Beyond the Classroom...
CHILDREN TO CHILDREN
Where does one start to help young children begin to develop a sense of social responsibility and respond to those who may be less economically fortunate? With the help of Heifer International, the Children’s Studio found a way by starting with something children could easily relate to and understand. In this case, it was animals. By the time children are in Pre-Kindergarten, they know a surprising amount about animals and their habitats.
Heifer was started in 1944 and is now involved in 125 countries. They “support long- term development rather than short-term relief.” They are vested in helping and planting the seeds of hope by teaching someone how to fish rather then by giving someone a fish. Heifer organizes funding to purchase animals for individuals in poor villages around the world. This not only helps feed a family but eventually may change a community. A donation of as little as $20.00 will purchase a flock of geese. These geese will eat weeds and unwanted insects, serve as watchdogs, and their eggs will provide much needed protein for a family. Most important, the geese will multiply and become a vital link in a sustainable cycle of continued growth.
Our Pre-Kindergarten children are introduced to the Heifer organization through its catalogue and after much group discussion an appropriate animal gift is chosen. The children, in concert with their parents, find a chore to do at home for which they receive a small payment. Class members contribute their earnings. The class money is pooled and a donation is made. In this way we promote planting the seeds of hope along with planting the seeds of caring and social responsibility.
— PHOTO SUPPLIED BY HEIFER INTERNATIONAL
The garden at the Children’s Studio Preschool is a significant part of the program. It offers beauty to all, serves as a model in helping children develop an appreciation for nature, and provides rewarding gardening experiences to all involved. Be it a lily bulb or a tomato seed, planting, tending, and harvesting gives children firsthand knowledge of the riches mother earth can bestow.
FAMILY FIELD TRIPS
Field trips provide a fantastic way to reinforce a child’s learning experience. When two- year-olds are introduced to animal sounds, a visit to a petting zoo can add a powerful dimension to the overall learning process. Ancient Egypt comes alive for a Pre-Kindergarten child who actually stands before The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur or touches a statue of Isis and Osiris. However, as wonderful as field trips may be, many parents have serious misgivings about their children leaving the school’s premises for any purpose. The Children’s Studio solves this dilemma by suggesting that parents plan “family field trips” in coordination with the school’s curriculum. Parents are encouraged to document these experiences with photos. The photos are then brought into school and eventually turned into field-trip books. In this way, learning, discovery, adventure, school, and home are tied together in a significant way.
School events are times when children, parents, and staff come together for a special celebration or times when parents have an enjoyable night out with other parents in the school. Parents-only nights provide opportunities for busy parents to meet other parents in their child’s group, to network in a relaxed atmosphere, and enjoy good food and good company. Some of the school's annual events include:
• Parent Potluck Dinners
• Holiday Sing-Alongs
• Chinese New Year
• Spring / Summer Sing
• Pre-Kindergarten Parent and Child Breakfast