About Leaping Lizards
Goals and Objectives
- To stimulate and reinforce children’s curiosity of nature.
- To provide children with opportunities to be exposed to a variety of natural contexts, environmental topics and activities through hands-on participation.
- To instill knowledge of and a concern for conservation and preservation of our natural resources.
- To provide opportunities for children to develop self-confidence in themselves while exploring their natural surroundings.
- To provide children with a positive experience in the outdoors, performing age appropriate environmental education activities.
- To support and enhance each child’s inherent “sense of wonder.”
Please note: After 27 years of running the preschool, I am closing my doors and taking down my shingle. It is with mixed feelings as I believe so completely in what I do and what we do as a community to serve the healthy growth and development of our precious children. Additionally, our collaboration has inculcated hundreds of children with a love and respect for nature that will last a lifetime.
But time goes by and life is nudging me and telling me it is time to step back and let the next generation carry this movement forward. I would love to say I have a replacement and the school will carry on under the direction and stewardship of a capable person but I have not found that person.
Feel free to check back in as I may set up summer camps yet to come with a slightly amended format. Thank you all for your support, interest and trust.
Goals of a Quality Preschool Nature Program
The purpose of any preschool nature program should be to help children relate to their world. However, we believe that a quality program goes far beyond this. In such a program, children learn to be naturalists and “keepers of the earth”. Children are given the opportunity to observe, appreciate, and interact with the natural world that surrounds them. As young scientists, they are encouraged to observe, to explore and experiment.
A quality preschool nature program does not fill children with facts and scientific names, but instead develops inquiring minds and the skills with which to search for explanations. Nature education is not about providing all the answers but rather, it is about helping children develop the means to search out the answers and connect deeply with the wonder of the natural world.
Preschool nature education emphasizes awareness and appreciation. Educators capitalize on young children’s natural scientist-like tendencies and strive to increase their sense of wonder and curiosity. A quality preschool nature program allows children the freedom to learn by doing and experiencing. This approach helps children develop respect for the world around them and ultimately gives them a strong foundation for continual healthy growth and development.
A typical day at Leaping Lizards Nature Awareness Preschool begins at 9:00AM when the children and teachers meet at the “School Room and Garden”. This is a time when parents can check in with the teachers and for the parents to have a few minutes of playtime with their child. Goodbyes are supported by the staff as necessary. We understand that the separation of parent and child can be difficult for both and we are ready to give the supportive listening that might be needed.
When it is time to leave our Palo Alto nature preschool facility, all children are secured in car seats provided by the school. During the school year, parents rotate in as volunteers and help assist with our preschool day. Any parent who is volunteering drives their own car behind the van. The children are free to choose a different seat each day and are encouraged to sit next to different friends throughout the school year. The lead teacher drives the van with the assistant teacher in the passenger seat or, at times, in the back seat with the children.