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Woodcliff Community Greenspace



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 launch a tuition-free nature preschool with gardens and community green space that is free and accessible to neighborhood families.

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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-Kindergarten.   

Through Universal PreK, we can offer free high-quality preschool for twenty neighborhood children ages 3 and 4 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? 

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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. (See map for parcels: 1300596000, 1300597000, 1300598000, 1300599000, 1300591000, 1300589000, 1300588000, 1300587000, 1300628000, 1300630000, 1300569000).

Why Support This Project?

Community groups will be welcome to book the “one-room schoolhouse” for meetings or gatherings outside of school hours.

Most of the land will be green space open to the community, with gardens, a pergola, and fruit trees. Community members may request gardening space to grow their own crops.

We are partnering with YouthBuild Boston and will hire a construction supervisor who lives in the neighborhood.

We will remove trash, glass, and invasive species from the hillside. We are committed to keeping the property well-maintained and the gardens beautiful.

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 in the process of connecting with various community groups to ask for their feedback and to explore possibilities for collaboration. 

Check back for updates!

Let's Work Together

Get in touch so we can collaborate.

How can we ensure that this project best meets the needs of the community? What would YOU like to see happen on this property? We are eager to hear from you! Please submit our feedback form, below. You will receive a response within 48 hours. Neighborhood residents are welcome to visit our preschool program at the Arnold Arboretum. Reach out to schedule a tour.

Are you ready to say YES to our proposal? If so, please submit a letter of support. Letters of support from neighbors and community members are an essential next-step to move forward with this proposal.

Thank you for your interest in our proposal!