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  • Michelle Hoefs

Tiny Turtles Takes a New Route

This past year has brought many changes for most of us. One major change that we made here at Happy Dancing Turtle was in our Tiny Turtles preschool program.

With social distancing and isolating so prevalent to ensure the health and safety of all, it became imperative that our youngest learners have a space to gather and interact safely. In order to provide that space, we moved Tiny Turtles entirely outside! An amazing outdoor space in the woods behind Old Main that had long been underutilized soon became an Outdoor Classroom where, twice a month, the 4 and 5 year olds enrolled in Tiny Turtles gathered to explore, play, and create!

The best part about setting up the Outdoor Classroom is that the kids get to help. They help decide where things go and find creative uses for everyday objects. Everyone’s favorite station is by far the “mud kitchen” built by HDT Food Production Coordinator Dave and his son Cash. Many “meals” have been prepared and shared in this kitchen. Besides playing with materials and equipment we bring out, the kids spend time exploring the woods, building forts, climbing fallen trees that turn into rocket ships, hunting for dinosaurs, and anything else that pops into their creative little minds that day; the possibilities are endless!

When we say that Tiny Turtles is held entirely outdoors, we mean it! As Alfred Wainwright wrote, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” The past nine months, we really put that saying to the test! We saw more rain, cold, and snow on Tiny Turtles class days than we ever imagined we would! But, the kids were unphased. They came dressed for the weather and got a lot of use out of their mud boots, raincoats, and warm winter gear. We did cancel one class due to extreme cold, but other than that we were out in it, having fun the whole time.

Check out our year in pictures below!

This year, for the first time, we are offering a Summer Session of Tiny Turtles! Even more exciting, we will be adding more equipment to the Outdoor Classroom thanks to a grant received from the Initiative Foundation! Tiny Turtles meets on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month from 10:00 am-11:30 am. There are still some spots available for the summer session; check out our website for more information and to register.


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