Hello! My name is Chelsey Diamond and I am the educational director of Mountain Sprouts Children’s Community here in Leavenworth. I have been with this organization since 2011 designing programs and curriculum along with my staff team members. I am blessed to also teach in and out of our classroom daily. Early on in my career, I became fascinated with the way children learn by doing, through hands-on experiences and I believe this style of learning is amplified whilst freely in the outdoors. There is no better place to learn about the world, and our place in it, than through organic experiences in nature. I believe that where there is curiosity, there will be education. I knew I had found a place that I could teach with these philosophies, when I was brought to MSCC. This program is a dream for teachers ... one that validates your hard work every day and allows you to see just how important experiential education can be for all children, without a doubt!

1. Our school offers an exceptional curriculum involving child-driven, flow learning directed toward whole- child growth and development at each child’s level. Children are guided to learn respect for themselves, their community, and the environment around them, with the power of exploring new ideas and preparing for kindergarten and beyond! Curriculum is developed with the ebb and flow of the seasons as well as the curiosity of the child, involving music, art, science, drama and more. We practice important, foundational social skills with our students every day, giving them the tools they need to succeed as a part of the community and world around them. Experiences that promote a child’s physical, mental and emotional balance, with a connection to the natural world, are fulfilled within the lack of walls at MSCC.

2. Location ... Location ... Location! Mountain Sprouts is nestled among 320 acres of beautiful landscape located at Tierra Learning Center in Sunitsch Canyon. We have access to many property amenities such as our own garden space, hiking trails, natural forests, a yoga studio, an amphitheater and a variety of ecosystems and habitats. At our school, the environment is seen as instrumental to a child’s educational experience. With such a vast area to explore, teachers find it more natural to exchange trust and responsibility with their students, creating an ease toward management. Curriculum development is an ongoing, teacher-student project as we are surrounded by wildlife, local plants, land features and weather patterns, making it a safe and magical place for children to carry out investigations and channel their wild and wonderful imaginations!

Let’s face it, children and nature belong together!

3. We are a critical child care resource to our local families. This school was founded in hopes of a place that offers full-day care for children that also benefits from a preschool curriculum. Aside from being the only full-day, year-round, certified care program in the Upper Valley, the children are also learning and engaged at all hours of the day. Our program has a wonderful reputation for being a child’s favorite place to play and grow! We try our best to accommodate as many families as we can with our program!

4. Community is at the heart of our program in many ways. We believe in a close partnership with our families, local businesses and experts to be a part of our mission to cultivate learning and teamwork with our sprouts. Parents volunteer time or resources and participate in fundraising and involvement projects each month. We also bring community members, such as musicians, artists, scientists, and many other professions and talents to our classroom throughout the year, to enrich our program’s content and foster curiosity and experience. Our community continually serves as a source of inspiration, participation and education at Mountain Sprouts.

5. We offer summer camps to elementary-aged children! Each year, we host nine or more weeks of fun, educational camps, where kids get to be kids, in the only place to spend summer ... OUTSIDE! We run these camps during weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and offer a new, fun theme each time! Sign up for all nine or just pick which ones you want! Please visit our website to see photos that capture our Summer energy and to get more details about camps. We can ensure fun new experiences and a summer to remember!

How can people help?

We are a small, nonprofit school, so a little bit goes a long way! Luckily, there are many ways to contribute. Please contact info@mtnsprouts.org if you’d like to be involved in any way with our program. We also accept donations at any time on our website at mtnsprouts.org/donate-1/. Follow the fun on Facebook or Instagram @Mountain_Sprouts.

The Community Foundation of North Central Washington and The Wenatchee World are collaborating to spotlight nonprofit groups doing great things. The Foundation is contacting agencies to share their success stories.