Our center offers both morning and afternoon preschool programs for children ages 2 through 6 years old. Our students benefit from large chunks of uninterrupted outside playtime in the morning and in the afternoon. Our large outside space is mostly sand and some pavement on our bike trail, patio space, and basketball court. We allow children to take off their shoes, climb structures, ride bikes, swing on swings, ride our zip line (which we call “The Zoom”), play in the mud, paint, garden, and navigate their own play with mixed-aged peers. This outside time is priceless! When children are allowed to explore, interact, and create freely in an environment that is infused with tools and materials that speak to their senses and natural curiosity, the possibilities are endless!
We also allow our students to play outside in cold weather and light rain, or after it has rained. We spend less time outside in colder weather, but we do bundle the kids up, strap on their rain boots, and allow them to run play, climb, and splash. It is critical for children to have access to fresh air and exercise year round.
Children who attend DLC need to have their cubbies stocked with plenty of extra clothing. We believe children need the freedom to explore their environment and participate in a variety of activities throughout their day with out worrying about staying clean. Another valued learning experience is the responsibility and independence that is gained when a child is required to change their own clothing and cleaning up after a messy activity. Please send your child to school in clothing that you don’t mind them getting dirty or stained.
DLC typically runs a 1:6 ratio, and we may get up to 1:9. The highest ratio a preschool in the state of California can have is 1:12. Having a very low ratio is a critical part of DLC’s high quality program. With a low ratio our teachers can actually attend to all of our student’s needs, we can ensure stellar supervision, and our students and teachers are happier.
Small Group Time
For an hour in the morning and an hour and a half in the afternoon we have “small group time.” Children are placed in groups with peers of similar developmental age (socially/emotionally, linguistically, and cognitively). During small group time children can get deeply involved in long term projects and activities that require skills that children are developing and/or working on mastering (fine/and large motor skills, cognitive abilities, problem solving skills, attention span, and much more). These long term projects are developed in concert by teachers and children based on the children’s emerging interests. Examples of long term projects include: planning and building a small city, creating puppets and puppet show, hatching duck eggs, super hero unit, castle building project, building trenches, canals, aqueducts, and so much more!
We work in small groups to develop true math, science, and literacy concepts, not just rote memorization. For children to do this they need to be interactive, hands-on, explore, contemplate, make mistakes, and ask questions. During group time we offer a variety of experiences which include but are not limited to; creative movement and music, literacy, math, science, sensory experiences, circle time, critical thinking opportunities, cooking projects, and much more. Whatever we are working on, we make sure it is meaningful and appropriate for each child. We also care deeply that children learn to respect their environment, their peers, and develop empathy.
Our school-age program is before and after school with busing service included. The school-age program offers planned daily activities with an emphasis on art and science projects, homework time, and ample time to just play and unwind! Our school-age program also has an emphasis on team building skills, cooperative play, friendship building, and projects that emerge from the children’s interests.
Our School-Age summer program is an outstanding option for your child as well. Our teachers work very hard on planning a summer packed full of enriched experiences for our students. Two days a weeks our school-agers take city buses on all day field trips. With their backpacks packed with everything they need for the day, they head out early in the morning to visit parks, pools, creeks, museums, and take various scheduled tours. Our school-agers develop a heightened sense of responsibility, awareness of their surroundings and needs of others, safety skills, communication skills, investigative skills, problem solving and critical thinking skills, as well as having a ton of fun!
The days that our school-agers are not on all day field trips they have enriched activities and experiences back at school. Some of these activities include cooking days, gardening, creative digging and building projects in our yard, art, science, caring for our pet guinea pigs, and so much more!
Our center hours are from 6:30 am to 6 pm. Children may attend on a full-day basis and be assured of a quality program to meet their development needs.
Lunch and Snack
DLC offers two nutritious snacks a day (9 am & 2 pm). Families provide lunch for their child. Our staff does heat-up food for children at lunch time if needed. Please pack ice-packs in your child’s lunchbox to keep it cool, as we have limited space in our refrigerator. At 4:00 pm children are allowed to eat snacks from their lunch box. We are a nut free school. Please make sure any food that comes to our center is free of all nut products.
Toilet Training & Napping
Your child does not need to be toilet trained to attend DLC, and we do not base our decision on which small group they will be placed in based on their toilet training status. If your child does wear diapers then we ask that families provide us with diapers and baby wipes.
Not all children at DLC need to take naps. If your child does need a nap you may bring in a crib sheet, blanket, and pillow for them to use. Our nappers go to sleep right after lunch (between 11:30 and 12:00), and are allowed to wake up naturally.