans (and all living things) exist as part of a spiritual dimension and are deeply connected. Our program emphasizes peace, thankfulness, and respect for self, others, and the natural world.