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:)

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…

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.

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.

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…

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:)

Parenting 101 Classes at LCP

I will be teaching a class we call Parenting 101 at La Canada Preschool for six Wednesdays beginning April 14 through May 19th from 7-8:30 p.m.

Our goal is to provide a safe and informative place where parents can share their concerns about parenting. We will share strategies for parents to use in order to develop the social and self management skills their child needs to capable and copable in our world. Topics we would like to explore are communication in the family, routines, and cooperation, as well as topics that emerge from the group.

We ask that you commit to six classes in order to build a connnective learning enviroment. The cost is $150.oo. Please contact us at : lacanadapreschool@gmail.com

Take some time for yourself to explore parenting in a supportive enviroment.

Debbie Bacino Director La Canada Preschool

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?