How old do they have to be to start?
Children need to be three years old by September 1 of the year they begin preschool. This is not only because of developmental readiness, but also to be aligned with the age requirements of California Department of Ed.
Do the have to be potty trained?
Yes. And here’s what that means….potty trained means that the child is aware of their body’s signals and are able to notify an adult that they need to go or independently get themselves to the toilet with or without an adult’s accompaniment. Accidents are a fact of life with any recently mastered skill – so having some extra clothes is always a good idea.
Are the kids grouped by age?
No. One of our core values is the essential need for people to interact successfully with a wide variety of personalities and skill sets. The organic learning that takes place when kids of different ages play together is much richer and more complex than single age classrooms. It requires children to resolve difference, compensate and adjust to different abilities and to have positive experiences both as learners and leaders.
Do you teach the alphabet and numbers?
We have purposefully created a language, number and symbol rich environment and are mindful to notice and make their practical use visible to children. The demonstration of the contextual value of reading something or writing a sign or book or note is a powerful motivation for a child, when ready, to challenge themselves to master these skills. Teachers narrate their use of all aspects of the environment so children are being made aware of many possibilities and always with the message that they are competent and can learn whatever they are interested in and motivated toward.
What do you do about “discipline”?
We practice mindfulness, social justice and practice democratic process for settling all kinds of problems, conflicts and questions. Recognizing that other people’s feelings and wishes are of equal value and must be respected as such creates a compassionate backdrop for defining the way the group will make choices, use materials and how they will interact with one another.
Is lunch provided?
Children bring lunch from home. You will be notified if there are any children with serious food allergies and the expectation is that the community will support that child by eliminating those products from school lunches. We ask that lunches contain a variety of easy to manage, wholesome and nutritious foods. Kids can access their lunches throughout the day so a few extra items may be appropriate. Snacks are provided and consist of fruits, vegetables, cheese, nut butters, crackers and different breads. If there is a cooking project, sometimes the result will be snack for that day.
Are there naps? What if my child doesn’t nap?
Anyone can rest or nap on any given day. The younger kids have a more formalized rest time each day. Older kids have a rest after lunch where the take time to lie down, relax and listen to a story or look at a book on their own. We find that a collective “deep breath” in the middle of the day refreshes everyone before starting the afternoon activities.
Will my child be “ready” for Kindergarten?
Absolutely. Children from RTG have gone on to be vibrant and successful students in public and private schools. By making the confidence and competence of each individual our primary focus, we’re preparing kids to be strong learners. Believing in your ability to meet challenges is a lifelong strength and what is most developmentally essential. Kindergarten is where children go to learn to read and write. We believe preschool is where they go to learn about how to successfully comport themselves in the context of a school community.
My child is really active – how much outdoor time is there?
The outdoor space is considered classroom so it is open and available to everyone most of the day. The only exceptions are the times when everyone is gathered together, lunch and morning meeting for example. During project time, there is purposeful work happening outside as well as inside. The outdoors is as carefully prepared and facilitated as the other areas of the program.
So, what’s the answer to the question about the kind of kid that is successful at RTG? Just about any child will flourish in this environment of compassion, encouragement, community building, self-awareness, social justice, joy and love. The real question is if this is an approach that feels right to you as a parent. Your support and confidence is what is necessary to build a relationship based on trust and respect for kids and their process of finding their gifts, strength and heart.
Did we miss your question? Let us know what other info would be useful in this format….oh, and join us for an Open House. I promise you’ll see and hear way more than we could possibly convey on a website!