On January 7, 2010, A Mother’s Wish Foundation inaugurated the Lynn Barta Academy, a school for three and four year old children living in our five communities. The Lynn Barta Academy provides a safe, nurturing environment and developmentally appropriate activities and assessments to help children reach their full potential. By fostering appropriate interactions and respect for staff and classmates, children will develop skills to make friends, solve conflicts, and function in a group. Goals for children are not limited to the acquisition of knowledge, understanding, and skills, but also address the development of positive attitudes and dispositions.
Currently, classes for the three year old children enrolled attend Monday and Tuesday from 8:30am until 11:30am. The four year old children attend on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for the same time period. This allows the three year olds to become accustomed to being away from their mothers and prepares them for their four year old schedule. The children are picked up by a contracted vehicle and delivered to school and returned to their stop after school.
The curriculum was created by Nancy Johnson, a retired preschool teacher from Minnesota, and Rebekah Johnson, our first teacher. Rebekah started our preschool classes in the fall of 2009, meeting with three and four year olds children once per week at both Tinajita and Los Pajones.
All of the commands regarding behavior are in Spanish, but all learning classes are in English. The day starts with a nutritious meal to provide energy for learning and playing. An average day includes Circle Time, where the children learn the alphabet and colors as a group, outdoor activities and individual station time where the children play in smaller groups under teacher or assistant supervision.
Adjacent to the school classrooms is a playground built especially for our young students. The area includes a gazebo, teeter totters, a playhouse, a race track with bicycles and plenty of grass to enjoy the many toys available to them. The grounds are unique to this area; it is a child’s dream come true.
We had run three semesters the first year; January-April, May-August, September-December. The second year, during the summer months, we offered Summer Fun Club that focused on play with more English spoken by the teachers and staff.
Our goal is two-fold. To provide a love of learning that will carry our children through secondary school. Currently, the average grade level is almost sixth grade. It has been shown that attendance in preschool increases the possibility of the child completing secondary school by as much as thirty-nine percent. Secondly, our goal is to provide the children a model of discipline and problem resolution without violence.