The Preschool with a Difference
The difference is evident in our entire staff of dedicated, professional and loving teachers who have chosen this profession because they truly enjoy children and nurturing their development in all areas: socially, emotionally, cognitively, physically and above all, spiritually. The difference is evident in our developmental program. It is our philosophy and goal to meet the needs of each child by providing a learning environment rich with age appropriate materials and activities. The difference is evident when you observe the entire school community, the staff, students and their families, interacting. There is a mutual love and respect present.
It is our belief that fostering spiritual growth is a fundamental component of a child's development. It is our right, privilege and obligation as a staff to bring the word of God to the children in our care. As Christian role models, it is our responsibility to help our children form strong values based on knowing God's love. Christian education is integrated into our comprehensive educational goals through Bible stories, Bible songs, and finger plays. Prayer is a regular part of the daily classroom routine.
Furthermore, once a month, all students assemble in the Sanctuary for Kid Talk, which is an opportunity for a member of the pastoral staff to address the children with a Christian Education message. As the children gather together on the floor at the steps of the alter, they are encouraged to interact and respond, allowing them to become engaged, faith-filled learners. In addition, we often begin our school day by having spontaneous “group hug” gatherings in the preschool courtyard to open with a word of prayer and thanks.
Hands-On STEAM Learning
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. Here at La Casa Preschool, we’ve expanded STEM to include art and literacy in our quest to provide hands-on learning through play. Thus, we’ve added the “A” to create “STEAM.” We incorporate learning opportunities in these fields into our curriculum, but introduce these through a hands-on approach. This teaching methodology is conducive to our play-based philosophy that children do best through "doing" and experimenting. In essence, we use play to open up the early math, science, and language skills for young children.
In addition to our daily curriculum, students will attend a STEAM Fair three times per year. Our students always enjoy this special day to explore & create!
La Casa has a long standing reputation in the community for its superior quality of teachers. Our staff is comprised of 28 dedicated individuals. All lead teachers are degreed in the field of education and most all other staff are degreed as well in related fields. Each teacher is also required to obtain eighteen hours of additional professional growth annually per Arizona Department of Health Services guidelines.
Most staff members have many years of experience right here at La Casa de Cristo Preschool. From the director Trish Langenhuizen at 33 years, and assistant director Cheryl Costolo at 31 years, office manager Vicki Koehler at 30 years, and everywhere in between, to our newest staff member of only one year, our mutual goal is to love the children, prepare them for lifelong learning, and bring the word of the Lord to them.
La Casa parents enjoy a close relationship with staff and other parents. We are committed to the education of our families as well as our students. Parent involvement is encouraged in the classroom and at signature events such as the Country Fair, Thanksgiving Feast, Christmas Program, Dad's Day, Mother's Day Tea and Art Walk, Pint Size PE Olympics and more. Spirit Nights provide fellowship opportunities and camaraderie outside of school hours. Ours is a community of friends.
Many parent workshops are offered throughout the year, as well, with topics ranging from early literacy to effective parenting. “Love and Logic” is a popular and well attended series facilitated by a certified Love and Logic instructor who is also a preschool staff member. A Kindergarten Readiness Seminar is hosted in January, which very effectively describes the challenges of “today’s new kindergarten” and the importance of the child’s social and developmental readiness upon success.
La Casa sponsors several traditional and “signature” events throughout the school year. Each new school year is celebrated by a family friendly Open House night in September, followed by Country Fair in October, a Patriotism Day Program to honor our Veterans and the Thanksgiving Feast in November and the Christmas Programs in December. Three times per year, we hold a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) Fair to encourage our children to think creatively, problem solve, and explore innovation. The children enjoy a day with their Dads on a Saturday in February and a wonderful day with their Moms in late April, which includes a singing program and art walk. The preschool hosts an Olympics to culminate the end our Pint Size PE program for the year, and concludes with an Ice Cream Social for all students and their families on the last days of school.
In keeping with our Christian message, the preschool conducts four major community outreach efforts each year under the umbrella program entitled KidsForKids. Each service project is specifically chosen for the ability of our young students to participate from the beginning to end of the process. Through education and support of our families, the children learn from an early age that “Jesus loves a cheerful giver” and it is a privilege to share our blessings. KidsForKids encompasses a variety of needs and begins in September with “Be a Wonder Under,” a collection of new underwear for kids without, followed by the collection of foods and necessity items in November during “ThanksForGiving,” PJ’sForPals in January with the pairing of the books from the book drive with new pairs of pajamas, and concludes just before the hot Arizona weather settles in with the collection of water, so essential to those in need. We call this, appropriately enough, “H2OForOthers.”
safety and Security
Our staff is constantly monitoring the environment at our school to insure that all children can play, learn, and interact in a safe and nurturing indoor and outdoor classroom.
Sign in and sign out sheets enable staff to monitor who drops off and picks up each child.
Your child will be released only to those individuals whom you list in the child’s enrollment records. A Photo I.D. is required. All records are kept on a secure site on our computers.
Parents or guardians may enter the facility at any time to observe or pick up their child.
Fingerprinting and background checks are performed on all staff.
Low teacher-child ratios ensure that there are sufficient teachers and other adults available to adequately supervise the children in care.
Classroom doors and walls have windows for monitoring.
Our staff is certified in CPR and First Aid.
Our campus is peanut-free.
We are a well center, monitoring every child’s health on a daily basis. We notify parents when a child does not feel well to help prevent an illness from spreading.
Toys, surfaces, and floors are sanitized throughout the day to prevent the spread of germs.
Heat and smoke detectors monitor the facility.
Approved surfaces, fall zones, and playground equipment are installed in all outdoor play areas.
A Lock Down Plan has been developed and is regularly reviewed by the staff. It is available in the main office.