At Child’s Place, we believe that children need to first feel welcomed, valued, and loved in their environment in order to be open to learning. The relationship that teachers build with young children reflects the learning and teaching that happens mutually between the them. When a child feels valued and loved (regardless of race, gender, religion, and/or economic status) they can trust and become open to all kinds of incredible experiences.
Young children learn by having full-on sensory adventures. Children take in information on every level, by touching, smelling, tasting, hearing and seeing the world around them. Their whole bodies are involved in the learning process, and therefore their whole bodies must be stimulated. A good teacher will include multiple learning possibilities within multiple domains, and allow the child space and time to be fully engaged.
To us, play provides children with many opportunities for learning. Play allows children to make sense of the world around them, while developing social and cognitive skills, maturing emotionally and gaining the self-confidence that they will need to engage in new adventures and environments. It is the teacher’s responsibility to create safe spaces for play, where they can have a variety of learning experiences. The child should be provided with open-ended materials that stretch the imagination and create opportunities to build social and problem-solving skills. There should be room for children to laugh, sing, dance, get really messy, and ask tons of questions. A child’s work is to play.
We know that children also learn by example and imitation. As teachers and caregivers we need to be the people we hope our children will become. We must respect and value each other, our environment, and the learning process if we expect children to do the same. Teachers are responsible for giving children the vocabulary they need to express themselves and their emotions appropriately, for teaching them how they can be responsible for the world they live in and how they contribute to its health and well being. Teachers must also find ways to keep the learning exciting and relevant for young children.
Our favorite part about being educators is that children enter the world with love and purpose and come to us prepared to learn. I know that they need us to be supportive while also stepping back and allowing them to be independent. I know that they will look to us for answers and understanding, and we must be honest and patient as we guide them towards their own answers and understanding. I know that we have to be teachers as well as students among young children.
A Child’s Place is nestled inside of a single family home in the Castro Heights area of El Sobrante. We are center to Orinda, San Pablo, and Pinole, and only a hop, skip, and a jump away from Martinez, Walnut Creek, and El Cerrito. The preschool utilizes the first level of a two-story home, as well as the backyard area. There is plenty of natural light, open space, and even a few cozy nooks within A Child’s Place. The indoor classroom consists of 3 large rooms for play, creativity, critical thinking, reading, and much more! The backyard, also known as the outdoor classroom, is an extension of the indoors, with additional space for large motor development, sand and water play, painting, and gardening.
You see a child play, and it is so close to seeing an artist paint, for in play a child says things without uttering a word. You can see how he solves his problems. You can also see what’s wrong. Young children, especially, have enormous creativity, and whatever’s in them rises to the surface in free play. -Erik Erikson
Working with children is Cherysse’s greatest joy outside of being a mother. She loves the energy and enthusiasm that children greet each day with. Cherysse finds that children are welcoming to all people and happily curious about all things. She is amazed by how often she becomes the student in her classroom, as she watches children discover and uncover the world around them. In a sense, children are pretty close to perfection, and it is our job as teachers and caregivers to help them hold on to as much of what makes them perfect as possible.
Cherysse believes that children can learn a great deal from being outside in nature. Research shows that children’s social, psychological, academic, and physical health is positively impacted when they have daily contact with nature. Positive impacts include:
- Supports Multiple Development Domains
- Supports Creativity and Problem Solving
- Enhances Cognitive Ability
- Improves Social Relations
- Increases Physical Activity
- Reduces Stress And so much more!
Cherysse uses nature to help children learn more about natural materials, art, animals, and problem solving. These hands-on experiences cannot be replaced with indoor activities, but can certainly enhance them.
Additionally Cherysse uses Block/ Building play as a way to teach children math (measurement, comparison, estimation, symmetry, etc.), and science (testing a hypothesis). Block play also helps to build their problem solving skills, imagination, self-expression, creativity, and self-esteem.
Director and Head Teacher, Cherysse Calhoun
Cherysse has a BA in Human Development with a focus on Early Childhood Development, has taken several Early Childhood Education courses, holds a Site Supervisor Permit from California Teacher Credentialing, has completed coursework and been certified by Lifeways (a Waldorf inspired training program), has attended several trainings on diversity, literacy, math, and STEM for early learners through First 5 and the I3 Institute, and has been working with children for many years in the preschool setting as well as reading and mentoring programs. Teacher Cherysse is a mother of 4, and believes that working with children has brought her the greatest joy next to being a mom.
Assistant Teacher, D’Asia Galathe
Teacher D’Asia has taken 12 units in Early Childhood Education, has an Assistant Teacher Permit from California Teacher Credentialing, and has 3 years experience teaching in the preschool environment.
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.