Monday, August 23, 2010

Tour of Green Beginning Preschool

This morning I had the chance to tour a lovely new preschool called Green Beginning. Located on S. Robertson Blvd. just a short distance from neighborhoods such as Culver City, Beverlywood and Cheviot Hills and run by Veronica Cabello, the beloved, former assistant-director of Temple Isaiah Preschool; Green Beginning is a wonderful addition to the Los Angeles preschool scene. 

There were many things I liked about Green Beginning, from the warmth and enthusiasm of the staff, to the well thought-out classrooms, to the charming outdoor space. Walking in to the school I immediately got the thought that my children would love this place; the school facade is painted a happy shade of grass green and it's front yard is a filled with a large wooden climbing structure and slide, a wooden playhouse, a shaded grassy hill, an in-ground sandbox, and two charming gardens with flowers, fruit trees and produce planted and tended by the children and teachers. In the back of the school the outdoor play continues with a train table, a stage for imaginative play and a very sweet nook created to allow children the chance to play in smaller groups. This concept was one that Ms. Cabello spoke about with some passion. In many schools the children sit together in large groups, working on the same thing at the same time; at Green Beginning the children are encouraged to work together in groups of two or three which not only allows the children to develop friendships, but also allows for easier social interaction and give the teachers a chance to know the children more intimately. To a mother of twins, this was music to my ears! Additionally, one of the key philosophies of Green Beginnings is inspired by the Multiple Intelligences theories of Howard Gardner which emphasizes, in part, that different people have different ways of showing intelligence and each is to be honored and encouraged. If I were looking for a preschool for our twins, knowing that they could be somewhere where this was a basic mindset would be very appealing.

Beautiful sandbox
All the materials used to create their outdoor space are non-toxic and environmentally friendly; many of the items both outdoors and in the classrooms are repurposed (such as the great picnic tables made from old doors). All snacks are organic and there is composting done each day; even children as young as 2 are excited about turning their uneaten snacks into food for their tomato plants out front! This focus on sustainability and the environment is one of the core philosophies at Green Beginning. Ms. Cabello and her teachers truly believe in practicing what they preach and work hard to use their surroundings to teach the children such lessons as delayed gratification (gardening), making healthy choices (trying new foods that they grow themselves) or re-purposing things as opposed to throwing them away (they have a wonderful garden "fence" made out of the bottoms of large, discarded, soda bottles. The bottles are filled with colored liquid which creates rainbows on the ground at certain times of the day).

the reading corner of the Sea Lion/Polar Bear room
The classrooms themselves are bright, airy and set up like a mini home with overstuffed couches, table and chairs, a kitchen area, book and toy shelves etc. While the younger children will focus on recognizing emotions, socializing and developing relationships, the children in Pea Pods (ages 3 1/2 to 6) will begin to be introduced to academics in a playful way through play, music, movement and so forth. Teachers will be able to assess and communicate to parents the child's abilities and skills in order to have them ready for Kindergarten when they graduate. One very nice aspect of Green Beginnings is that its population is small: only 26 children spread out between the two classrooms. As enrollment changes there may be 26 kids in the afternoon program and 26 in the mornings, but given the teacher/student ratio you can be sure that your children will be given lots of attention and plenty of chances to experience all of the toys, crafts, games etc. Polar Bears must be 2 by September 1st, Sea Lions should be 2.9 by that date and kids who are 3 1/2 by September first are Pea Pods. Potty training is not required. Polar Bears and Sea Lions share a space and Pea Pods have their own room.  

blocks, puzzles music fill the shelves
Although there is not enough space here to allow your twins to have separate classrooms, it is my sense that by keeping the enrollment low, plus the quality and experience level of both the director and teachers, multiples would thrive here. There are still spots available for Fall 2010 at this "Hidden Gem" of a preschool. If the location makes sense for you, it is absolutely worth checking out! Check out the rest of my photos at the end of the post!

Green Beginning Preschool is located at:
3047-49 S. Robertson Blvd. 
Los Angeles, CA 90034 
Phone: 310-841-6100
Fax: 310-841-6119
For General Information email us at: info@greenbeginningpreschool.com 
For School Touring and Enrollment information email: admin@greenbeginningpreschool.com

Tour days: Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m., Thursdays at 1:00 p.m.
Update: I'm not the only one who likes this school; check out this October blog post from "The Little Seed".
The wooden playhouse



Sweet little corner for hanging out with friends
One of the gardens with tons of tomatoes and marigolds
Beautiful redwood climbing structure (for every redwood cut, another was planted)
In the Pea Pod room
The kitchen area of the Sea Lion/Polar Bear room
The grassy knoll ;-)
Flowers, fruit trees and the "rainbow fence"
Thanks for reading!
-Gina
The Twin Coach


I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about my blog. You can leave them by clicking on "comments" at the end of every post, and can do so anonymously without being a subscriber or follower (although I would love if you were)!
Share it!
Tweet it!
"Like" The Twin Coach on Facebook!

