Play is a set of behaviors that are freely chosen, personally directed,and intrinsically motivated.
"If we are to reach real peace in this world ... we shall have to begin with the children"
Mohandas Gandhi, Indian nonviolent civil rights leader (1869-1948)
My Own School is a non profit developmental play based preschool. The prominent idea is that children at the preschool age learn best through play. We strive to provide a safe, non-threatening atmosphere that will permit each child an opportunity to grow in confidence, self expression, self discipline, trust and individuality.
The director and parent -teachers seek to provide a classroom with a wide variety of learning experiences and creative opportunities that will expand the child's ability to play, think, listen, create, wonder, imagine, initiate activities, negotiate and communicate. The curriculum takes into account the development stages of the children. Activities, materials, equipment and expectations are developmentally appropriate for 3 to 5 year olds.
Social interaction is a very important part of the preschool years and our program. The teacher takes every chance to provide opportunities for each child to experience justice, fair play, concern for the rights and feeling of others, natural consequences of their actions, and steps toward the child's understanding of their relationships with peers and adults.
We are a cooperative and, as the name implies, we all share a responsibility for our accomplishments and failures. We hope that through our interactions with each other and our children that we are able to grow as parents and to work to help each other as we work toward the goals we set for our children and ourselves.
The idea of opening a non-profit cooperative pre-school in San Andreas originated in the summer of 1978. Our first president was Lynn Cornett.
Lynn, along with a small group of concerned parents began to make plans to open the school in September of 1978.
Our first director Pat Green, was also instrumental in formulating our philosophy and program.
The Community responded to the request for help with various donated materials, and Calaveras Unified School District (CUSD) was especially helpfull in letting us lease their unused kindergarten building to house our school.
We started out as a small thirteen member school. Over the years our membership has had its ebbs and flows with some years having 25 to 30 members and some years having only 11 members. Over the years we have made many improvements to the school. We have raised thousands of dollars through our fund raising efforts and used it to better the program and learning environment for our children.
In August 1999, the membership was faced with the fact that our beloved building was in the way of progress. San Andreas Elementary Schools new multi-purpose room project was starting, which now exists on My Own Schools former Nielsen Road site. CUSD had plans to demolish our building and said we could do what we wanted with it. The Board of Directors researches the options and decided to move the building. CUSD also offered us use of property on Gold Strike Road.
Once again the community rallied and donated time and labor as well as many services and materials. The membership worked above and beyond their obligations. We raised over $10,000 dollars that year through fund raising and donations. In February 2000 the little red schoolhouse moved down the road to its new home.
Much work had to be done to finish the project. For two years CUSD leased us a portable building space on Gold Strike Road while we worked on "the building project". For those two years the Board of Directors worked tirelessly to make it possible for us to move back into the little red schoolhouse. They did everything from loan contracts to physical labor (and lot's of it).
In January of 2002 we resumed class in the building we love! Since then the membership has done many things to enhance the classroom and the playground environments. We received a $5000 grant from First Five Calaveras that was spent on playground equipment. It just keeps getting more fun to be here!
In 2003 we held our first "MOS Shrimp Feed" fundraiser at the San Andreas Town Hall. That first year was a big hit and has continued to be so successful that it has become our only fundraiser. In 2007 we were able to build an office onto the back of our building and completed the new "Land of Sand"
In the last few years, we have refinished our wood floors, added climbing dome and replaced our roof. All of our improvements come from the heart of our community and membership through fundraising and donations.
Whatever the changes, the essentials at My Own School will always remain the same:
involved, cooperating parents and a caring director working together to provide an enriched experience for their children!
That is the spirit of My Own School.
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