At this time Little Garden Patch has limited openings for Fall 2021.  

    Please contact us if you would like more information about enrollment.  

 





       PROVIDING CHILD CARE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC    

At Little Garden Patch Farm the health and well-being of our families -- and our staff -- is very important to us.  That is why this past year we operated our program with  limited hours, a smaller group size, tons of cleaning and disinfecting, careful planning & strategizing, and lots of time outdoors in the fresh air.  We also made a point of being sticklers about following the regulations and guidelines handed down to us by both state childcare licensing and the health department. 

And while all of this was a collossal pain, it has paid off.  We all stayed healthy, and we never had  a Covid-19 outbreak or a mandated facility closure due to illness. Thank you to all of our enrolled families your patience and cooperation during this difficult time.  And we apologize to those of you who were not able to join us this past year due to the logistical restraints imposed by the pandemic. 

For Fall 2021 we are actively planing ways to maintain the good health of our staff and families amidst new changes while also being in compliance with the regulations imposed by state and local officials -- including and especially childcare licensing.  Although we expect that many of the restrictions will continue to be lessened or removed as we go forward, it is important to remember that as children return to regular school (meaning larger group size and longer hours indoors in the classroom) we will all have to work around the consequences of a broadened "germ pool".  That is, a return to regular in-person learning with more extended contact may mean a greater potential for children to spread Covid-19, both amongst themselves and to adults.

With this in mind,
our plan for fall 2021 includes the following measures:


-> All of our staff and residents at the farm are fully vaccinated.  Any new hires or volunteers will likewise be required to be vaccinated, on top of our usual health & safety related requirements.

-> Children and staff will continue to wear masks at the farm.

-> Children (and staff) will continue to wash hands frequently: upon arrival, before and after meals, after handling their mask or nose/mouth area, and whenever else necessary to help prevent the spread of illness.

-> Children will continue to bring their own food and drink. A large water bottle is essential.

-> Parents will continue to wear masks at the farm during drop off and pick up, to hand gel upon arrival, and to social distance (6 feet apart).

-> Staff will continue to do sign in and sign out, to minimize pen sharing.

-> Health checks at arrival time will continue. And children with symptoms of illness will be sent home.

-> We will continue to be an "outside only" program through at least the end of October 2021 and thereafter will be mostly outside, except when it is too dark (due to the fall time change and earlier sunset) to do so safely.  So please plan to send weather appropriate clothes each day.  Spare clothes may be placed in a large ziploc in your child's cubby or kept in their backpack.  (Staff cannot help with clothing changes.)


   Limited After School Transportation Returns  


For Fall 2021 we will return to offering after school pick up and transportation on a limited basis.

We will provide kindergarten pick-up & transportation and both Main Street and Soquel Elementary 5 days a week, M-F.

And we will provide pick-up & transportation on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for grades 1-5 at Main Street and grades 1-3 at Soquel Elementary.   This schedule is in response to the very long wait times reported currently for afterschool pick-up due to the new staggering of release times as well as other related factors.

It is our hope that as the schools are able to eliminate the need for the exaggerated staggering of release times (for social distancing) we will be able to resume offering pick up on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  However it is unlikely that this will happen during the first two months of school.

Please note that ALL parents will be required to sign a release form stating their understanding that our commercial sized van, although counted as a small "bus", is not large enough to allow for social distancing as practiced on the city buses and that the windows in the passenger area do not open.  Children will however wear masks in the van and use hand gel upon arrival at the van.

Parents who can provide their own transportation to the farm are encouraged to do so, even if it's only for the first month or two that school resumes.


Please
contact us for more information.

 


 

Our After School Care Program 

The after school care program at Little Garden Patch Farm is ideal for those famlies in search of a more nurturing and joyful after school experience that supports healthy "whole child" development in a safe homelike setting.   Our lower teacher-to-child ratio means that we can provide each child with the  attention, enouragement, and guidance that he or she needs to thrive physically, emotionally, intellectually, and socially.  

Children at Little Garden Patch Farm also experience a fun, engaging, and enriching program that includes: 

healthy outdoor play and movement,
hands-on science and nature learning, including farm animal encounters and gardening
 child-led imagination and pretend
social learning, including setting healthy boundaries, sharing, and respecting self and others
and of course, creativity and self-expression through arts and crafts and storytelling.
   

