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Nishi Hongwanji Child Development Center

815 East First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

(213) 687-4585


NAEYC accredited, designed to serve Buddhist families. We serve children from 2.6 years through kindergarten. We are part of the LA Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Teacher-Led

From the Director:

Preschool program uses HIgh/Scope, active learning philosophy and curriculum emphasizing learning by doing. We partner with parents to provide quality care and education. Families are encouraged to interact with the Little Tokyo neighborhood through visits to the library and involvement with community events.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

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

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  • 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

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  • Puzzles
Time & space more

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

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

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

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  • 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 Specialty classes in art, music, Japanese dance and language are offered.

From the Director:

We take monthly visits to the Little Tokyo Library for story times. We also go on 4 -5 field trips a year. We are also active in local community and temple events such as Nisei Week and Obon festivals.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Our 8 to 1 ratio of children to teachers, small school size and the High/Scope program, allow us to get to know each child's individual developmental needs. In addtion, we meet regularly with parents to maximize children's learning potential.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"The family is the most important influence on a child's total development.
The preschool can assist parents in this very important task.
Young children learn best through the active learning process.
Integral parts of the process include: a staff that is sensitive to the
needs and capabilities of each child, and a program that enriches and
reinforces children by fostering experiences in the following areas:
1. Social and emotional growth
2. Cognition
3. Large motor development
4. Small motor development
5. Music and creative expression
6. Religious and cultural awareness
Children's play is their work. Through their exploration and manipulation
of the environment comes understanding and learning. Teachers'
role is to provide a safe, stimulating environment and serve as guides.
The open classroom arrangement provides the child the opportunity
to make choices, meet his own needs, become independent and
enhance his/her self-esteem."
Excerpted from the preschool's website

A Typical Day

7:00 - 8:30 am Option time (self-selected activity)
Indoor and outdoor play
8:00 - 8:45 am Morning snack
8:45 - 9:00 am Circle time
9:00 - 9:15 am Religious Service
9:15 - 10:00 am Outdoor play/snack/Circle Time
10:00 - 10:30 am Small group (teacher initiated activity)
10:30 am - 12:00 pm Plan, work, recall/outdoor activities
12:00 - 12:30 pm Lunch
12:30 - 12:45 pm Toilet and brushing teeth
12:45 - 3:00 pm Nap time
3:00 - 4:00 pm Option time
4:00 - 4:30 pm Afternoon snack and story
4:30 - 5:15 pm Outdoor activites
5:15 - 5:45 pm Circle Time
5:45 - 6:00 pm Book area
Excerpted from the preschool's website

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Communication is key. We start with a Parent Orientation. We encourage parents to speak informally with teachers weekly. We publish a newsletter in paper and e-mail form. We hold 2 parent-teacher conferences per year. We hold parent meetings and workshops. We have family get-togethers and school events. Parents are invited on field trips and library visits.


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation

Handling Separation: From the Director

We encourage parents and children to visit the school before starting, to meet the teachers and experience the daily routine. We recommend leaving the child for an hour or so and coming back (rather than staying in the classroom), and then gradually lengthening the stay. We will help establish a "drop-off routine" that will help ease the separation.