We’re Shela Sinelien and Sarah Besse, Co-Founders at Boston Outdoor Preschool Network (BOPN). We first met in 2016 while studying early childhood education at Wheelock College. While teaching in public schools, we noticed that our preschool children felt most inspired when playing and learning in nature, and engaging with their community. So we started a nonprofit and opened nature preschools in Roslindale, Wellesley, and Malden.
Our vision is to open a tuition-free nature preschool with gardens and community green space that is accessible to neighborhood families.
Our proposal is to transform vacant lots at the end of Woodcliff Street into a vibrant community space.
(1) All families should have access to free high-quality early education and
(2) time in nature offers many health benefits for children.
Therefore, we propose opening a nature preschool through the City of Boston’s Universal Pre-K. Through UPK we can offer free high-quality preschool for twenty neighborhood children ages 3 - 5 each year.
We propose to transform most of the property into outdoor greenspace with: Vegetable, herb, and pollinator gardens Fruit trees Pathways Community garden plots (as requested by community members) Outdoor classroom & pergola built in collaboration with MassArt Community Build Program What features would you like to see in a community green space?
The lots at the end of Woodcliff Street are owned by the City of Boston and have been vacant since the early 1980s. The city is making these parcels available for community projects and green space. Subscribe here for project updates: https://www.boston.gov/buildinghousing/woodcliff-letterfine-open-space
Why Support This Project?
Supporters & Collaborators
We are excited to collaborate with YouthBuild Boston and MassArt Community Build Program to build an outdoor classroom and pergola in the gardens.
We are also in the process of connecting with various community groups to ask for their feedback and to explore possibilities for collaboration.
Check back for updates!