    Plus our popular afternoon snack and story time introduces children to delightful characters, fascinating facts, and new understandings of ourselves and the people and creatures that share our world.  

   
Learning about and caring for our farm animal friends 

What does Little Garden Patch Farm NOT offer?  Once children are here at the farm there is no "screen time" of any kind.  This means no TV or videos, no hand held gaming devices or video games, no Ipad time, or computer access.   Please be sure your child leaves these items at home.

Our only "screen time" is during after school pick up.  Because younger children must  wait in the car while we finish our pick-up route we do provide a movie in the shuttle van.  Children in first grade and up may watch the "in flight movies" Mondays through Friday and kindergarteners may watch a featured children's film on Fridays and other minimum days. All movies are carefully selected for age appropriate content.



 

More About After School Pick-Up:

We currently offer after school pick-up and transportation exclusively at Main Street Elementary for grades K-5 and at Soquel Elementary for grades K-3.  Please note:  due to logistical considerations, we may not be able to accomodate BOTH early and late kinder pick-up schedules.  Feel free to contact us and discuss what we are able to offer for Fall 2021.

We are not able to offer any other after school pick-up and transportation options at this time.

If your child attends a different school and you are able to arrange your own transportation to Little Garden Patch during our normal business hours, then we would be happy to talk to you about arranging a pre-registration visit for you and your child. 

Please keep in mind however that we follow -- and will always follow -- the Soquel Elementary School District schedule.  Please check this against your school's own calendar to see if there will be conflicting dates for minimum days, teacher in-service days, and holiday breaks and inform our staff accordingly.   Please inform LGPF staff at least two weeks in advance if your child will be absent in order to avoid billing for days that your child will not attend due to alternate vacation days.  Please note that in most cases, LGPF cannot accomodate requests for full-day care or early drop off (i.e. before 1 pm M-TH or 12:30 pm on Fridays) when your child's school vacation, minimum day, or teacher in-service day schedule conflicts with the Soquel School District schedules.  We appreciate your understanding and apologize for any inconvenience.



Our Outdoor "Classroom":

 Little Garden Patch is primarily an outdoor program with a rich and varied outdoor classroom.  When you come for your visit here is what you will find... 

Just inside the entry gate parents will find our sign in area and our individual cubbies where children may store their coats and back-packs and other gear -- as well as finished projects to go home.  Spare clothes are kept here, as well as arts & crafts projects that are in progress.

Some of our farm animals can be viewed from here too.  Say hello to our pot belly pigs, our goats, and our "big pony" Mia.  She is too large to let the children into her pen, but she loves to greet them affectionately over the barn door.

Once past the front yard and entry area, children will find our outdoor picnic area. Our picnic area includes shade cloth coverage for hot days, seating for 14 children, a big trash can of course, and a host of small two legged "composters" -- also known as ducks and chickens -- who love to wait for leftovers!  There is a stage and a puppet theater as well as a chair for teachers to read to the children while they eat.

Close by is our little "science hut" which hosts  hands-on displays on a changing variety of kid friendly topics from Bird Facts to Fall Changes to Butterflies or Frogs, the Science of Rot, Seed Growth, and even the Winter Olympics.   Also in this space is a small but popular fairy garden where children can often be found arranging and rearranging the fairy garden decor and acting out the days dramatic adventures.

Next down the path is the sand table and the tree fort.   A comfy hammock chair and some benches offer rest to the weary and provide cozy places to nestle with a book, a friend, or a water bottle.

Children will find lots to do further down the path in the outdoor art studio.  Here covered tables, activity cards, and shelves full of supplies offer endless creative investigation.  Whether your child would like to participate in the featured craft, make something all their own, or just sit and draw they are sure to enjoy  this imaginative space.

Turning the corner here, we pass the water table, the seed planting table, a small green house, and the entrance to our child-friendly raised bed vegetable garden.

Keep going!  We're not done yet.  Next comes the rope swing, the trampoline, one of our outdoor hand-washing stations, painting easels, the swingset and slide, a big hammock, a small playhouse, the LGPF outdoor play kitchen, the farm play sensory table,  and the corral for the mini ponies, Pearl and Cookie.  The children love to brush them and feed them carrots from the garden.  Right between the play kitchen and the corral is a covered swing glider where children love to rest together, giggle, and share their dreams and secrets.

