Early learning and childcare are critical concerns for parents. Sequoia’s Early Learning Center, conveniently located in the Tumwater Old Town Center building located at 215 N 2nd Avenue SW, has expanded enrollment to include one-year olds. With hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. working parents have flexibility.
All Sequoia locations reflect the Reggio Emilia inspired approach to collaborative learning where social/emotional development is forefront. There is also a large focus on being outdoors, rain or shine. These philosophies for early learners have guided owner Sequoia Hartman throughout her career.
Tumwater Early Learning Center is Ready
The ELC is on the upper floor of the Tumwater building. Renovated bathrooms, new flooring and paint have updated the space. Large, well-lit rooms have tables for communal activities. There are smaller tables for puzzles and art. Areas around the room are set up for reading, block playing and other creative endeavors. The outdoor play area is partially covered and features small play structures for creative play including a small café and playhouse, sandbox, tricycles, dump trucks, garden beds for digging and planting, and more. Tumwater Park is nearby, and children have opportunities for a field trip along with a field trip to Sequoia’s Farm twice a month. At the Farm there is first-hand experience with the children’s garden, animals including ponies, pigs, a peacock, chickens, alpacas, sheep and barn cats; field games on the Farm’s 4.11 acres, and more.
“I am creating outdoor, social/emotional, Play-based focus, nature/Reggio Emilia inspired curriculum in all my programs because it’s what I believe in and am passionate about,” says Sequoia, who founded Sequoia’s Treehouse Children’s Center, Sequoia’s Early Learning Center, and Sequoia’s Farm and Forest School. Programs are based on principles of responsibility, respect, and community enhanced through play and hands-on exploration. At the Early Learning Center children build skills in solving problems, building boundaries and self-esteem, while exploring the natural world and spending lots of time outdoors. Sequoia Hartman puts her heart and energy into establishing environments for children to flourish.
Social/Emotional Learning at Sequoia Early Learning Centers
The Reggio Emilia style and Conscious Discipline put a clear emphasis on social/emotional skills, which are a foundation for healthy living and improved communication. Developmentally appropriate activities are designed to increase children’s capacities to understand, express and manage their emotions. All this supports the ability to create meaningful relationships. Here are examples of social/emotional skills:
- Displays self-control.
- Expresses feelings with words.
- Listens and pays attention.
- Has pride in accomplishments.
- Creates a positive self-image.
- Can ask for help when needed.
- Maintains awareness of other people’s feelings.
“We learn to talk to each other, work through our issues and solve problems together,” says Sequoia. These are concepts adults continue to learn throughout life. Getting a solid start is invaluable. “These skills are used for the rest of our lives,” she adds.
All Sequoia Programs/Schools are meant to create a place to enjoy learning. Many young learners are not inspired when sitting for long periods of time, required to do busy work or are drilled on numbers or letters. The Early Learning Centers incorporate physical, academic and creative activities through play and exploration.
Learning through Play
Sequoia’s Early Learning Center believes that children learn through play. It is a way to develop social and cognitive skills and gain self-confidence to fully engage with the world. Play can be divided into the following:
Active play: Running, jumping, climbing, riding and use of large muscles.
Quiet play: Reading, beading, coloring or activities that involve only one person.
Cooperative play: Games and activities that involve more than one person.
Manipulative play: Puzzles, blocks, cutting and pasting, or activities that involve activities in which one expresses them self creatively.
Creative play: Painting, problem solving, dance, music, storytelling or pretending.
Dramatic play: Dress-up, playing house, or any activity that involves eye-hand coordination or fine motor muscles.
People at any age learn at their own pace. At the two centers, children are not required to have attained certain skills by a particular age (we all learn at our pace) but children are assigned to age and skill appropriate groups. The Early Learning Center is fully licensed and follows the Washington State teacher-to-child ratios. Ratios are often lower but follow these mandated guidelines:
- Crias are 1 to 3 years with a 1-7 ratio.
- Ewes are 2.5 to 5 years with a 1-10 ratio.
- Foals are 5 to 8 years with a 1-10 ratio.
Sequoia’s Early Learning Center hires a staff of qualified people who are committed to providing inquisitive, exploratory, interesting and fun experiences for your children. If being part of such a team is on your career path, contact the Center.
Sequoia’s Programs/Schools also have afterschool care for 5- to 11-year-olds and host children from Roosevelt, South Bay, Pleasant Glade, and Boston Harbor Elementary Schools.
Summer will be here soon and summer camp is especially fun on the Farm. Get more information and make plans for summer camps on the Farm. You can read more about all programs on the Sequoia’s Treehouse Early Learning Center or Sequoia’s Treehouse Childcare Center websites.
Hours for all of Sequoia’s Centers and Farm School are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can call 360.742.3651 to set up a tour and/or enroll your child/ren.