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.

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…

Art Fair, Children And Slide Shows Oh My!

Art Fair, Children And Slide Shows Oh My!

Yep it’s just around the corner and I’m not referring to Panda Express.   Saturday April 30th we’re having our art fair.  I’m excited about the parents finally being able to come in and see all the art work done by their children.   There will be a large variety of art work for the parents to come and see.   We’ll have body tracings, string painting, very cute bird houses, blow dryer art, dictations, and lots more as well.    I’m also happy to announce that after a few trips to Target, Fry’s, Rite Aide and Cost Co. for all the needed supplies, the slide shows are finally available to take home.    I had a lot of fun matching music to each and every child.   All the slide shows should play on either a PC or DVD player.    I hope you all find them enjoyable.   I hope the slide shows give you some fun insight into what a day at the preschool consists of.   I hope everyone enjoys all the different art that the children put a lot of themselves into.  See you at the art fair.

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.

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.

Trick or Treating on Halloween: still the best

Parents have asked me what I think is a good way to spend Halloween with their preschoolers. I say take a walk down your neighborhood street for the time honored ritual of Trick or Treating is the best activity. We need to pass down this tradition that instills the best of what our lives are all about.

My grownchildren have told me that Halloween was one of their favorite holidays, as they remember being in our little neighborhood at night, with flashlights and in costumes, going from house to house. It was simple: no big party, no props, no electronics. Just us in our community. Can we start a movement to bring back the simple Halloween ?

While we all know the driving force for trick or treating is candy, isn’t there so much more that occurs when you are going from house to house on your own street where you live, seeing people sometimes only this once a year, laughing with your friends and partners on this crazy night. It is a simple premise that I believe we must preserve. A tradition that maybe carries more to it, creating a time for children to explore where they live, who their neighbors and most importanly the value of free candy.

I love a Parade !

We marched yesterday in the La Canada Memorial Day Parade as a preschool group and it was enlightening on many levels. First, I was able to really take in what an amazing community we are a part of. With each step we marched we were met with cheers from alumni, smiles and waves that brought a smile to each child’s face, as well as the adults. Secondly we took in a rich exercise in community spirit, something that cannot be taught in a classroom.

Who knew that walking down the street in La Canada could evoke such feelings of belonging to a community, being part of something bigger. Parents were able to feel that their being a part of our school is also being a part of a neighborhood where we all all accepted for who we are, with their beautiful young families looking to make sense of the world we live in.

As I marched in the parade for the thirteenth year I was reminded how blessed I feel to be here, in the moment, with each family, seeing there smiles and hearing the excitement amongst the children that we, La Canada Preschool, were part of a parade.

Teacher Appreciation Week=true validation

Teacher Appreciation Week=true validation

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week and the true validation that our staff is feeling is a gift to behold. Today we had a beautiful luncheon, where parents not only brought in food but came in to watch the children so that the teachers could eat together. We have had flowers and chocolates, along with homemade cards by the children that put Hallmark to shame.

When we feel this type of outreach from the parents we serve, educators are inspired and rejuvenated. It reaffirms why we come to out little school every morning. Suddenly the work is more meaningful and again we are reminded why we are valued. None of my teachers make enough money for the work they do, yet when we feel the love of the parents it lets us know why we choose this profession; because it is more than just a job. It is an extension of the families we work with, and a collaboration in child development with the parents at the helm and the teachers as partners.

Thank you to everyone who reaches out and thanks a teacher. It sustains us.

Topics for Parenting 101 Class

Topics for Parenting 101 Class

Wednesday April 14 we will begin offering our Parenting 101 class at La Canada Preschool. The topics we are looking to discuss, along with what emerges from the group, are positive discipline techniques, cooperation, routines, characteristics of development, and responsibility. What we want is to have a place where parents can come and feel supported for this overwhelming job of being a parent.

There were times when a class like this would be what saved me as a parent with just the knowledge that my child was not the only child acting out, being difficult and testing me on a daily basis. This class can begin a conversation in your home with the other co-parent as to what is it you are expecting and is it matching your child’s own temperament and developmental stage.

This class will meet for six weeks and the cost is $150.00. 

Please consider joining myself and Janet Chadwick, a public school educator and mother of two grown children, for a class that will support you, encourage you and educate you.