Parents in California now have many options when looking for a preschool. Transitionary Pre-Kindergartens are being offered across the state, with little to no research behind them, and many families choosing them because they are low-cost and guaranteeing to “prepare” your child for Kindergarten. While these are important considerations for a family, it is also important that families consider their child’s future based on the parent’s goals for the child and the child’s future in an public or private education.
La Canada Preschool is set in a warm part of Los Angeles, right under the mountains in a close-knit community. The Preschool, which began in 1949 offers a home atmosphere that is warm and inviting, supportive and flexible. Children enter school through a gate and are offered more than the just the same old curriculum that meets standards and state requirements. Music is played daily and private teachers come in to play live instruments with the children. Art is offered every day, one-on-one and sand and water are always available for children’s play.
While the morning program and afternoon program are separated by age groups (younger children can attend the morning while only pre-kindergarten aged children attend the afternoon) children are mixed in culture, language, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Owner and Director, Debbie Bacino, offers a flexible plan for children and parents. Teachers meet with parents to discuss children’s development and discuss goals children are working on mastering. All the teachers are versed in early childhood education literature and have knowledge regarding children’s development.
What may be lacking in the Pre-Kindergarten Transitionary Kindergartens is the understanding that children’s goals are not necessarily things they cannot do, but rather skills they are mastering. Since children are being pressure to read and write at an earlier age, the majority of social and emotional understandings are overlooked and eliminated from a teacher who is supervising 24 children at one time.
A family that is looking for the right preschool program needs to consider the school’s goals for the child and see if they match the parents. It may be difficult for some schools to match individual goals of each child when they are pressured to provide certain curriculum. Einstein was known for encouraging children’s imagination and in the age of technology and standardized education children and teachers may be forgetting this aspect of the mind and its purity before the box is setup and they are told what to learn.
A sociocultural perspective is definitely a theoretical foundation at La Canada Preschool. Teachers learn from children and then decide what to provide and how to teach. Each child is incredibly different, shaping the curriculum as the year unfolds. If parents are looking for individual care and supportive relationships then La Canada Preschool will surely fit their needs.
LCPS, March, 2013