Pacific Preschool Philosophy and Curriculum
NOTE: If you are interested in having your child attend Pacific Preschool, please complete this form: 2020-21 Preschool Interest Form.
It can be challenging to find quality preschool care in Santa Cruz, as many programs are full with long wait lists. Pacific Preschool offers a high-quality alternative, just ten miles north of Santa Cruz. Students receive an outstanding research-based education, free from screen time, with plenty of opportunities for intellectual and social development, unstructured play, and time outside.
Pacific Preschool balances gently structured activities with opportunities for creative free play to provide each child the opportunity for maximum social, emotional, physical, and intellectual growth. Teachers support students as they develop independence, confidence, and self-esteem. The curriculum stimulates each child's curiosity and enthusiasm and sustains a love of learning. Numerous long-term studies have documented the profound benefits of high-quality preschool programs for children's future learning and success.
Click here for the Preschool Daily Schedule
Greeting at the Door
Children are individually greeted at the door and helped to settle in for morning activities. We ask parents to help make the transition from home to school as easy as possible for their children by making goodbyes brief. Assure your child that you will return soon.
At circle time, we gather as a group. We take notice of the weather. The teachers use circle time to introduce new concepts, vocabulary and materials. We often incorporate Montessori lessons and materials into our circle time. Children are encouraged to participate fully. Music is a key part of circle time; the children learn many songs and fingerplays. We also enjoy movement activities for body awareness and muscle development.
This time is the important core of the preschool day. The children choose activities from the shelves and work individually or in small groups. The teachers help children find activities and present lessons demonstrating the use of classroom materials. Children are introduced to work with numbers and letters. The children may choose manipulative materials from any of the following areas: literacy development, art, mathematics, music, gardening, practical life, reading, science, and sensorial development.
Two healthy snacks/meals are served each day as part of our award-winning FoodLab program. Morning breakfast is available to the students in the morning if they are hungry. This is not intended as a substitute for breakfast at home. In addition, students join the kindergarteners in the school cafeteria for an early lunch. This lunch menu consists of a protein, a grain, fruits, vegetables, and milk. All fruits, vegetables, and milk are organic whenever possible.
Outside and Inside Play
An important component of our program is play-based learning. Students have opportunities to enjoy unstructured playtime both outside and inside each day. There are also organized games and opportunities to use a variety of different equipment, such as costumes, balls, walking cups, hula hoops, parachutes, bean bags, etc.
Preschoolers benefit from many of the same rich learning opportunities as other Pacific School students. They receive a half-hour of Orff music instruction weekly from expert music teacher Kristin Allen-Farmer. They participate in the Life Lab garden program. And they enjoy weekly visits from their Reading Buddies in the third and fourth grades.
Story and Closing - Inside
Each day ends with a large-group story time and a formal goodbye handshake. The teacher will excuse each child from circle to his/her caretaker or to the aftercare program.