Little Tree Philosophies
Little Tree was started by Nichole Farnum in 2011, in San Francisco. After the birth of Nichole’s daughter, and a new family home in Marin in 2017, Nichole realized that she wanted to move the art studio out of SF and closer to home. With this relocation, and her daughter soon becoming the preschool age it was decided that expanding the popular and well known 1 hour morning preschool class into a full time, art based program around the Regio Emilia teaching philosophies would be greatly received along with the reopening and continuation of the elementary aged after school art program. Already holding her directors permit and 15 years of past preschool lead teaching experience, it was an easy decision. Opening the doors of Little Tree at 104 Shaver Street in San Rafeal, CA in 2018.
Here at Little Tree Preschool, we take children 2.5-5 years, holding a teacher to child ratio of 1:6 We also only take a maximum of 18 students in a combined age-classroom. This allows us teachers to give our most precious gifts, our children, the proper attention, love and support needed during their most important time of growth.
Our Pre-K Program, focuses on the inner child and the magic they hold within. We want the “whole child”; heart, mind, spirit and body to grow and shine bright. We follow Reggio Emilia philosophies in our play and art-based classroom. One of the important principles of Reggio based education is “the hundred languages of children”. Which describes children as having one hundred ways of thinking and learning, through work as well as play, through creativity, through science as well as imagination, fantasy as well as reality, and so on. Imbedding a constant variety of ways for children to think and learn in a “hundred ways” ensures our children are being fulfilled.
We also focus on building a welcoming and supportive environment. Having a safe place to share our individuality makes it easier to learn how to open our hearts and understand one another. Every child needs their voice heard as well as to learn how to hear the voices of their peers, teachers, community and their environment. So sometimes that means pausing our daily activities to talk about our feelings and problem solve a situation with one another. Through this type of open, and warm classroom the children’s communication skills with one another grows and therefore strengthens their self–worth. With strong self-esteem, kindness for others and communication skills a child will enter kindergarten and life with the strongest tools for success!
Our Elementary Art Program explores drawing, painting, sewing, sculpture and mixed media in a more elaborate way. Our lessons are fun, creative and not your everyday craft work. We strive to create cool, fun projects that allow Little Artists to use their own ideas and creativity while still providing structure to teach design and art principles. Theres no cookie cutter crafts here! All work leaves the studio ready to be hung and admired-as it should, all the drawings or paintings are framed in glass or done on canvas.
Little Tree's After-School Art Studio, was created to give children ages 5-11yrs a place where they can come after their school day to explore different art materials and nourish their creativity in a fun and supportive workspace. We believe our art classes should be kept small with only 8 Little Artists in each, to better provide a safe community atmosphere to where their individuality can be nurtured, and challenged in a way that builds a strong self-image and cultivates self-esteem through accomplishment and self-recognition.
Once a year we have our Annual Gallery Party where all of our Little Artists can hang their art work from the year and invite guests to celebrate their accomplishments.