Program


Program Summary

Curriculum at Treehouse Learning

Curriculum, in the broadest sense, is everything that happens throughout the day

  • The physical environment, responsive teachers, and planned activities all converge to create worthwhile and enriching learning experiences characterized by joy, playfulness, and the cultivation of awe and wonder

  • Our educational approach supports the full development of the human being with a broad vision of education as an ‘aid to life’ and prepared learning environments equipped with purposeful activities suited to the child’s developmental needs and tendencies, with trained educators facilitating learning, concentration, and social development

  • During their days, months, and years at Treehouse Learning, children develop safe and secure attachment relationships with caring teachers and peers, resulting in fundamental resiliency and a grounded, positive self-concept

  • When our children leave for kindergarten or first grade, they are distinguished by strong academic and social skills, love of learning, curiosity, and personal confidence who are responsible, independent, and trust in their own abilities

  • Language acquisition and self-expression are valued for all children, and exposure to early literacy, art, music, nature-based exploration, and environmental literacy begins in our infant rooms

  • Curriculum includes direct teaching and learning experiences derived from a prepared environment, but also includes natural teachable moments all day, every day

  • Our daily routines actively promote each child’s physical, intellectual, and social/emotional growth in a balanced approach that supports the development of the whole child. 

  • Prepared environments: Our classrooms are rich with high-quality and natural materials, books, open-ended manipulatives, and toys—but without TV, videos, and electronic devices.

Image of child-size table and chairs

Social skills and emotional intelligence are essential for success in life and are the foundation for all academic learning

Treehouse Learning incorporates play-based learning experiences, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence’s RULER Social-Emotional Curriculum, movement and body-based mindfulness, Brain Gym, embedded occupational therapist and mental health support, as well as a wide variety of tools and resources to intentionally support the social-emotional development and foundational learning-readiness skills that each child will need for success in school and life

  • Emotional Intelligence

    Children learn to notice and name their feelings through body-based self-awareness of their physical and emotional state and develop empathy and emotional literacy

  • Self-Regulation

    Classrooms have “cozy corners” and “regulation stations” for children to self-regulate and explore a variety of mindfulness, self-soothing tools and calming techniques

  • Community Orientation

    Children learn to be part of a classroom and school community by practicing learning to share and taking turns, use an empathy-based approach to understanding needs and helping others, embody community expectations of kindness, respect, and helpfulness, and learn to care for the environment and world around us

  • Growth Mindset / Resilience and “Yes Brain”

    Children develop a positive self-concept rooted in grounded self-confidence where they believe themselves to be competent and capable people who can learn new skills and do hard things

  • Social Skills for Successful Relationships

    Interpersonal relationship skills begin with our infants learning to say “please,” “thank you,” and “more” with sign language. During snacks and lunches, teachers model mealtime conversations and try new foods. Children practice grace, courtesy, and collaboration with others, and children and teachers model effective language and communication strategies.

  • Staying Safe

    Our classroom expectations are for all children to Be Kind, Be Helpful, and Be Safe! We teach children about keeping their bodies and the bodies of others safe, being safe in their classrooms and communities, and using materials safely and appropriately. Safety also includes learning appropriate risk-taking as well as Body Safe policies for sexual abuse prevention

Image of Cozy Cube
Every classroom has a "cozy corner" to support children's social-emotional development and learning
Children build executive function, social skills, and language skills through dramatic play and practical life skills

Research-Based Educational and Philosophical Foundations of Curriculum

The foundation of our curriculum at Treehouse Learning is a synthesis of several traditions of educational leadership and influences that converge into the daily routines of our curriculum and educational approach
  • Piaget

    Piaget is well known in the field of educational psychology, particularly his concept of developmental stages. “Developmentally Appropriate Practices” are a result of Piaget’s influence, me

  • Vygotsky

    The teachings of Vygotsky are rooted in the social context of learning where children are guided in their learning by more competent peers and led to concept mastery and leadership skills through sharing an environment with less developed peers, all of which are offered in preschool mixed-age settings

