"In nature, children learn to take risks, overcome fears, make new friends, regulate emotions, and create imaginary worlds."
- Angela J. hanscom, balanced and barefoot
Little Wildlings operates out of Seattle, WA, the traditional land of the Coast Salish people, including the original stewards of this land, the Duwamish People, past and present.
Our biggest values are to connect children to their natural surroundings and help support the development of their authentic selves. In our current society, we have lost touch with what is important to a child. We often focus on children growing up, rather than letting children live in the moment and just be kids. Developing a strong sense of self, getting to know and expand their abilities, feeling and listening to their senses, and building healthy communication skills are musts for the preschool years and all happen through play, more so outside within nature. Making mud pies, splashing in puddles, listening to the birds, watching the seasons change, and playing with friends, are experiences that help us grow into healthy, happy, and curious humans.
We encourage a child-centered and play-based environment, letting the children's individual and mutual interests lead the way. Children learn from what inspires them and are provided a supportive environment that enriches their interests. We also provide an atmosphere where children are encouraged to explore their own identities and learn more about themselves and others around them. Play-focused and self-directed environments have been proven to help children develop confidence, autonomy, and a strong passion for learning. Research shows children need play in order to learn reading, writing, and math skills.
We embrace the different backgrounds that we all come from and want to share and support everyone in our community in doing the same by having children with different abilities, ages, family structures, ethnicities, race, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds, etc. Our circle time, reading materials, and discussions provide a way for children to share and learn other's stories.
Learning to listen to our feelings and feel our emotions is often overlooked, especially when we are young. It's important to have a safe place to learn how to listen to our feelings, so we can be honest with ourselves and communicate in healthy and respectful ways to others. We teach emotional intelligence, consent, and boundary setting so that we can feel comfortable and free in our environment and have the tools to communicate authentically with everyone in our lives.
Too often we expect children to conform to societies normative expectations of them. They're expected to act, dress, communicate, and feel their feelings, based on what adults decide for them. We encourage kids to learn about and love the kind of person they are. The preschool years are a prime time for them to develop their identities and to be proud of themselves. We are here to support and love them through that process.