What is it you are looking for in a preschool? Is love on the list….

When you are looking for a preschool, what is it that is on the list of qualities you are looking for?

Here is a sample of what parents have shared with me:

1. A loving enviroment

2. Low teacher/student ratios

3. A place where their child is accepted for who they are

4. A place where their child will be prepared for the next level of their education

5. Open and constant communication

Here at La Canada Preschool one quality parents say they feel is present is the love we show the children. In the fearful world we live in many schools are afraid to hug, hold or show loving gestures towards a child. I believe this is a disservice, and needs to be reinstated as part of the daily curriculum. Without a hug, a hand to hold or a shoulder to cry on where do children feel that loving connection with a teacher? I have been told that we need to let parents know here at La Canada Preschool the love for the children is on the forefront of our interactions. The kindness and acceptance for each child is seen in a teacher holding a child, giving hugs daily and always making time for loving interactions through out the day.

When you child grows up they may not remember when they learned their ABC’s, but their soul will remember that they felt a love for school that will stay with them forever.

What are you looking for in a preschool? Is love on your list?

What to look for in a preschool ?

Parents in California now have many options when looking for a preschool. Transitionary Pre-Kindergartens are being offered across the state, with little to no research behind them, and many families choosing them because they are low-cost and guaranteeing to “prepare” your child for Kindergarten. While these are important considerations for a family, it is also important that families consider their child’s future based on the parent’s goals for the child and the child’s future in an public or private education.


La Canada Preschool is set in a warm part of Los Angeles, right under the mountains in a close-knit community. The Preschool, which began in 1949 offers a home atmosphere that is warm and inviting, supportive and flexible. Children enter school through a gate and are offered more than the just the same old curriculum that meets standards and state requirements. Music is played daily and private teachers come in to play live instruments with the children. Art is offered every day, one-on-one and sand and water are always available for children’s play.


While the morning program and afternoon program are separated by age groups (younger children can attend the morning while only pre-kindergarten aged children attend the afternoon) children are mixed in culture, language, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Owner and Director, Debbie Bacino, offers a flexible plan for children and parents. Teachers meet with parents to discuss children’s development and discuss goals children are working on mastering. All the teachers are versed in early childhood education literature and have knowledge regarding children’s development.


What may be lacking in the Pre-Kindergarten Transitionary Kindergartens is the understanding that children’s goals are not necessarily things they cannot do, but rather skills they are mastering. Since children are being pressure to read and write at an earlier age, the majority of social and emotional understandings are overlooked and eliminated from a teacher who is supervising 24 children at one time.


A family that is looking for the right preschool program needs to consider the school’s goals for the child and see if they match the parents. It may be difficult for some schools to match individual goals of each child when they are pressured to provide certain curriculum. Einstein was known for encouraging children’s imagination and in the age of technology and standardized education children and teachers may be forgetting this aspect of the mind and its purity before the box is setup and they are told what to learn.


A sociocultural perspective is definitely a theoretical foundation at La Canada Preschool. Teachers learn from children and then decide what to provide and how to teach. Each child is incredibly different, shaping the curriculum as the year unfolds. If parents are looking for individual care and supportive relationships then La Canada Preschool will surely fit their needs.


LCPS, March, 2013


But my child reads at a second grade level: what are you teaching at preschool?

When people come to tour my preschool I am frequently told by parents that their child is reading at a second grade level; then asked what are you teaching the children? Upon entering a yard under the shade of a Chinese elm tree you can see the children coming in, finding an activity such as digging a river in the sand or creating art with a marble, a box, paper and paint. There is play dough made fresh everyday.

A friend is being made while other children are thinking about making a friend.

Developmentally when we study children’s play we are looking for how best to teach each child individually, with objectives that are appropriate for their stage of development. While parents, and my apology in advance yet it is usually fathers, seem to want their children to learn academic principles, feeling that play is something children can do at home.

While that is true, as I raised four children and they all played at home, children need to learn to be capable and cope able away from their home environment, as someday they will need to be independent of their parents. This is a huge task when you think about it. At the same time if a child can be given the time to develop at home as well as in a school environment from a preschool age with an emphasis on social emotional development, studies show children being more secure in the world, with healthier social relationships, and even a higher income. All this through exploring the world in a school where children are playing, even while they can read at a second grade level.

Teaching Methods in Preschool: Find what fits your family

Teaching Methods in Preschool: Find what fits your family

There are many approaches educationally when it comes to preschool. Here is a way to know what’s out there for your family to choose from:

Developmental: Here we see the theories of Jean Piaget, who believed that children as well as adults pass through stages of development that are defined by developmental norms of behavior. The developmental preschool allows for children to be seen individually in a setting that allows for their development to progress through play based learning.

Progressive: This encompasses many of the traits of a developmental school, yet there is an emphasis on community and being a part of the world outside of a school setting. This means there are field trips, where children children study the community. The educator John Dewey held the belief that the educational process begins with the interest of the child, and that the child’s natural curiosity is at the for front of there curriculum.

