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.

How do preschools handle discipline?

How do preschools handle discipline?

Discipline is an important topic when working with children yet it can be a topic that is minimized or under spoken of by parents when looking for a preschool.

Here are the methods of discipline used in preschools:

time out or conflict resolution

There was an old school theory which still exists that time out is the best way to handle discipline in schools. Just search and you can find many schools and parents using this as a way to remove the child from the conflict, sending the message that the behavior needs to stop. While I believe it has its place in your home, in a school  setting it can make a child feel shame for being singled out in a public setting.

Conflict resolution suggests that children are educated about the value of communication that is respectful and honest, while expressing feelings of being hurt by someone’s actions.

Conflict resolution requires that teachers are trained to help children by modeling communication that is calm and well spoken, where teachers can also interact with children by teaching them how to articulate their feelings.

There are six steps we use at La Canada Preschool to teach conflict resolution:

1. Approach the children in conflict calmly and stop the conflict

2. Acknowledge everyone’s feelings

3. Gather information about what has happened

4. Restate the problem

5. As for ideas from everyone for a solution and help choose the solution

6. Be there to follow up and give support

When you are visiting a preschool ask the teachers and directors how do they handle conflict with the children. It is a question that is often overlooked yet one that becomes important as it will effect your child and set the stage for their ability to understand conflict in a social setting.

 

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.

 

Preschool Search: Who, what, where, when and how

Preschool Search: Who, what, where, when and how

It is that time of year when parents start to think about looking for a preschool.

To help you with your search, let me give you the lowdown on LCP.

Who are we? We are a group of dedicated early childhood educators who believe in children learning through play. We have worked together for many years, and believe that if a child loves school that will set the foundation for all future learning.

What do we do? We provide a play based environment with mixed age groups, with art, music and literature being at the core of our curriculum.

Where do we do this at? La Canada Preschool is located in a beautiful neighborhood, with a large tree in the backyard, lots of sand, a garden, a real wooden playhouse, and non-institutionalized classrooms. We have been here 62 years.

When do we have preschool? Monday through Friday our morning program operates from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. Our Pre-Kindergarten is here from 12:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. The children may attend in the morning T-Th, MWF, or Monday through Friday. Pre-K is Monday through Friday.

How do we do this? By having an intelligent, caring group of families that support our work by believing in our little school and the good work we do.

Please consider taking a tour of La Canada Preschool.

 

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…

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.

5 Snack Menu’s at LCP

One of the best things we do at La Canada Preschool is snack. We serve a mini-meal, one that always includes fruit and protein. Here is a week’s menu:

*Bagels and Cream Cheese w/strawberries

*Cereal and Oranges

*Pasta and Applesauce

*Cheese and Crackers and Applesauce

*Chicken Nuggets and Pears

You may also smell cookies baking in the over or banana bread, thanks to Miss Rosemary, who had taught at our preschool for 28 years. Where do you find this in the busy world we live in?

Children love to have snack, sitting around the table, passing  food. Miss Pammy’s group sits around the table some days for up the half an hour, talking, smiling, making eye contact, looking closely at each other. There are lively discussions about food, what is healthy food, and what we like to eat.

Studies show that when people eat together they make a deeper connection that without this experience. At preschool as well as at home let’s bring back places where children have the time to slow down, enjoy food with others, and watch what happens.

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.