A Message From Jaye:

   To teach preschool in California, a person needs 12 units of ECE – Early Childhood Education- classes.  This is equivalent to four classes at the Junior College level or one semester of education beyond high school.  Garden School has higher standards and Colleen and Karine have much more. As owner of Garden School, I taught full time for 20 years before retiring in 1990 to become a full time janitor, handy person and visiting grandmother.  I know first hand what teachers do.  I am glad these teachers choose to teach at Garden School. 

Colleen Wiggins has been a Montessori teacher for over 25 years and is bringing experience and new ideas to Garden School. She studied child development in college, completed her Montessori Primary training in 1992 and her Montessori Elementary training in 1997. She spent 20 years teaching at Montessori Children's House in San Luis Obispo before returning to the Bay Area. She has been a teacher in all age groups, 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12, and decided she wants to stay with the 3-6 year olds. She is excited about teaching at Garden School and we are looking forward to a great year. Colleen and her husband, Chris, have 4 children ages 17-24 are soon to become first time grandparents.

Karine Hansel was born and raised in France. She joined the Garden School staff in 2006. She studied hotel management for 5 years before moving to the United States. As with so many teachers, she became interested in preschool education and Montessori when she had children. She has been an assistant teacher for the last 16 years including 14 years in a Montessori classroom. She and Yves have 2 children. Chloe is a sophomore at Cal and Guillaume just returned from 30 months in Senegal with the Peace Corps and is starting at Cal in August to earn his Masters degree. Karine and Colleen will make a great team.

    When you chose Garden School, you chose a school that considers preschool an important part of a child’s education.  This is not “just preschool”, not just “a few hours a day”.  Preschool teachers are often the first adults outside of the family that a child forms a relationship with and learns to trust.  They influence how the child interacts with teachers and other adults throughout their lives.  They have a significant role in the child’s developing view of himself as a learner and as a member of society.  During the course of a day, Garden School teachers are instructors, nurturers, psychologists, nurses, guidance counselors, storytellers, playmates, dramatic actresses, best friends, arbitrators, disciplinarians, and even…janitors!  They provide inspiration, instruction, information, limits, empathy, support, advice, validation, structure, friendship, …and clean underwear to those in need.  They also provide insight and support to  parents on subjects such as discipline, “normal” childhood behavior, the psychology of preschoolers,  family matters, … and even birthday parties.
 
Whether your child is returning to Garden School next year or going on to kindergarten, the teachers that interact with them are special people.  They are people who have chosen to spend their lives enriching the lives of others.  Your child will encounter a wide range of teachers during their school careers and they will all appreciate your support.  An involved concerned parent is not a problem to a teacher.  A pushy demanding parent who is not really aware of what is going on is a problem.  The more you visit and involve yourself in your child’s school experience, the more you, your child, and the school will benefit.  Creating a bond between school and home is very valuable.  What is your child studying at school?  A trip to the library, a project that relates, etc. show your interest in what they are doing.  School is their world and it will become even more so as they spend more hours in school and peers become even more important.  You need to keep yourself involved.  Invite friends over, meet other parents, enjoy these valuable years. Teaching is not a lucrative occupation.  Its reward is the success of the children.  When you remember teachers with flowers on Teacher’s Day and take the time to give positive comments, it means a lot.
 
   As parents, you are your child’s first teacher.  Thank you for letting Garden School teachers be your child’s second teacher.

Jaye