Preschool students work with specialists each week in art, physical education, and vocal and instrumental music. Students also enjoy weekly visits to the library and spend two mornings at Waverly’s one-acre organic farm.
The emphasis in art in preschool is on the process. Children need many opportunities to engage with materials and methods so they can explore their thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Children are learning about and experiencing their world from many different perspectives and abilities, and their art reflects this. At this stage, children explore the art material by physically manipulating and experiencing its sensory properties. Children have the opportunity to talk about their art making as they work. Over time, children develop their own voice through their art and their creative vocabulary, allowing them to feel successful in communicating through symbolic language.
Michelle teaches art for preschool through 6th grade. Michelle has a B.A. in art from San Francisco State University and an M.A. in art education from California State University, Los Angeles. A working artist and printmaker, Michelle always knew she wanted to teach art. To support her students, she says, “I try to meet children where they are and listen to their ideas and what they are interested in exploring and expressing.” Michelle has two daughters; her daughter Nadine is enrolled in the 11th grade at Waverly. (Email)
The Waverly organic farm, located within walking distance from the school, is a one-acre multi-purpose green space for students, teachers, and families. During their weekly visits to the farm, the preschoolers participate in ongoing imaginative play that they continue to build upon throughout the year. They have opportunities to use tools, climb trees, dig, and build. They use problem solving skills to figure out how to move items around the farm, how to transport water using pvc pipes and by digging channels for the water to flow. They learn how to make shelter from the rain and have opportunities for mud play. The preschoolers delight in investigating how things grow, harvesting produce, observing and caring for the chickens, discovering insects, cooking in the student built pizza oven, and observing the changes of the climate and seasons.
Kevin is Waverly’s environmental studies and outdoor education teacher. Kevin graduated from Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design with a degree in fine arts and worked professionally as an artist for over 20 years. While illustrating 14 books for young readers and working as a designer on many children’s programs, Kevin began to find his passion for connecting with kids. A lifelong learner and self-proclaimed naturalist, Kevin has always had a deep appreciation for our environment and understanding our connection to it. With countless excursions into the field with students and dozens of overnight school camping trips over the years, Kevin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our program. After 13 years of teaching in the classroom, Kevin is thrilled to be working outside with students getting dirty, observing closely, looking deeply, reflecting, wondering, having fun, and continually growing. (Email)
Preschool students are introduced to the keyboard, xylophone, autoharp, recorder, and drums. The emphasis is on children finding joy in creating music while learning to play songs and singing. Children explore musical exercises and play hand-eye coordination games.
Armaan is the elementary school music teacher. A multi-instrumentalist and a film and media composer, he graduated with a B.M. from Berklee College Of Music. With a strong passion for dissecting the emotions felt behind fundamental musical concepts, he strives to instill philosophies of reasoning, questioning, and exploration amidst his music theory and instrumental instruction. Proficient in an array of instruments including guitar, piano, bass, drums, and vocals, Armaan aims to convey the fulfilling nourishment of music as an integral element in a student’s daily life. (Email)
Children love to move their bodies, and the curriculum at Waverly allows for movement of various sorts throughout the day. Twice a week, preschool children enjoy time with our physical education specialist, jumping, hopping, skipping, running, stretching, and bending. They learn how to follow verbal and nonverbal cues, practice spatial awareness, and develop hand-eye and eye-foot coordination. Children enjoy full use of the playground space to experiment with equipment, such as hula hoops, bean bags, tricycles, jump ropes, and balls. An important part of preschool physical education is learning how to play outdoor games with others.
Jack teaches physical education to the preschool, elementary school, and middle school. Jack has a B.S. in Kinesiology Physical Education Teacher Education from the University of La Verne, and an M.S. in Kinesiology Curriculum and Instruction from Cal Poly Pomona. Jack enjoys teaching P.E. because it allows him to work with students of all ages and lets him see them grow and develop from year to year. He feels that P.E. is a great time to not only teach students about motor skills, but interpersonal skills as well. (Email)
Preschool students learn and become familiar with the Spanish language through music, dance, games, art projects, storybooks, and cultural activities. The curriculum is designed to integrate language skills into our everyday classroom, excite students about Spanish, and introduce skills that will provide the support and repetition children need to learn a language.
Liz teaches Spanish in preschool through 6th grade. Liz graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor’s in public health and from California State University, Los Angeles with a Master’s in Education. Liz most recently worked as a behavioral specialist at the Center for Behavioral, Educational, and Social Therapies. She was also a teaching assistant at East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy. (Email)
Jen is the learning specialist for preschool through 6th grade. She has a California Teaching Credential, a Master’s in Teaching, certification as an educational therapist, and 30 years of experience teaching and supporting children and adults in a variety of settings. Jen works with students, staff, and parents to support students’ learning needs within the classroom and provides on-site professional development for teachers and staff. Led to a career in education by a lifelong fascination with the many different ways people think and learn, Jen is happiest when around children and believes that kids are naturally curious and seek challenges to stretch themselves. A passionate advocate for the value of neurodiversity, she created and leads the Waverly Neurodiversity Parent/Guardian Group. (Email)