Come play with us!

Our school days have ended, but that means our weekly summer park play dates have begun! Join our Grace families for informal play dates and get to know a little more about us! Questions? Call Grace Board President April Gentry, 310-266-1964

Thursday, June 24 – Rudgear Park, Walnut Creek

Wednesday, July 7 – Walden Park, Walnut Creek  

Wednesday, July 14 – Arbolado Park, Walnut Creek

Thursday, July 22 – Civic Park, Walnut Creek 

Friday, July 30 – Livorna Park, Alamo               

Thursday, August 5 – Rodgers-Smith Park, Pleasant Hill                    

Friday, August 13 – Hap Magee Park, Danville 

Friday, August 20 – Tice Valley Park, Walnut Creek  

Now Enrolling!

We are currently enrolling for our 2021-2022 school year. We will offer our regular program with indoor and outdoor play, parent co-opers helping in the classroom, and a developmentally appropriate curriculum. We will have a limited class size and Covid precautions in place.

2021-2022 application:https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RVDQC9cf3O6T1Nu4S_0HwrtLbZK7_jLy/view?usp=sharing

Five to Try This Week!

The Importance of Play

All over the world today, school children are being encouraged to play. At Grace Cooperative Preschool, we don’t wait for Global School Play Day- we understand the importance of play every day in young children’s lives.

Play is more than fun. In early childhood, play is important. It is a child’s work. Seemingly simple childhood activities have layers of developing skills embedded. For example, working with play dough, children strengthen hands, wrists and fingers. Pinching and pulling the play dough develops pincer grip and fine motor control. Additionally, a busy play dough center with many children provides an opportunity for social emotional development as children share utensils and discuss their creations. In Kindergarten and first grade, children who have had the benefit of this experience have stronger muscles and greater stamina for writing, cutting and other fine motor activities. They have the social emotional readiness necessary to work collaboratively. Play based preschools foster school readiness skills and allow children to develop at their own pace in a meaningful way- through play.

Saturday School at Grace

One of the great things about our parent participation preschool is Saturday School. We are fortunate to have moms, dads, and grandparents who regularly co-op in our classrooms. Saturday School is a morning designed for the non-co-oping parent to come and enjoy a typical school day. This optional school day is offered once in each class during the year. Students happily show off the daily routine, having their special guest join them in free choice play, project, snack, outside play, and of course, circle time. We appreciate the time our parents devote to make our cooperative preschool special all throughout the year. Saturday School is no different. When children and their parents spend time together like this, they are making memories that last a lifetime!

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.