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
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.
My name is Celia Uribe. I grew up in the United Kingdom but I love to explore and visit new places. I have also lived and taught in Spain and Italy. I have my BA degree in Modern Languages and a teaching credential in Elementary Education. We moved to the Central Coast in 2012 when my husband started working for Los Padres National Forest. We love hiking, camping and exploring nature with our two sons. I have taken all of the 12 core unit classes in Early Childhood Education at Cuesta College and will be continuing my education in this area. I am passionate about working with and learning from our youngest learners in a creative and playful way!
Hi! My name’s Katie Tomblin and I grew up in Southern California, but have been living in San Luis Obispo for about 4 years now. I moved here to attend Cuesta College and that’s where I found out I loved working with children. I completed the Early Childhood Education program at Cuesta in May of 2017 and have been working with children for a little over two years now. Along with my passion for emergent curriculum, I also love spending time outdoors. I am a level one Outdoor Classroom Specialist! Over my time working with children, I have come to realize that watching them experience and explore new things is my favorite part of teaching. It’s a great feeling when you get to watch a child achieve something they’ve been working so hard on. When I’m not hanging out with the little ones I enjoy looking for seaglass at the beach, going on hikes, and getting together with my friends.
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. I am looking forward to beginning my adventure with Bright Life Playschool.
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 cannot wait 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.
Hi! My name is Katy “Rose” Geis and I grew up in the Central Valley area before I moved to San Luis Obispo to attend Cuesta College. I graduated Spring 2019 with an A.A. in Early Childhood Education. I have been working and volunteering with children for over 2 years. My passion for working with children began when I started to volunteer as a leader for VBS in high school. There, I developed my love for art and the outdoors. I believe that children learn through playing and truly diving into their work. From my experience as a teacher, children also learn through modeling. I love to be able to jump in with the children and get dirty, messy, and explore new experiences. It’s an amazing feeling to see children grow, develop, and be successful in life.
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!
Hey there! My name is Ally MacKenzie and I recently 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 so excited to teach 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.
Hello! I am so excited to be joining Bryan in the Sunshine room and the rest of the team at Bright Life Playschool! I love the Central Coast and I recently 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 recently 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! -Shelby Zumwalt
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 am excited to start my career here with Bright Life and all the wonderful teachers and families.