BunnyBears preschool started as a family childcare center in La Mesa. The founder, Egle Athari, is a strong advocate for early childhood education and a visionary for beautiful learning environments for young children. She has a BA in Social Pedagogics and Psychology and Early Childhood Education Certificate. Egle not only loves working with young children but truly cares for their best interests. She values children and sees them as capable and confident individuals, eager to learn and open to discoveries. For that reason, Reggio Emilia Philosophy is very close to her heart. Originally from Lithuania, Egle moved to Los Angeles CA in 2002 where she attended Santa Monica College. After moving to San Diego in 2007, Egle opened her home to the neighborhood families. BunnyBears in Home Preschool became a special place for many families. Since then the BunnyBears community has spread to multiple locations.
The BunnyBears Philosophy
We believe the early years of a child’s life are the most important for growth and development; and the purpose of early education is to raise creative, thinking, loving children, who believe in themselves. Respectful, trusting, and loving relationships between teachers and children, families, and school are the key elements in creating the layout for early education.
As Early Childhood Educators, we see all five selves in each child and acknowledge social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and creative growth. We strongly believe that a supportive, respectful, and child-focused environment encourages children to reach their maximum potential. The teacher’s role is to support the environment and guide children toward self–discovery through art, music, literacy, and dramatic play in small and large group activities. Although we agree that Early Childhood programs shouldn’t be highly structured, we do believe that children need a simple routine to feel safe and secure in their environment.
Having studied in the field of Early Education, we are strong advocates for children’s free play, which develops the creative aspect of the child’s personality. We see a creative dramatic play and constructive play as a tool for children’s language, social, emotional, and cognitive development.
Each child is an individual and we value his/her achievements instead of making comparisons between one child and another because each child is very unique and special.
Our early education goals for young children are to teach them how to cooperate with others, form relationships, share, take turns and use self-control. Learning this in the early years can impact later social development and academic achievements.
For BunnyBears Preschool the most important part of being a teacher is being able to validate children’s thoughts and feelings, acknowledge their actions and accomplishments.
BunnyBears is a child-centered rather than adult-directed program. Our curriculum emerges from the children’s interests and investigations. Children’s daily learning is meaningful and intentional.
Inspired by Reggio Emilia teaching philosophy we focus on children as individuals, connected members of their learning environments, and teachers as co-learners. Most importantly our children learn through play and daily investigations.
We provide children with a rich and stimulating, high-quality environment that we like to refer to as the third teacher. In building our environment we think about many creative spaces that motivate learning, develop relationships and promote a child’s strong sense of self and security. Families are involved in children’s daily learning and important part of our environment.
Although our program is not highly structured, we do believe that children need a routine to feel safe and secure.
We believe social-emotional development is one of the most important aspects of a child’s development and kindergarten readiness. In our program, we encourage children to work together in small groups and value peer interactions that provide opportunities to co-learn and problem solve. Children are learning to be kind and considerate, talk about their feelings and take care of each other.
Teachers’ observations and documentation allow us to better understand each child’s learning styles and interests. It also helps us to provide children with a curriculum that is relevant and meaningful to children.
We work to create a literacy-rich environment, which helps children make the connections between the spoken and the written word and supports pre-reading skills according to each child’s development and personal timeline. BunnyBears highly values and encourages self–expression through a wide variety of methods, including art media, storytelling, dancing, poetry, puppetry, etc.
BunnyBears is an environmentally friendly school. Taking care of our garden and school pets, recycling paper, and trash will teach children to be respectful and caring towards their environment. We ask children to be co-participants in the organization of our daily school life (setting up the snack, cleaning up, etc.,) so we could all feel like a part of the BunnyBears community.
Our outdoor spaces include playgrounds, garden areas, and an outdoor art studio. We value the outdoor classroom and spend extended periods playing outside.
All the teachers at BunnyBears School are well educated and experienced in early childhood education. We are committed to continuing our growth and development as individuals and teachers by reading professional journals, attending workshops and conferences, and supporting each other as colleagues.