Sparrows and Sprouts

Sparrows and Sprouts Sparrows and Sprouts
Growing Curious Minds in the City He could identify more birds at 2 than I could at 30!

I hold an MA in Museum Education and have taught in a variety of settings, including both traditional classrooms and informal environments such as museums, theaters, play spaces, and nature centers. I am a mom to a 5-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son, and a co-founder of the South Philly Cooperative Playschool (my third baby). I started attending nature classes at Tyler Arboretum with my so

n when he was 18 months old and was astounded by how much he learned. When his phenomenal teacher left Tyler, I was offered the opportunity to take her place. In the 9 years since, I have developed my own style of teaching that is respectful of children, meets them where they are, and follows their curiosity. I recently completed training to teach the MindUp program, based in neuroscience, social-emotional learning, positive psychology, and mindfulness, that blends perfectly with my approach to cultivating children’s love of nature and themselves as a part of it. It’s important to me that Philadelphia families can find joy in urban nature without spending 45 minutes in the car first to “get there.” We can be mindful and appreciate the beauty and wonder of the outdoors right here in our own city parks.

thedandelionproject.us is doing a fundraiser with some very cool new Tees.  Proceeds benefit their awesome unschooling p...
10/01/2023

thedandelionproject.us is doing a fundraiser with some very cool new Tees. Proceeds benefit their awesome unschooling program Wild Seeds.

If you just can't get enough fungus after our mushroom class, you could check out this walk.
10/01/2023

If you just can't get enough fungus after our mushroom class, you could check out this walk.

I'm so excited to introduce a new family class starting at Beehive At Bok in October.  It's going to be all about mindfu...
09/15/2023

I'm so excited to introduce a new family class starting at Beehive At Bok in October. It's going to be all about mindfulness, kindness, and really being present with each other. (Don't worry, we don't expect your littles to meditate for an hour - we'll be gradually working up to 3 minutes.) Join us for a fall season full of connection.

Little Sprouts fall nature classes are starting now!  It's not too late to register your 2-5 year old child for a whole ...
09/14/2023

Little Sprouts fall nature classes are starting now! It's not too late to register your 2-5 year old child for a whole season of fun and exploration at FDR Park. Learn more and sign up at SparrowsAndSprouts.com

I'm teaching a new class at FDR Park beginning this Thursday! Sign up through the link below!
10/11/2021

I'm teaching a new class at FDR Park beginning this Thursday! Sign up through the link below!

We've added a second Dandelion Sprouts Fall Exploration class on Thursdays at 11:15am starting this week on 10/14!⁠

Class 1: Thursdays at 10am (1 spot left!)⁠
Class 2: Thursdays at 11:15am (need at least 5 to run!)⁠

♥️NEW 6-WEEK CLASS SERIES♥️⁠
Dandelion Sprouts: Fall Exploration⁠
for kids ages 2-4 and their caregivers⁠

Come discover the natural wonders of FALL in FDR Park. Enjoy stories, songs, games, and plenty of outdoor play + exploration!⁠

Each week will explore a different fall theme:⁠
Week 1 (Thurs. 10/14): Squirrels⁠
Week 2 (Thurs. 10/21): Autumn leaves⁠
Week 3 (Thurs. 10/28): Spiders⁠
Week 4 (Thurs. 11/4): Bats⁠
Week 5 (Thurs. 11/11): Crows⁠
Week 6 (Thurs. 11/18): Turkeys⁠

Register for the 10am class:⁠
https://www.thedandelionproject.us/service-page/dandelion-sprouts-fall-exploration?referral=service_list_widget⁠

Register for the 11:15am class: ⁠
https://www.thedandelionproject.us/service-page/dandelion-sprouts-fall-exploration-1?referral=service_list_widget⁠

🌼🌼🌼🌼🌼🌼⁠

Let's make some rainbows!  Take some CDs outside and pass them out to your kids (mirrors also work).  Show them how to s...
03/18/2020

Let's make some rainbows! Take some CDs outside and pass them out to your kids (mirrors also work). Show them how to stand with the sunlight behind them and tilt the CD until a rainbow forms. The littles will be delighted to make their own rainbows and reflect them on to various surfaces. Blow bubbles and see if they can spot more rainbows. Bring out sidewalk chalk and draw rainbows. Can they name the different colors? See what other ideas rainbows inspire in your kids. Have fun playing outside today!

