Under the Gingko Tree is a nature based program where our curriculum is largely child led and play based. We spend the majority of our days outdoors with our friends, as we learn about nature and treating the earth and people in it kindly and gently. We work on our social and emotional skills while playing, exploring, investigating and sharing with our friends. The academics that we need to take to kindergarten fall into place when they are relevant and our brain development tells us it is time. Learning emerges from planned and spontaneous daily activities. We spend many hours playing, learning and taking risks in an environment that allows us to do so. Under the Gingko Tree offers a tuition based, academic calendar year program, where summer programs are optional and open to siblings and alumni as space allows.
We are located in Rock Island, Illinois near Augustana College. We are currently accepting children between the ages of two and five years of age. We are a screen free environment, where the children have a structured day that is full of opportunities for exploration through play.
I am an early childhood educator with more than thirty years in the field. I opened our family child care home in 1986. I have a bachelors degree from Western Illinois University, and I received my Masters in Education in 2010 from St. Mary of the Woods, with a master thesis on Early Childhood Learning in Outdoor Environments. It was through this research that I discovered the importance of natural materials and loose parts in early childhood settings. I also discovered the Nature Explore Certified Outdoor Classroom program. Nature Explore is a collaborative program of Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation We became one of the first family child care programs in the United States to receive this outdoor classroom certification. Our Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom took what we were already doing and made it more focused and more concrete, and more intentional. I am a firm believer in children spending as much time in nature as they possibly can. This is what we try to do at Under the Gingko Tree.