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.


Dictations With The Children

Hey it’s Mr. Tony again.  I love doing dictations with the children which is an activity I do with the children on an almost regular basis.   It’s also a step towards literacy.   It shows  children  that a story has a start, middle and end.  In writing with the children we show that we write from left to right.  And now the fun stuff.  I sat down with the children today and asked some questions about their mom.   I asked how old their mom is.  What their favorite food is.  How tall their mom is.  What work she does and what they like to do with their mom.  And now some of their answers.  Survey says!  How old is your mom?  I got answers like, 60, 3, 30 and a half and 1.  And one little boy just said “She’s just very old”. Next question was “What is your mom’s favorite food?”  “Gorilla munch”.  “Lettuce.” ” Spicy pizza.”  And of course there was “crab salad”.  I love a child’s concept of tall someone is. “How tall is your mom?”  Their height ranged from  1 inch to 7 feet.   Their response to what job their mom does was also very cute.  Apparently it’s the job of some moms to just clean their rooms,  go make money and last but not least, “Measure the bouncy”.   The most endearing answer came from the question “What is your favorite thing to do with your mom?”  “I love to color and cuddle with my mom”.   All their answers were great and all of their answers are what makes my job and this particular activity so fun.   Take the time to sit with your children and talk to them about anything and just listen to their ideas about life.  You’ll have a lot of fun and get a lot of quality fun.  Enjoy.

Halloween and Preschoolers: Keep it light

As our children get old enough to enjoy more activities we need to be mindful of what is developmentally appropriate for them to experience. Here at La Canada Preschool, we have set up some Halloween decorations in a well lit room to create a preschool haunted house. If a child seems apprehensive, we do not make them come into our classroom where you will find a skeleton, a witch and some scary props. Yet as we have left the room decorated for the week we are seeing children slowly approaching this room full of make believe.

It is important the we stress the make believe of Halloween and demystify the scary images that can be frightening for young children. It seems that if Halloween is introduced slowly with caution not to frighten children, they are able to process this holiday that seems to be more of our culture every season.

Fears for children are normal and healthy. Think of the book, “There’s a nightmare in my Closet”. When we read this story a t circle time the children are glued and begin talking about how monsters are not real. If we can look at Halloween as a time to address fears as normal and part of our emotional make up, our preschoolers can enjoy this time and learn to keep it light during these dark days of Halloween…

Our Outside Quiet Area

Our Outside Quiet Area

This blog is courtesy of Miss Pam, one of our amazing teachers:

Last week one of the children asked me if they could bring books outside to read in the yard. At first I was hesitant, thinking that the books would wind up strewn all over the yard. At the same time my instincts are to always listen to the children, as they are my best resource for curriculum. If the children feel they have a say in our school, what ownership that creates.

So now we have a new outside space we are calling the quiet area. We have placed a small table with chairs, some pillows and books. Here the children can sit and read, lay on a pillow with a book, underneath our beautiful elm tree. This morning there were children that wondered in and out of this space, taking time to look over a favorite story .

In the shade of the quiet area children can take a break from all the action in the school yard and have a time to enjoy a book. All this from a belief I have that the best curriculum is what we call emergent curriculum. We practice this when we listen carefully to the children’s interests and implement school activities based on those interests.

“Miss Pam I like the quiet area. Now we can read books outside too.” That made my day:)

Learning through Play

Everyday that I sit in the yard at La Canada Preschool I believe that our children are learning best by playing and following their own curiosities, by solving real problems such as how to balance a stack of blocks or how to negotiate to have a turn holding the hose. Children need to feel it to learn it, they need to interact to feel they belong and they need to feel accepted for who they are.

When children can paint freely they are learning to develop their imagination, eye to hand coordination, relationships to space and size, and concepts of symmetry.

When we play with play dough we learn to see shape against the background of a table, which is a pre-reading skill. We see negative shapes when we use cookie cutters in the play dough, and the amount of substance remains the same even when the shape changes.

When we draw with crayons we are learning to hold a drawing implement, exercise creativity, that my ideas have value as well as concepts of color, size and shape.

Make time to play at home. Pretend you are a waiter in a restaurant and serve your child from a play menu, pretend you are the patient and your child can be the doctor, and just sit on the floor and see what happens.

Maybe if we all played a little more the world when be a better place. When was the last time you played?