Why accreditation is important

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, a high quality early childhood program provides a safe and nurturing environment while promoting the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development of young children.  The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research.  

An accredited program means that you should see:

  • Frequent, positive, and warm interactions among teachers and children.
  • planned learning activities appropriate to a child’s age and development.
  • specially trained teachers, who participate ongoing professional development.
  • enough adults to respond to individual children.
  • many varied age-appropriate materials
  • respect for cultural diversity.
  • a healthy and safe environment for adults and children.
  • inclusive environments.
  • nutritious snacks.
  • regular, two-way communication with families who are welcome visitors at all times.
  • effective administration.
  • ongoing, systematic evaluation.

So what is accreditation?  It’s a comprehensive process of internal self-study, invited external professional review to verify compliance with the Criteria for High Quality Early Childhood Programs, and been found to be in substantial compliance with the Criteria.  Accreditation is valid for five years.  It is a long process with lots of paperwork and site visits/inspections.  We’re very proud of our accreditation.

Come check out our campus and see if our program is a good fit for you!

 

 

September in the 3′s and 4′s Classes

What could be more important to our preschoolers than the friends who share our space, our campus, and what’s around us?  These are the things we’ll begin exploring in September. We’ll start with our rooms and materials then head outside for a look at our playground and sports court.  MWF will extend their exploration to our “campus” and finally our “neighborhood.” — Marlene Hall, Director

September in the 2′s Class

The focus of the two year old class in September will be on relationships and learning how to be in school. We will work on separating from parents and caregivers, learning each other’s names, and starting with fun preschool projects like watercolor painting and finger painting for a gentle, loving start to school.

Ready, Set, Preschool!

Getting Ready for PreschoolAs summer winds down and school approaches, your family may be full of excitement, apprehension, or both.  Whether a new or returning family, here are things you can do to get your preschooler off to a great start.

 

Talk it up, and check it out together.

Kick off the preschool year with the parent-child orientation.  It’s a great time to explore the classrooms, help your child find their cubby, and highlight activities you know your child will enjoy.  Take the time to introduce yourself and your child to other parents and children.

 

Be prepared.

Preschoolers are active!  A typical school day may include climbing, running, painting, sand and water play.  Dress your child in play clothes that can get dirty and allow ease of movement. Closed toe shoes with a good sole allow children to explore the play yard safely.  You might also pack a spare set of clothes, diapers and wipes to tuck in your cubby or your child’s backpack.

 

Have an exit strategy.

Establishing a routine can help make your child’s transition to preschool easier.  Upon arrival, you might share a story together, or discuss the day’s activities. Help your child engage in a favorite activity (play dough, anyone?) or join friends in play.  While every child separates at their own pace, it’s best to avoid a long goodbye. A quick hug, kiss, and farewell should be followed by your exit. Teachers will be ready to step in and help your child through the transition.  Children are sensitive to our emotions so if you are the one having trouble separating, make a plan to meet a friend for coffee (or a boo-hoo breakfast) but keep a cheerful goodbye for your preschooler.

 

Ask the right questions!

If you ask your preschooler how their school day was, it will most certainly be answered with one word- good.  Asking specific questions will help your child recall their day, and give you a better picture of how they spent their time at school.  Great questions might include: What did you play with inside? Did you make a project? How did you make it? What did you play outside?  Were other children playing that too? Do you remember their names? What story did you hear today? Did you sing any songs? What did you eat at snack?  Who sat at your table today? Thoughtful questions can be a nice way to reconnect with your child after school.

 

The preschool years are full of growth and wonder.  We look forward to sharing this special time with your family.

 

What is a Co-Op preschool?

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Parent working as a co-op parent

The preschool is a place where a child learns through play, by exploring his or her environment alone, with a peer group. Many challenging and stimulating experiences and opportunities are available. Here the child is free to explore and to make choices of activities and friends.

The Cooperative part (Co-Op) provides an opportunity for families to gain the satisfactions of seeing their children grow within the preschool setting and of sharing in their learning and growth experiences. Families learn the values of the activities within the preschool program and that it is through play that the child learns, explores, and communicates his or her understanding of themselves and others.

The school also has an on-going program of family and parent education. This includes speakers at membership meetings, access to a parent education library, and conferences with the Director.

