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Our Address: 33 Greta St, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
Parent Support Center
Parenting Support Groups
Therapy for Children, Teens, Adults & Couples
Sandy McGlynn, LCSW
Parent Support Groups:
We believe that by participating in the classroom, parents will gain an understanding of the developmental levels and abilities of children birth to 5 years of age, and continue to appreciate the importance of the parent’s role in their child’s life.
In The Parenting Program , parents actively experience a partnership in learning between the teacher, parent and child. Parents who are in touch with their child’s development are better equipped to support the child’s education, and communicate with teaching and administrative staff.
We believe that through observation, hands on experience and discussion, parents will expand their parenting skills.
Through the use of our child-initiated setting, which has been carefully structured with the child’s needs in mind, parents observe and interact with their own children and the children of others, as well as teachers and peers.
We believe that parents will be more successful in raising their children when given the opportunity to further educate themselves about parenting issues.
A significant part of The Parenting Program curriculum includes opportunities for group and individual discussion sessions; access to materials from our extensive parenting library; and attendance at professional parenting and educational lectures, workshop, and events.
We believe that as parents become empowered through education and experience, and by taking an active role in their child’s education and home life, they tend to continue this involvement throughout their child’s formative years.
Frequently Asked Questions
In The Parenting Program multi-age classes, we do offer academics – through the lens of hands-on learning and play. We believe that academics should never be forced or administered through “rote learning”, especially in preschool! The developmental approach to preschool is supported by scientific evidence and endorsed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the nation’s largest professional association of early childhood educators.
Children “get” academics when their brains are ready to comprehend academics. This is determined by physical brain development, and each child is on a unique timeline. No amount of early exposure to academics will “help your child along” in any way until the neural connections in the brain are made and strengthened. This process is completed on Mother Natures’ time line!
Conversely, forced academics presented too early can turn a child off to learning – wouldn’t you feel frustrated if you just couldn’t “get” what the teachers were trying to show you, over and over again?
Here’s an example of how The Parenting Program teaches “academics”:
At the science table:
Children might practice counting and sorting when we dump out a huge barrel of colored magnetic tiles on the station table. Besides counting and sorting, they physically experience how magnets work and how to cooperate together to create a tower to the sky! Kids can choose to participate if this interests them, or move on…
To the snack area:
Children may learn their ABC’s by singing songs or shaping letters out of pretzel dough. Not to mention learning all about rising yeast dough (it’s time to punch it down!) Counting and one-to-one correspondence are reinforced as children count how many apples to cut up, or how many cups to put out on the table. Children can choose to participate there, or move on..
To the playground:
Three children are all swinging on the tire swing while a participating parent spins them. They all shriek with delight! Faster! Faster! Are they little thrill seekers? No. They are actually increasing blood circulation to their brains, so that those neural connections can grow! Children seek this stimulation naturally, and it’s good for them! They can choose to participate, or move on..
To the bikes and trikes area:
Right, left, right, left, how fast can I make this car go?
One child lines up as many cars as possible for the car wash. How many kids can he fit in his side car and still pedal it? What happens when his car bangs into another child’s bike? Can he keep his bike inside the course without touching the sides? Believe it or not, this is the beginning of understanding physics and the mechanical world! A child can choose to participate or move on…
To the sand:
This wet sand is heavy!! A little girl is determined to shovel a wagonload full of the wet stuff and wheel and dump it where the kids are building a city of sand buildings. Hey, she has an idea! “Maybe we could just bring the hose over by us! Let’s ask the teacher to help us!” Children learn evaluation and estimation, critical thinking skills, cooperative relationships and how to ask for assistance… all while seemingly just “playing in the sand”. A child can choose to participate, or move on..
To one of many other wonderful and fun opportunities for learning!!
Parents attend with their children in all the infant, toddler and 2-year-old single day classes.
In the 2 Day 2’s and Multi-age classes, parents are given the opportunity to leave their children in class on non-participation days. We believe that part of being a good parent sometimes involves getting a much needed “break”!
