“Play is the highest form of research”

Albert Einstein

Our Story

#7bbc20Founded in September 2014, Miami Nature Playschool (MNP) is not a traditional preschool, but a place that protects and preserves the raw essence of childhood. We gather families to build child-oriented, playful, communities whose main goal is to support the social, emotional and physical development of their children in a healthy, nurturing environment surrounded by nature. Our Mentors & Facilitators guide children into experiences that nurture their connection to nature and help parents foster in their kids, the personal and interpersonal skills that will serve them for a lifetime.

MNP was born from a need in our community for earthed and progressive, nature-based programs for young children and their parents. The foundation of the program was started by Patricia Leon, a mom of a one year old back in 2011.

Nowadays she’s the founder and part of the board of directors of The Childhood Nature Project, an organization oriented to offer nature programs for school age children, the first certified Forest Kindergarten Teacher in South Florida by Cedarsong Nature School and part of the 2018 Nature Based Learning Research Committee at Children & Nature Network.

We currently offer programs for children ages 3 months through 5 years at our location in North Miami and Littler River, and for school age children in partnership with The Childhood Nature Project at our location in North Miami.

Project Timeline

 

 

 

2014 – With the support of The City of North Miami we started our first program in Spanish with 4 families at the Community Center located on the grounds of Enchanted Forest Elaine Gordon Park.

 

2015 – A year of changes, challenges and growth- we started two more communities (English and Spanish) serving 30 families.

 

2016 – We started developing relationships with other organizations in order to expand our outdoor classrooms around the Miami area and serve even more families.

April – Our Director became the First Certified Forest Kindergarten Teacher in South Florida by Cedarsong Nature School. Following the steps of her mentor Erin Kenny, she started introducing the methodology used by the first Forest Kindergarten in North America into the program.

2016 – Buzzy Kids – our partner non-profit organization received its first Capacity Building grant from The Children’s Trust

2017 – After a long relationship, Earth N’ Us Farm located in Little River, became our partner and we welcomed our first community of 12 families to the farm January 19, 2017

April – Miami Nature Playschool attended the III Children’s & Nature Network International Conference & Summit, as 1 of 3 representatives for the state of Florida. The conference brought together more than 900 advocates representing 24 countries for an exchange of ideas and best practices on how to reconnect families with nature. Durante this conference our Director had a chance to meet and exchange ideas with renowned author Richard Louv.

May – Began conversations with Iniciamos Tiny Trees preschool in Seattle, Washington to bring their model to the Miami area.

Julio – Buzzy Kids – our partner non-profit organization goes into a re-organization and became The Childhood Nature Project.

August – Miami Nature Playschool was the only organization, along with representatives from Florida Atlantic University and Florida Gulf Coast University representing the state of Florida in the Nature-Based Preschool National Conference in Seattle.

August – First meeting with Andrew Jay, Tiny Trees director. Miami Nature Playschool director tours Tiny Trees locations in Seattle and evaluates the possibility of applying their model and curriculum in Miami.

September – Our director is invited by ELC to speak during their Children First: Early Education. Healthy Families, Healthy Communities conference about Fostering Life Skills by going outdoor.

2018 – Begin pilot program for the first Outdoor Preschool in Miami, with the capacity for up to 10 kids ages 3 to 5 years old.