A cooperative is not an inexpensive way to provide a child with a preschool experience. What is not paid in fees is more than made up in time and energy. Our families give a lot of themselves and therefore get a lot in return. By providing your experience and expertise to your child’s school experience, you enrich everyone’s school experience.

Preschool Co-Op parents are given the opportunity to work in the classroom- supporting the teaching staff, helping to keep children safe, and helping to direct activities. You’ll be working in the classroom several times each month. You’ll also help with the extracurricular activities, like special holiday events. You’ll also be required to help with our one mandatory fundraising event, the Pancake Breakfast, and with maintenance on the facilities, either through clean up during a co-op session, or a once a year maintenance work day.

Grace’s Mission Statement:

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Children Learning Through Play

At Grace Cooperative Preschool we encourage learning through play, which allows children to develop social skills and build self-esteem. This provides them with a solid foundation for future learning experiences. As a cooperative, we are actively involved in our children’s learning experiences and provide a supportive environment for children, parents, and families. In our inclusive atmosphere children are a valued part of the community and contribute even at a young age.

Summer Park Playdates

Please come and meet fellow parents in a low pressure, fun, relaxed atmosphere.  We always have a board member there to greet you and answer any questions you might have.

All park playdates are from 9:30am to 11:30am.

Tuesday, June 12th- Livorna Park at Livorna Rd & Miranda Avenue, Alamo, CA 94507

Wednesday, June 2oth- Hap Magee Park at 1025 La Gonda Way, Danville, CA 94526 (Bring a change of clothes!  There’s a water feature here!)

Thursday, June 28th- Rudgear Park at 2261 Dapplegray Ln, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Friday, July 6th- Oak Hill Park at 3005 Stone Valley Rd, Danville, CA 94526 (Bring a change of clothes!  There’s a water feature here!)

Thursday, July 12th- Walden Park at 2628 Oak Rd, Walnut Creek, CA 94597

Tuesday, July 17th- Arbolado Park at Arbolado Dr & Doncaster Dr, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Wednesday, July 25th- Civic Park at 1375 Civic Dr, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Tuesday, July 31st- Livorna Park at Livorna Rd & Miranda Avenue, Alamo, CA 94507

Wednesday, August 8th- Civic Park at 1375 Civic Dr, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Thursday, August 16-  Hap Magee Park at 1025 La Gonda Way, Danville, CA 94526 (Bring a change of clothes!  There’s a water feature here!)

Friday, August 24th- Pleasant Hill Park at 147 Gregory Ln, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

 

Come play with us!

Summer Play Dates

Please come and meet fellow parents in a low pressure, fun, relaxed atmosphere.  We always have a board member there to greet you and answer any questions you might have.

All park playdates are from 9:30am to 11:30am.

Tuesday, June 12th- Livorna Park at Livorna Rd & Miranda Avenue, Alamo, CA 94507

Wednesday, June 2oth- Hap Magee Park at 1025 La Gonda Way, Danville, CA 94526 (Bring a change of clothes!  There’s a water feature here!)

Thursday, June 28th- Rudgear Park at 2261 Dapplegray Ln, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Friday, July 6th- Oak Hill Park at 3005 Stone Valley Rd, Danville, CA 94526 (Bring a change of clothes!  There’s a water feature here!)

Thursday, July 12th- Walden Park at 2628 Oak Rd, Walnut Creek, CA 94597

Tuesday, July 17th- Arbolado Park at Arbolado Dr & Doncaster Dr, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Wednesday, July 25th- Civic Park at 1375 Civic Dr, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Tuesday, July 31st- Livorna Park at Livorna Rd & Miranda Avenue, Alamo, CA 94507

Wednesday, August 8th- Civic Park at 1375 Civic Dr, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Thursday, August 16-  Hap Magee Park at 1025 La Gonda Way, Danville, CA 94526 (Bring a change of clothes!  There’s a water feature here!)

Friday, August 24th- Pleasant Hill Park at 147 Gregory Ln, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

Sugar Overload! Strategies for a More Healthful Halloween by Jill West

When October rolls around, I think of shorter days, pumpkin bread and Halloween, which marks the beginning of sugar overload all the way to January. It is a challenging time for parents who have worked diligently to provide healthy meals and don’t want their efforts wiped out by a barrage of unhealthy choices promoted by advertising, school parties and junk food.
The good news is there are many foods to offer as snacks, to share at school parties and to hand out to trick-or- treaters that are festive and healthy. Some of my favorites are Ghost Bananas, Fruit-Cup Pumpkins, Mandarin-Orange Pumpkins, Ghost Hard-Boiled Eggs. These snacks are simple to make and work great at home, in lunch bags and for school parties.

