The Secret Garden, PLAYSCHOOL & KINDERGARTEN Co.
by Paula Lynam
I was born and grew up in Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe, where I had
the most wonderful childhood I could imagine. We adventured and
explored outside a great deal of the time, riding bikes, walking, eating mango's and guavas galore, baking fairy cakes, making jam, baking real cakes (which my kind-hearted brother tasted and
endured until I baked cakes which were good enough to call “cake”)! I
hold the pictures of my childhood close to my heart and, with the
dedicated help of those at The Secret Garden, spend much time creating an
environment where children play, explore, stretch and grow in inspiring
The faculty and staff of The Secret Garden, Playschool and Kindergarten, are here to gently guide and encourage; observe
and be worthy of imitation; to smile, laugh, sing, and to hold all life with reverence.
What a gift it is for us to spend this time with you and your children.
We are grateful.
We strive to develop and nurture in the child a healthy physical
body, full sensory integration, a well-established sense of rhythm, an
alive imagination and curiosity – the foundations for future learning.
A Healthy Physical Body
During the first seven years of life, children experience the world through movement; their every motion and exploration providing a
wealth of sensory experiences. Young children absorb each impression,
without yet having the ability to discern between positive and negative
impressions, trusting the world with a great openness. As adults, we
have the capacity of higher thinking and the cognitive ability to sift
through our impressions and recognize those which cause us harm,
creating barriers against them as necessary. It is our responsibility as
adults and educators to protect children from these harmful outside
influences and impressions, so that their senses are not prematurely
blunted or taxed. In this way the children are free to experience the
world around them.
Early childhood educators protect the “sense” system by supporting
the physical systems of the child. Addressing physical comfort and well
being, the teacher ensures the warmth of the children, dressing them in
many layers for outdoor adventures and play. Good nutrition is
encouraged as the children and teacher prepare balanced meals together.
Holding it all together is the daily rhythm, bringing a
comforting, reassuring sense of routine to the child’s experience of the
school day, all in a natural environment that is stimulating, yet also
soothing to the senses. This, flavored with warmheartedness and
delight permeate our environment.
Rhythm and Routine
The rhythm and repetition in our Early Childhood class supports
learning and healthy development. From one activity to the next, the day
flows logically, following daily, weekly and yearly rhythms in order to
develop a sense of security, harmony and expectation.
Rhythms soon become established habits, minimizing the need for
instruction and direction. There is a natural “expansion” and
“contraction” inherent in the day’s activities. Expansion occurs during
times of child-initiated activity, as they explore, play and create
imaginary worlds within their surroundings.
Contraction occurs during teacher-led time, as the children turn more inward and focus
on activities. Expansion and contraction, work to foster a healthy
balance of activity, creating a natural ebb and flow in the classroom equal to the natural rhythm of breathing.
Established routine also helps to develop a child’s memory. To this end,
each day of the week has a corresponding activity and snack. Such
predictability helps to develop a sense of order, regularity and
security; the seeds of future self-discipline and the development of