Our Early Childhood Program
Preschool through 2nd Grade
Geckos & Iguanas
Our Preschool Program is play-based and serves children three to five years old. Teachers create a nurturing environment where learning takes place naturally and intellectual growth flourishes, but is never forced. We deeply value play as the work of childhood and see children as capable and competent.
As students become more at ease with separation, they begin to form peer relationships and increasingly become part of a group. Preschool provides challenge and intellectual stimulation within a warm emotional climate. Teachers and children create experiences together that arouse curiosity, inspire discovery, and stretch muscles. Through observing children closely, teachers determine needs, temperament, and readiness for next steps.
There is a special emphasis on social-emotional development in Preschool, based on the values of community and empathy. Children are given the tools and skills needed to participate in cooperative interactions, to resolve conflicts peacefully, to stand up for themselves and others, and to be active, responsible members of a group.
At Oak Grove we are committed to fostering in children the sense of well-being and confidence that enables them to appreciate others and instills real understanding across cultures.
Preschool Song about Lucky the Hawk
During our last assembly of 2023, the High School honor band performed a song written by preschool students about Lucky, Oak Grove’s resident Red Tailed Hawk.
Kindergarten at Oak Grove is a time when children and their families enter a larger, more diverse community, when children are discovering their autonomy, yet still need supportive adults to help them make sense of the world.
Our Kindergarten provides children with an opportunity to learn and practice the essential problem-solving and communication skills that they will use throughout their schooling. This is a time when the transition between play and learning is still seamless. The Kindergarten program reflects an understanding that children learn through active involvement and that children represent their knowledge in a variety of ways.
Kindergarten students explore the world around them through social studies, reading, writing, mathematics, science, and the arts, while teachers support students to find their voices, collaborate with peers, and grow as compassionate members of a group. Through immersion in a collaborative, and inquiry-based curriculum, students develop a sense of independence and empathy.
First & Second Grade
In 1st and 2nd grade, teachers balance academics with mastery of fundamental skills in critical and creative thinking. Beautiful classrooms and time exploring nature alongside each other and skilled teachers provide a safe environment for expanding important skills in relationship building and conflict resolution. Project-based learning and emergent curriculum allows students to dive deeply into subjects, learning alongside teachers.
It started with a book, Roxaboxen, by Alice McClerran. By creating their own Roxaboxen in the nearby meadow. They engaged in meaningful, hands-on, creative tasks that involve collaboration, communication, and imagination. Their Roxaboxen Project had all this and purposeful integrated learning.
Oak Grove students, of all ages, spend time learning outdoors, both on and off campus. From daily play, walks through the Oak Groves and nearby meadows, Outdoor Education and is a cornerstone of an Oak Grove education. It is well documented that unstructured play outdoors promotes creativity and problem-solving skills. Children create new games, engage in dramatic play, and explore freely. The regular use of creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills in an unstructured outside setting means that children are more likely to have these skills in the classroom and future careers.
Each Spring, Kindergartners camp out on the soccer field with parents and teachers, enjoy meals together, and songs around the campfire. In first and second grade, camping trips move to Carpinteria State Beach with both parents and teachers. This is the beginning of the Oak Grove camping and travel experience that continues to expand each year as children build confidence and independence.
Parent Support & Education
Our intention is to nurture an affectionate partnership between teachers and parents. To encourage open communication between home and school, parent education and discussion time in parent meetings are offered twice a month.
Oak Grove’s Early Childhood Programs emphasize the emotional and academic benefits that can take place when parents and children learn together.
The faculty of the Oak Grove Secondary School provides a well-rounded Parent Ed program, whereby parents can become informed on subjects related to teen and young adult development. Parent Ed events are led by teachers as well as outside professionals, covering topics like social media wellness, college readiness, teen sexuality, inquiry-based dialogue, and more. The program’s mission is to support parents in raising teenagers through workshops on adolescent development, communication strategies, college readiness, and harm prevention. In addition, the program emphasizes building relationships and support networks among parents, teachers, and community members.