Parents are always invited to attend class as often as they wish, but the general minimum requirement per nine-week quarter for Multi-age classes is:
1. MWF class = once per week, plus usually 2 field trips
2. TTH class = once per week, plus usually 1 field trip
3. M-F = 12 days in the classroom, plus usually 3 field trips
*Parent participation days are scheduled by each individual teacher.
Additional participation is encouraged but not required-
• Sharing Personal talents, skills, and hobbies with the children and other parents in the school. (That’s what makes us so successful and unique!)
• Participation in the Parent Support Group (PSG) – a group of active parents that fundraise in order to provide wonderful events for the school such as snow day, reptile week, safety week and lots of other learning experiences! Learn to utilize your great leadership skills in practice for your public school PTA! See our PSG page for more detail on PSG.
• Attendance at special workshops and lectures offered throughout the year.
We don’t require a formal signed contract. However, you are committing to a year-long program (invoiced quarterly) mostly aligned with the CVUSD calendar (including holidays, winter/spring breaks, etc.)
All regular parenting classes are from 9am-12pm. Parents who are scheduled to participate are expected to be a few minutes early to help set up the classroom and remain until the end of class. Exceptions may be arranged with the teacher.
Class routines vary with each teacher, but each class includes all the right things needed for the child and parent to grow into their full potential including both inside and outside activities. Some teachers use a flexible schedule where the class has snack together and goes out to the playground together as a class. Other classes use a free flow choice approach where snack and the playground are available all morning. All classes have group times for storytelling, music, and movement. Please see Our Philosophy for even more detail about how our classes operate.
Infant, Toddler and single-day 2-Year-Old classes are all one-to-one since you are attending with your child. The 2 Day 2’s can potentially have 1 adult to 2 children.
All multi-age classes have the ratio of about 1 adult to 4 – 5 children. The Team class may include up to 3 teachers who teach together and can have up to 54 families with 14 – 16 parents participating each day. The portables can include up to 20 families with 5 – 6 parents each day. The other classes can have up to 18 families with approximately 4 – 5 parents scheduled each day.
At the discretion of the teacher, non-mobile infants in slings or backpacks may be brought as long as the parent can still meet the needs of the class and teacher. Young toddler siblings who are crawling or walking may not be brought on the parent’s participation day. Older siblings may visit occasionally with the teacher’s permission. Please ask your teacher for specifics on our Sibling Attendance Policy if you have any further questions.
Changing facilities are provided for your use in all infant, toddler and 2 year old classes. In multi-age classes, if your child is not using the toilet independently when school starts, you will:
1) need to stay with your child on school days to take care of diapering needs, or
2) make arrangements for a scheduled participating parent to change your child’s diaper if necessary. (Most classes offer a “diaper brigade” co-op of parents who wish to exchange diapering services on participation days!)
In The Parenting Program , children do experience a structured program. The learning environment is “child directed and child initiated”, meaning that the children create their own structure through their free play. As they grow and develop, they continuously find new and interesting ways to satisfy their thirst for knowledge and new experiences. The following was written by a founding Parenting Program teacher to help explain the concept: “They think I need more structure….”
….They Think I Need More “Structure”.
I went to school today. I like it there because I get to play all day with my friends
and my favorite toys. Mom and Dad are worried about me though. They think I need more “structure”.
We read a story today about a giant and little wolf. We talked about things that scare us. After that we played a game called giants and elves. I liked being a giant and making scary faces. I hope we do it again next time. But Mom and Dad are still worried, they think I need more “structure”.
Outside on the playground we found a butterfly. It wasn’t moving, so I thought it might be sleeping. Teacher put it in a jar so we could keep it for a while on our science table and look at it. Butterflies have pretty colors and their wings are dusty. It was fun to touch the butterfly. But Mom and Dad are still worried, they think I need more “structure”.
When I was on the swings today I pretended I was a fighter plane flying through the sky. No one could go as high or as fast as me. I think I even went higher than the sky. I can pump myself now. I don’t need a push. But Mom and Dad are still worried, they think I need more “structure”.
You should have seen the slime we made today in a big tub. Teacher said it wouldn’t hurt us and that we could play with it. I picked up a handful and made a ball, but then it oozed out of my hand. Why did it do that? It’s not like play dough, it’s not like water. I like to try new things. But Mom and Dad are still worried, they think I need more “structure”.
