‘Outdoor preschool’ program expanding to Lincoln Park

December 20, 2017 3:15 pm
|    Comments Off on ‘Outdoor preschool’ program expanding to Lincoln Park
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle parks | West Seattle schools

(Lincoln Park aerial photo from 2012, by Long Bach Nguyen

Lincoln Park is the second West Seattle park chosen by the city as a site for an “outdoor preschool.”

This is the second year of a city pilot project allowing these types of preschools in four city parks. Tiny Trees has been operating one at Camp Long, the only West Seattle park on that initial list.

This past October, the Parks Department came up with a list of nine parks where it would allow outdoor preschool to continue, or to begin. That list included Camp Long and Lincoln Park. And it issued a call for interested preschool operators.

The application and vetting process has just ended, and Parks spokesperson Rachel Schulkin tells WSB that Tiny Trees and a second company called Roots & Sky are the two providers chosen for the nine parks. In addition to Tiny Trees continuing at Camp Long, Schulkin says, “Roots & Sky is the provider that we intend to work with in offering outdoor preschool at Lincoln Park.” We couldn’t find information about them online, and followed up with Schulkin, who explained:

Roots & Sky is a new business. In addition to applying to utilize Lincoln Park as their preschool site, they are applying to the Seattle Preschool Program (pathway program) which would provide crucial funding and support for them to operate. With successful acceptance into the Seattle Preschool Program they will then acquire a business license. Our intent to move into an agreement with them is dependent upon both successful acceptance into the Seattle Preschool Program (pathway program) and acquisition of a business license. If those things don’t happen, we will not move forward with Roots & Sky as an outdoor preschool provider at Lincoln Park.

She says Parks is working on a Memorandum of Agreement with both providers “to lay out the specifics/expectations regarding outdoor preschools in Seattle Parks.” Before agreements are finalized, she says, there will be a community meeting at Lincoln Park to discuss:

-SPR’s goals around partnering with outdoor preschools
-what we have learned after our first year of piloting these programs,
-some information about how outdoor preschools work and their agreements with SPR.

We will also have time to answer community questions.

No date set for that meeting yet. And yes, the preschool providers do pay the city for use of the parks – “There is a monthly fee depending on the hours of preschool (the exact cost are a discounted rate based upon our rental rates), additional fees are charged for any added maintenance needed.”

One non-West Seattle park in the pilot program, by the way, was excluded for future preschool use, according to this city document, John C. Little, “because of deteriorating site conditions and overuse.”

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