As an experienced early-childhood educator, I firmly believe in the wonder of play. It fosters imagination and creativity in children. It is through play-based, active exploration that children learn in our structured learning environment both indoors and outdoors. However, I also respect the shifting culture of California's education system, where children need to exhibit an increased readiness to enter kindergarten. Consequently, our program has evolved into a "bridge" program, where the children also receive lessons in phonics, including sight words, as well as numbers and other academic skills. All children can reap benefits from these preparations for kindergarten.
Children in our program are always validated for who they are. Our learning environment is very supportive of the unique stage of development of each child; acceptance, attention and validation are given regardless of their emotions or behavior. Our goal is to help children develop self-esteem, and to feel safe, secure and nurtured.
We have great respect for parents and take every opportunity to work with them to help their child. We offer resources and support to parents whenever needed, and encourage communication on any aspect of the welfare of their child. Mothers are all invited to our "Mother's Night Out" evening, which is normally held every other month; there is a designated topic for discussion, usually parenting-related.
Children are given ample time and opportunity to discover, invent, create, feel, touch, taste, and enjoy a full range of age-appropriate activities. A variety of experiences are offered that are meaningful and fit each child's stage of development. They are encouraged to speak, listen, construct, create, make choices, cooperate, and problem-solve.
The curriculum incorporates intellectual, language, social, large and small motor development. Each child's development will be observed and documented.
We assist in facilitating play and provide guidance, support, and direction as the children transition through the preschool routine.
The Play Garden Preschool is a unique 'bridge' program which offers developmental play-based activities balanced with academic learning to ensure kindergarten readiness.
Since we strongly believe that it is through play young children learn about the world around them, in addition to a planned, teacher-directed curriculum that suits their stage of growth, the value of play is honored to validate and respect the children's desire and initiative to become involved in whatever interests them.
The dynamics of our culture in California are such that children who can demonstrate some fundamental basic readiness in academic skills are better prepared for kindergarten. That is to say, skills such as recognizing and writing the alphabet and numbers, together with social and emotional readiness, help children feel more positive and confident upon entering formal school. With higher self-esteem, their journey in today's competitive classroom starts out smoothly.
Children are encouraged to explore and discover learning through hands-on activities during the free-choice hour along with an art project. There are also teacher-directed activities/lessons for kindergarten readiness, since our original developmental play-based program has evolved into the current 'bridge' program to offer academic learning to balance the fundamental element of play.
The Play Garden offers a balance between play and active learning, with which I hope all the children in the program will be prepared to enter elementary school, feeling positive about themselves and equipped with good interpersonal skills to meet the challenge of their formal education.