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pre-separation classes (a.k.a. Mommy and Me)

These classes are exploration-based just like our regular nursery school classes. Children attend with a parent, family member, or caregiver to whom they are closely attached. Infants still need a security figure nearby to feel most free to explore, but still deserve the freedom to be self directed. In a stimulating environment they will interact with materials of interest to them at their own pace. The teachers help facilitate interactions, extend the children's exploration of materials, model and support adult-child relationships, and drop helpful tidbits about child development. Since the classes are not constantly teacher-directed, the adults have a chance to get to know each other as well in a casual, but exciting social environment.

Generally we set out some sensory activities (something messy with an interesting texture), an art activity, some gross motor activity (slide, ball pool, tunnel, push/pull toys), and some individual activities that give children cognitive, visual perceptive, and small motor coordination problems to solve. They do not all have to do the same thing at the same time, nor is it important that every child try every activity in every class. Some kids only do one thing because it is comfortable until they are ready to branch out. Other kids have to check out everything and seem to concentrate on nothing for the first few classes. In both cases we want the children's focus and exploration to come from them and their own natural curiosity, not a structure imposed by us. Both depth and breadth of learning will occur naturally with regular repetitive and continuous exposure to familiar materials in a familiar environment. This process is why we run the class as a weekly or biweekly group rather than a drop-in class.

Most of the class is open play, and towards the end we gather for a snack together to help facilitate the transition. During the snack teachers try to remove most of the distractions in the room. Then we all sit down and sings songs together. Many of the children are too excited about the new environment to sit and listen very long, others prefer to listen from the periphery, while still others sit cooperatively on their parent's lap following every question start to finish. All these responses are normal, and the length and content of this period will change based on the needs and response of the group. It is supposed to be fun, not a hassle to force them into something arbitrary. With special appearances by our beloved music teacher.

Classes run in 8 week sections (Oct-Dec, Jan-March, April-May, June-July), and cost $320 a cycle for one day a week, $600 for two.

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