Elephánta Preschool | Organic, Holistic, Natural, Cultural
Elephánta offers a part-time cultural arts preschool program for children ages 2.5-5 on Tuesdays/Thursdays from 9 am-1 pm.
The heart of our program focuses on a holistic approach to education, one that develops a child’s deep connection to the natural world. Our curriculum will draw upon the knowledge, cultural background, interests and experiences of each family member. Natural materials, cultural arts, storytelling, fresh and organic foods are some of the core parts of our school program.
Additionally, we aim to strike a balance between developing a child's creative thinking capacity and her scientific or academic thinking skills. The step-by-step scientific approach to learning is highly perfected in the Montessori method, while creative thinking is best developed through play-based learning.
Our goal is to provide both, under the umbrella of an integrated curriculum.
We understand the critical importance of supporting the parent and adult attachments in a child's life, and so our very small class sizes of 6-8 children per group helps create the nurturing environment that children need.
When I was a child, I studied in public schools in Los Angeles from elementary school all the way to college. If public education taught me anything, it was to realize that education can be so much more! Alongside my public education I studied Indian dance from a young age. The stories told through the dance nurtured me, and the technical perfection the art demands taught me focus and discipline, not to mention strength and grace. My arts education gave me so much more than the dulling experience of the mass education offered in public schools and I am so grateful for this.
Ironically, despite my unhappy experiences with public schools - or perhaps because of them, one day, I found myself teaching in a public charter school in a first grade classroom. I had visions of bringing a holistic approach to education into the public schools. After 4 years, I realized that the system did not support such endeavors. Seeking out a place where such ideas are encouraged, I accepted a job as a teacher at a progressive preschool where I taught for a number of years.
Now, I am eager to bring my knowledge of arts education together with experiences in preschool education, while mixing in my passion for stories and my natural inclination towards holistic living to start this new endeavor: Elephánta Preschool.
I hope you will join me on this adventure.
The ancient art of storytelling will serve as the hub through which the curriculum revolves. Storytelling was one of the primary ways that human values were communicated in traditional cultures. Many stories also speak to our unconscious mind through character archetypes, and tap into our inner psyche. Storytelling also sparks imaginative thinking, as the child creates his own unique images based on the audio and visual input of the storyteller. Our intention is to move away from the fragmented education that is common in our society today, and instead, integrate the learning experience for the child through stories.
At Elephánta, we choose our stories with great care, and through them we open up to the child whole new worlds of expression: in movement, music, arts, crafts, language, and yes, even science and math!
Many of our stories are drawn from cultures from around the globe. This multi-cultural element broadens children's awareness of the world in all its diversity.
Families are invited to take part in the preschool so your child is emotionally supported and his or her school experiences are seamlessly integrated into home life.
In the afternoon one day per week, parents are asked to come at 12:30 pm to participate in a parent session while the children play outdoors until preschool ends at 1 pm. This is a time for parents to discuss parenting techniques based on several compassionate parenting models, to give each other moral and practical support in specific areas of parenting, and to work together to support the school's activities. This time together enables us to build a strong and interconnected community.
In addition, we hope parents can volunteer in the preschool classroom 10 times during the school year. This will allow family members to fully share and model their skills, interests, and hobbies with the students while in the classroom.
Families are encouraged to come to school on time so children can settle into the circle time and storytelling activity that begins at about 9:30 am. The story will often include movement and music and will run approximately 20 minutes. Storytime will be followed by a focused work activity. A light fruit snack will be served after which children will begin outdoor activities. These may be structured or free depending on the curriculum. An indoor period that often includes story book reading follows. Lunch will be served around 12:30 pm and the school day will culminate in free play.
School days will generally follow the LAUSD calendar. This includes winter and spring holidays. In addition, we may offer a summer session.
Tuition is $4500/10-month year ($3500 for parents who are able to volunteer in the classroom 10 times over the school year). Tuition is divided into monthly installments for convenience and pro-rated for late enrollees.
Materials Fee: $100/year (nonrefundable).
