We Heart Playgroup LA by Teresa Palmer
In a quaint little magical garden in Beachwood Canyon lies a very special class that Bodhi and I attend twice a week. We chose Miss Betsy’s class because it fits our parenting philosophy. It’s such an organic class that places an emphasis on the creativity of the child and allows for free space to build the child’s imagination, curiosity and individual self.
I love how much free play Betsy offers. They love to wander around the garden and dig holes in the digging corner, interact with one another whilst exploring the nooks and crannies of the yard and then they sit under the big shady tree for sing alongs and the weekly craft activity. In Betsys class Bodhi has made a bird feeder, planted peas and painted the pea pots, used water colors to paint a (beautiful!) picture, made play dough, tie dyed materials, made a sculpture with dried beans, squeezed fresh orange juice and drank a lot of it! We have also interacted and played with baby animals as a part of Betsy’s “Animals and Me”. Betsy also offers a “Water Play and Me” class in the summer, where the children can run around splash in little blow up pools and play with toy water animals, that is most definitely his favorite class.
I was initially wondering about how Bodhi as a 13 month old when he first started, would interact with the mixed age class. It has been truly an eye opening experience. Bodhi really enjoyed working alongside the older and younger children and without Betsy’s class I wouldn’t have know that my little toddler was ready for paints and creating art and being a part of a group setting. He loves to dance along to the songs and we play natural music and rhythm using things collected from the garden. I used the word magical above because that’s how it feels when you step in to her garden. There is such a warmth to Miss Betsy, her energy and positivity radiates from her to the children. Bodhi adores her and now at 2.5 as Bodhi gets ready to transition in to preschool in the coming months, I acknowledge just how blessed we are that we have found this incredible community to be a part of, it has helped Bodhi create the social skills that will be so useful when he begins his new adventures at preschool. We have made life long friends there and I am so excited to bring our new baby son there next year and get to do it all over again with him! Hopefully I will be seeing some of the local YZM community there also.
For those of you who don’t live in LA I recommend taking Betsy’s lead and encouraging a lot of free play with your children. Intervene and direct less and just sit and observe more. Even if its just putting a bucket of water and some cups in the garden and watching them create their own extraordinary worlds, playing in and out of the water or wandering around the garden, its a delight to see them create their own environments without you leading them or giving them suggestions of what to do. Its one of my favorite life experiences, purely sitting in observance of Bodhi and his ways, I grow a deeper understanding of his little being and its also just the sweetest and most heart warming thing watching them play uninhibited and uninterrupted. Love Tez xx