“Where Learning is Play, and Play is Learning.”
The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd Preschool is a child-centered sensory-rich environment. Our vision is to foster hands-on inquiry provide for varied educational needs and celebrate the spirituality of children from all walks of life.
Our Philosophy is to provide a safe and nurturing environment that encourages active exploration and free choice. We offer a stimulating curriculum that challenges physical, social, emotional, creative, intellectual, and spiritual growth.
Why are we Play-Based?
According to the latest neuro-science research, play is crucial to brain development, emotional development and critical cognitive skills, such as executive function. One central element of executive function is the ability to self-regulate. Children with good self-regulation are able to control their emotions and behavior, resist impulses and exert self-control and discipline. Good executive function is a better predictor of success in school than a child’s IQ. Children who are able to manage their feeling and pay attention are better able to learn. As executive function researcher Laura Berk explains, “Self-regulation predicts effective development in virtually every domain.”
Children are naturally curious and capable learners. We provide them with safe and stimulating opportunities for rich investigation of the natural world, for exploring a wide variety of physical materials, for collaboration on make-believe play, for speech development, all in beautiful surroundings with professional child development teachers.
Play Based Curriculum
Play-based curriculum is a carefully planned environment that is both stimulating and exciting. Our teachers support children as they explore their environment, they talk with them, and extend their play when required. Simply put, it’s a fun place to play where children can learn without knowing learning is taking place.
At Good Shepherd we see children as naturally curious and capable learners and our days are full of spontaneous learning experiences. Investigating, learning, exploring, questioning, thinking, collaborative discussions are all central to our curriculum.
Traditionally, we have offered a 2 day program for three year olds, a 3 day program for 4 year olds, a 5 day program for 3 & 4 year olds, and a transitional Kindergarten for 4 1/2 and 5 year olds.
Last year we started accepting 2.6 year olds into the program. If you choose this program the children will be with other three year olds that leave at 1:00 but parents of 2 1/2 year olds will be picked up at noon.
Also, the 3 & 4 year old combination class at the Grange site there is availability for 2 day, 3 day or 5 day options for all preschool ages.
The hours of operation are 7:30 – 5:30 – we have many Afterschool Enrichment options
Younger 3 year old program 2.6-2.8 years old – 2Days
Tuesday & Thursday: 9am-12
3 year old program – 2 Days
Tuesday & Thursday: 9am-1pm
4 year old program -3 Days
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9am-1pm
3 & 4 year old combination program – 5 days
5 Day PreK – Backpacker Program – Transitional Kinder
At 7:30 or 8:00
Pick up times: 2:00, 3:30, 4:30 and 5:30pm
After School Play (kindergarten) we pick up children after Kindergarten
Transportation from Toro Park Elementary School is provided.
Pick up times: 3:30, 4:30 and 5:30pm
Available Monday – Friday
Traditionally we follow the Washington Union School District calendar. For complete registration and general information, please contact Sandy French 831-484-2363
Our Episcopal Identity
The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd Preschool is a member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools.
Episcopalians, like all Christians, believe that our life is founded on the life of Jesus, and that as a Church we are called to offer the redeeming love of God in Christ to all people. Episcopal schools are a concrete expression of the Church’s care for young people and their families, and of the belief that God calls us to love all God’s children.
Episcopalians have always treasured their particular traditions, and it may be that the principles embodied in the history of Church in this country and its roots in England might help clarify the mission of a school that calls itself Episcopal. The points that follow are an attempt to provide not an exhaustive system of such principles, but the framework for a discussion and clarification.
An Episcopal school is comprehensive and inclusive.
Our church encourages respect for the other person’s beliefs. An Episcopal school may be expected not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, or national origin, and actively seek out faculty and students of diverse backgrounds and traditions in the belief that they bring something to be valued and respected, and because we would like to be broadly inclusive of the community we serve. An Episcopal school will look for the values that unite people rather than those that divide, and not allow factionalism to undermine the life of the whole. The unity of an Episcopal school is based on rite and tradition rather than doctrine.
If you want to understand what it means to be an Episcopalian, you have to come worship with us.
In an Episcopal school there will likely be no single dogma to which we all subscribe, no list of rules that define who we must be as a community. An Episcopal school ought to be able to point to its own rites and traditions without getting stuck in them, recognizing that these embody the common values of school community. Its rituals may not all derive from the Book of Common Prayer, but every member of the community should be able to join in celebrating the life of the community in some ritual ways (rituals can be formal or informal). There is at work here too a sacramental principle which we hold dear: God makes sacred the things of this world as they are offered to God in worship. Students should have the opportunity to experience the best of Episcopal worship if they are to understand the heart of the Church’s teaching.
An Episcopal school values reason as a way to true understanding.
Anglicanism has always put faith and revelation first, like most Protestants. But Anglican theologians have suggested since the 17th century that human reason offers a tool to interpret scripture and to wrestle with the most difficult spiritual issues. (Again, because there is no human authority to tell us how to think, the responsibility to reason our way to understanding becomes essentially an individual enterprise, in good Protestant fashion, which in turn underlies the idea of respect for individual beliefs.) So, in the Episcopal tradition, learning is important not to find the right answers to be used as weapons against “unbelievers”, but, in order to arrive at God’s truth.
Clearly, then, an Episcopal education is not indoctrination, not about enforcing an unquestioning acceptance of a fore-ordained set of doctrines. An Episcopal education should begin from the premise that we (teachers, children, administrators, staff) are all a community of explorers, that we all need to continue to learn and to grow. It should encourage all children and teachers and staff to pursue questions wherever they lead, to use their critical faculties, to value the learning and thought we have inherited from the past. It should also, one would think – and here we part company with secular education – refuse to allow students to separate religion and spirituality from the rest of the curriculum, since the Anglican insight is that reason and learning are ultimately intended to serve our exploration of the deepest issues of humankind. An Episcopal education will raise issues of meaning, identity, and ultimate truth at every opportunity in all parts of its program but also will acknowledge the limits of human reason.
An Episcopal school has a concern for the well-being of society.
The Episcopal Church began its life in the country as an established church and has had a hard time, some would argue, admitting that it is not. The positive side of this is that despite its essentially conservative nature, the Church has maintained a commitment to be involved in shaping society.
An Episcopal school is founded on love.
This is not a peculiarly Anglican idea but so fundamental to the Christian view that it can get overlooked. Love for students, for their value as children of God, for their unique gifts, must under gird everything we do. We must act out of love, teach love, model love, and love one another in our community above all else, or all else will be meaningless.