We had the good fortune of connecting with Tiffany Arenas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tiffany, what principle do you value most?
One of the most powerful gifts we can give another human being is our presence. I believe this is important when working with children. They know when we are present and they know when we are not. They feel it and it impacts them. What does being present mean to me? It means listening carefully as a child excitedly shares something on their minds. Other times it means being quiet as they let out big emotions. At the end of my days with children, I ask myself, “How was I present today? Were there times when I was not? How can I be more present tomorrow?”
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Play Love Repeat (PLR) is a nature play school and daycare built on emergent play and unconditional love. Here children spend time in nature, play with open-ended materials, and work on process art projects based on their interests and their instinctual needs. This allows them to become playful explorers, creative thinkers, and self-driven learners.
Point of pride
I was unable to find a preschool that closely aligned with the values of unconditional love and play so I created one. I am most proud that I created a space where children are allowed to feel their feelings and play freely.
How did I get here
When my son was born, I longed to stay at home with him. It was the perfect opportunity to transition out of politics and government ask myself what I really wanted to do with my time after 15 years in politics and government. Staying home with my son was most important to me. Those two years with him taught me to play again and inspired me to support children in their play. I began leading outdoor play based classes, earned an early childhood certificate, and envisioned a loving, nature-play preschool. I began creating a physical space for the school in my backyard with the help of my parents and my husband. It’s now a thriving play space.
Play Love Repeat was scheduled to open when COVID hit. I delayed the opening which gave me an opportunity to stay home with my son longer. It also allowed me to teach children all over the world online. In August 2021, I was ready, COVID or not, to open our physical doors.
When I close my eyes and think about my happiest times as a child it was when I explored nature, read, and connected with others. I think if we can look back to our childhoods and bring forward what brought us joy we’d be much happier adults.
Like many others, events in my childhood made me grow up fast and become “a little adult”. I did not spend enough time playing and being a kid. It’s not too late to reclaim play and be a child again.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Phoenix is full of magical nature spaces. My family and I love exploring the frog pond (Barrier Free Nature Trail, the forest area in Granda Park, the Salt River trails in the east valley, and our own backyard. We enjoy sharing these places with our friends, too.
We are a multicultural family and we share our Peruvian side with our friends by cooking them a homemade meal. When we venture out we take them to one of our favorite Peruvian restaurants – El Chullo or Los Andes Peruvian Cuisine. We also love breakfast at the Breakfast Joynt, Perk Eatery, or the Original Breakfast House.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutout goes to my son. He’s inspired me to play again as we’ve hunted for bugs in the yard, created with mud, conducted experiments, and gone on nature adventures together.