About Leaping Lizards
Goals and Objectives
- To stimulate and reinforce children’s curiosity of nature.
- To provide children with opportunities to be exposed to a variety of natural contexts, environmental topics and activities through hands-on participation.
- To instill knowledge of and a concern for conservation and preservation of our natural resources.
- To provide opportunities for children to develop self-confidence in themselves while exploring their natural surroundings.
- To provide children with a positive experience in the outdoors, performing age appropriate environmental education activities.
- To support and enhance each child’s inherent “sense of wonder.”
The preschool classes begin in early September and end in early June of each school year. Classes meet two days a week ( either MW for TTH). Children ages 3, 4 and young 5s are eligible to be in the program. Children must have turned three by the first day of school and must be potty-trained. There is a maximum of nine children in each class with either two or three adults present.
Preschool classes offered are as follows:
- Monday/Wednesday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
- Tuesday/Thursday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Goals of a Quality Preschool Nature Program
The purpose of any preschool nature program should be to help children relate to their world. However, we believe that a quality program goes far beyond this. In such a program, children learn to be naturalists and “keepers of the earth”. Children are given the opportunity to observe, appreciate, and interact with the natural world that surrounds them. As young scientists, they are encouraged to observe, to explore and experiment.
A quality preschool nature program does not fill children with facts and scientific names, but instead develops inquiring minds and the skills with which to search for explanations. Nature education is not about providing all the answers but rather, it is about helping children develop the means to search out the answers and connect deeply with the wonder of the natural world.
Preschool nature education emphasizes awareness and appreciation. Educators capitalize on young children’s natural scientist-like tendencies and strive to increase their sense of wonder and curiosity. A quality preschool nature program allows children the freedom to learn by doing and experiencing. This approach helps children develop respect for the world around them and ultimately gives them a strong foundation for continual healthy growth and development.
A typical day at Leaping Lizards Nature Awareness Preschool begins at 9:00AM when the children and teachers meet at the “School Room and Garden”. This is a time when parents can check in with the teachers and for the parents to have a few minutes of playtime with their child. Goodbyes are supported by the staff as necessary. We understand that the separation of parent and child can be difficult for both and we are ready to give the supportive listening that might be needed.
When it is time to leave our Palo Alto nature preschool facility, all children are secured in car seats provided by the school. During the school year, parents rotate in as volunteers and help assist with our preschool day. Any parent who is volunteering drives their own car behind the van. The children are free to choose a different seat each day and are encouraged to sit next to different friends throughout the school year. The lead teacher drives the van with the assistant teacher in the passenger seat or, at times, in the back seat with the children.