sprouts art and nature school


Sprouts is Caity & Ellen. There is no other place like it.

Teachers Playhouse

With occasional substitute help from their mother, Claire (“Grammy”), sisters Caity & Ellen perform each and every  job involved in running a small childcare business – from designing curriculum to teaching it, from ordering groceries & supplies to making lunches and cleaning up, from texting and emailing with families to making this website.

Sisters Caity & Ellen both grew up in central Champaign, attending Unit 4 schools followed by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where they each earned Early Childhood teaching degrees and licenses.

Ellen Saathoff

Head Teacher & Art Enrichment Specialist
50% Owner 
Ellen lives with her husband and two sons in central Champaign. She loves her family, organizing, plants, and many forms of making art.
“Ellen is the zest of Sprouts; her energy, creativity, and enthusiasm create a space for imagination to flourish. Her arts and environmental passions are the backbone of our curriculum, and her kindness and joy are the backbone of our program.”    -Caity
Favorite Art Project at Sprouts:
“I won’t lie, this is such a hard question!”

Caity Peterson

Head Teacher & Nature Enrichment Specialist
50% Owner 

Caity lives with her husband, three children, and too many pets in central Champaign. In addition to her family, she loves crafts, Lake Michigan, and reading.

“As the Sprouts mastermind, Caity’s passion for learning makes her the knower of all possibilities and solutions.  With patience and warmth, she creates a safe, loving environment where she encourages wonder and engages hearts and minds in every moment.” -Ellen

Favorite Nature Project at Sprouts:

“The spontaneous ones! Within our curriculum we plan a ton of nature projects, but the ones that the kids engineer themselves are the really memorable ones.”

In their occasional free time, Caity & Ellen write children’s nature books, blog about teaching preschool, and, more rarely, make videos.  Here’s a recent one.