The Saratoga Springs Area Preschool Fair is taking place from 10am to noon on Jan. 24th at the Saratoga Springs Public Library, sponsored by The Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs, Katrina Trask Nursery School, The Beagle School and Saratoga Springs Public Library. Today I'd like to shine a little spotlight on one of these schools, The Beagle School, with a Q&A with Fran Rauchwerger, the school Director. Find their table at the fair to find out even more about this great local school. Mamatoga: What are some of the key ideas about the Beagle School approach to teaching children?
Fran: The Beagle School really harkens back to what preschool was like years ago: a fun, warm, no pressure, and inviting place to be. We really believe that we can best prepare our students for the skills needed not only for kindergarten readiness, but to be confident, happy, and exceptional young people in an environment like ours. The Beagle School is not a corporation. We are a small private, non-profit preschool with an over 40-year history in Saratoga Springs. We honor the philosophies of our school’s founders years ago: learning through play and exploration.
M: What can people expect to find in your classrooms?
F: Our classrooms are set up into various learning areas: art, science, writing centers, library, sensory tables, blocks, music, and creative play. You will find our students’ beautiful artwork displayed on the wall and objects and décor that help inspire the current month’s themes. Our Regent Street location boasts an amazing backyard with the famous HMS Beagle ship and our new Discovery Center, an outdoor classroom where students can paint, learn, and explore while enjoying the outdoors, even in the rain due to our retractable awning. Our Circular Street location has an outdoor area designed with our two year olds in mind. Most importantly, the crowning jewels of our classrooms are our wonderful staff, who are trained and highly experienced in teaching early learners. Their warmth, and love for children this age truly make The Beagle School experience what it is.
F: The Beagle School’s mission is to provide a quality preschool educational program that fosters the sense of wonder and discovery that naturally exists in all children. We believe that children learn best through self-discovery and exploration, guided by our warm and enthusiastic teaching staff. Our children are certainly learning the skills needed to be successful future learners, such as name writing, colors, shapes, math concepts, reading readiness, etc. through our Beagle School curriculum, but they learn in a way that still allows them to be creative and free individuals. Our children also learn what it is like to be to be in a group, follow school routines, become more independent, and most importantly be a good friend. Learning is fun at The Beagle School. Our students learn through hands on creative activities; there’s plenty of time for homework and worksheets when they get older!
M: What is a typical day like at the Beagle School?
F: Our two year old day focuses a lot on socialization and beginning school skills: learning to be away from their families, learning to sit in a group, lots and lots of music teaching foundational skills and most importantly: PLAY! Our three and four year old classrooms have a more traditionally scheduled day, with scheduled times for free play, circle times, centers, music and movement, etc. We close out all of our program days with a yummy and healthy snack provided by our snack friend of the day and head outside to play as long as weather permits. (The Beagle School is a peanut and tree nut free facility). Throughout the year we have monthly special days with regular outside guests teaching yoga, singing songs on a guitar or teaching a movement class. Every day brings new learning experiences.
F: The Beagle School community is really a family. Many of our teachers were Beagle parents themselves and many of our current students are the children of Beagle students of long ago. We feel this coming year is going to be the best yet! The past few years we have been revamping our facilities, adapting new and exciting curriculum, and creating new programs. I encourage families to check out our website www.beagleschool.com to learn more about our programs, particularly the launch of Beyond Beagle: A Cultural Arts Enrichment Program for four and five year olds. I’d love to tell your readers more about our school and they can always contact me at 518-587-7507.