Fostering Your Child’s Academic, Social and Emotional Growth
The curriculum at the Secret Garden is diverse and rich in content and includes art, science, math, reading, literature, music, foreign language, dance, journaling, and much more with the intention of fostering social interactions, independent play, exploration, and creativity. The school is committed to a hands-on approach; children are encouraged to explore and use their imaginations with all of our equipment and materials.
Daily class schedules are designed to give the students the opportunity to engage in independent or child-directed play/activities as well as in teacher-led group activities that build community spirit, cooperation, and social skills (sharing, listening, sharing thoughts with friends.) Typically, each class consists of the following basic components: choice time/free play, circle time, group activities (art, science, literature, dance, singing, etc.), snack, outdoor play, clean-up, journal time, and a closure circle.
Academically, the school program is designed to help children learn basic skills in math (counting, number recognition, patterns, classification skills, etc.), pre-reading (letter and sound recognition, journaling activities, etc.) and science (exploration, observation, nature collecting, hands-on experiments, cooking, etc.). These concepts are presented in all classes in developmentally-appropriate, fun, and creative ways. Art is an important tool in teaching all of these concepts; it also promotes self-expression, self-esteem, and respect for others.
Each classroom has two teachers for 10 to 12 students, resulting in student to teacher ratios of 5-6:1. This allows us to focus on individual student's needs and developmental stage.
Under the COVID-19 pandemic we require your child to be potty trained. In normal times (no pandemic), your child does not need to be potty trained to enroll at the Secret Garden Preschool. Our teachers are well-versed in helping with this area of development and will work with you to complete the process. We do ask that you keep your child’s cubby stocked with wipes and pull-ups.
We are so proud to offer a program rich in both science and the arts. Because of our director’s strong science background, our curriculum, especially at the Pre-K level, includes many science-related activities. In addition, starting with the Twos / Threes classes, and continuing to the Fours and Pre-K classes, we have dance and music specialists each week.
Our days and times are set in order to provide a rich curriculum for all of our children. Each week’s plan is created with a balance of activities that is accomplished by having a predictable schedule for the teachers to follow. Check out our class schedules under the "Enrollment" tab.
Under the Covid-19 Pandemic, all of our classes are held outdoors with masks required for everyone. We have learned that our young students can and do wear masks consistently despite their young age. Indoor class rooms are directly available onsite for safety in the event of severe weather. The indoor classrooms are ventilated with open windows and HEPA air filters to keep air clean.
In normal, non-pandemic times, the teachers use both indoor and outdoor spaces for learning and play.
The disciplinary method that we employ at our school is based on the “Positive Discipline” books written by Jane Nelsen. Basically, it involves teaching children how to be respectful and responsible members of a community. Since so much of a preschool child’s development hinges on their social and emotional growth, one of the most important jobs as a teacher at the Secret Garden is to model and teach behaviors that are kind and respectful to all.
Our teachers use kind but clear examples of respectful and compassionate behaviors to help children learn these important social skills. We also use lots of positive encouragement and praise as our students practice and ultimately acquire these important social skills. A key component of this philosophy is that all children feel that they are important and contributing members of our community which is accomplished by encouraging children to listen to and express their feelings with each other so that they can resolve conflicts in a compassionate way through dialogs and cooperation.
Our teaching philosophy focuses on academic, social and emotional development. You can read more about our philosophy here.
First and foremost, each teacher must be able to engage and inspire our students in a safe and supportive manner. We expect our teachers to have a BA, preferably in a child-related area. In addition, they must show an interest in early childhood development. Many of our teachers are graduate students studying child counseling or child psychology or students studying to be teachers.
Children this age are generally curious and excited to learn new things. We provide lots of hands-on activities and child-directed play to meet those needs. Many different types of children thrive in our program and we encourage parents to ask questions and inform us about their child’s specific needs.
The Secret Garden refers to the King County, WA guidelines for early learning and child learning centers to help keep our community safe and reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.