Kinderkirk is a non-profit, self supporting educational program of the Carpinteria Community Church. It was founded in 1978 as a ministry of the Church to children and their parents. It seeks to support families within the context of their own unique social-economic- cultural make up. It began with 45 children in 3 classrooms. Today Kinderkirk has many classrooms including an “outdoor classroom”, a large vegetable and flower garden, a Resource Center, a carpentry area and an Inclusion Program through the Santa Barbara County Schools. Kinderkirk is an integral part of the Carpinteria Valley educational community.
Kinderkirk operates as an integral part of the Carpinteria Community Church and not as a separate organization. Kinderkirk is governed by a nine member Board of Directors who are responsible to the Council and trustees of the Church, at least five members are parents of Kinderkirk children. All policy decisions are made by the Board with the advice and assistance of the Kinderkirk Director. The Board meets monthly and welcomes visitors.
Kinderkirk provides a high quality Early Childhood program with a nurturing indoor and outdoor environment that promotes the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, creative and spiritual development of young children while responding to the needs of families.
1. Age appropriateness
a. Human Developmental Research indicates universal, predictable sequences of growth and change in children occur during the first 8 years of life
b. The Kinderkirk staff uses their knowledge of Early Childhood Development & Education to prepare an appropriate learning environment as well as planning appropriate experiences to maximize your child’s growth
2. Individual Appropriateness
a. We, here at Kinderkirk, recognize that each child is a unique person with an individual pattern and timing of growth, as well as having their own personality, learning style and family background
b. Our curriculum and our interactions with these children will be responsive to the individual differences
Learning in young children is the result of interactions between the child’s thoughts and experience with materials, ideas and people. These experiences should match the child’s interest and understanding. These experiences will be provided during both inside and outside activities.
Play is the primary vehicle for a child’s mental growth. Play enables children to progress in a natural, developmental sequence. In addition to its role in cognitive development, play also serves important functions in a child’s physical, emotional, and social development. Therefore, child initiated, child directed, teacher supported play is an essential component of Kinderkirk’s indoor and outdoor program.
The Outdoor Classroom Philosophy:
We have a beautiful front and back yard with different levels to negotiate and ground cover to explore. Fruit and Pine trees surround us. We explore in the herb garden. We have big sand and dirt areas and easy access to water for creating streams and other adventures; we have lots of loose parts for the imaginative and problem solving minds. In our front and back yards are swings, climbers, slides and bikes to encourage the growth of large muscles. Teachers and children work together in the large vegetable and flower garden. We have butterfly hutches so that we can watch the metamorphosis of these beautiful creatures. Much of what we do inside, we can also do outside. We have easels, we have outdoor tables and we have carpentry. We also have chickens, that lay eggs, a duck and other animals to take care of. We feel that each child’s unique learning process is supported with many choices for activities. Many of the activities we do at school are not so likely to happen at home. Our goal is to help children grow into healthy and happy adults. Children learn through play. Piaget emphasized that open-ended activities and questions support cognitive development; they require children to think. Children’s learning and growth is enhanced by being active outdoors. Much of our day is spent outdoors at Kinderkirk. Included in our curriculum are day hikes around town. We have water safety certified teachers so that we can go to the beach to explore in the sand.
Healthy Food/Healthy Bodies:
Overweight and obesity are among the most common health problems facing children in the United States. An estimated one in five children is overweight or obese. These children are at greater risk of developing a host of health problems including Type II diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure, adult obesity or high cholesterol. Overweigh and obesity are caused from eating too much and moving around too little. To avoid this Kinderkirk has decided to focus on good nutrition We do this by talking
about good food like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, water and proteins (the “any time” food). We acknowledge good foods in lunches that are made at home. We encourage fruits and vegetables for class parties. We work with foods that are low in calories and high in nutritional value. They can watch these foods grow in our garden.
Our large play yards provide lots of opportunity to run, climb, swing, ride, play soccer, basketball, baseball and group games, tug of war, duck, duck, goose, red rover and other simple but calorie burning activities. We also like to take walking field trips around town. Three Quarters of our day is spent outside in the Outdoor Classroom. We are proud of our school and what it offers our children.
Kinderkirk is a partnership of families, staff and church. All Kinderkirk families become active collaborators in their children’s learning opportunities at school. Realizing that every family has its own unique personality with different work commitments interests and members, the amount of time and the ways in which families become partners is very flexible. A Family Participation Agreement, in which each family outlines their partnership commitment, is required as part of the registration process. Parent Participation includes:
1. One parent orientation meeting
2. Two annual parent teacher conferences
3. Participation in two fundraisers (fall and spring)
4. Participation in one workday
5. Join at least one school committee
6. Direct involvement in the program as little as twice a year or as much as once a week