Our toddler, preschool and TK classrooms:
Children are welcomed between 7:30-9:00. Teachers may assist parents with separation and help children integrate into play with peers.
Our core learning hours are from 9:00-11:30; children participate in morning meeting, work-time/small group work, and reflection meeting – collaborative experiences based on children’s interests and on-going investigations.
Children play outdoors and enjoy their lunch brought from home between 11:30-1:30. Children rest/nap from 1:30-2:30.
During the hours of 2:30-5:00, children may participate in snack, outdoor play, specialty classes (music and movement), outdoor classroom activities, classes offered by parent volunteers (cooking, woodworking etc.) and afternoon reading.
Children present between 5:00-6:00 make choices in the classroom.
Our centers close promptly at 6:00.
We offer four healthy snacks.
We are a child development center focused on the educational component of the day, we do not allow drop-offs between the hours of 11:30-2:30. This policy is strictly enforced.
Our infant classroom:
We follow a general flow of the day that is engaging for the development of very young children; encompassing social-emotional, language, physical and cognitive learning domains. However, each child has his own schedule for sleep, eating and diaper changes – it is authentic to each child’s tempo and developmental stage.
We believe that parents play an important role in the development of young children, not only in transmitting knowledge and values, but by providing the emotional base from which a secure child can move out into the world. Parents are a child’s first and most important teacher. We see ourselves as partners and never replacements for parents. Since parenting is such a complex job, we offer support to parents in each stage of the child’s development.
We offer a parenting series with a variety of topics related to parenting young children, and host a Reflective Parenting class facilitated by Family Services of Santa Monica.
The tuition contract requires that all families participate in at least one school maintenance day, “Pitch-In” Day, and that each parent support with time, talents and resources. Parents are also required to contribute ten volunteer hours to the program annually. We seek meaningful engagement with parents and welcome parent’s talents.
The role of the teacher at The Growing Place has multiple dimensions. First and foremost the teacher is a keen observer of the children: listening and watching. Teachers notice the children’s competencies, ways of approaching the world, styles of interaction, preferred modalities for learning and support them to expand these as they encounter other children who may not share their perspective. She shares her observations on each child as a member of the group with her teaching team and with the parents of each child in a formal conference twice a year and informally all throughout the year.
The teacher assists children in making bridges to other children and adults in our school community. Our teachers encourage building relationships through shared experiences but also by teaching social skills, modeling problem solving, and providing language and strategies for conflict resolution. Our teachers slow things down so that the child can understand how their actions and words have effect. Teachers also provoke children into considering other ideas and strategies to expand their repertoire of skills and ideas.
Our teachers work with children in small groups and ask think starter questions rather than give answers to a child’s inquiry. As researchers along with children, our teachers are receptive to following the children’s lead in what to explore next.
To do this kind of teaching, The Growing Place staff is engaged in continuous reflection of their own work. They continue their own growth by attending workshops, courses and visiting other schools using innovative practices. The teachers and staff at The Growing Place are the most critical resource we have and they are the ones who make a difference in each child and each family’s experience in our programs.