What children learn when they play…

People ask me, “What are the children learning? They are just playing….”

Play is a child’s work. To create an open ended environment, where children feel they can choose without limitations, takes an eye for knowing what children are interested in and allowing them to explore. Here are a few examples of what are children are learning:

When we easel paint we learn to develop eye hand coordination, imagination, relationships to size and space, symmetry, and that my ideas have value.

When I play dress up I learn to be flexible in my thinking, to express myself with words, to try on different adult roles, to sort and organize, and to improvise in a symbolic way to represent abstract thinking.

When I play in the sand I learn the concepts of color, size, volume and shape, I learn to solve problems, how to negotiate with others, and to observe changes in matter.

When I draw and scribble I learn to hold a pencil, hand eye coordination, concepts of color, shape, and to express myself with words when describing what I have drawn.

These activities go on and on, and with each one there is a skill set being acquired through play.

I have been defending play for 30 years and will continue to do so everyday at La Canada Preschool…please consider coming to play with us.

Creating a school family

One of the most important things we do here at La Canada Preschool is create a school family. When your child comes to preschool they enter the big world for the first time away from home. Here they will look to form a secure attachment with others. When you come to visit us you will notice how connected the teachers are to the children. Parents have told me that what makes our school stand out are the close connections they see between each teacher and all the children.

Our school family concept is promoted through an ongoing discussion we have with the children about being mindful with each other just like we are with our family at home. In the school family framework we teach children how to resolve conflict through respectful communication skills. We discuss how we take care of each other and work through our differences.

While there are many good preschools there are few environments where it feels like family. Consider coming to see our school family for a visit.

Are you happy at your current preschool?

Are you happy at your current preschool?

Are you happy at your current preschool? It can be a feeling you get when your child comes home and just doesn’t seem to like school, or maybe you feel that the school is just not a right fit. Here are some signs to look for:

Your child complains about going to school

You feel uneasy about the school when you drop in unexpectedly

There seems to be a lack of communication from the director

There is not a lot of art work coming home

You aren’t hearing your child singing songs they learned in school

There are not any social connections being made by you or your child

At La Canada Preschool we are sensitive to your family and believe we can help make a transition to a new school a smooth one. It takes patience and understanding to integrate your child into a new school. What is required is an understanding of the fact that not only is this a big process for your child but for you as well. Sometimes even more so for you the parent. I have been on both ends of this, as a parent myself and an educator. What is essential is to slowly bond with a child who has moved schools, as well as acknowledge the change. We often write letters with the new children, where they talk about their feelings of being at a new school. There is also a friends book we send home, where there are pictures of all the children with a biography, providing a great visual for you to share with your child.

While it can seem hard to make a mid year change is schools, I think we must always do what is best for your child. It is too important of a time in your child’s development to not find the best fit. Change is good when it is handled correctly, and we can do that for you here at LCP:)

10 Reasons why Art is important for Children

10 Reasons why Art is important for Children

When you visit a preschool it is essential to ask how much art the children are creating each day. At the core of learning is the desire to be creative, and children know the difference between true art and art that is directed by adult expectations. A good preschool needs to provide art through out the day, not just on certain occasions.

The best art is process art, where children are allowed to create their own vision, with the only result is that they like what they have created.

Why is art important? Here are ten reasons:

1. Art nourishes a child’s soul and true creative spirit.

2. Creating art promotes self esteem.

3. Art encourages children to give attention to the physical space that surrounds them.

4. When creating art children learn to solve problems and think for themselves, known as critical thinking.

5. Art teaches children to use their senses.

6. Children can share and reflect on their art work to help them makes sense of the world they live in.

7. When art is integrated with other curriculum, children commit to the learning process.

8. Art stimulates the right and left side of the brain.

9. Art teaches there is more than one way to solve a problem.

10. If a child learns to love art, this will stay with them forever.

If we want children to love art, it needs to be a part of their daily preschool life. This will far outlast knowing their ABC”S or how to write the alphabet.

First Day of School and Separation 5 Tips

First Day of School and Separation 5 Tips

The first day of school is upon is and with this comes a time of separation for children and parents. Here are some tips for handling this time:

  1. Visit the preschool ahead of time. We have an open yard at LCP, where you can come by one the weekends as a family and have a visit.
  2. Talk about how you will be back soon. We sing a song, Mommy comes back, Daddy comes back, your nanny comes back and we all come back.
  3. Keep the drop off routine consistent: No Changes: Children need routine and for transitions to be handled in the same way: this builds trust and security
  4. Check out your own emotions. Children will look to you as their emotional barometer. If you can be strong, they can be strong.  Be sad away from their view, as it is confusing when you ask them to be happy about preschool and you appear sad.
  5. Be sure to communicate your concerns with the preschool director. Find out how they handle separation, how are the children comforted, and ask for feedback as to how your child doing each day at preschool.

Separation Sadness is normal, healthy and in no way an indicator of future success. Be compassionate to yourself if you are sad, and know that this is just another piece of the parenting  journey.

Five Things to Do with your Preschooler during Spring Break

Five Things to Do with your Preschooler during Spring Break

Spring Break is upon us, and I can hear parents in the preschool talking about what are we going to do with our children for a week. It seems our children are happy when we plan activities that are engaging and fun. Here are my recommendations for  enjoyable Spring Break:

1. Organize a park day. Get out the preschool roster and ask your child who they would like to have come to the park. Invite away. Pack a lunch, bring a chair, and be prepared to watch your child run around, have fun, and it’s free!

