Co-op Preschool Thrives In New Location

Posted on September 30, 2011 by  
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There are literally dozens of day care and preschool options available in Los Altos.  From the tried and true “in home” care, to both small and large centers, there is something for everyone.

One of the oldest recently moved to a new location. Los Altos Parent Preschool was founded in 1954, just two years after the city was incorporated.  It has been a successful model that has seen hundreds of children pass through its program.

Recently, Los Altos Patch contributor, Jennifer van der Kleut, wrote an article about this wonderful program. Below, is a slightly edited version.  Enjoy …

For more than 50 years, Los Altos Parent Preschool (LAPP) has been a thriving and successful preschool that parents from as far away as San Jose and Milpitas are willing to make the trek to.

For a long time, LAPP had been located in a corner of the Los Altos High School campus, since the preschool is actually part of the Mountain View-Los Altos Adult Education School.

Though the reason they were losing their location was understandable, it was still devastating to the preschool, when the teachers and parents learned the news.

“Los Altos High had a tremendous growth and expansion going on at their school, and they just needed the extra space,” LAPP parent volunteer Shanon Pestrong explained.

As soon as they found out, Pestrong said a group of LAPP staff and parent volunteers set to work searching for a new location.  Fortunately, one came about—a corner of the Covington Elementary School campus.

LAPP’s campus is bigger, better and newer than ever, said Pestrong. The Covington campus features a new indoor classroom customized to meet the needs of LAPP’s programs, with several activity stations.

There is now also a very large outdoor classroom, equipped with multiple areas for hands-on learning, such as sensory play, science, gardening, painting, block play and sand play.

Pestrong said, part of being a co-op school is that every family is assigned roughly three “jobs” for the year, to satisfy their portion of the co-op requirements.

The first job is to be assigned a regular day each week to work in the classroom as the teacher’s helper. The second is to be assigned a specific job or area of contribution that the parent will do for the year.

The last part of the parent commitment is to attend regular school meetings and take part in parent education. Pestrong explained, as part of the Mountain View-Los Altos Adult Education School, LAPP offers an element of education to help parents learn how to be better parents.

Pestrong said, she also loves the sense of community she found with other parents at LAPP.  And, you just can’t match the camaraderie and emotional support that comes with volunteering together each week, she said.

All in all, Pestrong says, LAPP has been a wonderful experience for her family; one that she would recommend to anyone. “I’m just very grateful that our family has the flexibility to be able to use Los Altos Parent Preschool, and I really love it.”


Street Project Transforms Downtown

Posted on September 24, 2011 by  
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I always find it interesting to read stories of Los Altos reported in local papers.  Specifically, how is the essence of the community captured within the story.  Just yesterday, on the front page of the Daily News, Kristen Marschall wrote about the changes happening in Downtown.

I think she did a good job capturing the anticipation of the current effort. Below, is an slightly edited version.  Enjoy …

The fresh asphalt had just finished drying on First and Main streets, and Beverly Tucker was clearly relieved.

Los Altos residents will share that relief on Monday when the intersection reopens, allowing them to come and go from Foothill Expressway to the downtown hub without driving around blocked-off streets.

“We are really pushing to get this done on time,” said Tucker, project information manager, on Thursday. “We want it done before the holiday shopping season.”

The First Street Infrastructure and Streetscape Project — one of many construction sites in downtown Los Altos and the first stage of significant roadwork — was designed to accomplish several street upgrades.

First, it intends to improve the appearance of downtown streets by removing utility poles and the trees deformed by them, and to widen the sidewalk to comply with disability standards.

“You could barely get a shopping cart through, let alone a wheelchair or a stroller,” Tucker said about the west side of First Street.

Power and phone lines were placed underground, and out-of-date storm drains and sewer systems were updated. With the streets slightly higher on one side than the other, Tucker said rainwater runoff will flow to a catchment area, which will direct it to the street’s planters and trees, then to the storm drain and the Bay.

“The impetus wasn’t cosmetic, but the end result is cosmetic,” Tucker said. “It’s one of the first big infrastructure projects the city’s done in a long time.”

Tucker, also the city’s recreation director, designed the website, which hosts weekly updates on the project for residents and business owners. She said the site gets a couple hundred visits a week.

Just south of First Street on Main Street, some businesses are more visible than before. Le Boulanger, for example, has introduced three times as many tables and chairs on the expanded sidewalk and caters to a larger lunchtime crowd, Tucker said.

First Street from Main Street to State Street will be closed until Oct. 31, at which point one-way traffic will be allowed. But the street promises to remain busy as Safeway undergoes a remodel and a developer finalizes plans for 400 Main St.