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.

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.

Meet Mr. Scott

Meet Mr. Scott

Meet Mr. Scott, our newest teacher at La Canada Preschool. He lives in Glendale, and is originally from Connecticut. His Mom, Dad, younger sister and brother still live there, and he has an older brother that lives in Tokyo. Scott has a bachelors degree in business, with 41 units in child development. When he is not at preschool Scott enjoys watching and playing basketball, baseball, as well as  running. His favorite food is fried chicken. Instead of TV, Scott likes watching DVD’s, including Field of Dreams, Rudy and all the Star Wars trilogy. Scott wants everyone to know he loves his work at La Canada Preschool and is grateful to be here.

Do you or your children have any questions for Mr. Scott? Post them and he will answer them!

Next week, look for Miss Jamie:)

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?

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.

Kids say the Darndest Things: Happy Father’s Day

Kids say the Darndest Things: Happy Father’s Day

At preschool we love to do dictations with the children. This is a process where we ask the children to tell us about something, them we write it down verbatim, and then read it back to the child, which promotes literacy.

This week we have been asking the children about their dads on honor of Father’s Day, and the adage seems to be true that kids say the darndest things:

My Daddy was born in the ocean. He swimmed and fell on the rocks.

My Dad was born in Bakersfield. He played a game called staring at the floor. It’s a good game.

My Daddy kisses Mommy.

My Daddy met my Mommy at my house.

Daddy and Mommy met at the hospitol cause her sick. Just married, no date.

Daddy was born in Las Vegas. He got stiches. He met Mommy when she was working down the street.

Daddy married Mommy at Chuck E Cheese.

Happy Fathers day:)

What to look for in a Preschool: The 4 E’s

When looking for a private preschool the choices can be confusing. There are different philosophies of early childhood education, with many time schedules, tuition costs, and fees. Here is what you need to consider when looking for a preschool we will call the Four E’s.

Energy: what is the energy of the school say? Are there lots of rules, is it quiet or loud, does it feel open or closed?Spend a few minutes observing the feelings you get.

Education: What is the education of the staff, as well as the director of the preschool? Some directors have a Masters degree while some have taken as few as 12 units in early childhood education.

Environment: It has been said that environment dictates behavior. Are children allowed lots of freedom, are they moving freely though a relaxed setting, are there lots of materials? Observe the environment quietly for a few minutes.

Eyes: look in the eyes of the children. Are they engaged, connected and communicating?

Energy, education, environment and eyes of the children. That is a good place to start:)

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.

We’ve been waiting for you

When I think about the process parents go through in looking for a preschool I can understand understand how overwhelmed you all feel. We are in a time where every school has a waiting list, creating fear that if you are not on one of these “lists” , you may not get “in”. How did this happen? Is it supply and demand, is it to make work easier for the preschool directors, or was it created to the scare parents into believing there is a shortage of good preschool programs?

While all of these reasons apply, my hope is to combat this fear based society we rotate in and have a no waiting list environment at La Canada Preschool. Here is where we want to be the change we would like to see in the world. Why not create environments where parents feel supported and wanted from the get go. Every year we place families in a friendly, relaxed manner, accepting their registration on a first come first basis. The process reflects a respect for the families we serve by accepting everyone who wants to be here, without the fear of exclusion because you are not on a list.

Preschool placement needs to support families with inclusion based on acceptance when placement is needed. It sends a message when we ask parents to wait to be chosen, when we say that you were not on the list in time, and when we create more fear for parents to deal with. Isn’t it enough that you all are faced with the overwhelming stress of raising children? My hope is that at La Canada Preschool, we are breaking the mold by saying welcome, come on in, we’ve been waiting for you:)