My mission is to build a program that will support a diverse group of families who desperately need care for their children. Our philosophy is rooted in respectful, compassionate care with emotional support being at the core. We teach through connection. We use non-judgmental communication and connected language to meet children where they are at emotionally and cognitively. We offer them a safe place to experience play, discovery, emotions and challenges for themselves while offering them support through guidance and acceptance.
We also aim to meet the families where they are at. Our goal is to meet the need not the bottom line. I am a single mother myself and I work very hard to provide my daughter with the best care that I can find. I was fortunate enough to qualify for government subsidized tuition so it is my intention to accept that very subsidy that supports parents who find themselves in the same situation as I did. The center will have the warm and welcoming feeling of a home. It will have both Reggio inspired curriculum along with Waldorf inspired beauty and simplicity. I also intend to incorporate some early childhood tinkering and building elements into the program.
Play Garden Wonderschool meets at:
Blair Hills Park 5950 Wrightcrest Dr. Culver City, CA 90232
Blair Hills Park is a 1.6-acre neighborhood park located in the beautifully lush hills of Culver City, CA. It is a short walk from the newly developed Stoneview Nature Center (http://stoneviewnaturecenter.bhp.pagedemo.co/).
There are 2 entrances to Blair Hills Park, one is on Wright Terrace Drive and one is on Stoneview Drive. On school days, we ask that you enter and exit through the Stoneview Drive entrance.
Blair Hills Park offers age appropriate climbing equipment, open-ended play areas, a shaded seating area, bathroom facilities and a large, grass-covered area. Surrounded by trees and foliage, Blair Hills Park offers limitless opportunities for discovery and learning.
This program will provide care for a very underserved age group in the area of West Los Angeles (which includes Culver City, Santa Monica, Venice, etc.) The program welcomes children aged 18 months - 2.5 years. Initially, the program focuses primarily on the separation process. Separation can often be difficult for both the children and the parents. Every child finds separation in their own way. I help children and parents through the process of separation at a pace that is comfortable for them.
Our curriculum is 100% play-based. We offer free flow from indoor to outdoor environments. Both indoor and outdoor environments offer safe, age-appropriate activities that invite exploration and discovery.
As with the Reggio Emilia philosophy, we encourage and embrace open and active engagement with nature. Another unique element of our program is that we offer children support with conflict resolution. Using non-judgmental communication and connected language, we meet children where they are at emotionally and cognitively. We offer them a safe place to experience play, discovery, emotions and challenges for themselves while offering them support through guidance and acceptance.
Laurie is the Director and Lead Teacher of Play Garden Wonderschool. She is a mother to 6-year old daughter, Isabella, who has been the inspiration for Play Garden. “My fondest memories of Isabella’s toddler years were spent in nature with her, going on nature walks, interacting with nature and simply being outdoors. Children gravitate towards nature and can’t help but thrive in its presence.”
In addition to caring for her own daughter, Laurie is a CPR certified, credential teacher and director with over nine years of experience. She has been a preschool teacher, a behavioral interventionist and a program lead. Most recently she ran the much sought-after Toddler Activity Time (TAT) program out of the YWCA in Santa Monica under the direction of respected and well-known child development specialist Barbara Olinger, to whom she attributes most of her teaching style. Laurie’s educational background is deeply rooted in Psychology, Brain Development and Science and she is working towards a Master’s Degree in Brain-Based Learning.
Laurie finds incredible joy in supporting and observing children through the developmental learning process. “My favorite moments happen when observing those ‘WOW’ moments of discovery as well as the quiet moments of just being and exploring. For me, there is no greater joy than observing the discovery process.”
To support the whole child, Laurie regularly works directly with families by providing parent support, both individually and collectively.
We are a proud member of the Wonderschool network.
Wonderschool is a group of early childhood programs that combine the quality standards of the best child care centers with the warmth of an in-home program in your neighborhood.