How do you meet the unique needs of each child?
In having such a small class, we are able to really come to know each child individually and as they relate to the other children in class. We truly desire a partnership with families so that we can provide the best care for each child. When new families join us, we spend a bit of time visiting the child and family in their own home. Children love to show their teachers all of their things in their own environment and this visit offers a perfect opportunity for our teachers to learn what truly inspires and engages each child. We seek collaboration from parents to know and understand their child. Further, we believe in observing our children as they move throughout the days and weeks to adjust our approaches as needed. Finally, we have prepared our play and learning environments to support diverse learning needs and interests. We have set up a wide array of easily accessible centers including science, art, literacy, pretend and practical play. All materials include a mix of playthings and educational materials that are age-appropriate for three- to six-year-olds. These materials are varied to meet different learners' needs, interests, and abilities.
How do you maintain a clean, healthy environment?
We believe in creating the healthiest environment possible for our children and yours to grow and thrive. To do this, we believe in getting dirty and in getting clean!
Children are encouraged to actively play in the sand, dirt, and gardens. Recent research has found that working and playing in soil can help with regulation of emotional behavior in addition to supporting a healthy, regulated immune system. But, we must be clean too! We use environmentally and kid friendly products at ADS. We clean with vinegar and essential oils on a daily basis and do deep cleans with bleach as required by state licensure only when children are not present. We use only naturally derived soaps and scents.
We encourage children to engage in periods of activity and rest as both are equally important to build healthy constitutions.
We believe in limiting our exposure to pollution and toxins to the best of our abilities. Thus, we serve healthy, organic foods and drinks. We purify our indoor air through use of filters and natural plant purifiers. We use filtered water for cooking and drinking.
Finally, we use natural products for pest control indoors, outdoors, and in our gardens.
What do the children eat? How is the food prepared and served? Why is this so important?
At Arcadian Day School, we believe our optimal health, well-being, and learning are supported when we eat healthy, nutritious foods and when we care for our environment as well as we care for ourselves. Our meals are prepared from scratch with local, organic ingredients whenever possible. We are part of a local food cooperative that supplies our fresh, organic fruits and vegetables that are sourced locally and seasonally. Many meals use ingredients from our on-site organic garden boxes and our organic Omega-enriched eggs are gathered by the children daily. They love to see how beautiful the eggs are especially the green ones! Meals are prepared using cast iron, stainless steel, and ceramic cookware to prevent non-stick residue or aluminum contamination. Food is stored in glass containers to prevent chemical leaching. Meals are served on ceramic plates and bowls to eliminate landfill waste. All paper products are composted to teach how to reduce waste.
We know many lessons can be learned as we gather and prepare our meals together, set a beautiful table, serve one another, have lively discussion, and clean up after ourselves and each other. Therefore, meals are served family style. The children help prepare and serve meals to their friends. They set the table with ceramic and stainless steel dishware and napkins. All are asked to help clean up after lunch and snack before returning to activity. Whenever possible, meals and snacks are served in the fresh air outdoors.
Sample lunch menu during cool months:
1% Organic Milk and Water offered with every lunch. Ingredients are organic and made from scratch whenever possible. Fruit is sourced locally and in season when possible thus is labeled as Fresh Fruit.
Monday: Pasta (GF pasta available) with Tomato and Meat Sauce, Green Peas, Fresh Fruit
Tuesday: Buckwheat Blueberry Pancakes with Sunflower Butter and Honey, Yogurt, Fresh Fruit
Wednesday: Homemade Chili with Beans, Lentils, Corn and Tomatoes, Homemade Corn Bread, Fresh Fruit
Thursday: Tacos with Seasoned Quinoa and Corn Tortilla
Served with Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cheese, Fresh Fruit
Friday: Homemade Pizzas, Raw Vegetables, Fresh Fruit
Cool weather snacks consist of water, dried fruits and fresh fruits, hardboiled eggs, and homemade breads, popcorn, muffins, and crackers.
Warm weather snacks consist of water, fresh fruits and vegetables, rice cakes, homemade popcorn, hummus, and crackers.
Note: We do accomodate many nutritional needs/restrictions. Please contact us if you have any questions. We are a NUT-FREE preschool.
How do you support and encourage kindergarten readiness?
We understand how important it is for our children to be ready for school, but we do not want to miss out on the fun of the preschool stage to prepare for the next! That's why we incorporate learning in all of our fun activities and fun into all of our learning activities! A lot of thought and intention goes into our daily routines, activities, and learning space so that experiences will be maximized for fun and for learning!
The main domains in which children should be prepared for kindergarten and beyond include social and emotional development; physical and motor development; language and literacy development; mathematics and numeracy development.
At ADS, a morning in the garden weeding, watering, and harvesting touches on each of the domains above. Social and emotional development are fostered as children work together to identify what should be removed from the garden to help it grow best, practice self-control to take care of what should be left, and persist in a task that takes time and effort. Physical and motor development are supported as children turn on, fill up, and pour out water for the plants, work with the garden tools, and turn the compost bin. Language and literacy development are encouraged as children learn the names of each plant, how they are used, and can describe what they smell, look, feel, and taste like. It is furthered as we search books for the insects found in our gardens and read about how seeds grow. Mathematics and numeracy are fostered as children count leaves, measure growth, and learn directional concepts of above/below, in front/behind, etc. The learning continues as we wash up and turn our daily harvest into a green smoothie for snack or mix it with the eggs gathered that morning for omelets at lunch. Children are always amazed at how awesome fresh veggies taste from the gardens they tend! Their pride is evident. And, they have had a wonderful morning full of rich learning opportunities.