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Rahula Community Preschool

Po Box 483
Crestone, CO 81131-0483

(719) 256-5020


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Philosophy & Approach

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"Preschool children possess open minds and keen sensitivities that enable them to learn more from first-hand experience than at any other time of life. The school offers an environment that stimulates and encourages children to follow their own natural impulses of interest, curiosity and creativity. The emphasis is on independence, responsible freedom and joyful discipline.
The parents are a child's first and most important teachers; thus, the school's goal is to support the parenting experience. Rahula Preschool is dedicated to creating a strong sense of community for the teacher, parents and children. This close sense of community is not only supportive for the adults; it is vital for the children and enables them to feel the school is an extension of home"
Excerpted from the preschool's website

A Typical Day

"Daily Schedule
9:00 - 10:00 a.m. Arrival Time and Independent Play
Each child arrives at school in his/her own way. Some need to be outside engaged in physical activity; others need to be inside with a book or quieter activity. The morning good-bye is a very valuable time for experiencing and experimenting with transitions. Often sensory play (see p. 3) is offered at this time as a way of easing this transition. We ask that parents to leave by 10:00 a.m. so the children can settle for Circle.
10:00 a.m. CIRCLE
The heart of our day is Circle. We come together to welcome the day, to acknowledge each other's presence, and to connect with the seasons. A thematic story is expanded upon over the course of several weeks with songs, verses, movements and games. Few "props" are used; most is left to the imagination.
We sit in a circle, ring a gong and light the Circle Candle, then we bow to each other. This bow is a bow first of all to oneself, and then to everyone gathered there together. Circle sparks a sense of wonder that carries the children throughout their day at school. What happens at Circle very much influences their play and observations. It also provides ground for other activities.
Please make it a priority to arrive in time for Circle. At 10 a.m., a sign will be placed on the door to say that Circle has begun. If you arrive after the sign is in place, please wait until Circle is over before entering the school. Thank you.
10:30 a.m. Snack, Spanish and Songs
Snack will consist of simple foods, such as grains, fruits, nuts, crackers or vegetables that we cook or bake. We will, of course, accommodate individual dietary needs as much as possible.
At the beginning of snack, we sing in English and Spanish:
Hands together, hands apart
Hands together, now we start (bow)
Manos juntos, manos aparte
Manos juntos, ya empecezamos (bow)
11:00 - 11:30 a.m. Morning Activities
This is the time of the day for: Creative Play
When children are able to sink into their play, uninterrupted, they become exceptionally creative. The teacher provides support by creating a cheerful and uplifted environment, and an unobtrusive, yet warm presence. The playthings available to the children are made mostly of natural materials, i.e. cotton and silk cloths, building blocks, log pieces, dolls, wooden trains and tracks, wooden stove, table and chairs, etc.
As adults, it is vital to remember that sometimes we can't always see the most important things going on in a child's day at school. Playing is truly the magic of childhood, yet it often leaves no trace that can be measured by us.
Art & Crafts
We make a distinction between art and crafts. Art is lead and created by the child. Crafts are lead by the teacher and created by the child with the teacher's help. Art and Crafts relate to the seasons and in what we are doing at Circle, i.e. leaf crowns and spider webs in the Fall, ice candles and pomanders in Winter, butterflies, flower fairies and treaure eggs in the Spring.
Paint and crayons are offered everyday, and usually everyone wants to engage in artwork. We hang up the finished pieces with the child's name and description on the back. With few exceptions, the work can be taken home, although sometimes we like to have them hang at school a bit longer!
Throughout the course of the year, the children will engage in many art and craft forms, such as melted wax crayon art, weaving and spinning, woodworking, making paper, clay and playdough, etc. Project ideas come organically from their current interests as well, i.e. shoe-box scenes of castles or dinosaurs, paper airplanes and kites, shields with painted emblems.
Monthly calendars will be posted on a bulletin board, as well as being placed in your child's school folder.
Sensory Play
Many things encourage children to work with their hands - pouring and scooping water, sand, buttons and beans; making playdough and other wondrous gooey mixes; preparing a garden spot and planting sprouts and seeds indoors, and so on. Materials will be presented as they relate to the seasonal curriculum and to enhance each child's interests and needs. We usually begin each morning with sensory activities so the children have a chance to work with their hands soon after they arrive.
Cooking together is an important, happy activity. It offers us some of the best scientific exploration opportunities! The children love to pour, mix, measure, knead, flip, crack, chop and taste. Any favorite recipes will be most welcome. Again, we will be mindful of allergies and special dietary needs, so everyone can enjoy what we make.
Outdoor Play and Field Trips
Given our wonderful location, we have the opportunity to take adventure walks around the school grounds and through the immediate neighborhood. At the school, the dirt pile, apple tree and southern weed area are favorite spots - we find lots of ladybugs and butterflies there, and love digging tunnels and making waterways.
Local field trips may include: the Post Office and Fire Station, Fairy Dust Bakery, a teepee for Native American Stories and introduction to sweat lodge, and to playgrounds and accessible hiking trails.
11:45 a.m. Clean-up Time and Preparation for Lunch
The children are asked to relate to the beginning, middle, and end of their activities. We often sing as we clean up, wash hands and put the chairs around the table for lunch.
Noon Lunch
Lunch is a very social time - the children are very happy and talkative. They are encouraged to eat their main dish first, then "dessert"; lunches are not shared. Food can be heated up on the stove, and a refrigerator is available for storage. Before eating our lunch, we sing:
Oh, the earth is good to me
And so I love the earth,
For giving me the things I need
The sun and the rain and the apple seed,
The earth is good to me. (bow)
Oh, la tierra es buena conmigo,
Y por eso, yo amo la tierra
Porque me da lo que necesito
El sol, y la lluvia y las semillas de manzana
La tierra es buena conmigo.
12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. Quiet Play and Story Reading
After lunch, the children engage in quiet play (looking at books, doing puzzles, low-key dramatic play) so their lunches can digest and their energies re-charge. This is a favorite time to bring stories to the teacher for reading aloud together.
1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Story Ring, Candle Songs and Rest
Story ring is a magical time of day. The rest room is darkened, everyone is tucked in their cots with blankets from home…we light a candle, and the sound of finger cymbals brings on the story. Then, the teacher sings candle songs, encircling each child with the candle. Some children fall asleep and others rest. This is a deeply relaxing and nurturing time of our day.
The children who rest, do so for twenty minutes and then get up. In the afternoon, they seem to gravitate toward quieter activities. There is a lot of block building, artwork, and story reading.
3:00 p.m. Snack and Closing Circle
Children have a snack (generally finishing up their lunches) as they get up from rest. When everyone is up, we get ready to end our day together. The school is cleaned up and we formally end our day in a circle and recite:
May the long time sun shine upon you, and all around you.
And the pure light within you, shine your way home.
Blessings on our day and peace on earth.
4:00 p.m. End of School - Indoor/Outdoor Activity
After Closing Circle, we either head outdoors or continue with indoor projects.
Parents arrive - this is the time for teacher and parents to touch base and for the children to be with their parents in their school environment.
By 4:00 p.m. we ask everyone to depart so that the teacher can prepare for the next day and clean the school.
Our daily schedule provides a "container" within which the children can expand. Each day offers a balance of individual time for imaginative play and projects; and, group time for Circle, stories, art and crafts, music, science and geography, and outside play.
Excerpted from the preschool's website

Home-School Connection

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Volunteer in the classroom

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up