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We teach green ~

Green education- The first step in raising your children to be eco-friendly is to be eco-friendly yourself. At the Learningden we follow the practices of reducing, reusing, and recycling. We teach the children through organic gardening, composting, and buying recycled art materials. At the Learningden we use all that we have! We gather art supplies that are left over from community events, art from scrap, local businesses etc, to ensure we teach the children to use what is around them to create something magical. Part of the green education at the Learningden is taking field trips to the watershed where children pick up trash from the beach to prove the point of all that is left behind at our beautiful oceans.

Environmentally friendly - We use natural and environmentally friendly products, especially reusable’s. We get involved with local organizations that help protect the environment, like Earth Day to spread our green message to the community and not just the children that we serve. The people who do the most to help the environment are the ones who know the most about it. That’s why it’s important to start your child learning about the world around them early. While you should do your best to teach them on your own, you can also get some help and consistency carried out by the practices at the school.

Recycling- One of the easiest ways to teach kids about being good stewards of the earth is to teach them about recycling and heave them play an active role in the process in our own home. Kids need to know about why recycling is needed and how we can easily overwhelm our planet with garbage if we don’t recycle whenever possible. The Learningden provides field trips to the local recycling facility so the children can see the recycling process in action.

Snacks and Paper goods - Whenever possible we try to buy organic produce and snacks. Organic foods are not only safer for you to eat, they are more nutritious too. Studies have shown that foods grown organically have a greater nutritional value than conventionally grown foods. The school also has a commitment to buying post consumer recycled products for our paper goods.

Buying used toys and furniture- Whenever possible the Learningden buys used extra clothing and toys. It is one of the best ways to buy recycled materials. The Learningden is committed to saving our planetary resources by shopping for previously loved items. Join our new Swap Mamas site

Conservation- We Teach kids from an early age that conserving resources such as energy and water is important. During nap times we turn off the hallway lights and on all sunny days all the lights in the classrooms are off. We use the light from outside to create an earth conscious and calm natural indoor environment.  We encourage the children to remind each other as well as the staff to save energy and turn off music and lights upon leaving the classrooms and the bathrooms.

Outdoor Classroom-The philosophy of the Outdoor Classroom is that all children need and benefit from more time outdoors. This benefit affects development and learning. It is critical for physical health. Nearly every activity that can be done indoors can be done outdoors. Some activities can only occur outdoors. Other activities occur best outdoors. For children ages 0 to 5, development and learning outdoors are often easier and more beneficial than it is indoors. Full development and integration of outdoor and indoor programs creates the optimal learning and growing environment for young children.

Organic Gardening and Composting - Our school has an emphasis on the earth and teaching children about sustainability at a young age. We love gardening because it gives the whole school an opportunity to engage in healthy, sometimes messy fun and provides an additional outlet for children to exercise and enjoy the outdoors.

So what exactly is organic and natural gardening?

Organic gardening means to plant and grow without using synthetic products, including pesticides and fertilizers. The children learn that the garden is part of a living ecosystem. We then strive to work in harmony with natural systems in order to minimize and replenish the resources that the schools garden consumes.

Composting- The children Recycle from their lunch and we have a compost bin which is new this year. Composting is nature’s way of recycling, but humans can help nature by making compost out of organic household waste. Help a child appreciate the value of composting by teaching him about the various benefits of composting for plants. Composting improves the texture of soil, creating a foundation for increased retention and circulation of nutrients, moisture and air. Composting improves soil structure, providing for better drainage and easier cultivation.

We will also be putting in raised planter boxes to grow herbs and vegetables for cooking projects. The children, plant, maintain and pick everything from, the garden. This year we will once again visit a working sustainable farm and learn about produce sharing programs. We look forward to some great documentation as the year progresses.

