Little Hands began in 1975 with just a handful of families. At the time, many of these families were attending Carlmont Parents Nursery School (CPNS) with children who were between three to five years old. These families recognized the need for a pre-school for younger siblings. Nancy Forbes, then a CPNS teacher, embraced the idea and founded Little Hands. Little Hands was officially incorporated in 1978 when it began operating out of the same space we rent today from the Church of the Good Shepherd. We now serve over 200 families each year.
As a cooperative, Little Hands provides several advantages over traditional schools.
Community: Little Hands is a parent-run cooperative, which means that each participating parent is assigned a job to be completed during the school year.
Parents forge strong friendships through the jobs they perform to support the school.
Through participation in class and fun family events like the ice cream social and Halloween party, Little Hands families learn and grow together in a supportive, nurturing environment.
At Little Hands, parents have the opportunity to regularly observe their child’s interactions and behaviors as they explore their world through play. Teachers move through the class spaces to answer questions and guide parents and children alike.
Little Hands is less expensive than drop-off programs because of the work parents do to run the school.
“Play – what we call ‘floortime,’ which is getting on the floor and being imaginative with your children – that is what teaches your child to be creative. It teaches them to think.” (-Stanley Greenspan)
". . .each time one prematurely teaches a child something he could have discovered for himself, that child is kept from inventing it and, consequently, from understanding it completely." (-Jean Piaget)
Research shows that children learn by doing and through play. Little Hands emphasizes this type of play-based learning, by encouraging children to actively investigate different stations (water, gravel, paint, play dough, climbing structures, dress up, music) for themselves. A child’s inborn curiosity guides them to choose activities that interest them.
In the Little hands class environment children are allowed to discover things on their own, which enables them to understand them more completely.
From the beginning, Little Hands has been committed to providing education to parents and encouraging parents to get involved in their children’s early education. Both are crucial to a child’s success.
Little Hands’ philosophy boils down to three core beliefs:
Each person is unique and learns in his/her own way and own pace.
It is important to understand and respect these differences.
Each person learns best in an environment that is physically, socially and emotionally safe.
Our goal is to create the safe environment where parents and children can learn and grow together. The Little Hands philosophy has remained constant over thirty years and is the key to the program’s success.
Little Hands is partially funded through the Sequoia Adult School and accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Our teachers lead Little Hands parents in observation and discussion based on a parent education curriculum.
All Little Hands teachers hold California teaching credentials and degrees in early childhood education or a related field, and almost all of the teachers have been parents at Little Hands themselves.
Tour Little Hands online. See what it’s like to be at Little Hands!