Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bellingham Preschool of the Arts

"It's the best one and I DON'T WANT TO LEAVE IT. That's what you should write on the computer" -Beckett, when asked what I should say about his school.Our life in Bellingham is a lot to say goodbye to. We have amazing friends, favorite walks, restaurants and shops and bakeries that I'll miss and each is irreplaceable in its own way, but the one thing I'm the most reluctant (and the most emotional) to leave is the Bellingham Preschool of the Arts. I wish I could pack up the whole place with everyone in it and move them all with us. Especially after interviewing with many lackluster schools near our new home.

Teacher Tina is phenomenal. Almost supernatural with her abilities with children. She's that rare person who is passionate about both individual children and about early childhood education in general. She continues to learn and research and refine her own techniques and strives to create the best possible environment for growth. I just can't say enough about her and the program she's creating at BPOTA.She emanates calm and joy, has seemingly endless patience and a vibrant sense of humor. She has this wonderful way of emphasizing kindness and gentleness without demonizing occasional playful wildness. And she supports the unique quirks of each child. I would know, my kid has a lot of them.

For example, for Beckett's birthday celebration at school he said he wasn't into making a crown (the norm for the birthday kids.) So she had me work with him at home on his own special birthday hat and made it "Funny Hat Day" at school. All the kids made crowns and hats, Tina wore her own silly hat and she brought in books, songs and dances, all related to hats. She came up with the whole idea and threw it together in just a few hours. My boy felt special without feeling singled out and his 1st ever class birthday was hugely memorable. In fact it'll be pretty tough to beat.

The program emphasizes the Arts, which just means that in addition to circle time, books, playtime, puzzles and manipulatives, there's always access to a variety of art supplies as well as directed art projects and a special weekly music class. Teacher Johanna is the assistant teacher and she brings her vast knowledge as a working artist, art teacher and mother to the mix. She also speaks Spanish with the kids and has an infectious enthusiasm for visual art and expression. She's a little more fiery than Teacher Tina, and they make a great team.My only original hesitation about the school was the space. It's in an old downtown building with big windows and daylight galore, but it has no outdoor recreational area. This was a concern of mine when we first signed up, but I've hardly thought of it since. They've opened up the BAAY theater space for large motor activities for the preschoolers with trikes and slides etc. The class takes walks and has field trips to local businesses and honestly I haven't given the lack of a play yard a single thought since September.I'm happy to hear that BPOTA is expanding their program for the next academic year. I wish so much that we could be a part of it. It's been an overwhelmingly positive experience for our family and I am so grateful for our time there. Thanks to everyone for making my cautious, sensitive child's first school experience so lovely. I wish everyone the best! We will miss you!!!

1 comment:

  1. We are moving to bellingham and that is how I found your blog. May I ask where you are moving to? Nicole