About Bright Life Playschool
We believe that children learn through play.
Over the years, we have formulated an educational philosophy through observations of children in our care and by constantly studying the science of brain development. One of the most important things that we have learned is how necessary play is to the preschool learner. Children learn best through play. Rote memorization, extended circle time, flashcards and workbooks are not optimal modes of learning for this age group and are not part of our program. Our roles as teachers (and caregivers) are as guides who provide a rich, multi-sensory environment for each child to explore. The curriculum itself is then “emergent": as the curriculum emerges, it is our job to be steps ahead of the child in providing the materials necessary for more exploration in any given subject of interest. This approach is inspired by the Reggio-Emilia education philosophy. We have also incorporated aspects of Montessori and Waldorf philosophies because both contain many enriching components, such as Practical Life stations, organization (even at the youngest age) and handwork (such as yarn work, tool usage, tactile recognition, and exploration, etc.).
OTHER UNIQUE QUALITIES OF OUR SCHOOL AND PROGRAMS
Cultural and Physical Geography - We explore cultures around the world through the five senses. If you are interested in learning more about cultural geography, here is a link to a page that contains a great video on the subject: http://geography.about.com/od/culturalgeography/a/culturalovervie.htm
Language Studies - Weekly introduction to Spanish in the form of basic Spanish vocabulary and ongoing introduction to American Sign Language.
Introduction to Environmental Education - We introduce children to their role as stewards of the earth with exploration and care of our own organic garden (from seed knowledge and planting to harvesting and eating the vegetables, herbs, fruits, and edible seeds that we grow), composting, nature walks, native plant identification, learning about local wildlife, etc.
Physical and Emotional Well-Being - We teach yoga daily and practice ongoing wellness such as calming our emotions through deep breathing and meditation practice to personal hygiene and an introduction to different systems of the body and brain function.
Introduction to Fine Arts - This is where the children are introduced to famous artists and their works. The children then have an opportunity to express their own inner artist. (Quarterly-Ages 3-5)
ICPS=I Can Problem Solve Curriculum by Dr. Myrna B. Shure - We incorporate a practical approach to teach children thinking skills that can be used to help resolve or prevent interpersonal conflicts. It is comprised of 59 lessons to teach pre-problem solving and problem-solving skills. For an overview of this program, please visit the following website on the topic: https://www.researchpress.com/books/590/icps-i-can-problem-solve
Organic, Green, and Chemical-Free - We only use natural cleaners in our classrooms and use organic/green/recycled/low-impact materials in our play, rest, and learning.
Low Teacher-to-Student Ratio - We maintain a low ratio (1:6, 1:8 compared to state requirements and typical schools of 1:12) to ensure that the children in our care get the amount of attention they deserve. This low ratio also gives our teachers a more balanced and manageable workload to avoid burnout and stress, and provides a better overall connected environment for listening, communicating, learning and feeling empowered.
We Employ and Support the Best and Brightest Teachers - We hire truly amazing teachers with a sincere passion for early childhood education and the temperament to not just 'survive' a hectic week with a room of 2-to 5-year-olds but to thrive in one. We employ teachers with the knowledge and professional commitment to provide enhanced learning experiences for the children using multiple instructional approaches based on the latest research in child development. Our goal is to give each child and teacher the support, care, and compassion needed for success and maintain respectfulness and dignity throughout the week. We also require thorough background checks, impeccable references, and prior work history demonstrating excellence. Scroll down below to learn more about our staff.
A Mentality That One Size Never Fits All - Many schools offer specific disciplinary methods as a 'one-approach fits all students' style when learning opportunities arise. While we employ Postive Discipline strategies, we understand that each child regulates his/her emotions in a different way: some will be through physical outlets like play, some through humor, some through art, some with quiet time alone, some with a mix of different strategies, but we strive to let all children process their feelings through connection, with respectfulness to others and a sense of feeling heard.
My name is Kim Love. I have been teaching and learning from children for over 20 years. My experience ranges from teaching children in a home daycare setting to working for the cities of San Francisco and San Luis Obispo as a Recreation Director for 9 years, collectively. I have 26 units in Early Childhood education as well as a BA in English. I am also a Certified Children's Yoga instructor.
As long as I can remember, it has been my dream to open a school where the whole child can be nurtured - a school that views the child as a competent, aware, imaginative, capable individual who possesses a desire to interact and communicate with others as well to belong to a loving community.
