Specialists

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.

Art

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 Dakan 19 20

Michelle Dakan

Michelle teaches art for preschool through 4th 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 10th grade at Waverly. (Email)

Farm

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 Murawski 19 20

Kevin Murawski

Kevin is Waver­ly’s envi­ron­men­tal studies and outdoor educa­tion teacher. Kevin received a B.F.A. from Otis Art Insti­tute of Parsons School of Design. Prior to teach­ing, Kevin was an art direc­tor for a publish­ing company and at various anima­tion studios. (Email)

Music

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. 

Jim Reynolds 19 20

Jim Reynolds

Jim teaches instru­men­tal music from preschool through twelfth grade. Jim studied jazz guitar, vocal perfor­mance, and philos­o­phy in college at Oberlin, Ohio. He also has a back­ground in sound engi­neer­ing, working in the Los Angeles studio scene for over 10 years. A working musi­cian today, he has had expe­ri­ence touring in bands, working in sound studios, manag­ing live concert sound events, and song­writ­ing. His music has been licensed for film and tele­vi­sion, most notably on the tele­vi­sion show Sons of Anarchy. Currently, you can see Jim locally and on tour as The Jim Reynolds Band. During his time at Waverly, students have formed rock bands, wood­wind quin­tets, string quar­tets, and several incar­na­tions of a jazz band. Focused primar­ily on partic­i­pa­tion, Waverly students have a chance to explore all aspects of music and have many oppor­tu­ni­ties to get on stage and perform. (Email)

Phys­i­cal Education

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 Anderson 19 20

Jack Ander­son

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)

Library

The preschool­ers visit the school library weekly for a half-hour to listen to stories and check out books. Each visit begins with a partic­i­pa­tory story­time that uses props and puppets and that empha­sizes listen­ing, visual, and early liter­acy skills. The librar­ian curates a variety of books, includ­ing picture books, age appro­pri­ate nonfic­tion, and some early-reader chapter books, for each weekly visit. The chil­dren can enjoy these books with their teach­ers, the librar­ian, and each other. Parents are always welcome, too.