ALPoE parents share their experiences.
A Little Patch of Earth is no ordinary preschool. While my daughter is there, I am confident that she is getting the stimulating environment and attention she needs for her growth and development. She speaks so highly to me of all the teachers and activities she participates in and loves going to “school.” The possibilities for imagination are endless for the child here and the location speaks for itself. The teachers speak to my daughter with respect, and give her the opportunity to empower herself, to develop her confidence and learn from social situations. Because I know the preschool years are the most formidable years of my daughter’s life, this rare quality in a preschool is priceless. I feel so lucky to have found Sally, her vision, her dedication and her school. Thank you Sally!
– Jessica Garcia- Conscious Parenting Psychologist
I couldn’t be happier with a preschool for my daughter than I am with ALPoE. There is no doubt in my mind that her teachers are the most dedicated, patient, and enthusiastic to be found. The authentic play-based learning allows all the children to learn and grow in so many vital ways (mentally, emotionally, physically, socially, creatively…) without ever sitting down in front of a worksheet or even realizing that they are doing more than just having fun and being kids. I am so grateful to bring my daughter to a school filled with love and openness each day.
– Leslie Wright – Preschool Parent
My family and I are extremely grateful to have found A Little Patch of Earth Preschool for my, now, almost five year old son. Two years ago, looking for a preschool, we knew what we did NOT want and we carefully researched several schools that looked like they might be ‘nice’. But, upon finding The Patch, we knew in an instant, that this was the place for our child! We could not believe our luck that it was an undiscovered gem and that, as a new and still growing school, it didn’t have a waiting list a mile long!
My son is a gifted athlete. He has a NEED to move and use his body. He loves to run, climb, race, build, ride bikes, explore, swing, rake leaves, dance, and basically do anything that allows him to move! He also has a great and deep love for animals and nature. At The Patch, these things are not secondary afterthoughts, like a ten-minute recess twice a day and a lesson on gardening in the spring. They are the CORE… the HEART of the school. My son learns by playing. He chooses to interact in activities that involve these exact skills, in an environment that values the things that our family values… the things that HE, himself, values most as a person. And, in doing so, he has demonstrated personal growth beyond our wildest expectations!
Finally, one of the things that I respect most about The Patch is that they aspire for authenticity. When my child rakes or digs in the garden, he is not using a toy shovel, rather a genuine tool, built smaller for his smaller hands. When he does the work of an artist, he uses the tools of an artist. Whenever possible, The Patch strives to put authentic materials into my son’s hands. They say to him, your ‘play’ here is important work. You are learning and growing through this play, so you deserve to have the best materials that we can give you to help you achieve that greatest outcome.
Consequently, next year, when my son enters kindergarten, he will walk in as a strong, confident boy who is eager and ready to learn and who has excellent problem solving and critical thinking skills, an ability to learn cooperatively, and is eager and hungry to soak in as much knowledge as he can from every source that he can find. I am so thankful that we found The Patch when we did. My only regret is that they don’t offer a program that allows him to continue all the way through high school!!! Thank you Sally!!! We love you!!!
– Marsha Salmon – High School Special Education Teacher
A Little Patch of Earth Preschool is not just a place for learning. It’s a place for that special childhood magic, for growing and healing, mostly through love and play. When my son, who is adopted through foster care, came to us, he was considered a ‘special needs’ child and was being assessed for autism and he did not speak at all. By the time he started at “The Patch”, a little over a year later, it was clear that he was not, in fact, autistic and had grown in all areas, but was still severely delayed (at least a year) in language development. At The Patch, my gentle, beautiful, little boy, who had been so traumatized in his early life, found a place where he could finallyPLAY: explore and run and think and interact and dip his tiny, little toes into the ‘mud-pit’ of life, all at his own pace… on his own schedule, without being hurried or rushed-off on someone else’s agenda. Some days he chose to garden, others to splash in the water structure, he chose to taste and to create and to build. Every, single day, my son chose to interact with his world in new and wondrous ways. He learned by playing and, in his play, he learned to think and to cooperate and to believe in himself and, surprisingly, very quickly, he learned to express himself verbally. When his language was reassessed for it’s annual review, he was discovered to have expressive language that was OVER a year ADVANCED for his age (this was a TWO YEAR growth in just over six month’s time). All of the therapies, flash cards and drills were worthless to him. It was the hours under the shade of the beautiful oak trees, surrounded by teachers who get down on the ground with him, who speak softly and listened carefully and never use a harsh tone, teachers who are indescribably gentle and kind and full of love. These are the things that have allowed him to learn and grow and become the exceptionally bright, and shining boy that he has become today.
Sadly, my boy is outgrowing The Patch. He will be moving on and heading off to kindergarten in the fall. As a kindergarten teacher myself, I am excited for his new adventure. Through play, which was his work, at The Patch, he has learned the most important things that, in my professional opinion, any preschooler needs to know. He has learned HOW TO LEARN. He is a problem solver, a THINKER, a creative learner, an inventor, a creator, and, most importantly of all, a child who is curious about the world around him and what it has to offer.
My heart is filled with gratitude for Sally and A Little Patch of Earth Preschool… She changed my son’s life. Any child who attends here is a child who is being given a beautiful, once in a lifetime opportunity. This school is a gift.
Tracy Woodman, Kindergarten Teacher