Classes and Teacher Bios of Los Altos Parent Preschool
Los Altos Parent Preschool is a community of parents and educators committed to providing an enriching environment for our children through parent education, parent involvement and mutual support. We are a child-centered, developmentally appropriate, anti-bias program that focuses on the whole child. We value the imagination and creativity of each child and the individuality of every family.
LAPP has three programs starting each Fall and ending late spring. These programs are split by age as shown in the following table:
LAPP also offers a number of one-week mixed-age sessions during the summer, each built around a separate theme. Families may enroll for as many sessions as they like. Summer school runs from 9:30-noon on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and is followed by an optional movement class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
A Typical School Day At Los Altos Parent Preschool
Good Morning Group
The teacher and children gather together. The teacher greets the children, introduces the work parents and the activities for the day. Children check the chart to see who the helpers are for the day.
Work parents begin their assigned duties. Children take turns to put the date on the calendar, write the number for the day for the number line, and record the weather in the meteorologist’s log. The children choose from a number of activities which change from day to day. These choices include outdoor activities – trikes, working with sand and water, climbing, painting, sensory experiences, gardening, organized games, etc., and indoor play – learning games, art, science or cooking projects, dramatic/fantasy play, puppet shows, playdough, etc.
Group Time A
Half of the children gather together to take part in the first Group Time while the rest of the children continue to play. The teacher leads varied activities such as music, movement, instrument play, songs, stories, or plays. During this time, the children have an opportunity to explore a wide range of topics/concepts while learning to take turns and participate in a group discussion.
Group Time B
The first group goes outside, and the second group comes in.
Snack is served family-style with children and adults sitting at tables together. A variety of food is presented in self-serve bowls, encouraging the children to serve themselves. Parents model conversation, table manners, and assist the children when needed.
Activities continue as in the first half of the day. Often new choices are presented, such as carpentry, sorting/sequencing games, dictation or other literacy activities, puzzles, etc.
The teacher and children gather for one last time to share a story, sing songs, or do show and tell. Children may review the occurrences of the day and think about their experiences. The teacher dismisses the children from this group. The day ends.
Meet Our Teachers
Jean Gasperini (Young 3s Class)
I have always been interested in teaching and children. I started off as a mobility instructor for the blind...yes, teaching blind and visually impaired people how to navigate their environment using a cane and common sense. After having my own children and participating in LAPP with them, I found I really enjoyed young children and the developmental process. I spent time at Santa Clara University in the program Early Intervention for Children With Special Needs, and I focused my teaching career on young children (birth to 5) with special needs, working another five years exclusively with this age group. Then I had my fourth child, and found my way back to LAPP. Since then, I have participated as a parent, on the Board, as an interim director, aide, summer program teacher, substitute teacher, and now, finally, I have joined LAPP as a teacher of the young 3's class. I enjoy the unique blend of working with children and families, and being part of the LAPP community as it grows throughout each school year. It is a joy watching children as they develop their confidence and skills as well as a love for the educational process in the LAPP environment.
Autumn Vandiver (3s and 4s Class)
My relationship with LAPP began in 2006 as a parent in the program. Over the next few years, I worked as a preschool fitness coach, teacher’s aide, and a freelance writer contributing parenting articles to a local newspaper. I developed and taught a family fitness program, which takes the co-op education model into the gym and connects families together through exercise. All of this work has continued to fuel my passion for early childhood education and been a great source of joy and enlightenment.
When I am working with children, I am learning as much as I am teaching. They have a way of making each day feel rich with possibility and promise. I have found that in a world constantly in motion, there is something marvelous that comes from being still with a child. And what an amazing gift to be able to share these moments with parents on a daily basis! I am honored to be a part of a preschool community that truly engages the entire family.
When I am not working, I enjoy reading, writing, exploring nature, wrestling with my son and my dog, experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, and laughing my way through impromptu living room dance parties with my niece.
Kerry Moore (Pre-K Class)
I've been working as a preschool teacher and director for over 30 years, almost half of them here at LAPP. I was working my way through college, planning to be a child psychologist, when I took a job in a preschool—and had so much fun, I just never left! After finishing my undergraduate degree, I did graduate work to attain an internationally-recognized A.M.I. Montessori diploma, and worked as a Montessori teacher for many years. I originally chose my current position because the schedule allowed me time to home-school my daughter (now a senior at Cal.) I had never heard of the parent participation co-op model until starting at LAPP in 1999, but my years here have convinced me that it is truly the best possible preschool approach. Working together, parents and teachers can do wonderful things! Outside of school, I enjoy gardening, camping, travel, reading, playing the piano, cooking, and chasing after my four cats.
Anghelika Maddalena (Executive Administrator)
I was raised in Athens, Greece and travelled across pond and over hill and dale to Vermont to attend Bennington College where I got a B.A. in Theater Arts. A year later I married a Californian, and moved to S. California where he got his Master’s degree. This is where my Early Childhood Education began. I took courses at the local college and interned at a wonderful little preschool in Pasadena. The time was life changing as I grew to understand the amazing growth and development that occurs in a person and how much of our understanding of the world is hard wired in those precious early childhood years. We started our family and with a 3-month-old baby, took off for a year of study abroad to Cambridge, England. In 1994 we settled into the Bay Area and soon became a part of a cooperative preschool –we added one more to our family – and we were a part of that co-op for seven years -we played, learned, grew, sometimes taught, and made great friends.
I believe in the cooperative preschool experience and community.
Thanks to our co-op experience, our family has an enduring love for learning: my daughter is now in college in Seattle WA studying art. My son attends LAHS and my husband is starting a second masters. It is an honor for me to be able to support this co-oping community; I believe it is a very special time in a family’s life.