This program has temporarily been placed on hold for 2020. If you'd like more info or to be placed on the interest list, please contact us.
With our half-day program, your preschooler will build character, values, self-esteem, and kindergarten readiness – all while interacting with the beauty and magic of nature. With in-depth knowledge of camping and outdoor leadership; early learning and education; our YMCA values; and industry standards in environmental education, our nurturing staff are perfectly equipped to help your kiddo develop in a way that encourages exploration and curiosity. If you're looking for an alternative to a more traditional indoor classroom environment, Outdoor Preschool is for you!
We've combined our expertise in camping, outdoor leadership, and outdoor environmental education with our long history and knowledge of early learning to create a unique Outdoor Preschool program that allows your child to learn, grow, and play in nature!
Our outdoor classrooms are designed to foster a sense of wonder as preschoolers play and explore the natural world around them. Child-led exploration and creative outdoor play is supported and nurtured.
Students are encouraged to ask questions and make connections relating to their natural environment. Teachers support independence in daily living activities, self-advocacy, and expression.
Teachers focus on facilitating connections between students. Preschoolers learn to care for their community space, practice attentiveness to others, and cooperate in large and small groups.
In addition to basic behavioral expectations and attentiveness, students also work on early literacy and math skills. Students should learn to recognize lowercase and capital letters, letter sounds, shapes, and quantifying using numbers.
This initial six-week pilot program runs from November 16 to December 31, with no school on November 26 or 27 and December 24 or 25. We anticipate launching a more robust program in early 2021.
Monday to Friday
8:30 am to 12:00 pm
Preschoolers, ages 3 to 5 years old.
Students must be potty trained.
The Y is committed to ensuring all families have access to quality and enriching youth programs. The Y provides financial assistance and a sliding fee schedule. Please fill out this quick form to learn more about scholarships or financial assistance.
6-Week Pilot Program Fees
$1,200 Facility Members
$1,400 Community Members
1. What curriculum will be offered?
We recognize that the need for social-emotional learning (SEL) and exploration of the natural world is greater now than ever, and we're making sure our curriculum meets those needs. Lesson plans will be drawn from the Blossom and Root curriculum, as well as the Better Environmental Education, Teaching, Learning, and Expertise Sharing (BEETLES) framework. Staff will lead activities consistent with and inspired by our Y values with a focus on building social connection and independence. We will be learning alongside families and kids this year and will strive to support each child and their unique learning needs.
2. Who will my child be grouped with?
Each preschool site will group students in pods of up to 10 with two teachers. These groups will remain consistent throughout the session.
3. Will my child stay outside even when it's raining, snowing, or windy?
Both Camp Keller and the Auburn Valley YMCA do have covered inclement weather space. Children will stay outside through rain, snow, and wind, but may go indoors or under cover for extreme cold or winds, lightning, or other unexpected weather events. If extreme weather is forecasted, the program may be cancelled. Please see cancellation policy below for more information.
4. Where will the kids use the bathroom? Does my child need to be potty trained?
Students will use the bathroom indoors at the Auburn location, and using a regularly serviced Sani-Can at Camp Keller. Both locations will have handwashing stations and good personal hygiene will be modeled and encouraged by staff. All students must be potty trained in order to participate in Outdoor Preschool.
5. Do you offer part-time options?
At this time we are focused on full-time, half-day weekly enrollment to provide care to as many families as possible while limiting exposure. We will consider part-time enrollments on a case-by-case basis if space allows. To request part-time enrollment, please complete the contact form and indicate your preferred schedule in the comment box.
6. Do I qualify for Facility Member pricing if my membership is on hold while facilities are not up to full operations?
You must be an active member to qualify for Facility Member pricing. If you would like to remove your hold status, please contact us.
7. What should I send with my child each day?
Please send a nutritious snack, face covering, water bottle, and weather-appropriate clothes for outdoor play.
8. What does the face covering requirement mean for this outdoor preschool program?
To keep students safe, we are committed to requiring face coverings whenever youth are not seated six (6) feet or more apart. Staff will be wearing masks at all times. Students should bring their own face coverings every day. We will have additional face coverings available if needed, but we find that kids are more successful in wearing their face coverings when they've chosen it themselves and it is sized appropriately. Please be sure to label face coverings with your child's name.
9. Will Outdoor Preschool operations be affected by the Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order or phases of reopening?
The Safe Start plan for reopening Washington State does not address child care or school-year programs. Child care has remained open and may continue to operate. The Washington Department of Health states that families who are able to safely keep their children and youth home should continue to do so but understands that this is not always possible. This becomes more relevant especially as communities move through phases and more sectors come online.
10. How will you be screening participants and staff for COVID-19?
All guests, staff, and volunteers will be asked to complete a self-observation before the program begins. If you or a family member have been sick or in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, we ask that you wait 14 days before rejoining Outdoor Preschool. We can arrange for a cancellation or change in registration. All students, staff, and volunteers must complete daily health screenings. We will be completing a health screening form each morning when your student arrives.
11. What steps are you taking to minimize the risk of someone contracting COVID-19?
We continue to develop a comprehensive set of policies and procedures specific to COVID-19. Our leadership team has reviewed and will continue to update necessary protocols to comply with or exceed governmental guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure. These include but are not limited to:
• Daily health screenings for all participants and staff.
• Extra vigilance in sanitizing bathrooms and high-touch objects.
• All-staff reminders to promote regular handwashing and good hygiene practices. Additional handwashing and hand sanitizer opportunities will be available.
• A limit on group gathering to the preschool pod. Staff schedules are coordinated to limit exposure to different groups of participants.
• Physical distancing practices for participants, staff, and volunteers.
• Face-covering regulations from the state and county enforced for students, staff, and volunteers.
• Cleaning and disinfecting as directed by manufacturers COVID-19 procedures at the conclusion of each activity or trip.
12. What is your cancellation or change policy?
For cancellations, changes, or transfers, we require written notice by Wednesday at 12:00 pm prior to the start of the program. Deposits are non-refundable and may be non-transferable. The Y reserves the right to charge a $25 fee for multiple registration changes. No refunds or credits will be given for absences, withdrawals, disciplinary suspensions, or the removal of a student.
13. Who can I contact with registration questions?
Please contact us or call us at 206-382-5009. Our registration team is available between the hours of 7:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.