We greet our students with open arms and open hearts and this gives our Butterfly children wings to fly! We understand that venturing into the new world of our Butterfly Lounge can feel like a big change for our youngest Garden students, so we create an environment that says "Everyone is welcome here and every one of you is important!" We are happy to incorporate special items from each child's life that makes them feel like this classroom is an extension of their home. We always consider what is developmentally appropriate for children of this age, but that is just our starting point.
We also consider the significant individual differences and ability levels of each student. We spend a great deal of energy and time getting to know the unique needs and abilities of each child and parents always love sharing who their children are with us. We value the culture of each child and understand that one of our most vital practices as sensitive educators, is to encourage and inspire each child to comfortably and confidently shift from one conversation, activity and experience to another.
We teach our "Little Angels" Mommy n' me classes for our future, incoming and wait-listed families. These classes are a wonderful way for both child and parent to experience our classroom together. We have noticed that early exposure in a fun and inviting environment, bridges the relationship between home and school, causing a smooth, more natural transition into Garden. We recommend this program for all of our incoming parents and we believe that this early connection gives us a jump-start to a deeper understanding of how your child learns and what is important to them.
In honoring our students learning process, we are sensitive to the fact that we are assisting them in developing their language, boundaries, attention span, organization, critical thinking, imagination, curiosity, creativity, practical life skills and fine and gross motor skills, for the first time, in our classroom setting. We take this privilege very seriously and commit ourselves to gaining the trust and confidence of both our students and parents.
We create a classroom atmosphere that is safe, sweet and peaceful. We partner that attitude with plenty of opportunities for each student to feel known, seen and heard. Taking the time to really listen patiently to children at this age, is a priceless investment, because one of their biggest frustrations is their inability to fully articulate their feelings and ideas. Their language skills do not match their intellect at this stage and it can lead to huge breakdowns for them, especially if they feel rushed or overlooked. We give them the liberty to share their needs and ideas. Our little geniuses just need a bit more time to formulate and organize their thoughts and words. We tailor our Garden Curriculum to meet our students where they are at, while easing them into our Vision of "whole" education.
Our young Butterflies learn by the same themes as our older students, but the expectations are more gently introduced. For example, in a theme like Space, the older students may have a mobile, academic experience to Griffith Observatory, or Vasquez Rocks, while we are treated to a coveted classroom visit from our own Sultan of Science. Jeff may bring in pieces of actual meteorite and simulate an outdoor rock climb on our playground. The entire school is learning about the same theme and concepts in a different way, that reflects the age and readiness of our students. Garden is all about early exposure, relationships and a love of learning. Our Butterfly Lounge Classroom sets the stage for children to do just that, while being eased into the unique features and rich experiences of our Garden Philosophy.