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Minigym Explorations

4115 Jacksol Drive
San Jose, CA 95124

(408) 559-4616


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

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

From the Director:

During our 33 years Exploragym has developed a very organized lesson system of teaching children. By using a play based curriculum, and introducing creative activities each day, we are providing an atmosphere for our children who are really playing to learn. During the recent time, we have upgraded our early learning activities to include a strong emphasis on phonics in the pre k program. We use phonics workbooks to help children along the way, and have two short regular times a day when we work on math and reading concepts. Children learn to recognize letters in the alphabet, know their sounds, and then learn to blend these sounds. This blending leads to reading words.

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
  • felt pens & paper art cart
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • number carpet to walk on
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
  • garden of veges and flowers
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • Music lady who comes Mon.
Visual arts more

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

More Information

  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • 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
  • indoor gym equipment
Other subjects taught The children love to play outside. Whether active in the sandbox, gardening, running on the grass, kicking balls and rolling hoops, children can enjoy themselves while either solitary or in group activity. Playing with big trucks also is a popular activity outside, as is our water table for science play and experimenting with measuring of volume while pouring filling different sized containers during the warmer weather months.

From the Director:

Exploragym is a wonderful place for your child to grow. Allowing for some unstructured time allows for independent play, time to relate to others can make the connection for first friendships. Children need a time to make their own choice from the wide choice of materials provided. Thinking about how to use these materials promotes cognitive development. At Exploragym, we strive to give each child at least an hour of unstructured time each day to play and develop his own ideas. This little open time is also where creativity begins. During open activity time, teachers are close at hand and will interact with the children, bring out additional supplies, or toys to enhance what plans they have underway. This is a great time for conversation to develop between the children and teacher about what they are building, thinking about doing next, and how they can work together to accomplish their task. it is also a great way to bring a shy child into the group. These are all benefits of self directed group play in our preschool. It is only one important hour of our daily program.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

At Exploragym our teachers always have time to help a child learn a new task. One child may be learning to print his name and a teacher will sit down and help him individually without it being written in some lesson plan "we are printing names today." With a small child/teacher ratio, as we have at Exploragym, we know every individual child well, understand his needs and know what he will be learning next. It is quite rewarding to see the improvement in each child's abilities as the months go by. We have an experrienced, well educated staff, who are genuinely interested in the development of all students in their care.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Exploragym offers a total preschool curriculum designed to encourage independence, curiosity, and socialization skills according to the maturation and personal makeup unique to each child. We are a developmental preschool, which means we understand that growth is orderly, structured, and predictable.
Our preschool offers the key ingredients to your child's growth and development. Our classes include important concepts of math and phonics done through teacher lead class time and also blended into play activities during the day.

A Typical Day

Monday "EXAMPLE"
Theme: "Art Explosion"
9:00-10:15 Free Play
10:15-10:30 First Circle
Good Morning Song
Days of the Week Song
Months of he Year Song
Weather Song
Counting in Spanish
Story: Cat In The Hat
Look at the art on our walls,and talk about our art today, "Splatter Art"
10:30-10:45 Cooking Time-Stainedglass Cookies
The children follow the recipe with the help of Teacher Rosanne. Children take turns,counting, as they are measuring, and mixing.
10:45-11:00 The children frost their own cookies and admire them, then eat them with milk.
11:00-11:15 Active Movement Indoors
"Parachute Rollerball"game to music.
11:15-11:30 Movement: Moving around an assigned course: Begin at the "Go" sign: Children go up the bridge and across, slide down and walk across the balance beam then crawl through the tunnel, then climb up the eight foot tower to jump to the crash pad. Now, on to the "Stop" sign and then, run off to find the "GoSign", and begin again.
11:30-11:45 Art activity: "Splatter Painting"
Using a large box to prevent splattering on floor, children use the colors they choose to "flick" the paint onto their paper to make a splatter creation. They come back many times to make a colorful effect.
11:45-12:00 kindergarten readiness: We are working on pre-reading activities today and review of the sounds m,n,o,p. The children have to circle the words that match the pictures and the first letter of the matching word.
12:00-12:30 lunch and free play
12:30-12:45 finger painting /color mixing
12:45-1:00 Last Circle
The Goodbye Song
Parents Arrive

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

At Exploragym parents receive a monthly newsletter about what is going on in their child's class, have an e-mail address connected with the lead teacher so parents may e-mail back and forth with her as needed to keep close tabs on their child's progress. We hold periodic open house and frequent times for parents to visit or help in the classroom, and parent teacher meetings.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • 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
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Small group sessions
  • Parents in classroom early on

Handling Separation: From the Director

When children are going to school for the first time, they sometimes suffer from separation anxiety. We have always allowed parents to stay in the classroom for the first ten- twenty minutes or so if needed to help their child see that our room is a safe and fun place to be. We then ask the parent to say goodbye and leave quickly. A teacher will be there to take the new child by the hand and find an activity they can do together.
We ask the parent to call back after about a half hour later to see how their chid is doing. Usually, by then, their child is involved in some activity and not crying.

This process of Mom staying awhile is repeated each day until the child becomes used to his new surroundings and happy at school.

If however, a child were to continue crying for a longer period of time and cannot stop himself, when Mom calls, we ask her if she would care to come back and stay for the rest of the day. This is a rare happening. Most children settle in after a week or so. We always make sure to greet each child as they come in to school so they will feel at home with us.