Frequently Asked Questions
What is Peace School?
Peace School is run as co-operative family child care (licensed as Vazquez Family Child Care) in Highland Park. Mindfulness is one of our key principles and our intention is to practice Nonviolent Communication, to the best of our ability, in communication with other school parents and with children. We offer a truly emergent curriculum where students can find and express their own internal rhythm, and we value foremost leading with empathy and creating space for children for a full expression of feelings. The Peace School community embraces and values family and cultural diversity of all types, and are committed to positive progressive values, which include paying attention to issues of race, class, gender, culture, and so on.
What age children do you serve and do they have to be potty trained?
Peace school generally serves children ages aged two to five. We embrace a wide range of potty learning styles, from elimination communication to child developmental readiness, and we are comfortable with whatever pottying or diaper needs your child of any age may have.
What do I need to do to get involved?
All involved parents and caretakers must have completed either a ten week community course or six week home class through the Echo Parenting & Education (http://www.echoparenting.org) and be committed to continuing further development of the practice of nonviolent parenting.
What is the parent commitment?
One parent meeting per month of approximately two-and-a-half hours.
One volunteer day a week (also providing snack on your volunteer day).
Four community work days or partial days per year (may substitute other types of work exchange for these days if needed).
A commitment to the to the children, families and community of Peace School. This means speaking and listening with an open heart and mind, and, when conflicts arise, working them out.
What is the curriculum at Peace School?
Peace School is run by Percy Vazquez who has worked in early childhood education for over 10 years, along with support from other staff and volunteers. Peace School is play-based and the curriculum is truly emergent. The day is structured around open-ended play, nonviolent conflict resolution, parent-provided snack, home-cooked vegetarian lunch, and plenty of optional expressive, community, or solo activities such as singing, dancing and yoga together (we bring in outside teachers for some of these activities), reading books together or alone, seasonal arts and crafts, seasonal water play, dress-up and imaginative play, trains, legos, blocks, and so on. We also have an outdoor sandbox, swing and climbing structure, play space, wheeled play vehicles and chickens, a garden, a small dog, and a cat, which we interact with according to student’s interests to learn about nature, food (garden, fruit trees, and chicken eggs), and caretaking and empathy toward animals.
What is the structure of the day? And, is Peace School right for me?
At Peace School, children are in a child’s world and play is the common language of that world. The rhythms, pacing, needs of children are the primary driver of our daily activities. This may mean that activities may be abandoned in mid-stream because other interests emerge and that the physical environment can get messy.
What does the application process entail?
We ask that you first contact us to talk more about your interest in Peace School. At that time we'll schedule an initial tour and give you other paperwork. Feel free to email Ben Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org to start the process.
What does an average day “look like?”
Families arrive between 8:30 and 9 a.m. Children’s transition needs vary -- some read a book with the person dropping them off, others may join in an on-going activity, and others may need more adult support to say goodbye -- we use empathy book making, narration and other tools to offer emotional support to both the person staying and the person saying goodbye.
By 9:30 a.m. most parents have left, and the director(s), teacher(s), and parent volunteer/s are generally setting up snack and inviting children to wash hands and eat together. This may or may not be preceded by a circle time of some sort and/or a book, or a dance. After snack, many children choose to play outside, where there are often activities set up (art activities, science experiments, water play, and so on), and where there is a large play structure, sandbox, chicken coop, gardens and a variety of play areas. Some children choose to stay indoors and do a focused activity (such as an art or craft), or ask an adult to read a book, or otherwise help them with something they want to engage in, and other children choose imaginative play with one another. Around 11:45 a.m., children gather to wash hands and eat lunch. Our lunches are vegetarian and served family style. They include a protein, carbohydrate, fruit and vegetable. We eat together, tell stories, talk about the day, tell jokes, and e encourage children to try new foods. By 12:30 p.m., parents have arrived for pick-up, and help clean up the day’s activities.
Where is Peace School?
Peace School is run in a private house in Highland Park, a few blocks from York and 50th.
What are the hours?
Peace School operates year round. We are closed for four weeks every year, however they are not consecutive. There are usually two weeks during winter break, one week during spring break, and a fourth week by agreement. We are open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Children may attend between 2-5 days per week, by mutual agreement. Extended hours, until 3:30 p.m. (and possibly later once or twice per week) may be available on a case by case basis for an additional fee.
What are the rates?
Attendance at Peace School is $40 per day. This includes a healthy vegetarian lunch. Parents rotate providing healthy morning snack on their work day. Parents work one day per week and there is no fee charged for your child on the day you have worked.