2. Create Art. This can seem like a lot of work, so I will give you some options> You can go to my favorite school supply store in Pasadena, Angels School Supplies on Colorado Blvd. Have a budget in mind, and let your child pick out the supplies. This can give a child empowerment, spark creativity, and keep them busy at home. If you want to attend an art class, I recommend PaintBox Kids in Pasadena. They have many options for classes where your child can be an artist for the day.

3. Take a hike: within our beautiful foothill community there are many options to be in nature with your child through hiking. I love Eaton Canyon as well, as the Lower Arroyo in Pasadena. Keep it simple, and you may set the tone for a live long love of hiking.

4. Bob Baker Marionette Theater in Echo Park is a local landmark and treasure, where for $15.00 you can take your child to see a live puppet show. Please make reservations and support this special place.

5. Make a Fort. If you do not have outside room, put a sheet over the dining room table. Create it with whatever you have, and let your child have a special place to hide, think and be.

Our children a with us for such a short time. Embrace Spring Break as a time to enjoy and bond with your children.

Kindergarten Entrance Date : A new law that makes sense

Kindergarten Entrance Date : A new law that makes sense

It has been confusing when parent’s ask me, “What is the date of entrance for kindergarten?”.

 There is a new law in the state of California that takes effect in 2012. The law states that children need to be 5 years old by November 2, 2012; then by October 2 in 2013 and finally 5 years old by September 2, 2014.

While this seems like a long time off, it has the potential to confuse parents who have not heard of this change, as well as prolong the time your child you be attending preschool.

Think about it this way, with the riogorous schedule of kindergarten, where we want children to be able to conform at a certain level, it can only help for your child to be older. Plus we are giving them another year of preschool, where they can grow, develop, and learn through play.

In Europe children are taught to read when they are seven, and they learn in two months. Here we teach children to read at five and many struggle for two years, until at seven, when their brains become developmentally ready to read and comprehend.

Let’s celebrate this new law in that makes sense. Finally instead of thinking about the tax dollars that will be lost, because that is one of the outcomes of this law, we are thinking about giving children more time to grow. Another year to be a princess or a pirate, to paint with your hands and experience in the magic of make believe. Thank you State of California.

Preschool Registration: What have we created?

It is that time of year when we begin the registration process at LCP. We work at keeping it simple. Right now all our current families are turning in their forms. Then in January we will be accepting registration from new families. It is first come, first serve. No waiting list, no interview, no stress. How can this be I am asked? Every other school in Los Angeles has a list you need to be on when you child is three weeks old in order to get in. Or we have the lottery system, where you put your name on list, and hope you are hand picked in a lottery for a placement.
It seems we have created a culture of fear when it comes to getting your child into preschool. Here at La Canada Preschool we are refusing to be part of this trend. When you contact our school, you can be emailed information, come in for a tour, and be guaranteed a place by turning in a form on time.

So what have we created by making parents feel they have to fight for a placement in a preschool? My thoughts are fear; fear that if you are not on top of it you child will fall behind. fear that it is hard to get into the best schools, and fear that you may be not doing your job if you are not aware of these facts. What happened to supporting families, giving them a simple process that is sensible and secure. Why is it a competition to get your child into a preschool?

At La Canada Preschool I believe it setting the tone that we are here to support your family, beginning with a registration process that is respectful, simple and secure. With the world we live in families need to feel that a school wants them, as opposed to the feeling that they are lucky to be chosen to be in a school. Come on by La Canada Preschool: we’ll be waiting for you.

Candy Fairy Theory

Children have been coming to preschool this week telling me about the Candy Fairy. This is someone who they give all their Halloween Candy to, and in return they receive a toy for their donation. It struck me as this new trend is on the scene, what are we teaching ? Is it a good alternative, or are we not giving children to chance to be immersed in their obsession for candy?

To me the goal of control is self control, which I know it not an easy behavior to learn. Children need small lessons in learning how to master the desires we all have for pleasure in life. As a child to be able to go to someones house, say a few words while dressed up in a costume, and recieve free candy is like a dream come true. With  a bucket full of sugar you are given the chance as a parent to teach how to have the candy and moderate the amount that is eaten. If a gift is given to deter us from all of our obsessions does that negate to lesson of self control, taking away the chance for a learning experience? Or are we just all to fearful of what will happen if children eat too much candy.

My concern is that we are taking away from the children the opportunity not only to indulge but to regulate. Life is about continual regulation. Don’t eat too much, don’t watch too much, don’t do anything too much. So how do we teach this for the moments when we are not there to be the Candy Fairy?

Pre School Starts Tuesday September 7

Pre School Starts Tuesday September 7

Pre School starts at La Canada Preschool on Tuesday September 7 at 9:00 a.m. for the morning students and 12:30 p.m. for the Pre-K class. Please drop your child off in front of the school where we will greet them and help them settle, then park and come to the front lawn of the preschool for our Orientation Meeting. Here you will get to meet the other parents and get any questions answered you might have.

 If you child attends MWF morning they will begin Wednesday September 8. Please come in for your orientation on thier first day. The orientation lasts about forty five minutes, after which we ask you to return at 12:00 noon for pick up in the morning and 3:30 p.m. for the Pre-K.

We will have lunch bunch for the morning available the first day of school. Lunch Bunch for the morning children is from 12:00 p..m. until 2:00 p.m. and we charge $10.00 an hour. Pre-K Lunch Bunch is from 12:00 noon till 12:30 p.m. and we charge $5.00.

The staff and I are looking forward to seeing your children soon:)