VAIL, Colorado " The Children's Garden of Learning in Vail strangely has 24 spots open, a rarity in the world of preschool and child care.
It seems that their open spots are one more indicator of the trends we've been seeing for years " more families moving downvalley, and not as many needing preschool in the Vail.
And now, with gas prices so high, several parents who might have been making the drive to Vail have stopped, director Robin Henzler said.
"We didn't expect to be paying four-and-a-half dollars for gas," Henzler said. "We had families that didn't return this year who were just driving here from Edwards, and that was too much."
The school is for kids age 22 months to 5-years-old. Tuition is about $48 a day for toddlers and $45 a day for preschool students. Henzler says the price is on the higher end, but the kids do receive a unique preschool experience.
The school's big focuses are on teaching self reliance and promoting creativity, based on the "Reggio Emilia" schools in Italy.
Tour the school and you'll see most of the students, at all times, creating something. Children here work on what they're most interested in, and their curiosity drives their learning, Henzler said.
They're painting pictures, making clay sculptures, putting together collages, even learning to take to photos with digital cameras. One project involved making a pinball machine out of recycled materials, and another involved creating a home-made xylophone.
The school also places a big focus on documenting the kids at school. Teachers there write journal entries for each child every day, documenting what they did, what they made, who they played with, how much of their lunch they ate.
Teachers also take lots of photos of the children, helping make sure that parents aren't missing out on their lives, Henzler said.
Visit the Children's Garden of Learning Web site at www.childrensgarden-vail.com.
Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 970-748-2955 or email@example.com.