Ghost Bananas:Cut bananas in half. Place dried currants, raisins or chocolate chips at the pointed end of each banana for eyes and a mouth. Place a dollop of peanut butter (or cream cheese for those with nut allergies) on the flat portion of the banana and stick upright on a plate. Kids will think these are great fun.
Fruit-Cup Pumpkins: With a black Sharpie, draw a jack-o-lantern face on the clear plastic cover of a fruit cup filled with peaches or mandarin oranges. Add it to your child’s lunch for a fun surprise.

Mandarin-Orange Pumpkins: Peel a mandarin orange or a Clementine, and place a piece of cucumber or celery in the center to make a pumpkin. If serving the orange unpeeled, draw a jack-o-lantern face on the peel and add to your child’s lunch. It’s sure to bring a smile when she opens her lunch bag.

Ghost Eggs: Place eggs in a pot and full with water two inches above the eggs. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat, cover eggs and let eggs cook for 13 minutes. Drain and immerse in ice water for about 10 minutes or until cool. Peel shell, add chocolate chips for eyes and mouth and serve.

Tips for the Big Night

Fill Up First: Despite the rush and excitement of Halloween night, be sure to serve a healthy dinner, including making half of the plate fruits and vegetables, along with lean protein and whole grains. A full stomach helps decrease the the temptation to eat candy while trick or treating.

Your Candy Game Plan: Before trick-or-treating, talk with your child about the plan for the candy loot. Setting expectations about how much candy is reasonable to eat on Halloween night and establishing what you will do with leftovers is very important for minimizing battles and provides an opportunity to talk about healthy eating habits and moderation. Some Game Plan examples include:

Ask your child to wait to eat candy until she gets home. This strategy minimizes distracted eating, encourages your child to focus on the fun of trick-or-treating and allows you to monitor how much is eaten and a good stopping point.

Have your child choose favorite pieces that he will eat gradually over the next week, and remove the remaining candy. Some parents refer to this as a “keep pile” and a “giveaway pile.” Some options for dealing with surplus candy are to freeze it, take it to work, throw it away, trade it in at a local dentist, donate it to the military, save it for a party pinata or a combination of those.

Establish a “number of pieces” of candy that will be allowed each day. If you have caregivers other than yourself, it is important to communicate this game plan with them for consistency and a successful plan. My recommendation is not more than two or three pieces per day, depending on the size of the candy. For example, on after lunch and one or two after dinner for up to a week. Frequently, the novelty has worn off by then, making it easier to remove any remaining candy.

Put the candy stash out of reach and out of sight. This works well for younger children, as they frequently will forget about the candy after a few days.

Offer Non-Candy Alternatives: When the trick-or-treaters ring your doorbell, offer them healthy alternatives. For example, pretzels, popcorn, trail mix, coins, pencils, erasers, temporary tattoos, and stickers are popular options that some children will choose over candy when offered. By having both candy and non-candy options available, it allows kids with food allergies, celiac disease and type 1 diabetes to choose a favorite that works for them.

Be a Roll Model: Eat Halloween candy in moderation yourself. To help avoid temptation, buy your candy at the last minute, buy small portions and remove leftovers. Remind yourself and your child to pay attention to the amount of candy eaten and to stop before feeling full or sick.

Halloween is only one day, but the treats can extend into several weeks when unmonitored. If your child eats healthy most of the time, then eating candy on Halloween night won’t be a problem. The key is establishing moderation for the days following the fun-filled night.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

gallery_teacher_gallery Thank you to our amazing teachers and volunteers! Grace is the place it is because of you, and our kids are so lucky that their first school experience is with this wonderful team.

Celebrating Earth Day at Grace! – Sunday, April 24

happy-earth-day Come celebrate Earth Day at Grace Cooperative Preschool! Families are invited to join us for a fun morning in the preschool backyard, featuring environmentally-themed arts and crafts, educational displays about vermiculture and home gardens, a book exchange, and…Jungle James and his animal friends! Admission is free, and the event runs from 10:30 am – noon. We hope you can join us!