Home / Columns / Off the Cuff / The Menomonee Valley Welcomes Eco-friendly Childcare Center
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Menomonee Valley Welcomes Eco-friendly Childcare Center

Off the Cuff with Tiny Green Trees

offcuff
Google+ Pinterest Print
When you walk into Tiny Green Trees (717 S. 37th St.), you feel at home. The cozy nook welcomes you with soothing earth-toned décor accentuated by natural light pouring in through the center’s large bay windows. Opened last December by Kelly and Jeremy Belot, this environmentally responsible childcare center offers families nurturing, relationship-based care for young children focused on healthy, sustainable living practices. Kelly spoke with Off the Cuff to share all that Tiny Green Trees brings to the community.

 

What inspired you to create an environmentally friendly childcare center?

When we started searching for childcare options, we discovered very few centers were aligned with our values. Jeremy has experience in redeveloping older buildings and noted an old mixed-use tavern in our neighborhood. We saw great value in its location near the new Menomonee Valley Urban Ecology Center. I had studied developmentally appropriate teaching philosophies and felt that a childcare center that could highlight these aspects would be in demand. We decided to take a leap of faith and create a childcare center that helps teach practical life skills, encourages healthy eating habits and develops an appreciation for the earth and a sustainable lifestyle.

 

Can you give me an overview of Tiny Green Trees’ philosophy?

We value a developmental approach that respects children and honors the rapid growth process they are in from birth through age 6. We seek to actively and lovingly support their day-to-day developmental milestones, such as rolling over, walking, speaking, washing their own dishes and growing, harvesting and preparing their own food. We put our focus on children gaining the ability to do for themselves as the foundation for self-sufficiency.

 

What does it mean to be Green Certified? Why is “being green” important to you?

It means that Tiny Green Trees is a toxin-free center that practices waste reduction, promotes environmental conservation and has good indoor air quality.

We care about our children and we want our children to care for themselves and their environment. We want to provide a setting with as few harmful substances as possible. By guiding children in learning the life lessons of using less energy, reducing waste, planting gardens, eating healthy and reducing their exposure to toxins, we are assuring that they will be better prepared to live a happier and healthier future with life-long conservation values.

 

Could you describe your daycare options?

We offer full- and half-day care for children 6 weeks through 6 years old. We group our children into mixed-age, family-style groups. This is called relationship-based care because it allows the child and caregiver to stay in relationship over time. Also, mixed-age groups allow the young ones to learn from the older ones and the older ones to be helpers and gain confidence.

 

Do you have any upcoming events or programs that you’d like to mention?

On Saturday, April 5, we will be hosting an Open House in conjunction with the Party on Pierce Street organized by Escuela Verde, Urban Ecology Center and others.

We are in partnership with the Urban Ecology Center and we will be bringing children there for formal programming twice a month. They will go on nature walks on the Hank Aaron State Trail along the Menomonee River and into Three Bridges Park.

Additionally, we are going to be offering a Nature Kindergarten program for children ages 3-6, Monday and Wednesday mornings. This will also be open to children who are not enrolled in the center whose families would like them to participate as an enrichment opportunity.

Adult education opportunities are available as well to support our families and others who seek to live a sustainable lifestyle.

 

For more information about Tiny Green Trees, visit tinygreentrees.com or contact Director Lori Barian at 414-645-9929 (center) or 414-698-6694 (mobile).