I opened this school in my home in 2011 with just 6 children. We are now in a licensed center with a capacity for 60 children - a dream come true! I am excited to get to know your child and begin our journey together.
Founder / Owner / Director
Mr. Vance - Assistant Director
Greetings BLPS! My name is Vance Fahie and I am honored and excited to work with you and your children on our journey to making lifelong memories through play, exploration, music, dance, art, and freedom of creativity. In my 20 plus years of working with youth, I have cherished the uniqueness that every individual brings into the community. We will navigate through our classroom experience recognizing how to work together through positive guidance, good manners, fairness, listening skills, respect for the environment and each other, and being caretakers and good stewards (clean up). Through the years, I have worked in many different childcare environments from preschool through school age. I have directed and managed City of San Luis Obispo child care programs (Sun N Fun/STAR), taught in a private preschool learning center, directed vacation camps, mentored in overnight camps, worked with special needs children, and directed childcare programs for the YMCA. Through these experiences I have implemented my love and passion for music into my curriculum to enhance learning. Music has impacted my life in so many positive ways and I love sharing it with anyone who will listen. I am excited to be part of such a great team and environment.
Mr. Bryan - Mindbody Site Supervisor
Hello! My name is Bryan Mendoza. I was born in Los Angeles, California and raised in Mexico. My family moved to Mexico when I was 3 months old and decided to move back to the United States when I was 12 years old. When I entered school here in the United States, I was only able to compose a simple sentence in English that would allow people to know my name. Overall, it was a difficult process because I could not communicate as well as I wanted to at school. This experience played a major role in why I have an interest in pursuing a career that includes helping children. My interest grew when I began working as a Sunday school teacher at my local church, which I still continue to enjoy doing. I also taught preschool at another local preschool before this, which was a great experience. I was the first one to attend college from my entire family and I obtained an AA in Early Childhood Education. During my free time, I enjoy spending time with my fiancée, traveling, hiking and spending time with our families.
Ms. Amber - Mindbody Lead Teacher
My name is Amber Martinez and I have been working with children for the past nine years. I began my career as a teacher working with middle school students from low-income families. From there, I found my way to the children to whom I am so passionate about teaching: preschoolers! I have taught preschoolers for about 4 years prior to Bright Life. Coming from the Bay Area, I was able to enjoy the diversity of many different cultures. I am excited to share this knowledge and experience with your children as we explore the world around us. I am adventurous and love being outdoors. I also love music! I love to bring my passions into the classroom. I am committed to giving children a safe and nurturing environment, and I am so happy to be a part of this community.
Mr. Bruce - Mindbody Lead Teacher
Aloha Brightlife Family! My name is Bruce Garcia. It is an honor and a blessing to be part of such a wonderful and growing community. My passion for early childhood care and education was sparked when I became a big brother and was expanded as I took on the role of Uncle Bruce. My zeal for early childhood education only grew as I started pursuing my degree at Cuesta College. I’ve completed my A.A. in ECE and in addition am qualified to receive a Master Teacher Permit in the field. I believe that every child’s uniqueness plays a vital role in contributing to our collective society. I work to model kindness, compassion, and personal innovation and help to guide, develop, and refine children’s talents and skills. In the classroom, our curriculum is emergent - inspired by the children’s interests. It blends together elements of music, art, safety, and the freedom of expression. I focus on whole-child development with play being at the center of it all! When I’m not at school, you can find me biking around town, playing bass, beach’n and/or boogie’n to all types of music (though, I do that at school as well). Cheers!
Ms. Ally - Lead Teacher
Hey there! My name is Ally MacKenzie and I moved to SLO from Southern California. My love for working with children began when I started volunteering at a preschool at age 12. I went on to study Psychology as well as Child Development and Education at Mills College, where I worked as an assistant preschool teacher for two years. I am excited in my role teaching at Bright Life Playschool and for the opportunity to get to know the children. It is very important for children to feel a sense of belonging; I strongly believe that every child should be treated with patience and be given the chance to be heard. This has influenced my desire to continue working with children throughout my career, and branch into areas such as art therapy and behavioral assistance for children in the classroom. My other interests include American Sign Language and Japanese, animals of all kinds, and art/photography.
