Back to Carlsbad Preschools

Carlsbad Children's Garden

2518 Jefferson Street
Carlsbad, CA 92008

(760) 729-1558

10 parents took the survey TAKE THE SURVEY

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Reggio-Emilia

From the Director:

Children learn by doing. Teachers are here to facilitate each child's natural curiosity, to delight in discoveries, to encourage children to want to learn more.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

More Information

  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

More Information

  • Puzzles
Time & space more

More Information

  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

More Information

  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
Music more

More Information

  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

More Information

  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

More Information

  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught We present a well thought out environment as a starting point for the children. By carefully observing how they play and really listening to their conversations, teachers are able to supplement and encourage in-depth discussions and extend children's learning.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

By working with each child as an individual, teachers find what works best for each child. We encourage children to share their expertise with others who don't have as much. Those who are very social are subtly paired with others who are more reserved. Our program is very diverse and our children rarely perceive others as different. We expect children to be kind to one another and to be respectful of themselves, others and our school. For those whose skills surpass their peers, we challenge them to theorize more deeply about topics that engage them and to find new ways to share what they learn with others.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Carlsbad Children's Garden program is unique. Our small, home-like setting welcomes children to environments inside and out that inspire discovery and entice children to learn, to develop theories, and to master skills. Carlsbad Children's Garden was created through the efforts of the director who had reached the conclusion that we were not meeting the needs of the children in our care. Without enough time, natural materials, or opportunity for children to construct knowledge, we had succumbed to the institutionalization and commercialization that is standard at conferences and seminars we attended. Believing that young children deserve a meaningful and relevant early education experience, we embraced the opportunity to create an environment that reflects our belief in children as co-creators of learning.

We were drawn to the Reggio Emelia Approach to Early Childhood Education -- to the philosophy, the beauty of the environment, and the openness of the learning process in these Italian schools. We were amazed at the depth of learning that occurs! As typical Americans, we were impressed with the end products -- the drawings, paintings, three dimensional art pieces and the stories created! These very young children produced beautiful, complex works. But the end product is not the goal. There is no assessment, no testing, no scales of measurement typical in American preschools.

So, in embracing this philosophy, how do we reassure you that your child is learning? We must document what they are thinking. Are they suggesting alternatives to problems? Are they learning to work collaboratively with others to find solutions? Are they able to think independently and act upon their theories? Are they persistent enough to problem solve? Are they posing new theories? While vocabulary and facts are a critical part of learning, your children must be able to think creatively, to come to conclusions because they understand the theory that provokes them. Children are intensely fascinated with the physical world and how it works. We provide them with hands-on materials to explore, to manipulate, to support their learning. We provide them with the time to learn. We must simultaneously honor childhood and the need for play while promoting a love of learning. We must inspire your children to achieve their dreams, not work toward the minimums of standardized tests.

In furnishing our school, we have carefully selected furnishings and accessories that feel like home. We have things that may seem unusual in a preschool -- a leather couch, jars (not plastic) full of paint, books on art, rocks, bridges, and architecture to read and enjoy; paintings by the masters on the walls. By placing intriguing discoveries in their environment, your child's brain is enriched and neural pathways necessary for more complex learning are expanded. We incorporate things that provoke a sense of mystery and wonder, creating curiosity about how these things work, where they came from, and what can be learned from manipulating them. We intentionally chose equipment that encourages children to work together or to get help in executing an idea.

Children deserve the best our world has to offer. They deserve to be surrounded with beauty, softness, and comfort as well as order and attention to health and safety. Childhood is a time of wonder and magic and is filled with a powerful desire to learn and understand the world around us. The most productive learning occurs when children are offered interesting materials, ample time and opportunity to investigate, transform and invent -- without contrived interruptions. So we provide large blocks of uninterrupted time, ample natural materials to manipulate, explore and with which to invent.

The most critical element is the teacher, who facilitates the child's construction of knowledge and encourages their curiosity. Without question, we have the best teachers!

A Typical Day

Our day begins with an Opening Meeting. We greet friends, sign-in, and discover changes in the environment. This discussion creates the day's routine or schedule -- our "Planned Possibilities". A pictoral documentation of "Planned Possibilities", a typical day for that group, is created when children are able to articulate what their day entails.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Parents are encouraged to meet with teachers/director at any time regarding their child's progress. Teachers talk with parents on a daily basis and are expected to relate at least one positive anecdote to the parents regarding their child's activities each day. Formal conferences are scheduled upon request. As children complete their final year with us, we conference with parents regarding kindergarten. An Open House/Orientation Meeting is held in the Fall for new families.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

When a child is enrolled at our school, parents are encourage to visit as many times as possible for a few minutes at a time, during different times of the day when their child would typically attend. This gives the child a better sense of the others in their new environment and for the parent to see how teachers work with the children, how they handle conflicts, how discipline is handled. They are encouraged to ask as many questions as they can so that they are confident in leaving their child in our care. When it is time to really start school, parents are reminded to establish a short, clear drop-off routine, to acknowledge their child's emotions, and to tell them they trust them to be able to enjoy playing. Teachers help parents know when it is time to separate and parents are encouraged to call to check on their child as often as they need during the day.