City to partner with Nature Vision for preschool at Farrel-McWhirter Park

City of Redmond - Courtesy graphic
City of Redmond
— image credit: Courtesy graphic

The City of Redmond Parks and Recreation Department has offered preschool at Farrel-McWhirter Park for more than 20 years and will continue to honor this tradition with its new partner, Nature Vision, for the 2014-15 school year.

Nature Vision will provide comprehensive preschool programs with a focus on preparing children for kindergarten, learning through play and developing social skills at the historic park in a unique farm, nature and forest environment.

"We're thrilled to announce Nature Vision as our partner for the preschool program at Farrel-McWhirter," said Parks and Recreation Department Director Craig Larsen. "The teachers and classes will be ready to start in September. We're pleased that our partnership strategy will continue to serve our current preschool families."

The city decided on the partnership approach after careful evaluation of various options to continue the preschool program, following the announcement of the departures of two key preschool staff in June. A selection panel of city staff and five preschool parents reviewed submitted proposals and conducted interviews of qualified agencies that submitted proposals.

"The Farrel-McWhirter preschool parents were very supportive during the search for a partner organization to operate the preschool," said the city's recreation division manager Mark Hickok. "Their feedback and suggestions helped shape our evaluation criteria which were used to critique the prospective bidders. The perspective the parents on the selection committee brought was invaluable and we appreciated their point of view and support."

Nature Vision will provide management of daily preschool operations, including supervision of the preschool teachers, curriculum development and communicating with parents, with oversight from the city.

"We anticipate this to be a very smooth transition," Larsen said. "We are looking forward to an exciting beginning of a new preschool year at the farm and know this will be a wonderful experience for the children."

Nature Vision preschool Director Shelia Dearden added, "The teachers from Nature Vision are excited and privileged to guide your child through their preschool years in such a wonderful place. We have loads of fun, creativity, learning and discovery planned for your child to join in."

Nature Vision has been providing in-class outdoor learning experiences for young children for more than 12 years. Nature Vision recognizes the high value of the forest and working farm at Farrel-McWhirter Park in providing a unique outdoor learning environment for young children.

This year preschool class activities will include growing a garden, caring for animals, dancing and singing, exploring nature and writing a book, to name just a few. With a few openings still available, parents can sign their children up today by calling the recreation main office at (425) 556-2300.

For more information, contact outdoor program administrator Cindy Johnson at (425) 556-2393 or

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