Other specialty programs

Shadow play and light room- Discover the Light Effects and Shadow Play room The Learningden has created. The Light room is a play space filled with sensory, art, fine motor and large motor experiences all with the use of black lights, things that glow, and overhead projector and light tables to further a visual sensory experience for the children. Our light and shadow play room is a place for children to explore familiar mediums in a somewhat unfamiliar setting. The room is calm and has classical music to further the Childs mood to calmly create something in a truly unique setting. Though shadow and light are not objects that can be picked up or handled, these experiences provide opportunities for investigation and exploration of how light and shadows move, bend, bounce and change in our physical world. The staff uses this room to further enhance what the children are working on in the classroom.

Integration learning - At the Learningden we make sure that children are exposed to as many different things as possible. We have found that spending time with seniors not only benefits the children but it helps the seniors as well. We offer a program which includes trips to Villa Santa Barbara to do projects with the seniors 3-4 times a year.

Yoga- Yoga enhances children’s flexibility, strength, coordination, and body awareness. In addition, their concentration and sense of calmness and relaxation improves. Doing yoga, children exercise, play, connect more deeply with the inner self, and develop an intimate relationship with the natural world that surrounds them. We offer Yoga starting in November and it is a once a week class.

Dance - This Bi monthly class incorporates, dancing, dramatic play and fun!! Creative movement is a form of movement that embraces children of all genders, ages and abilities, including those with developmental challenges. It is a non-competitive, success-oriented activity that engages the child’s body, mind and spirit.

Music -- Our Music program is Kindermusic based and offers children the opportunity to sing and play instruments. Our Music teacher Mrs. Molly comes once a week and this program is offered to all students, free of charge. Our curriculum lets children develop their innate musical abilities in early childhood and gives them a sound foundation for further musical instruction. Children learn and perform at the end of the year during the summer potluck and graduation.

P.E.- Physical education is a new addition to the Learningden Preschool Specialty Program. This once a week class is provided by Stretch and Grow a local company with fitness professionals specially trained in working with young children. This program not only teaches the children about the benefits of exercise but a monthly newsletter goes home with the children explaining what they are working on as well as tips for parents on appropriate activity for your child as well as nutrition. We are really excited about this new weekly class.

Cooking - Nutrition and cooking is a very important part of our culture at the school. Cooking  is used to accompany themes, as well as teach children about science, math, and multi cultural learning. Once a week every class does a cooking project that either gets eaten at the school or occasionally is sent home to share with their family. We let the children make their own food and prepare all ingredients. This is a great way to also teach children about nutrition and the environment.

Field trips - The Learningden Preschool offers a wide variety of field trips throughout the year, some of these include:

The Land Shark, the ensemble theater, Tye Warner sea center, villa Santa Barbara, Museum of Natural History, Cooking trips to the Doubletree, Fairview Gardens, and much more ! We also have a variety of groups come to the school for performances and engagements .

Dramatic Play - Our Dramatic play and art canopy is outdoors and changes everyday. In the morning the children will come to school with different projects set up outdoors unless the children direct the play boxes to be the same, because of something they are continuing with from the day before. We always have art available to the children as well as beading and wire work or clay and or water. We have plenty of space outdoors to create, we have an off the main street private location set back from the busy street of Hollister Ave..

Parent education and PTA- Because we are an extension of your child’s home we offer several ways to get involved as well as parent nights with guest speakers.

Our PTA was formed to help make the Learningden as family orientated as possible. All parents are part of the PTA and are invited to meet once a month to help plan activities, coordinate events, discuss fundraising and offer suggestions about what we can do to improve the school even further. We welcome all families to participate and the meetings are usually the 2nd Friday of the month at 4:30-5:30. Child care is provided.

Parent speakers - We offer several topic nights throughout the year from professionals in the community that come and educate parents. We offer discussion nights about holistic nutrition, discipline, potty training, nutrition, activities to do with your preschooler, CPR, and any other topics that are of interest to the parents. We also offer a kindergarten night for parents looking into private education or homeschooling where representatives come and are available to answer questions about their school. Most of these nights child care is provided free of charge with advanced reservation.