Elephánta Preschool | Organic, Holistic, Natural, Cultural

Located in West San Fernando Valley | Elephánta Preschool on Facebook | Storytelling Crafts Blog | Preschool Gallery


child with horseElephánta offers a part-time cultural arts preschool program for children ages 2.5-5 on Tuesdays/Thursdays from 8:45 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. 

my story

Radha in Elephanta GardensWhen I was a child, I studied in public schools in Los Angeles from elementary school all the way to college. 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. Honestly, my arts education gave me so much compared to the mass education I experienced in public schools - and I am grateful for this.

Ironically, 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.


Children readingThe 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!

World Cultures
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.

parent involvement

Foot Painting ActivityFamilies are invited to take part in the preschool so children are emotionally supported and their school experiences are seamlessly integrated into home life. Stories told during circle time will be shared with families so they can be retold at home.
Additionally, family members are asked to share in the preschool once a month. Families are welcome to share their skills, interests, and hobbies with the students, or read a book, tell a story, or lead an activity.


mixing paintsDaily:
Families are asked to stay from 8:45 until 9 am to help their children settle into the school environment. Circle time and storytelling begins at about 9:30 and will run approximately 20 minutes. This will be followed by a craft and 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 12:45 pm.

Winter and spring holidays will follow the LAUSD calendar. The school year begins after Labor Day in the first week of September and ends in late June.


Fabric PlayTuition for 2018-19 school year is $3800/10-months. Tuition is divided into monthly installments for convenience and pro-rated for late enrollees.

Additional Fees:
Materials Fee: $200/year (nonrefundable).
Registration fee: $20 (nonrefundable). Registration does not guarantee enrollment.


West Hills, Los Angeles, California


Child Looking BackRadha Carman: info@elephanta.org

6815 Platt Avenue, West Hills, CA 91307

Our Preschool Culture - Creating a Natural and Holistic Environment

Media Restrictions

Character Clothes and Toys

Healthy Food

Parenting Support

School Philosophies

A Model Preschoolfoot circle

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!

A Peek into our New Preschool:

Circle Time

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.

mother and child drum mridangam

Pretend Play

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.

cat and mouse play

Storytelling Crafts

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.

Cultural Experiences

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.

beading Huichol

We played Huichol music, read Huichol story books...

story books

and made our own tortillas with fresh masa...yum!


Sensory Play

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!

rice play

Then there's water exploration and experiencing the colors and textures of red, yellow, and blue paint as it mixes to form brown.

water play brown

Montessori Work

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.

clamping Montessori Using clamps to make a helicopter nutsbolts


Plus typical Montessori materials:

real tools in the garden pouring kernels hammering

...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."

turmeric experiment


When our banana palm tree fell, we cut up the trunk so the children could dissect it. There were so many textures!

banana palm banana palm

A beautiful June beetle died in our back yard and so it became a natural extension of our science exploration.



Emergent Curriculum

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.

jungle king crown

Parent Involvement

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.


Outdoor Games

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.

bowling lever

Making incline ramps for cars...

june beetle ramps

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.

digging real tools

ammeding soil worm

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.

setting table dish washing

vacuuming sweeping

When our old tent became too torn up to use, we decided to make a tipi with the branches from our Eucalyptus tree!

stripping leaves lifting tipi


The children take a break from their hard work by noshing on garden fresh green onions.


Organic Food

The children are invited to cut their own fruits and vegetables for snack if they choose.

cutting snack


Sometimes we are fortunate to be able to pick fresh foods from our own garden for our meals.

picking oranges

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!

kids eating lunch


Free Play

And there is always plenty of time for jumping!