Montessori: There are four principles of this philosophy: learning should occur in a multi age classroom, the teacher is the guide for the child as opposed to having all the answers, children work at their own pace, and a classroom is set up according to subject areas.

Cooperative: This is a school where the children work in the classroom as teachers assistants, as opposed to having paid personnel. There is a teacher who directs the parents in working with the children, and there is usually a traditional approach such as developmental. The tuition is usually low at these schools, making preschool more affordable.

Waldorf: Here to sense of unity is of importance, focusing on the mind, body and spirit as a whole. Here any learning of abc’s is not part of the curriculum, as the emphasis of of play, music and art as well as the relationship between the teacher and child is what is valued.

Reggio: In these schools the environment is called the third teacher, with the belief that environment dictates behavior. The classroom is set up to look like a home, with couches to create a non-institutionalized atmosphere. Parent involvement is expected on everything from school policy to child development concerns. Parents, children and teachers are seen as equal partners.

Here at La Canada Preschool we embrace many aspects of each of these teaching methods. We are a developmental school since we need to fit in somewhere. At the same time we have couches in our classroom, we believe the teacher/child relationship needs to be valued, we have multi age play time, and have classrooms set up according to areas of interest.

Lots of choices: Best of luck.



Come Register in January in LCP: We are waiting for you

Come Register in January in LCP: We are waiting for you

Here at La Canada Preschool we believe in doing the reverse of a waiting list. We have created a school where you can come in, take a tour at your convenience, and join us for preschool by registering in January for the following school year. No waiting list, no lottery, no wondering if your child will get in. Send us an email to lacanadapreschool@gmail.com. We are waiting or you.


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.

Separation Issues at Preschool

Separation Issues at Preschool

When families enter preschool for the first time it is normal to have issues with separation. It is important to ask a preschool what there policy is, as I find it best to feel you as a parent, are comfortable with how this is handled.

We have a small preschool, which allows us to be flexible with families. By this I mean if a parent wants to stay for a few minutes to assist in the separation, that is good with us. Our issue is that we need the parents to drop their child off in the front yard of the school, as we are in a residential neighborhood.

When you bring your child to school be sure to have a routine where you bring them to school the same way each time. Say goodbye, do not sneak out, and if your child is sad reassure them you will be back.

At our school we hug children, give them space, look for their comfort cues, and stay close to them when they are sad. We sing a song about how mommies and daddies come back.
Today a little guy wrote a letter when he was sad about mommy leaving:
Dear Mommy,
I don’t like it when you leave. Come back now.

After he wrote the letter we took three deep breathes and he went off to play.

At preschool we will take the time to sing a song, write a letter, and take three deep breaths to help with separation.
And lots of love…

What I’m Thankful For

What I’m Thankful For

What I’m Thankful For
Hey it’s Mr. Tony again with some fond words about La Canada Preschool. There are a lot of things that I’m thankful for being at La Canada Preschool. And no it’s not having Panda Express, McDonalds, Subway, Penguins or any of the other food choices within the area. I feel very lucky to work with such wonderful staff members like Diana, Rosemary, Susan, Pammie, Elizabeth, Jamie, Mr. Scott, Mollie and of course Ms. Debbie. Well I now have one more person to be thankful for and that’s Lauren who just joined us last week. She’s wonderful with the children, she’s super helpful, and just like the rest of us she has a real passion for working with children and I know she’ll fit in just great. And when I do a food run to any of the above food places mentioned earlier I’ll be sure and ask her if she’d like anything when I go. Be sure and say hello to Lauren. She’s very friendly and I know she’ll be happy to meet you.

UTube for Preschool Parents: Weigh In

In the world of technology I want to invent a new way to connect with the families at LCP. My computer guru, Steve, suggested that I post video of the activities at LCP on UTube, maybe even creating my own network. Wow, that sounds inspiring, and I want to do this, with your approval.

Please send me feedback, and say how you feel about this. I want to take it on, with the goal of posting viedo everyday for a month. Everyday I am in the classroom at our school I witness moments that make me realize the amazing experiences each child is having and how I want to share this with parents.

At the same time I want to be respectful as a child development educator to each family I work with. There are not any preschools to my knowledge that do this, and part of me wants to be the first.

Weigh in, share and thank you.

Meet Miss Jamie

Meet Miss Jamie

Miss Jamie Howard is a new teacher at La Canada Preschool. She has grown up in the La Crescenta/La Canada area, and loves this community. Currently Jamie is attending Cal State Northridge pursuing a double major in child development and family studies. Jamie has volunteered for many years at the Crescenta-Canada YMCA as a youth director. She has also work for the YMCA as a camp counselor and program director.

When not working Jamie enjoys relaxing with friends and family. She loves going to the beach, especially Carpinteria. Jamie is approachable and enjoys feedback from the parents we work with.

Any questions for Miss Jamie are welcomed:) She will be happy to respond, and wants everyone to know how much she enjoys all the children at La Canada Preschool.