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Jun 26, 2009

Happy 25th Anniversary, Children's Pre-School Center

A few weeks ago, Daniel's daycare (The Children's Pre-School Center in Palo Alto) celebrated its 25th anniversary. It was a great milestone: a daycare welcomes quite a number of children in 25 years and some of them are already adults by now!
But the main reason why this was a significant event is that the school's founder, Rachel Samoff, is still the director - and a great one- after 25 years. What a dedication to taking care of children over the years! The celebrations included well-deserved recognition for her fantastic work and achievements.

Daniel joined CPSC in October 2008, at 9 months. Since then, he has been thriving: looking forward to daycare every morning (eager to leave the house as soon as he wakes up!), and learning a lot. He loves his teachers: they really spend time with the children, and offer activities/learning opportunities that fit each kid's development stage. At the end of each day, the teachers can tell me a lot about Daniel's day: his new achievements, favorite activities, etc... I know he is only one of 12 children they have in the classroom, but still, I get a very personalized report.

I have had the chance to meet with Rachel a few times, and I have been fascinated by her knowledge of children development and her care for the children. As a director, she oversees the entire school and makes sure everything goes smoothly, from staff, to finances, facilities, etc. (and things run smoothly indeed). At the same time, she takes the time to observe the children, their particular characters and skills. I am impressed that she knows them so well, although she isn't the one spending time in the classroom all day. She even documents her interactions with the children in her blog, which is very informative for first time parents. (and I personally liked that one of the first articles talked about Daniel!)

Every time I talk to Rachel about Daniel, not only does she know a lot about him, but she also puts her observations in context with her knowledge of children development. She can explain to me what might go through his head when he does this or that. She makes recommendations on how to support him in his development given his own characteristics. What a great learning experience for me, and a true relief to know that Daniel is spending most of his time with people who understand him at least as much as I do. I know that, if I have a concern about Daniel, Rachel and her staff will be able to give me an informed - and objective- perspective on the situation. It's good to be part of this community.

And indeed, the Children's Pre-School center is a true community. Not only do teachers make an effort to establish strong relationships with the parents. But the parents are encouraged to interact with each other a lot. Events such as classroom breakfasts, Parents' Day celebration, and parent meetings are a great way to get to know other families with similar situations. The parent meetings are particularly useful: Rachel shares her knowledge about a particular topic, and shows related videos of the children, pointing to best-practices the teachers use to address a specific situation. These meetings also encourage discussions among the parents, so there is a great sense of support among the group.

Overall, we are very happy to have found CPSC for Daniel. He loves it, and we as parents feel really good that he is surrounded by such a great group of teachers. Kudos to Rachel for the success of CPSC over 25 years, and for the impact she has on so many children.

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