Becoming a Naturalist Parent


Thanks to a grant from the Providence Children’s Shelter, Mariposa, along with the Roger Williams Park Zoo, created Becoming a Naturalist Parent, a three-part series of workshops and field experiences at the zoo with Chris Hitchener, the Children’s Zoo Program Manager. These workshops guided families through opportunities to foster their child’s development and learning in and with nature. Families participated in seasonal workshops that explored the long-lasting benefits of unstructured natural exploration, provided wildlife searching techniques, and offered tips for accessing local resources.

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Teacher-Child Interaction: Observation Study

In Spring 2014, Mika Zacks—a junior at Brown University majoring in Africana Studies and Education—spent two months visiting the Mariposa Pre-K classroom at the Wanskuck Boys and Girls Club in Providence, conducting field research for a qualitative study on teacher-child interaction in the early childhood classroom. Mika worked previously as a prekindergarten teacher assistant in Israel (her country of origin). Through teacher interviews and classroom observations, some core values and practices which guide teacher-child relationships at Mariposa emerged. Notes on Mika’s observations are included here.

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Mariposa Receives 5-Star Rating!

We are excited to announce that we have received a 5-Star BrightStars rating! BrightStars is Rhode Island’s quality rating and improvement agency that assesses and recognizes the high standards and quality of early childhood care and education programs.

In order to achieve a 5-star rating—the highest ranking a program can be awarded—our program was assessed across many quality standards and criteria. Our rating is evidence that we are a key player in the statewide effort to ensure that children and families have access to superior early childhood programs. BrightStars provides accurate and reliable information on early childcare programs to families and the community. To learn more about our 5-Star rating, visit the BrightStars website.

Winter Greetings!


Class resumed in January, with all the children seemingly an inch or more taller. We jumped right in to stories, drawing, sewing and working with clay in the classroom. If you peeked at us during our outside time you would see us shoveling and sledding, woodworking, following animal tracks and skating on an enormous field of ice in what we refer to as our “meadow.”

Our winter days are a flurry of activities! We invite you to spend time in our classroom and see the amazing things that the children are doing. Last week, we learned about winter birds and animal shelters in the winter. Since there is nothing better than warm food on a cold day, snacks now include hot stone soup, warm bread, sweet porridge and homemade applesauce. Yum!

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Holiday Thanks

Thank you to everyone in the Mariposa community who helped to make the season a little brighter for our children and families! And a special thank you to Michael DeCataldo and all the folks at Sansiveri, Kimball & Co., LLP for your continued and generous donations of holiday gifts for the children and families of Mariposa!

David Sobel visits Mariposa

In October, David Sobel, renowned author, veteran educator and play-based education advocate visited our classroom to learn more about the work that Mariposa is doing with eco-literacy and our nature-based curriculum. He has asked Mariposa to participate in and collaborate on several exciting educational and professional development events in conjunction with Antioch University.

Over the course of the next several years, Mariposa will be a host site for teaching fellows that are participating in a Nature-Based Early Childhood Education Certificate Program at Antioch. We will collaborate and facilitate training for an urban-sited, nature-based curriculum conference, and we will participate in leadership events to shape and design future conferences, trainings and course offerings, and events in Providence, New Haven, and Boston.

We are thrilled to be included in this process with David Sobel and Antioch University and to be sharing the amazing work and research being done each and every day at Mariposa. Thank you for being a part of this adventure as Mariposa spreads its wings to provide quality early childhood education and family services to more children and families in Rhode Island.