    • Teachers offer help when asked, at the point of readiness with a belief in the competence and capability of each child 
      • “Never do for a child what they can do for themselves”
    • “Scaffolding” describes the role of a teacher or more skilled peer in helping children achieve higher levels of competency
    • Zone of Proximal Development, or the bridge between what a child can do independently, and what the child can not yet do, even with assistance.
  • Montessori

    • Montessori education is a long-recognized tradition of hands-on learning in mixed-age settings, based on the belief that young children can learn complex concepts easily during sensitive periods through child-led inquiry and exploration
    • We draw from the Montessori philosophy to respect each child’s individual learning style and preference, and children are given opportunities to engage in self-directed, purposeful activities 
    • We include daily opportunities for children to practice physical, social, and practical living skills (education as an ‘aid to life’ as well as care of the person and environment
    • We offer Montessori-inspired peace education lessons to help children learn how to use conflict resolution when necessary and empower children to take responsibility for their own choices, as well as lessons in grace and courtesy
    • Montessori’s Cosmic Education describes the role of education as comprehensive, holistic and purposeful; to encompass the development of the whole person within the context of the whole universe
  • Reggio Emilia

    • The Reggio Emilia approach guides Treehouse Learning to understand children’s active participation in constructing their own experiential learning process through play, creative expression, and social interactions in the context of relationships and a prepared environment. 
    • We are reminded that children are endowed with “a hundred languages” through which to express themselves and that the classroom (whether indoors or outdoors), a prepared and intentional environment is the  child’s “third teacher.
  • Play-Based Learning

    • We recognize that nature designed children to learn through play. Play is a child-directed, joyful activity with no external end goal outside of the emergent discovery naturally inherent in play.
    • Learning organically and spontaneously emerges out of an intentionally prepared learning environment and the freedom to explore and discover.
    • A child-centric experience builds academic skills into play experiences via skilled educators who guide and facilitate a child’s learning.
    • Play-based learning builds leadership and social skills, and there are many types of play, including imaginary and dramatic play, games with rules as well as unstructured play.
  • The Science of Brain and Child Development

    • Interpersonal neurobiology, particularly the work of Dr. Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson confirms that optimal learning and development occur in the context of safe and secure attachment relationships and that human-to-human interactions (as opposed to technology) are critical to healthy social-emotional development and maturation
    • Movement is critical to brain development: we use intentional, movement-based awareness to activate and integrate all parts of the brain for learning through body-based mindfulness and social-emotional learning
    • Developmentally Appropriate Practice: Child-focused understanding of human development from birth onward in conjunction with understanding our brains, and nervous system, and age-appropriate teaching strategies
Quote by Jean Piaget, "The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover."
Image of children playing with balls on a big parachute
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”- Fred Rogers

Academic Preparation for Lifetime Learning Success

Treehouse Learning offers a balanced approach to academic preparation through a focus on the entire ongoing and unfolding process of learning within the context of child development. We partner with families to help inspire and cultivate a life-long love of learning through the deeper foundational learning skills that lead to successful academic outcomes.

  • Universal PreK

    We offer Universal PreK in each of our Mixed-Age Preschool classrooms. For the 2023-2024 Academic Year, we offer 15 hours a week of free, high-quality preschool to eligible children who are enrolled full-time (either 4 or 5 days per week). Applications for 2024-2025 UPK enrollment at Treehouse Learning will be available soon!

  • High Scope Curriculum

    Treehouse Learning also offers the High Scope Cor Advantage observation-based child assessments in conjunction with our Universal PreK program specifically for its alignment with the Montessori and Reggio Emilia traditions, and play-based approach emphasizing active learning, positive adult-child interactions, child-friendly learning environments, consistent daily routines, and team-based assessments. This is in order to provide a formative assessment of a child’s entire academic, social, and physical development

  • Tools of the Mind

    “Tools of the Mind,” a Vygotsky-based curriculum emphasizes literacy development through the lens of dramatic play. Children spend time with purposeful writing, role-playing, mathematical reasoning, invention and discovery. Through this program self-regulation skills are introduced and developed naturally.

