About

Philosophy

Non-violent education and parenting

Non-violent education and parenting is a daily practice of caring for children with the deepest respect for their dignity as full human beings. This practice, developed by the Center for Non-Violent Parenting and Education, in Echo Park, cultivates the optimal relationship between children and caregivers (parents, teachers, grandparents, baby sitters, etc) based on unconditional love, empathy, and compassion for a child’s feelings and needs. Interactions with children that are rooted in non-violent communication are based on the science of early childhood brain development where the highest emotional intelligence grows from maintaining deep connection with children and their core needs for acceptance, affection, appreciation, and ability to be heard.

Through non-violent education and communication, caregivers at Village Playgarden work in concert with families and parents as the child’s emotional guide on their journey to emotional intelligence, limit setting, and social awareness. We see it as our job and our honor to support the powerful life force in children so that they may continue to grow into self-respecting, emotionally in tune, caring, empathetic human beings. In the tradition of non-violent parenting and education, there are no punishments, time-outs, manipulations or with holding, yelling, judgements, or rewards given to children at Village Playgarden.

Waldorf and Enki-inspired curriculum

At Village Playgarden we draw on a curriculum where rhythm, ritual, and reverence, form the basis of our daily, weekly, and yearly activities. The program is rich in creative and homemaking arts, handwork, story telling, verse and song, imaginative play, gardening, and exploration of nature, supporting the childrens healthy expansion from self, to home, to community.

Introduction to Spanish

Our curriculum encourages multiple language acquisition in early childhood. Exposure to foreign language is an important part of teaching children to honor and celebrate global diversity. The director of Village Playgarden, Kikanza Ramsey-Ray, speaks Spanish fluently and uses Spanish as a fluid and natural part of her communication with children. Spanish verses, songs, and poems are a regular part of the circle time and children are taught useful Spanish vocabulary.

Ritual

By raising even the most mundane daily task to the level of ritual we can help children find beauty in every thing they do. Singing a song, saying a verse, or offering a blessing as we start the day, wash our hands, clean up our toys, sit for a meal, or say good-bye helps to cultivate a sense of importance and mindfulness in the actions of living. Village Playgarden is not a religious school, however our program and curriculum acknowledges the spiritual nature of human life and seeks to honor all traditions, cultures, religions, philosophies, and points of view that respect and celebrate the power of life force.

Rhythm

At Village Playgarden we seek to cultivate self-awareness in children by honoring daily, weekly, and seasonal rhythm in our activities. A day at Village Playgarden honors the child’s need for “in breaths” and “out breaths” as she/he expands into learning experiences and contracts to internalize all that she/he has experienced.

Reverence

At Village Playgarden we seek to support reverence in our lives, reverence for self, parents, teachers, peers, animals, nature. We believe that children learn most through imitation, and reverence is taught by positive modeling, action, and gentle guidance or suggestions from the teachers and caregivers, not by insisting that children say or do certain things.

Play

Play is the work of childhood. Children experience and interpret the world through play. We fully embrace and encourage the magic of childhood, believing play is one of the highest gifts of early childhood education. Many of our toys are pieces of nature, often handmade by us, encouraging children to delight in their imaginations and the natural world.

Art/Creativity

At Village Playgarden we believe that creativity and art are a living fluid part of the human experience. As such, children at Village Playgarden have regular access to materials for their creative expression. In addition children will experience regular guided artistic explorations such as hand sewing, finger knitting, watercolor painting, crayon drawing, woodworking. We are committed to using natural non-toxic materials and recycling previously used materials into our art work and creativity.

Organic Gardening and Healthy Eating

We spend a lot of time in the dirt at Village Playgarden. And we eat delicious and healthy food. We plant seeds and gardens with the children and care for them while they grow. And in doing so, children learn to care for the land while learning about the roots of good nutrition in Mother Earth’s bounty.