The mission of Sol Shine Nature Preschool is to provide a natural setting for children to attend an exceptional preschool where they will learn and grow while at the same time inspiring them to love nature. With a Forest Kindergarten program, our students are encouraged to play and learn based on their interests. Teachers act as guides who provide naturalist information, ask probing questions, and inspire students to be curious in a safe and nurturing environment.
We believe that the ideal classroom for preschool age children is outside in nature. Nature plays an important role in the cognitive, creative, physical, emotional and social development of young children. Children who spend time in nature are healthier, can think more clearly, have an easier time paying attention and have the ability to cope more effectively with stress.
We believe in the inherent value of play. Children learn best through direct hands-on experiences. At Sol Shine, our students fill their days with authentic play experiences led by their own interests. These experiences help our children to grow and refine their skills in problem-solving, persistence, invention, and initiative.
We believe that children need time to just be themselves. Not only do they need to time to play, but they need time to work on social skills with other children in a safe and nurturing environment. We help our students become socially competent and have self-confidence which gives them a solid foundation for future success.
We believe that an inquiry-based teaching style is best. Asking probing questions gets children thinking at higher levels and promotes curiosity.
We believe in regular reflection with our students about their experiences at Sol Shine. We set aside time for our students to discuss, ask questions and document things that have happened and what we’ve observed.
What is a Forest Kindergarten?
Sol Shine operates as a true Forest Kindergarten (or Waldkindergarten) program. By definition, a Forest Kindergarten is a type of preschool that is held almost exclusively outdoors. Our students spend their time outside, rain or shine. We educate parents and students on appropriate dress so every day is a success regardless of the weather. Sol Shine’s director, Colleen Smith was trained and certified by the United States first Forest Kindergarten founder, the late Erin Kenny of Cedarsong Nature School. Following "The Cedarsong Way”, the key principles of our Forest Kindergarten include:
Total Nature Immersion (unstructured free time in nature)
Interest-led Flow Learning
Inquiry-Based Teaching Style
Positive Reinforcement Approach
Emphasis on Individual Empowerment and Group Bonding
Respect for others, self and the living earth
Small class sizes (9 students max per class)
Low student : teacher ratio
What does a typical school day look like?
9:00 - Student drop off
9:10 - 11:00am - Outdoor learning and play
11:00 - 11:20am - Lunch
11:20 - 12:30pm - Outdoor learning and play
12:30 - Student pick up
When is school in session?
Sol Shine operates on a similar calendar to the Yakima School District.
Our first day of school is in the first half of September and we end mid- June. We break for federal holidays and two weeks in the winter.
Calendars can be found under the Parent Resources tab.
How much does it cost?
Tuition is $275 per month. Although some months have more school days than others, we spread the cost equally throughout the 10-month school year.
Tuition can be paid either privately or through Working Connections Child Care, the state child care subsidy benefit program. To find out if you qualify for WCCC, click here.
Private pay is accepted via an auto-pay system for checking and savings accounts on on the first business day of each month, September through June.