Tiny Trees Forest School
LifeWays Inspired

School Year Program
Located 3miles east end road

Hanna Young Founder of Tiny Trees Homer’s Forest School

Hanna Young Founder of Tiny Trees Homer’s Forest School

I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska and moved to Homer when I met my husband Brandon Young, a teacher of talented and gifted students for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. Our passion for the outdoors, athletics and education is what we want to share with the children and families of Homer and beyond.

I have had experience in the early childhood field in Homer through being the Executive Director of Kachemak Kids Early Learning Center, Lead Teacher at Homer Head Start and a Developmental Specialist at Sprout. I want to support families where they are and provide them with tools to succeed!

I bring with me in my toolbox a Masters in Early Childhood Special Education with a Teacher’s Certification for k-3 and LifeWays Early Childhood Teacher certification, a Waldorf inspired approach to early childhood development and education. I want to share with families how they can make their life more relaxing, rejuvenating and meaningful with healthy home rhythms.


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Alesha Weiland

Alesha’s earliest memories are of playing in the woods in Southeast Alaska, and enjoying the safety and comfort of the trees and the beauty of the nearby water. After growing up in Anchorage she moved to Fairbanks for her schooling and earned a degree in geography and environmental sciences from UAF. Alesha has a passion for the outdoors and teaching young children. She has spent time working as an environmental educator for Camp Habitat, an interpretative park ranger for Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge, and as a naturalist educator for the Large Animal Research Station. Most recently Alesha has been a lead teacher for Kinderwoods Forest School in Fairbanks. She has spent the last three years fully immersed in the outdoor education movement. Over the winter she volunteered at two Forest Schools in New Zealand, and this past summer she helped run a pilot children’s program for the Georgeson Botanical Garden in Fairbanks. Alesha’s greatest joy has been connecting young children to the natural world and she’s excited to explore with Tiny Trees!

BS Geography & Environmental Science (UAF)

CPR/First Aid Certified


Daily Rhythm

9-9:15 Drop Off outside
Outdoor Exploration
Morning Welcome Circle
Snack Outside
Nature Walk
Special Activity (Painting,Modeling, Baking, Drawing)
Creative Indoor Play
Lunch
Story
Rest/Half Day Pick Up
Wake/Head Outside Pick Up
*our rhythm will naturally adjust to children’s needs and seasonal conditions.

What Does It Mean to be Inspired by LifeWays?

It is a family-style approach and is relationship-based care, we use home as the model and life as the curriculum.

Our childcare home is warm, inviting and intentionally filled with beautiful and natural elements including pieces of wood, seashells, beeswax for modeling and handmade dolls and toys to encourage children to create, imagine and wonder.

Children enrolled at Tiny Trees will experience days rich with crafts, storytelling, song, cooking, practical work and artistic activities. Crafts, handwork, games and regular outdoor play encourage the healthy growth of the child’s body.

LifeWays® programs recognize that human relationship and activity are the essential tools for all foundational skills for life. In infancy and early childhood, daily life experience is the “curriculum” through which your child experiences healthy life rhythms and routines. Beauty, comfort, security, and connection to the living world of nature form the basis for the “Living Arts:”

  • Domestic Arts—Children find joy in the practical and meaningful activities of daily life, laying a foundation for future academic skills, initiative and purpose.

  • Nurturing Arts—Your child will be nourished with natural foods, hair brushing, calming foot baths, daily outdoor time, and rest for full-day children.

  • Social Arts—Mixed-age groupings foster a secure relationship with the primary caregiver over time and provide the opportunity to be both a younger and older “sibling.”

  • Creative Arts—Imaginative play is enriched by story telling, puppet shows, artistic activities, crafts, music and singing.

A variety of experiential and sensorial opportunities are offered through creative play, household tasks, food preparation, nature exploration, water play, stories, puppetry, artistic expression and movement according to age appropriateness.

The movement/play portion of the curriculum is a planned and structured component of the early childhood program.  It emphasizes child-initiated activities that allow and promote healthy musculoskeletal development by providing opportunities for unstructured, spontaneous movement in a protected environment.  Traditional games and finger-plays are also an important part of the movement curriculum as they provide opportunities for the children to imitate healthy movement, develop proprioception and increase both their small and large motor skills.

Expanded outdoor exploration – Children need more than the “playground” experience.  They need “wild places” as so aptly described in the book The Geography of Childhood by Nabhan and Trimble.   Building forts, climbing trees and going on nature walks are valued experiences at LifeWays.  The children go outside in all but the most inclement weather in order to help them become more robust and strengthen their bond with the environment in which they live.  Plants, gardening, and animal life are part of the outdoor experience wherever possible.

LifeWays recognizes childhood as a valid and authentic time unto itself and not just a preparation for schooling. Here are some ways Tiny Trees fosters this time of early childhood.

  • Foundation for lifelong literacy is fostered through storytelling and puppetry, through poetry, verse, and music on a daily basis. Also through the daily interactions of play and movement in a healthy, secure environment.

  • There is a daily and weekly rhythm that provides a familiar environment and support for the children as they move wholeheartedly into play and learning experiences.

  • Sleep environments will be set up so that each child’s sleep space feels cozy and snug. After lunch, clean-up, we have a lavender foot bath and then children will have a quiet story, perhaps a gentle backrub, and a few minutes of quiet singing. As they awaken, the children may play quietly until their friends are awake and ready for snack and going outside.

  • An emphasis on human relationships – “Emotional learning comes first, and it happens through interactions.  Curriculum comes after you have the warm, encouraging relationships.  It’s less effective without them.” – (Dr. T. Berry Brazelton).  Emphasis is on loving human interaction with warm speech, live singing, verses, and stories rather than technology. 

  • Ongoing festivals and celebrations honoring the seasons and traditional festivals of the year and the birthdays of each of the children and caregivers.

  • Pre-School – Activities for the older child are drawn from practical skills, handwork, arts, music, recitation, speech and language development, pre-science and pre-mathematical skills and nature exploration. The richness of this developmentally-appropriate, play-based approach has been demonstrated in Waldorf preschools and kindergartens throughout the world.

“Studies show that four-, five-, and six-year-olds in heavily ‘academic’ classes tend to become less creative and more anxious—without gaining significant advantages over their peers. Youngsters in well-structured ‘play’-oriented schools develop more positive attitudes toward learning along with better ultimate skill development”
— (Jane Healy, Ph.D., Your Child’s Growing Mind).