Art, the outdoors and early childhood education intersect at Fiddleheads, a new program this fall that will immerse young children in nature.
Known as an urban forest preschool, it is located at the foot of Mt. Tabor in an 1890s Victorian that could be a Disney movie set. Planters full of fruits, flowers and vegetables fill the yard.
A short walk to Tabor Park with teacher, artist, mother Jessica Rhys enables 3 – 5 years olds to explore old-growth-shaded trails, look for tiny critters that help maintain forest health and learn about the wonders that created Tabor’s natural amphitheater.
During a summer open house, Rhys tended her garden of strawberries, potatoes, squash, tomatoes and, of course, kale, in anticipation of harvest by little hands.
“Early childhood is a time of exploration. We want to encourage that by spending the majority of each day outside in our backyard play area and garden or Mt. Tabor’s nearby forest. We play, sing, build, plant, and imagine.”
The program focuses on mindfulness, awareness, observation and empathy toward each other and the natural world along with counting activities, literacy and activities like cooking. Fiddleheads, says Rhys, operates by the motto, “Childhood is a journey, not a destination.”
Fiddleheads join a roster of innovative early learning programs with names like Tulip Tree, Wildwood, Flower Drum and Little Hands Garden School.
See fiddleheadsurbanforestschool.com for more. MP