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.

ES Faculty Michelle Dakan 2023

Michelle Dakan

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 Farm Bio

Kevin Murawski

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. 

ES Faculty Armaan Biviji 2023

Armaan Biviji

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)

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. 

ES Faculty Jack Anderson 2023

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)


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.

ES Faculty Liz Lopez 2023

Liz Lopez

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)

Student Support

ES Faculty Jen Johnson 2023

Jen Johnson

Jen is the learn­ing special­ist for preschool through sixth 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)