Norma Carlson - Owner
I immigrated to the US from Jordan when I was an infant, and was raised in Oakland as the youngest of seven brothers and sisters. I worked from a very young age and my parents instilled in me a work ethic that I brought with me to St. Mary's College, where I earned my BS in Psychology. By the time that I graduated, I had already had two of my three children. When my youngest was one, I began doing daycare in my home. Coming from such a large family, I loved opening our home to our neighbors and friends, and caring for others' children felt like my calling.
I officially opened Norma's Kiddie Preschool in July 2006, and what began as watching a few children each day blossomed into a large, accredited, family daycare. During the first few years of operation, I concurrently studied at California State East Bay and earned my Master's degree in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis on Curriculum. While running a preschool and going to school was a strenuous workload, it was extremely rewarding. I was able to apply so many of the concepts that I learned into my curriculum, and encouraged my employees to take some of the courses that I had gained so much from. My education and continued interest in early childhood education helps me be a resource to the parents and staff at my school, as well as other providers.
Even outside of the classroom environment, I learn new things every day. Networking with other providers, reading the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAYEC) magazines, and attending seminars offered by the Contra Costa Child Care Council has widened my view on childcare and early childhood development. In the same way, my daily interactions with the children, parents, and staff of NKP has taught me a lot about treating each child as an individual. My favorite thing about NKP is that each day is different. I spring out of bed each morning, eager to see my little friends and wonderful assistants and parents.
My philosophy is that learning and growth occur when children are in a natural, outdoors, play-based environment, in which their questions and curiosities lead discussion and exploration. I value child-to-child, child-to-teacher, and child-to-nature interactions. The freedom that we give our children to explore their world helps them to develop a healthy relationship with nature and to lay a foundation for concepts of science, math, and physics.
Playing amongst tall grass, leaves, wood stumps, flowers, and rocks helps the children gain an appreciation for nature and develops their physicality, as well as their brains. When we walk through the neighborhood and to the parks, our children are learning about mapping, neighborhoods, rules (such as how we cross the street safely), and routines.
We see math and science across the board in our curriculum: cooking, circle time, beading, counting, measuring, water play, gardening, and even interacting with our two preschool cats!
We also focus on emotional development, which involves clear communication, rules, and boundaries, following directions, manners, and sharing.
In addition, the children are encouraged to express themselves through means of multimedia art, dramatic play, and crafts. We love searching through Pinterest to find new and exciting crafts and activities to do with the children!
I always wanted to make a difference in the world, though I never knew that this is where that desire would lead me. I'm grateful to be so blessed with this wonderful preschool (it's hard to call it a job, when it never feels like one!).
Miss Nena - Full-time Assistant
I've lived in Mexico for most of my life, and moved to the US in 1994 with my family. For the first 15 years that I spent in California, I lived in Concord, and I recently moved to San Ramon so that my children could have the opportunity to attend the wonderful schools here. I love going dancing with my husband, Juan, and watching my children play soccer. Whenever we have free time, we enjoy taking family trips to Santa Cruz or to go camping.
I've been with NKP since March, 2008. Nutritious meals are important to me, so I love planning and cooking meals for our children, as well as cooking with them sometimes. It's special to be able to teach them science concepts and encourage healthy habits at such a young age, all while having a fun time! As the primary infant caregiver, I enjoy singing and talking to them in Spanish, so that they develop linguistic skills very early on. As they get older, Spanish circle time helps them master these concepts. Since family is very important to me, I focus on building a sense of community and support through open and regular communication with parents and teachers alike. Norma's Kiddie Preschool is truly a home away from home.
Nací en Mexico y he vivido en California por 20 años-- 15 años en Concord y los últimos cinco años en San Ramon. He trabajado a NKP por seis años, y he tomado unas clases de Educación de la Niñez Temprana y tengo ganas de tomar más clases en el futuro. He disfrutado también unas conferéncias que han promovido mi comprehensión de los niños y cómo los puedo ayudar a desarollar. Tengo cinco hijos. El más grande tiene 23 años y la màs chica tiene ocho años. Recientemente celebràmos la quinceñera de mis hijas, Lupe y Marlene. Me encanta que yo tenga mucha família cerca de mí, especialmente mis hermanas y mi madre.
Amo mi trabajo. Me gustan mucho los bebés y me gusta hablarles y cantarles en español, y enseñarles hablar español. Me divierto muchísimo con todos los niños y mis colegas. Soy muy feliz trabajando en NKP.
Certificate of Attendance-Curriculum Development: (2 Professional Growth Hours). Norma and her 2 full-time assistants, Nena and Ana, attended this workshop in February 2010.
Certificate of Attendance - 16th Annual Child Learning Conference: Norma and her full-time assistants, Nena and Ana, completed 7 hours of participation in the 16th Annual Early Learning Conference put on by the Contra Costa Child Care Council. They received this certificate April 17, 2010.
Certificate of Attendance for completing 2.5 professional growth hours on "Using Screening Tools to Identify Areas of Developmental Delay." Norma and her one of her full-time assistants Ana, received this certificate on October 27, 2010.
Certificate of Attendance - 17th Annual Child Learning Conference: Norma and her full-time assistants, Nena and Ana, completed 8 hours of participation in the 17th Annual Early Learning Conference put on by the Contra Costa Child Care Council. They received this certificate April 9, 2011.