Palisades Presbyterian Preschool
This program is designed for those children who miss turning 5 years of age by September 2nd, which is the cutoff date for public schools. Our Transitional Kindergarten program provides practice on the skills required of a child who will be entering Kindergarten the following September. The hours are from 8:45am-1:15pm and the day is divided in two parts: The morning program focuses on academic learning, but still remains true to our developmental philosophy. The afternoon program is where the children rotate through centers practicing the concepts by sorting dinosaur shapes and colors, playing Bingo, or working in the letter books. The children will be practicing their letters by using the curriculum, “Handwriting without Tears.” We use “The Letter People Curriculum” which was developed based on the most relevant research about how young children learn best and what they need to be learning in Pre-K. Our Pre-K is structured with different ages, experiences, and abilities in one classroom. The curriculum is developmentally appropriate and multisensory to give all children a sense of challenge and accomplishment. It uses hands-on teaching strategies and manipulatives because Pre-K children learn by doing, and actually participating in lessons. This provides more pathways for them to acquire and retain knowledge easily and effectively.
We HEAR and we forget…we SEE and we remember…we DO and we understand. For children 2.5 years to age 5, our preschool program is designed to offer a developmental approach to learning. We believe that these are critically important years in a child’s life. Our program is designed to provide optimal support for their development during these formative years. We believe children learn best through exploring and discovering their world, so we provide a comprehensive developmentally appropriate program promoting the child’s social, emotional, physical, spiritual and cognitive growth. Our program activities allow children to creatively express themselves and gain a greater understanding of the world around them. Young children learn in many ways – through their senses as they see, hear, taste, feel and smell the world in which they live. This is a time to learn about their bodies and how they operate and to understand how to interact with those around them. When given its freedom, this kind of innate curiosity leads to satisfying early learning experiences such as those we foster at Pali Pres. Children learn through exploration, discovering that mistakes are a natural part of the process and that learning and accomplishing different tasks is pleasurable. They learn through repetition – by repeating an activity over and over, children develop new dimensions in learning while reinforcing past learning. They learn through imitation, the natural desire to imitate being so strong that it intuitively builds relationships with those they seek to emulate. They learn by participation – by communicating with others in pleasurable activities that organically lead to enjoyment and growth. Children need to develop trust in order to attain these goals and the satisfying experiences they will have here at Pali Pres will teach them just that. Engaging with skilled professionals who take the time to listen, care, understand and love them, builds competence and confidence – traits they will use for the rest of their lives.
For children 18 months and steady on their feet this program feeds into the Preschool. This hour and a half program is designed to introduce the child and their family to the school, staff and what happens during a typical day of preschool. This group meets every day with parents choosing the classes their child will participate in. The children use The Outdoor Classroom® (The Big Yard) for a portion of their day and then go into their classroom where art, music, and snack take place. This is a wonderful way to get you and your child comfortable with our school, our program and the staff while having the comfort and security of your child having a familiar adult with them. The class is open to all children but an adult needs to accompany the child. We open our program to moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and nannies.
During morning school, on the most populated days (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays), we have two extra-curricular teachers who come into the preschool and conduct their classes. We have Montes Gymnastics on Wednesdays. Every other week each class is given a 40 minutes of instruction where the children practice moving their bodies through space, balancing, tumbling, along with working on their gross motor skills. On alternating Fridays we have Do, Re, Mi Music come to the preschool and every class gets a 30 minute music class with specific monthly curriculums focusing on different genres of music from around the world.
After School Classes
Daily from 12:30-1:15pm and 1:30-2:15pm we currently have two sets of after school classes available for our children. Each semester the classes are evaluated and decisions are made based on the popularity and enrollment for each class. Classes include: Yoga, Church Mice (a church sponsored preschool youth group), Fancy Feet Dance Studio; Soccer Shots, and Gymnastics with Coach Hugo, Vamos A Jugar (Spanish language class) and Creative Tiny Minds (creative art class). Some classes are so popular we offer a class for the younger children at 12:30p and another class for the older children at 1:30p.
If children are not ready for the After School Classes we also offer an extended day program staffed by our own preschool teachers. Each day is scheduled for a different activity including but not limited to: Dramatic Play, Cooking, Music and Movement, Arts & Crafts, and Science. Parents can pick up their child/children any time between 12:30-3:00pm. At 12:30pm the children go up to The Outdoor Classroom® where they have an hour of free play. At 2pm the children and teachers leave the yard and go into one of our air conditioned classrooms where one of the daily activities take place. For children who are at school in excess of 6 hours, we are required by law to give them a 30-minute rest time. The children each have their own designated cots and sheets, where they can rest quietly and look at a book or play with a small puzzle. The children get an afternoon snack, have their rest time, then wake up and have free play until they are picked up. The latest a child can stay at preschool is 3:00pm.
Every summer, for between 5-8 weeks, we offer our summer camp program. This program is designed to be very different from preschool, but uses the same Outdoor Classroom® and the same staff, so the children are where they feel safe and secure. The curriculum is completely different than the children experience during the 10 month school year. Prior years’ camp themes include: Medieval Renaissance Week, Tom Sawyer/Camping Week, Mother Nature at your Fingertips, Words with Friends, Detective Spy Week, Disney Production Week, Magic in a Hat, and Wacky Water Week. The children spend most of their day outside and just a small amount of time inside the classrooms. They have a mid-morning snack and lunch, with the day ending with a special treat: Popsicles on the basketball court while they wait for pick up.
The Outdoor Classroom Project (OCP)®
Palisades Presbyterian Preschool was the first preschool in Los Angeles County to be certified as an Outdoor Classroom® Demonstration site and is a founding member of the OCP. With this special distinction, Pali Pres was awarded a years worth of instruction and consultation with a landscape architect which led to a remodel of our tremendous outdoor area and makes it what it is today: a haven for young children that is always changing, growing and developing to meet the needs of the families we serve. Our Outdoor Classroom is a place helping children build visual spatial skills, strengthening their powers of observation and creativity, and improving their ability to concentrate. Our Outdoor Classroom® enhances motor skills such as coordination, balance, and agility. It also helps to develop imagination and a sense of wonder – motivating factors for life-long learning. The Outdoor Classroom® provides for physical activity, hands-on learning and socialization through peer interaction. Since 1998, research by Dimensions Educational Research Foundation shows that a connection with nature benefits children educationally, behaviorally, and developmentally. The textures, shapes, and warmth of nature ignite their senses as they discover the environment and develop life-long skills. We believe that it is important to give children space and time to discover the world around them and their place in the world. The children spend a substantial portion of each day outdoors, exploring, experimenting and investigating the outdoor environment. They collect insects, work in the garden, play in the mud, work in the outdoor writing center, play in the water, and use real tools to experiment with.