Organic Food Fee: $200/year (nonrefundable)
Registration fee: $20 (nonrefundable). Registration does not guarantee enrollment.
locationWest Hills, Los Angeles, California
Radha Carman: email@example.com
6815 Platt Avenue, West Hills, CA 91307
Our Preschool Culture - Creating a Natural and Holistic Environment
Character Clothes and Toys
A Model Preschool
Visit our Blog: Storytelling Crafts
Join us on Facebook: Elephanta Preschool
At Elephánta, our goal is to share culture and art, to bring people together to learn and to celebrate the rich cultural traditions that make up our world. Join us in this adventure!
Drumming is a regular theme for circle time. Our children learn rhythms on different types of percussion instruments such as bells, gongs, rattles, and drums. We beat rhythms to accompany songs, we improvise rhythms, and sometimes we use percussion to embellish our stories.
Our stories inspire pretend play. In this photo, the children play a cat (el gato) peeking at a mouse (el ratón) through a fence. It's a story based on a Cuban folktale, The Barking Mouse.
Many of our arts and crafts work is related to the stories we tell.
Below the children construct a fence in the sand to keep in el gato, the character in the Cuban folktale, The Barking Mouse.
Along with sprouting real carrot seeds, and telling the story The Giant Carrot, the children create model seedlings with yarn and tissue paper.
Rolling out dough to make gingerbread men ornaments followed the telling of the Gingerbread Man.
Through stories, songs, movement, crafts, and food, we explore other cultures.
This year, inspired by one of our parents, we delved into Huichol culture - indigenous culture from central Mexico. Stories such as Tlacuache's Tail, The Eagle and the Rainbow, and a Huichol creation myth were told and enacted during circle time. A parent brought in a Huichol beaded sculpture so we could see and feel the textures and colors...
and we approximated this experience with our crafts.
We played Huichol music, read Huichol story books...
and made our own tortillas with fresh masa...yum!
Children learn about the world through all their senses.
Grinding home-grown herbs with a mortar and pestle releases their fragrance.
Rice play is soothing...and you can tell stories with it too!
Then there's water exploration and experiencing the colors and textures of red, yellow, and blue paint as it mixes to form brown.
We often take practical objects from the real world for our Montessori materials -
like clamps and wood inspired a child to design a helicopter; nuts and bolts connect pieces of wood together.
Plus typical Montessori materials:
...towers, pouring, and hammering.
Our science exploration is inspired by direct experiences:
When attempting to make a golden-colored play dough using turmeric (which is yellow), we discovered the turmeric turned rose when combined with baking soda (alkaline). A child thought it was "hilarious."
When our banana palm tree fell, we cut up the trunk so the children could dissect it. There were so many textures!
A beautiful June beetle died in our back yard and so it became a natural extension of our science exploration.
The wind in West Hills inspired us to make kites one day using our fall leaves as leaf prints:
On another day, we collected fallen leaves to make ornaments.
We love to have our parents come in to share their interests with the class.
One of our parents worked with the children on yoga asanas based on a yoga book for kids.
Another parent helped us with gardening, planting broccoli, kale, bell pepper, and snap peas.
During free play, we encourage children to be creative in developing their own games, such as using popsicle sticks as pins for bowling or using a lever to send objects flying upward.
Making incline ramps for cars...
Or making their own seesaw!
Gardening is another regular activiy we engage in. Children watch their teachers garden, and participate when they feel motivated.
They pull weeds, add ammendment, plant seedlings, and are taught to use real tools.
And often their hard work is rewarded with a nice squiggly worm!
Plus we have our own worm pets that we take care of to make vermipost (worm poop compost)!
Real World Activities
We encourage our students to participate in real world activities such as setting the table, washing dishes, vacuuming the carpet, and sweeping up spilt rice.
When our old tent became too torn up to use, we decided to make a tipi with the branches from our Eucalyptus tree!
The children take a break from their hard work by noshing on garden fresh green onions.
The children are invited to cut their own fruits and vegetables for snack if they choose.
Sometimes we are fortunate to be able to pick fresh foods from our own garden for our meals.
Our organic lunches are simple and usually include hot beans and fresh vegetables.
Lunch is time for everyone to come together to celebrate a long day of hard work!
And there is always plenty of time for jumping!