03/17/2020

Hello all! I took a long hiatus from teaching classes when I had my second child, but she is old enough now to attend classes with me, so once our world is back to normal, I hope to bring classes back just in time for warmer weather.

In the meantime, I'd like to share some resources for getting outdoors with your little ones, since that is a 100% safe and healthy thing to do during the quarantine (as long as you keep at least 6 feet away from others!). I'll be posting ideas here starting tomorrow. Stay safe everyone!

Come out to support FDR Park!
05/23/2017

Come out to support FDR Park!

Don't forget to join us for happy hour @ FDR park with Parks on Tap.

Look who swam up to class for a visit this morning.
05/18/2017

Look who swam up to class for a visit this morning.

I'll be teaching a 4-week session of Playschool 1 for 2- and 3-year olds at PlayArts in Fishtown beginning this Friday. ...
05/07/2017

I'll be teaching a 4-week session of Playschool 1 for 2- and 3-year olds at PlayArts in Fishtown beginning this Friday. These aren't my usual outdoor nature classes, but this session is going to be nature-themed. We'll be learning about the earth, land, sea, and sky and it's going to be lots of fun. There is still room in the classes. Feel free to message me with questions.

Beautiful, mid-century inspired indoor play space for kids, with good music and locally roasted coffee for parents. Free wifi, baby, toddler and kids classes, parent workshops and birthday party & event rental.

We had so many real nests to look at today I completely forgot about our craft.  If you'd like to do it at home, all you...
05/04/2017

We had so many real nests to look at today I completely forgot about our craft. If you'd like to do it at home, all you need is a brown paper lunch bag. Give it to your child and go for a walk to collect any materials they think would be good for a nest (grass, leaves, sticks, shed pet hair, etc). Bring it home, empty the contents, and roll the top of the bag down to make a bowl, Add a bit of glue to hold the nest materials in, and finish by adding eggs or a plush bird.

We spotted several nests around the park this morning, and even saw a pair of orioles gathering nest materials.
05/04/2017

We spotted several nests around the park this morning, and even saw a pair of orioles gathering nest materials.

Lots of ways to get outside and celebrate Earth Day tomorrow.  My son has requested that we start the day with Earth pan...
04/21/2017

Lots of ways to get outside and celebrate Earth Day tomorrow. My son has requested that we start the day with Earth pancakes. Are you planning anything fun?

Help your kids understand Earth Day by taking them to one of these fun events.

There are tons of Earth Day events happening around Philly this weekend.  Here are some activities you can do with your ...
04/21/2017

There are tons of Earth Day events happening around Philly this weekend. Here are some activities you can do with your kids on your own.

Waiting for class to begin and noticed these in a nearby cherry tree.  They are the nests of tent caterpillars.
04/20/2017

Waiting for class to begin and noticed these in a nearby cherry tree. They are the nests of tent caterpillars.

03/30/2017

If you're heading over to FDR Park for class, we'll meet at the Olmsted Overlook on the water.

This is a great new offering from the Free Library!
03/28/2017

This is a great new offering from the Free Library!

The backpacks will soon be available at the Andorra, Cecil B. Moore, and Widener Library branches.

Just saw my first live opossum.  And I'm still in the city!
03/25/2017

Just saw my first live opossum. And I'm still in the city!

I wish FDR Park had a sign like this.  Stick with giving the ducks and geese lettuce and other greens.  You can use it a...
03/23/2017

I wish FDR Park had a sign like this. Stick with giving the ducks and geese lettuce and other greens. You can use it as another way to get your littles to try them, "See how much the ducks like it!"

"I'VE BEEN FEEDING DUCKS BREAD THIS WHOLE TIME I'M SO ASHAMED I'M SUCH A MONSTER."

03/16/2017
Spring Nature in the Neighborhood classes will begin Thursday, 3/30 at FDR Park.  Hope to see you there!
03/15/2017

Spring Nature in the Neighborhood classes will begin Thursday, 3/30 at FDR Park. Hope to see you there!

02/16/2017

I'm so sorry to have to cancel class again this week. I have a nasty cold that I would rather not share with your little ones. We will have class next week!

