Frequently Asked Questions
When was the Magic Years Nursery School founded?
The Magic Years Nursery School was started in 1965 in Northridge, California. After its second year, it was moved to a new location in Tarzana, California. It is located at 6303 Reseda Blvd. in a classic adobe building.
Is there an all day program?
No, this is not a day care. The children are either enrolled in a five-day morning program (8:45-11:45a.m.) or a two-day (Tuesday, Thursday), three-day (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), or five-day program (1:00-4:00). Children attend either in the morning or in the afternoon—not both.
What is your youngest age accepted and do the children need to be potty trained?
The youngest age accepted in the afternoon program is approximately 2 ½ years old upon entering in September. The youngest age accepted in the morning is 2 years 9 months upon entering in September. Children do not have to be potty trained to begin Magic Years.
What will a typical day be like for my child at Magic Years Nursery School?
All the classes have an inside time, a group time, snack, an outside time, sing time, and lunch. Inside time consists of a wide variety of activities including dramatic play, manipulative toys, block building, playdough, messy materials in a table, art projects, and cooking. Group time activities include music, instruments, stories, flannel stories, and body movement. The children bring a lunch box with a snack in it and eat it with their friends. The Magic Years has an absolutely beautiful backyard play area with a variety of unusual pieces of equipment (some of which has been imported from Switzerland!) Outside activities include climbing, sand and water play, wheel toys, swings, play houses, and balls. The equipment and backyard play area provide a wonderful array of opportunities for sensory integration and large motor development.
What is the school philosophy?
The Magic Years Nursery School is founded upon the belief that the pre-school years are critical in your child’s physical, intellectual, and emotional growth. This should be the time of discovery of the world around him/her and how he/she fits into it. It is a time of sense experience and a time to encourage his/her creative potential. In this first important step outside his/her own homes he/she should begin to trust others, to get along in a social setting and to build a sense of assurance about himself/herself as an individual person. The job of a good nursery school is to promote these ends.
Balance is a key word in the formulation of the program of The Magic Years Nursery School: balance between individual and group experience, between free play and structured activity, between small and large muscle development. Freedom is stressed, but within limits imposed by concern for the group. Here a warm and supportive atmosphere is supplied by trained and sensitive teachers working with small classes. This is the one time in your child’s school life when problems encountered in group experience can be worked out in a leisurely and flexible fashion.
How academic is Magic Years?
Magic Years is a developmental, project-based nursery school in which learning through play and learning social skills are emphasized. We offer a hands-on experiential approach to learning through projects and activities. Children are exposed to math and science through cooking, gardening, and experiments. Literacy activities include stories, dictation, flannel stories, and office play. Music and body movement are an important part of our daily program. We now include Spanish Sing-Alongs in which the children are exposed to Spanish through songs, body movement, and games.
Children graduate from Magic Years well prepared for kindergarten. They know how to get along with each other, they know how to follow directions and be respectful in group-time, and most importantly, they are excited about learning.
The Magic Years Nursery School maintains a high reputation with all elementary schools, including the highly academic.
We have a gradual separation policy. At Magic Years separations are done on an individual basis. Someone that a new child is comfortable with (parent, nanny, grandparent) must stay with the child as he/she starts school. The teacher works with that person until she/he can gradually move back and eventually leave the child. As this process gradually occurs, the child feels more and more comfortable with the teachers and the new environment. For most children, this is the first major step away from home; it should be made without trauma. Subsequent separations will be easier when this is successfully completed. This process requires a lot of skill and experience.
When a child first starts at Magic Years, the parent or caregiver stays with the child in the class. The parent should bring reading or writing materials to school so that he/she can be occupied while the child is in the class (instead of being the child’s play mate). The teacher will work closely with parents in the separations. A parent will never just “disappear” without saying goodbye. If a child is having a difficult separation, sometimes a home visit is arranged so that the child can have a chance to bond more with the teacher in a “safer” environment.
Can you please explain your cooking projects?
The Magic Years was a pioneer in cooking with young children. Each class cooks about once a week. We do a wide variety of cooking projects. They include baking cookies, muffins, birthday cakes, and cupcakes. They also include making soup and picnic lunches.
How are holidays handled at Magic Years?
Magic Years is not a religious school; furthermore, there is a lot of diversity at Magic Years. We stress community and getting along with each other. During holidays teachers often have the art projects relate to the particular holiday. For instance, during the winter holidays, one week can be dedicated to doing activities (songs. stories, cooking projects, and games) and art projects having to do with Hanukkah and the following week can be dedicated to Christmas. The religious aspects of the holidays are not emphasized rather the secular. During group time, a teacher can explain that some families at Magic Years celebrate Christmas, some families celebrate Hanukkah, some families celebrate both, and some families do not celebrate either. All the children make a “Holiday” bread to take home to share with their families. In the past, we have also acknowledged Chinese New Year, Kwanza, Nouruz, and Cinco de Mayo.
What if my child has allergies?
There are several children at Magic Years that have food allergies—some very severe. We require that the parent make a list of all the allergies the child has so that we can take the proper precautions.
How does lunch time work?
The children bring their own lunches to school in a lunch box. The lunch box tends to be more symbolic than anything else because it is a tie between home and school. Parents are instructed at the orientation to send small, nutritious lunches (no candy!) We suggest sending something to drink, some fruit, and a half a sandwich. We encourage parents to send the food in packaging that the children can open, but the teachers are there if the children need help.
1) Children are not allowed to bring toys of violence to school including action figures nor are they allowed to play violent games at school. There is no “pretend shooting” at Magic Years.
2) Children may not bring baby bottles or pacifiers to school (a security blanket is okay.)
3) Parents must sign-in and sign-out when picking up and dropping off their child. A parent must send a note with the child if the child is going to be picked up by someone different.
For more information please refer to the Videos page.