Ms. Shelby - Lead Teacher
Hello! My name is Shelby. I love the Central Coast and I moved back to San Luis Obispo from St. Helena, California. I received my undergraduate degree from Cal Poly with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Science and a minor in Crop and Soil Science and have also completed my multiple subject teaching credential. My interest and passion is teaching early childhood education and I am pursuing a pathway toward that goal. My work with children and young adults ranges from nannying, coaching, and tutoring. I enjoy watching children make connections with each other and their surroundings. My favorite activities to do with children involve art, music, and science. I look forward to getting to know you and your children throughout the year!
Ms. Katie - Mindbody Lead Teacher
Hi there! My name is Katie Whinnery and I am so thrilled to be able to work with Bright Life. I grew up on the central coast and recently moved back after college. I studied Child Development at Humboldt State University and while I was in school, I worked at the Children's Center on campus for 4 years. I love nature and exploring the world around us and fully believe that children learn through play and mess! I love to do anything with art, and being able to incorporate art and nature into the classroom is exciting and fun. My goal is to work with children and their families to support and create an engaging and safe place full of wonder. I'm looking forward to getting to know our families!
Ms. Sammi - Mindbody Teacher
My name is Sammi Hall. I have lived on the Central Coast my entire life. I was a nanny for three kids, all under the age of five, for two years. I enjoyed watching them learn through play and exploration and that is what sparked my passion for teaching in new, innovative ways. I love it here at Bright Life with all the wonderful teachers and families.
Ms. Sam - Teacher
Hola! My name is Samantha Vazquez and I was born and raised in Santa Maria where I still live with my family and three dogs. I received my Bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly last June where I majored in Psychology and minored in Child Development. I have worked with kids for the past four years in various capacities such as in schools, after school programs and camps. I discovered that my passion is working with children and seeing them grow and experience the world around us. I am very connected to my roots and my culture. I come from a Hispanic household where my first language was Spanish and that has given me a unique perspective on how important inclusion is in the classroom and in our community. I am excited to introduce Spanish to our students! I look forward to seeing how each student grows during their time at BLPS. My hobbies outside of work include reading, catching up on all my favorite shows and spending time with my family.
Ms. McKenzie - Mindbody Teacher
Hello Bright Life friends and family! My name is McKenzie. I was born in Hanford, CA. My family and I moved to Pismo Beach when I was about 5 years old and I have lived here ever since. I have been a preschool teacher for 3 years so far. When I was in my first year of high school, I took a child development class and knew I wanted to be a preschool teacher. I especially wanted to work with toddlers and am so happy to be doing what I love. During my free time, I also love to dance which I have done since I could walk. Dancing and singing with the children are my favorite activities to share with them. I am very blessed to be working here at BLPS!
Ms. Jo- Mindbody Teacher/ Support
Hello families! My name is Joanna but many call me Jo. I am excited to be a part of Bright Life Playschool and its close-knit community! I am originally from Poland, where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in English Language and Literature, and completed my Teacher Training at the University Maria Curie-Sklodowska. In 2020, I obtained an Early Childhood Lead Teacher Certification from UCLA. I have been working in the field of education for the past 17 years and I’ve dedicated the last 10 years of my professional career to understanding and supporting the youngest learners. Over the past decade, I have traveled and worked in Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, where I taught at International schools and developed nursery and preschool programs that aligned with the cultural norms and expectations of each country. My work revolved around fostering play, project-based, child-led, and emergent curriculum inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy. It is my goal to partner with parents and caregivers, and build a shared recognition of the value of uninterrupted play, the importance of allowing for independence and boundary setting, as well as the significance of meaningful interactions and relationships in children’s development. It’s been a fascinating journey of learning and trying to understand other cultures, and I am looking forward to learning from all of you too! My professional interests include brain development, free uninterrupted play advocacy, creating wonder-filled learning environments, childhood psychology with an emphasis on trauma, self-regulation, and respectful child-rearing practices. In my free time, I love to try new foods wherever I go, experiment with recipes, read/listen to books, work with my hands and teach myself new skills, such as sewing, restoring old furniture, crocheting, or block printing.
Ms. Kayla - Teacher/Support
Hello, my name is Kayla Cheyno! I am a 4th year child development major at Cal Poly. I was born in Southern California but have fallen in love with the central coast. In high school I volunteered at a pre-school and realized I wanted to continue working with children. Young children are naturally curious and love to learn. I hope to provide an environment that the children feel comfortable to explore and contribute to. My goal is to attend Graduate School after Cal Poly to become an occupational therapist where I can assist young children in reaching their full potential.