Next weekend, head outside somewhere and join the count!
02/12/2017

Next weekend, head outside somewhere and join the count!

This male Northern Cardinal and House Finch looked as if they were having a conversation as they perched on a branch of our cherry tree on a bitter cold morning.

02/09/2017

Class for tomorrow, February 9, is canceled. Take your kids out sledding instead!

01/26/2017

Can you help me get to 100 likes? Please share my page and if you've enjoyed the class, please consider writing a quick review on my page. Thank you! :)

01/25/2017
Great free kindle book available from Amazon today!
01/15/2017

Great free kindle book available from Amazon today!

Sharing Nature with Children, selling more than half a million copies, sparked a worldwide revolution in nature education. Now that classic has been rewritten, with newly added activities and games—and combined with Sharing Nature with Children II in one complete volume. Fans of the origin...

01/13/2017

Some of you have asked about my son's Co-op Playschool. We now have a public page where you can get more info.

The South Philly Co-op Playschool is a cooperatively run Tot Rec program of the East Passyunk Community Recreation Center, serving children ages 3-5.

Winter classes will meet at East Passyunk Community Recreation Center beginning Thursday, January 19.  Check out the new...
12/27/2016

Winter classes will meet at East Passyunk Community Recreation Center beginning Thursday, January 19. Check out the new, lower class fees!

For those of you considering preschool options.
12/14/2016

For those of you considering preschool options.

You will meet the teachers, tour the classrooms, and engage in conversations to envision a day at Nature Preschool, including details on our all-new nature-immersion classroom where children spend their entire session out of doors.

12/10/2016

Thanks to everyone who completed the survey! The winner of the book It's a Jungle Out There! 52 Nature Adventures for City Kids is Chris Downs! Keep an eye out for info about upcoming classes based on your feedback!

LAST CHANCE!  Please take 5 minutes to answer a survey about your preferences for future Nature in the Neighborhood clas...
12/06/2016

LAST CHANCE! Please take 5 minutes to answer a survey about your preferences for future Nature in the Neighborhood classes for a chance to win this great book! Deadline: Thursday, December 8. Winner will be announced Friday! Feel free to share with other nature-loving parents!

Please take the survey titled "Nature in the Neighborhood Winter Classes". Your feedback is important!

I made these with my son when he was two.  He loved adding the pine needles and gold glitter.  I hot-glued the lid on an...
11/30/2016

I made these with my son when he was two. He loved adding the pine needles and gold glitter. I hot-glued the lid on and tied a bow around it and he was thrilled to offer them as gifts to our family members on Christmas morning.

Making and exploring pine needle discovery bottles in the preschool classroom.

Please take a moment to let me know what you'd like to see in classes this winter by answering this survey.  Anybody int...
11/23/2016

Please take a moment to let me know what you'd like to see in classes this winter by answering this survey. Anybody interested in a Winter Solstice party?

Please take the survey titled "Nature in the Neighborhood Winter Classes". Your feedback is important!

No class this week, but you can still get a dose of nature by having your little help decorate for Thanksgiving.  Try ga...
11/23/2016

No class this week, but you can still get a dose of nature by having your little help decorate for Thanksgiving. Try gathering leaves and making a collage on contact paper for some easy DIY place mats. Or get some inspiration on this blog.

16 beautiful fall nature crafts you can create with your preschooler.

We're up to 82 page likes, but I've only seen about 10 of you in class so far!  Please take 5 minutes to let me know whe...
11/18/2016

We're up to 82 page likes, but I've only seen about 10 of you in class so far! Please take 5 minutes to let me know when/where/what kind of nature classes you'd like to see this winter. It's really quick and you'll be entered to win this fun book! Please share with anyone who might be interested in checking out nature classes with their kids too. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KT2TM52

Folks who came to class today - here's some more info about the woodpeckers we saw!
11/18/2016

Folks who came to class today - here's some more info about the woodpeckers we saw!

Learn how to identify Northern Flicker, its life history, cool facts, sounds and calls, and watch videos. Northern Flickers are large, brown woodpeckers with a gentle expression and handsome black-scalloped plumage. On walks, don’t be surprised if you scare one up from the ground. It’s not where you...

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