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Why Wild Roots?

Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls.

- Erin Kenn

Wild Roots bases it’s practices on both the high-quality practices of early childhood education and environmental education. We use the natural world to support dual goals that address both child development as well as conservation values. Nature is both the classroom and a teacher, and learning happens almost exclusively outdoors. 

Research suggests that nature enhances children’s development, including: 

  • Promoting social and emotional development
  • Enhancing communication skills
  • Improving academic performance
  • Providing mental health benefits
  • Promoting physical activity 

Our Philosophy and Pedagogy

Our Pedagogical approach is a multi-faceted one that has been inspired by a variety of philosophers, early childhood educational theorists, and educators regarding how children develop and learn best. Our flexible outdoor learning environment allows for an emergent curriculum, with teachers acting as guides, noticing each child’s observations and interests. Teachers are responsive to the needs and interests of each child, rather than following a rigid curriculum.

We are a play-based program, meaning more of the day is spent in child-directed play than teacher-directed activities. When you listen in on our “classroom,” children’s voices are heard more often than teacher’s voices, we focus on the process versus the product, and children have the space they need to move their bodies as much as they need.  

We are committed to these principles:

  • Children learn through play: children develop the skills they need both for school and life through play
  • Children learn best when they are interested in what they are learning: our flexible outdoor environment allows teachers to be responsive to the interests of the children, freeing them to construct knowledge together 
  • Nature is the best venue for play: nature is full of loose parts, inspires imaginative play, active play, and problem solving
  • Low teacher to child ratios: we maintain a 1:6 ratio 
  • Emphasis on empowering children through positive guidance
  • Frequent, immersive experiences in nature in a variety of weather
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Respect for all living things
  • Today’s children are tomorrow’s environmental stewards

Our Goals

  • To help each child grow and learn through developmentally appropriate practices
  • To prepare each child to succeed both socially and academically
  • To foster a love for, and connection to, the natural world

Licensing Status

The state of Colorado does not currently have a childcare license available for programs wishing to operate as an outdoor nature-based preschool. Wild Roots is not a licensed preschool and operates under CDEC’s single-skill exemption. To ensure compliance with the single-skill exemption, our curriculum is designed to focus on specific weekly single-skills related to a monthly theme, and we do not provide a nap time or mats for napping. 

Single-skill exemption is defined by CDEC as: A special school or class operated for a single skill-building purpose. A single-skill program includes the development of an individual skill which does not include naptime or overnight care.

For more information, you may contact the Colorado Department of Early Childhood, Child Care Licensing and Administration: 
Email: [email protected] 
Phone: 1-800-799-5876 or 303-866-5948