  • Comprehensive Academic Preperation

    Literacy, writing, reading skills, math, science, STEM are offered via interactive and experiential activities in a prepared learning environment to support child-led inquiry and guided by educators to facilitate deeper understanding and learning

  • Science of Reading

    The science of Reading approach incorporates both phonics-based decoding skills to connect letters to sounds as well as the language acquisition, exposure, and development necessary to make meaning of written materials. Literacy and language development at Treehouse Learning begins in infancy and is naturally embedded throughout the day through direct instruction, songs, stories, and dramatic play

  • Comprehensive Arts Education

    Treehouse Learning offers a balanced approach to arts and academics through creative self-exploration and expression via visiual and fine arts, musical arts, creative movement arts, culinary arts, as well as environmental arts

  • University Level Research Participation

    Treehouse Learning participates in a longitudinal study with the University of Denver to examine the effectiveness of Yale University’s RULER Social-Emotional Curriculum in preschools across Colorado, as well as other educational-based collaborations to improve childhood outcomes, and children are invited to participate in research studies

Academic skills are embedded into daily curriculum through child-directed activities in a prepared environment as well as guided learning support from teachers
A colorful graphic of a mood meter, with a horizontal axis showing negative to positive level of pleasantness, and a vertical axis showing energy from low to high
The Mood Meter is part of RULER social-emotional curriculum, where children share daily emotional check-ins

Classrooms at Treehouse Learning

All of our classrooms are designed and equipped with age-appropriate equipment and materials following the principles of Universal Design. Classrooms all have access to the outdoors, large windows and abundant light, and access to nature-inspired outdoor playgrounds. Each classroom is equipped with quality wooden furniture, including child-size tables and chairs, a loft, a dramatic play area, a "cozy cube" area, art easels, and "work shelves" of quality learning materials.

Infant

Garden & Mountain

  • 2 – 16 months
  • 1:4 ratio

Age ranges are approximate, with transitions determined by developmental readiness, availability, and licensing requirements.

Toddler

Cedar & Dogwood: Young Toddler “Sprouts”

  • 16 months – 36 months
  • 1:5 ratio

Birch: Older Toddler “Blossoms”

  • 24-36 months
  • 1:7 ratio

Aspen: Older Toddler/ Young Preschool “Blossoms”

  • 30-42 months
  • 1:8 ratio

All age ranges are approximate, with transitions determined by developmental readiness, availability, and licensing requirements.

Mixed-Age Preschool

Evergreen & Forest

  • ~3 – 5 years old
  • 1:10 ratio
  • UPK (Universal PreK) program offered

All age ranges are approximate, with transitions determined by developmental readiness, availability, and licensing requirements.

Kindergarten

River Kindergarten

  • 5-6-year-olds*
  • Maximum group size: 15

*With flexibility depending on individual needs outside of BVSD age-based cutoff

2023/2024 Academic Year Tuition

2024/2025 Academic Year Tuition

2023-2024 Academic Year Highlights and Calendar

Annual Treehouse Learning Traditions

  • Family Picnics at Waneka Lake

    Family Picnics at Waneka Lake mark the end and beginning of our academic calendar year, as well as Summer Camp program, featuring both potlucks as well as local food trucks

  • Pancake Breakfast

    Treehouse Learning families and staff are invited to stop by for an Open House pancake breakfast featuring hot-off-the-griddle pancakes (including GF), sausage, real maple syrup & butter, and fresh fruit.  