Add to all this our planting projects, garden watering, watching the ducks and chickens play, visits with the other animals, all of our outdoor toys (fairies, toy farm animals, dinosaurs, sand toys, bubbles, etc.) and of course our monthly theme-related activities and children have no shortage of things to do when we are outside!

 


 

But what about when it rains or turns cold?  

No problem!  Come on in and take a look at the playroom!   When we need an indoor place to warm up (or escape a heat wave) or just switch gears, we can head inside to the kitchen and dining area for snack and story time (or baking).  Or we can have some time with the toys and other activities in the playroom.   

Click for an expanded view!
The first thing you'll notice is that we have lots of different little nooks and interest areas.  There's a table just for the youngest children to color or draw quietly.
Click for an expanded view!
 There are also spaces for dollhouses and related toys, a couch for cuddling up with a friend or a good book, and a central table for games and teacher-led craft projects.
   
Click for an expanded view!  
At the back of the room is another table for fuse beads and other quiet crafts or drawing.    A glance out the windows lets us know if it's good weather to run back outside!  We can also watch the birds coming to our sheltered bird feeders just outside the windows.
Click for an expanded view! 
In this back corner of the room we have the Play Table with lots and LOTS of LEGO bricks for building.  We also have plenty of toy cars, action figures, magna tiles, wooden blocks, and other fun things to keep us busy. 
Our playroom also has tons of stuffed animals, and dress up clothes,  and plenty of books for children aged 5-9. 

 



What about homework?

Little Garden Patch teachers routinely sets aside homework time for kindergarten children as many of them are too fatigued by evening to successfully complete their assignments at home.   Homework time is typically around 1:30 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  (On Wednesdays we may have special project time instead.)

Older children typically prefer to use their time at Little Garden Patch for play and project time as their hours here are much more limited due to their later arrival time.

However, if you would prefer that your older child use their time at LGPF for homework we are happy to work with you to set  up a Homework Agreement with you and your child that will help them meet these expectations. 

But please understand that for children in grades 1 and up, we are not able to provide one-on-one homework supervsion due to the staffs need to assist with and supervise group play and learning activities. 

 


 

Cost & Program Options

  Little Garden Patch Farm offers Full Time, Part Time, and Drop-In options.

Full time contracted care is $6/hour with free afterschool pick-up included when attendance is for a minimum of 3 hours on regular school days and 5 hours on early release school days.   Parents pay  every two weeks in advance of care.  Two weeks notice is required for unpaid absences.

Ongoing part Time care is $8/hour with free pick-up with the same requirement for minimum hours  (otherwise there is a $10 transportation charge for each pick up).  Registration for part time care is subject to availability, with priority for registration given to full time care participants.

Drop-In care is also $8 per hour but does not include after school pick up.  Drop-in care is arranged on a week to week basis and is subject to availability of space. 

We typically do not provide after school pick-up with drop-in care, limiting it's availability to homeschoolers and those coming from schools outside our regular service area.

A substantial sibling discount may be available to drop-in, part-time, and full-time clients who can provide their own transportation to LGPF.

 



Forms & Enrollment

    Prior to enrollment all families are asked to schedule a visit for a brief tour.  This provides children the opportunity to meet the animals and teachers and try on LIttle Garden Patch to see if it feels like the right place for him or her.   It also gives us a chance to discuss our policies and answer questions as we discuss whether our program is a good fit for your child's needs.

 Because ours is  a small family-run program, and because Little Garden Patch is a community and a second home to the children enrolled here, we give careful consideration to whether we can meet the needs of new families who wish to attend.  One tool to help us determine if LGPF is a good fit for your family is our Behavior Agreement.  Please be sure to look this form over carefully and discuss it with your child so that they know what is expected of them -- and what they have the right to expect of others.   Healthy limit setting and good manners is an important part of any thriving social community and we appreciate the important role that parents play in supporting our community at LGPF in this regard.  Thank you!

You will also receive an Emergency ID form and a Parent's Rights form.  And for families in contracted care, you will receive a copy of our written agreement/contract to review and sign.  When you contact us we will email you a sample copy of the Contract For Care to look over in advance of your visit.

Please note that ALL forms must be submitted before the first day of attendance.  This is a requirement set by state licensing.

Please email us if you have any questions or would like to schedule your pre-registration visit.

 



  Little Garden Patch Farm  
     

HOME