Are Vegan Preschools on The Rise? Pebble Pond Preschool Joins The Ranks
As all parents know, choosing the right school for your child can be a difficult task, and even more difficult for vegan parents, as there are not a lot of vegan preschools. Not only do we want a place where our children can learn and grow in a safe and caring environment, but we are also looking for plant-based meals without the fear of the center staff not caring about or understating our vegan values.
In 2016, when Nicole and Marc went to look for the perfect place to send their two youngest children for preschool they found it to be a challenge. They wanted to find a place that served vegan meals and snacks and taught their children about healthy eating. Instead, what they found were places that second-guessed their lifestyle and would only be able to serve their children vegetables that were the side dishes of the main meals. They knew they could pack lunches for them, as they have and still do for their oldest 3 children, but they grew tired of that.
They wanted vegan preschools to serve meals that weren’t constantly vegan-questionable, in order to cut back on the one more added task of packing lunches. On top of wanting a place where their children could enjoy school served vegan meals, they wanted a place where they could learn about and connect to nature and not be cooped up inside all day. When they looked at the selection of preschools in the area they noticed that there was a lack of outdoor time being had, with the majority of their day being spent inside.
They also noticed that when the kids are outside, the outdoor spaces were sterile with AstroTurf or rubber flooring, small, and with hardly any contact with natural elements. Having their kids have contact with nature was important to them as they know the importance of nature on one’s health and happiness and that relationships formed with nature early on in life help to create adults that become environmental stewards.
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Vegan Preschools On The Rise
As Nicole already had a background in natural resources as a park ranger, natural scientist, and environmental educator and Marc had experience working in vegan restaurants they decided they would just start it themselves. In addition to being a vegan and nature-based preschool, they decided they wanted to do it in Spanish (Nicole’s second language), as knowing a second language was an important additional skill they wanted their children to have.
After two years of preparation and telling friends and family of their vegan, nature-based, Spanish immersion preschool idea they began to receive a lot of positive feedback and interest and decided to secure a location in the summer of 2018. They hope to open Pebble Pond Preschool In the fall of 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas. They plan on serving vegan meals and snacks daily, having all lessons center around a nature theme, introduce different fruits, vegetables, and herbs to the children weekly, teach in Spanish, and spend around 50% of their time in their outdoor classroom.
They hope the children will walk away with a connection and knowledge of the natural world, diverse cultures, and acquire a palate and desire to eat plant-based meals. The name of the school was inspired by this quote: Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects. – Dalai Lama. Their mission is to connect children to their health, the natural environment, and to each other in order to build small positive habits that have a greater impact on the community and the world.
As of now Marc and Nicole have secured a location and are in the licensing and preparation of the school stage. They have funded a lot from their own pockets and are currently running a fundraiser to help with some remaining costs. They are reaching out to friends, family, community, and fellow vegans to help them start this much needed and desired preschool in North Texas.
If you are interested in supporting the development of a new vegan preschool, you can give a small donation at www.gofundme.com/manage/nature-and-plant-based-preschool. You can also visit their website at www.pebblepondpreschool.com for more information on their program. As of now, there are a handful of vegan daycares and schools in the US and they hope to help serve their local vegan community and be a resource and inspiration for others out there who want to start a vegan program of their own.
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Know vegan preschools in your area? Let us know in the comments.
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