  • Family Fun Run

    Each fall we host a Family Fun Run at Waneka Lake in honor of Treehouse Learning founder, Nancy Benson. The event also features a small raffle fundraiser donating money to local organizations selected by Treehouse Learning families

  • Winter Light and Love Performances

    Our annual holiday children’s music performance features 3 different nights of celebration and community through winter-themed songs of light and love prepared by our River Kindergarten, Forest, and Evergreen preschool classrooms

  • Fall and Spring Conferences

    Conferences in the fall and spring with your child’s teacher support individual discussions about your child’s development through our observation-based child assessments via High Scope COR Advantage curriculum

  • Open Houses

    Back-to-School Events, Open Houses, and Meet-and-Greets give parents a chance to meet their child’s teaching team and explore the classroom learning environments

  • Kindergarten Spring Performance and Art Show

    River Kindergarten students prepare a spring musical and art performance centered around a geographical region or ecosystem, featuring unique costume masks made by the children as well as related artwork and elaborate backdrops

  • Preschool & Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony

    Annual graduation ceremony and reception for graduating River Kindergarten children, as well as Kindergarten-bound Forest and Evergreen preschool children

  • Spontaneous Community Events

    Throughout the year we also host more impromptu community events such as family potluck gatherings, sustainability-focused events such as clothing swaps or tree plantings, other events geared towards the larger community, or events planned by our Parent Group

  • Parent Learning Opportunities

    Parents are also invited to participate in events, presentations, workshops, and other adult-focused learning opportunities sponsored by Treehouse Learning each year

2023-2024 Academic Calendar

2024-2025 Academic Calendar

Holidays and Program Closures

  • Holiday Closure Schedule

    Treehouse Learning is closed on observed Federal Holidays: Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day,  Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, and Independence Day. Treehouse Learning staff receive paid holidays.

  • Additional Planned Closures

    Additional planned closures are scheduled for the end of December/Early January, as well as two additional days the week of Thanksgiving, and the week before the launch of Fall program. 

  • Staff Professional Development

    Professional development for our staff including planned full-day trainings (aligned with BVSD schedule) that exceed Colorado statewide standards for Early Childhood Educator training requirements

  • Alignment with BVSD on Academic Year Calendar

    Treehouse Learning follows BVSD calendar in scheduling closures, staff development, planned breaks, and facilities maintenance in order to provide minimal disruption to families as well as support staff wellbeing and professionalism

  • Nutritious and Diverse Menu

    Chef-prepared meals and snacks featuring local & organic ingredients, plant-based options, and internationally-inspired dishes

  • Feel-Good Food for Children and Adults!

    Children expand their palates to enjoy a large variety of nutritious and delicious meals!

  • Food Allergies and Restrictions

    Food allergies and special dietary needs may also be accommodated (i.e. Gluten Free, Dairy-Free, Vegetarian, etc.).

  • Child Participation and Nutritional Education

    Partnerships with local Boulder County Farm-to-Early Childhood programs and curriculum for educational outreach visits as well as our own garden-to-table and nutrition curriculum

Words and pictures from the mouths of parents and children

Dear Mary,

For the last four years you have created hot, healthy, adventurous meals for both W. and T. you have introduced many new flavors and textures into their diet. Thank you for the love and care you give every day. You have made a big positive difference in my children’s lives.

Thank you,

C.B.

Ms. Mary,

We wanted to thank you for all that you do for Treehouse Learning and our sons A. and A.! We know that each day our boys are in such good hands- and will be nurtured in both mind and body. You are truly a gift to all of us and amazing at your craft. Thank you so much!

The P. Family

Dear Mary & Ari,

We cannot begin to express how grateful we are to you both for feeding our children so well every week!

Thank you,

The M. Family

Dear Mary,

We are so grateful for you and all that you provide at Treehouse. Not only are the healthy meals critical to the kids learning and playing. The healthy thoughtful ingredient, the diversity of flavors are teaching the kids so much about good food. So many parents say their kids only eat mac & cheese. But kids eat and love so much more when given the chance!

Thank you!

A. & S.

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