Maple Grove is a nature-based preschool located in McMinnville. These are our youngest students – just 3.5 – 5.5 years old! They get to experience the magic of the seasons on local land. Following their curiosity and celebrating the simple wonders of nature, they learn through play and guided risk-taking.

Through daily interaction with the land and each other, these kids become observers, caregivers, and active participants in the cycle of the seasons. We feel so fortunate to have Heidi Hoskins and Amy Nelson to guide these little people and grow this new community.

Three photos: a child holding up wood with mushrooms growing on it; very young children playing in muddy jumpers; two preschoolers sitting on the grass using watercolor paints

Once upon a time … multiple people were simultaneously dreaming of starting a nature-based preschool program. Then on a lovely spring day, one of them bravely reached out and a new alliance was formed.

Theresa and Neyssa were creating their five year plan for OEA. Specifically, they were discussing a long-time dream of theirs … a nature-based preschool program. They wanted it, the community was asking for it, but they knew that with only the two of them, they didn’t have the time to get it going. Then a sudden urge made them both look at their email inboxes … Waiting there was an email from a friend, local teacher Heidi Hoskins.

Heidi had written to ask for advice about starting her own nature-based preschool, which had also been a long-time dream of hers and her friend’s, Amy. Serendipity! The coincidence was too great, so Heidi, Theresa, and Neyssa met to discuss having Heidi join OEA as the Early Childhood Education Director. She agreed, the Board of Directors agreed, and Amy accepted an invitation to join. Maple Grove Nature School was on its way!

Stewards of the Future: photos of children learning outside.