Little Explorers is an educational program with a variety of offerings for children ages 2 ½ to 11 years old. We are located in Seattle in the Green Lake neighborhood. Our programs include a Morning Preschool Program, After School Enrichment, and Summer Camps. At Little Explorers we spend our days learning and making discoveries through play, art, music, science, nature and much more. Our ability to engage children using positive reinforcement and encouragement provides the opportunity to learn and make new connections. Little Explorers seeks to honor each child as an individual and celebrate their creative and unique learning styles. It is our mission at Little Explorers to give children the tools to become empowered and caring individuals, while fostering a love of learning.
Jared Vandegrift – Founder & Lead Teacher
Mr. Jared has been teaching, counseling, and mentoring children of all ages for over 15 years. He received his BA in Psychology with an emphasis on Early Childhood Development and Behavior at Seattle University. He has shared his skills and talents at many institutions in Seattle: Sweet Pea Cottage (2004-2010), The Children’s Institute for Learning Differences, Country Village Day School, Bryant Elementary, The Seattle Academy, Youth Theatre Northwest, and The Northwest School. And in Los Angeles: The Center for Early Education, Carpenter, Colfax, and Lanai Elementary. He has also coached many different youth sports leagues in the Queen Anne and Ravenna neighborhoods. Together with his wife Cindy and children Ben & Elyse, Jared created Little Explorers which combines his commitment to early childhood education and enrichment with his talent of engaging and communicating with children.
Miss Nelly – Teacher, Art Director & Preschool Management
Much like Mr. Jared, Ms. Nelly has many years of experience teaching, counseling and mentoring children of all ages. She received her BA in Human Development, and MA in Guidance Counseling for children. She taught for 5 years at Perkins School in Seattle, where her positions included Art Director, Character Education and School Counselor. She has many years experience teaching preschool and also shared her skills with many families as a nanny. Nelly is very committed to our program at Little Explorers and we are very happy to have her on our team.
Miss Katie – Teacher & After School Management
Ms. Katie graduated from University of Missouri, St. Louis, with her B.S.in Elementary Education with special focus in Early Childhood Development. She has taught 5th grade, 1st grade and Kindergarten classes before finding her true love in teaching preschool. Miss Katie teaches pre-writing and Kindergarten readiness as well as Nutrition and Cooking. Katie also has two children Elle (8) and Joe (5) who also enjoy helping Miss Katie taste test her cooking projects before they are deemed ready for the classroom.
Ms. Claire – Teacher
Claire grew up in a small, close knit community that showed love to growing children. In high school she found a passion for working with and teaching children by volunteering at the local children’s recreational program. In college at The Evergreen State College, she took every early childhood educational class, ranging from writing children’s stories and theater to puppet making and dancing. Through college Claire traveled to San Francisco for a work/study at a Waldorf school for three months. After graduating in 2010 from Evergreen with a BA in Liberal Arts with a focus in Early Childhood Education and Agriculture, she got a job teaching at a local preschool. She never stopped learning about different ways to work with kids and took classes on Love and Logic and yoga for kids. Claire is beyond excited to continue to learn and grow with the beautiful little humans at Little Explorers.
Mr Corwin – Teacher
Mr. Corwin has been working with kids since he himself was a kid. He is passionate about drawing, imagination, stories, games, and silly jokes. He received an Associates of Fine Arts from North Seattle college, which (along with the aforementioned passions) makes him particularly qualified to teach drawing. Corwin considers himself lucky to have the opportunity to educate and befriend the children who attend Little Explorers. He is fluent in both English and dog. 🙂
Ms. Deb joins us with many years of experience working with children. With a BA in Psychology and an MA in Counseling, she began her career counseling troubled youth. She later rediscovered her love of acting and theater and returned to school to study. Since then she has been working with children in a variety of ways, including work at various theater companies and embarking on magical adventures at the Moonpaper Tent. Ms. Deb is very excited to be a part of Little Explorers and looks forward to continuing to learn through fun!
Ms. Emmy – Teacher
Miss Emmy comes to us with five years experience working as a nanny for families with young children. She found the courage to follow her true passion, working with children, after spending five years working in human resources at a civil rights law firm. Born on an intentional community devoted to biodynamic agriculture and care for people with developmental disabilities, she attributes her love of nature, her deep appreciation for kindness, and her wish to create functional, meaningful community to this early experience and to her education in Waldorf schools.
Ms. Sara – Teacher
After an AA level of education at The Art Institute of Seattle, Miss Sara spent 6 years as a Nutrition Consultant/Sales Associate at a local independent family-owned and operated health and wellness center. She also worked as a freelance artist involving various mediums and collaborations with other local artists as well as authors. While continuing her freelance work, Miss Sara’s passion for being of service to her community shifted from healthcare into childcare. After 4 fulfilling years as a nanny, her absolute joy of nurturing children became a calling to teach. Since becoming a Little Explorers Preschool Teacher in 2013, Miss Sara has found a perfect symbiosis of her skill set through educating children about the fascinating wonders of health and science through the hands on engaging world of art. She has been our Senior Yearbook Designer for 3 years and has also been an After School Enrichment Teacher for 2 years.