6 Great Comments Made By Clicking Here!:

Anonymous said...

thanks for helping us share the love and passion for early childhood education!

The School Boards said...

Thanks for the in depth review. The school seems like such a wonderful place for kids to be kids!

Anonymous said...

I also went on the tour. Cool place. I am only concerned about the fact that it is at a gas station and at the freeway. I worry about the studies that say that kids are more than 4X more likely to get cancer at these close proximities. http://www.automk.com/thread-5702-1-1.html and http://oem.bmj.com/content/early/2009/02/15/oem.2008.042432.abstract

Do you know if any studies have been done at this preschool?

The Twin Coach said...

I think that is a very fair question and one that is best asked of the director of the school. Given that their focus is on the environment and the best welfare of children, I would hope some thought was given to the location for their school. If I get an update on this I will post it. Thank you for your thoughts!

Veronica Cabello said...

You have a legitimate concern with regard to our location. I have to say that being close to a gas station was one of our first concerns when we decided to open up Green Beginning Community Preschool (GBCP) on Robertson. It took us two years to find a suitable facility with plenty of play space and parking in L.A., but the proximity to the gas station was a concern that we didn’t take lightly. We predicted that this was a question that would be asked by interested families. Because GBCP is environmentally friendly by conception we spent a considerable amount of time researching environmental effects that cause not only cancer, but also other commonly diagnosed disorders in children such as ADD and ADHD.
All the research findings led us to make conscious decisions for the benefit of the children and staff who were to become part of our community. Backed up by research from environmentalists, renowned universities and institutions, and scientists this is what we found: the leading causes of cancer, ADD, & ADHD are actually diet-related, including both the types of foods that are eaten as well as the chemicals and other additives that are consumed in processed foods. Up to 2/3 of cancer cases are at least partially caused by a person’s diet. This finding reaffirmed our mission to promote healthy eating habits and life style. Therefore, we serve 100% organic foods to our children and encourage them to make healthy food choices on a daily basis.
Furthermore, contrary to what many people think, 10-15% of the chemicals, allergens, and toxic substances that children are exposed to are from indoor environments (mostly their own homes!), which is why we remodeled our facility to L.E.E.D standards using zero VOC paints, double-paned windows and doors to add natural light and reduce UV rays and outside noise levels, environmentally safe insulation, formaldehyde-free wood flooring, and non-toxic, PVC-free play equipment and toys. In addition to that, we use environmentally safe cleaning products in our facility.
As to the abstract you posted, it states that inhaling gas fumes affect people that live in close proximity to a gas station. However, this finding is also determined by the length of exposure to fumes. In order for a child to have a 0.02% chance of exposure, he or she would have to attend our program 5 full days a week. Even then, the effects would be mitigated by the wind flow of our location. Luckily for GBCP, we get the natural occurring west-east coastal wind flow ☺. Also note that the abstract you made reference to in your post was from a single research study done in France. The research we looked at when considering our location was from many different sources all based in the United States. According to the United States National Institute of Cancer (NIS), (2008), cancer is extremely rare in children with one to two cases among every 10,000. The NIS Fact Sheet indicates that environmental causes are very difficult to pin down due to a variety of factors such as gender, race, family history, genetic abnormalities, early life exposure to household chemicals, and even maternal diet during the prenatal period. Living in a metropolitan area like Los Angeles, it is impossible to escape from every type of exposure in our daily lives: from the detergents we use, our cell phones, chemicals in the dyes from the clothes we wear, cleaning materials, the food we eat, the air we breath….the list is endless. You can read more about this and more at www.cancer.gov.
I also encourage you to read the Policy Analysis titled “EPA Cancer Risk Guidelines: Guidance to Nowhere” by Michael Gough and Steven Milloy, published by the Cato Institute at www.cato.org. You will find a lot more interesting and controversial information regarding cancer-causing factors.


Veronica Cabello, M.A.
Executive Director & Founder
Green Beginning Community Preschool

The School Boards said...

Thanks for the in depth review. The school seems like such a wonderful place for kids to be kids!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...