Sometimes when Teacher sings a song with us I really just like to listen. The songs are fun and I sing them at home while I’m playing. I know my Teacher likes me because she smiles at me so much. When I get lonely for my Mom, teacher even holds me on her lap. It’s not so scary being at school when I know that I have a nice Teacher, but Mom and Dad still worry, they think I need more “structure”.
I don’t know what “structure” is but Mom and Dad sure want me to have some. Maybe if they look real close they’ll find it at my school. Everything I need is there, so if I need structure it must be there too. Maybe we can find it together because I really, really, really….don’t want Mom and Dad to worry!
Marcia Frost – 1993
Children may enter our multi-age classes if they are turning 3 years old, and will experience two to three years of early childhood learning before moving on to kindergarten. The environment of a multi-age class provides a natural setting, similar to that of a family where older children enjoy mentoring younger children and younger children are provided challenges to stimulate and encourage growth. In addition, the youngest child in a family may have the opportunity to be one of the “older” children at school and an oldest child may experience being “younger”. By participating in a multi-age group, a child and parent have the opportunity to remain in the same classroom with the same teacher and many of the same friends for these years. This offers repetition and continuity, allowing for an increased sense of control and freedom for the child and a chance to nurture friendships. Teachers also get to know the parent, child and family. Knowing that children are not at the same developmental stage chronologically, the children have an opportunity to find playmates with similar interests.
In The Parenting Program, we offer classes that fit all personalities, for both parent and child. It’s important that you take both of your personalities into consideration! We have small group classes and large group classes. We have found that children take very little time to adjust to either circumstance. There are advantages to both.
In a smaller class, you and your child may have more time to bond with just one teacher, and create close friendships with a smaller group of children. As a participating parent, you will form interdependent working and learning relationships with a smaller group of adults.
In a larger class, children have a broader social range to explore and lots of concurrent activities to choose from. As a participating parent, you will have a greater network of parents from which to form friendships and learning relationships.
You may want to consider the advantages of both types of classes for both the participating adult and the child before making a decision.
If you are happy with the class you choose, your child will thrive in the classroom!
We have many working parents in our program. The questions we would ask of you are the following:
• Is your work schedule flexible, part-time and/or can you easily arrange a morning off once (at minimum) or more often per week? (from approximately 8:30 am to 12:30 pm?) (see participation section)
• Are you able and willing to make the time commitment necessary to be involved with and learn about your child’s development and education?
If the answer is yes to the above questions, the Parenting Program will be the perfect fit!
If the answers are no, then you have some other options to consider:
1. Have a relative attend the program with your child.
2. Attend one of our evening or weekend Parenting classes when they are offered throughout the year!
We strongly encourage all potential students to ask questions, tour, and voice any concerns regarding the class prior to signing up.
No refunds will be made to a student who withdraws voluntarily from a class in which he/she has enrolled.
The staff at The Parenting Program is willing to work with you in order to accommodate your older child’s schedule. Participation hours can be “made up” at the discretion of the teacher, and there are many ways in which you can fulfill the missed time. Prior to signing up, please note that smaller classes will be less flexible in this regard, as they depend on a smaller base of participating parents to run the class. The larger TEAM class will be more flexible, as they have a larger daily pool of participating parents to share the work load. Please advise the office prior to selecting a class that you will need to be leaving early each day, and they will help you in selecting a class that accommodates your needs.
We do offer the service of wait-listing for our highly impacted classes. Depending on the time of year, there may or may not be a wait list for the class you select. If you are on a wait list, you will be called when an opening becomes available. How long you wait before being admitted to our program is directly related to how flexible you can be on choice of class days and times. If you are able to accommodate the next opening in a range of classes, chances are you won’t be waiting very long at all! It is impossible to determine how long you might wait if your choices are extremely limited, as that will depend on the schedules and choices of the people ahead of you on the wait list (s).
Parenting Program at Horizon Hills
Mon-Fri 9:00am – 12:30pm
33 Greta St.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
Phone: (805) 492-8837