Our absolute favorite thing about the work we do is getting to know more about the schools that receive The Blue Rose Foundation grants. This month, we were fortunate to get an update from Michaela Murray, Director of The Old Adobe School (OAS) in Sonoma, California. OAS was the first grant recipient school and the spark, you could say, that started this whole Blue Rose Foundation journey. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into their preschool. As you can see it’s more than just learning your ABC’s. OAS and quality preschool is setting children up for success in school and beyond!
Sarah Poletto of The Blue Rose Foundation: Would you give us a brief description of Old Adobe School’s history and preschool philosophy?
Michaela Murray: Old Adobe School was founded over forty years ago and has been dedicated to providing high quality early childhood education to a diverse population ever since. OAS draws from a variety of early childhood philosophies and current educational research. We offer a flexible mostly play based curriculum instead of adhering to a strict proscribed approach. This allows us to address the particular needs and development of each individual child. Our Red, Blue, and Yellow classrooms, though seemingly informal, are skillfully organized so that the children’s activities promote their total physical, cognitive, and social growth.
SP: The world should know what makes Old Adobe School special. What are some some specific examples?
MM: Old Adobe wholeheartedly values family and community involvement. Prior to COVID-19 we hosted a number of different family functions and interacted with the community. We encourage families to showcase special skills, teach about their profession, or join us for holidays and fundraisers. We often have visits from the local fire station, police department, post office, ranger station, and even walk to the local farmer’s market! In the past Old Adobe School has also been a part of the annual 4th of July and vintage festival parades. We love our Sonoma Community!
SP: What is the best time of year for Old Adobe School?
MM: I think that most students and staff would agree that Fall is the best time of year at OAS. During the fall we host our Bike-A-Thon fundraiser, have numerous outdoor projects and activities, and celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. Additionally, at the end of the summer is when we enroll many new students, the fall has become the time of year for everyone to get to know each other and we love expanding our Old Adobe family.
MM: In September the Red Class spends a full week on their pizza making project. They spend all week making dough, picking tomatoes from our garden to make sauce, choosing their favorite topping, and enjoying their hard work for lunch. At the end of the week, the Red Room kids make three GIANT pizzas to share with the other classes.
SP: What is a favorite, special lesson (visit from the fire house, field trip to the park in the square) that the children enjoy?
MM: As previously mentioned, the fall is also the time of year that we host our annual Bike-A-Thon fundraiser. For two weeks leading up to the event, friends and families of the students can make pledges to Old Adobe. This can be a “per lap” pledge or a “flat donation”. Each student brings their bike to school the day of the fundraiser. They then have one hour to ride as many laps as they can. Families are encouraged to join us for the event and cheer on their rider. We play music, set up a snack bar and water station, and spend all morning cheering on our super speedy riders. Students, staff, and families LOVE the Bike-A-Thon!
SP: Tell us a special story about a child from Old Adobe School.
MM: Recently, the city of Sonoma had to say goodbye to one of its long-time preschool centers. The Little School shut its doors after close to 40 years in operation. It hit the students, staff, and community hard. Old Adobe was able to enroll many Little School Students and hired several Little School teachers. This was in hopes of creating a smooth transition for the students of The Little School.
It went better than we could have ever hoped. As we approached the Bike-A-Thon, one of the mothers of one of the former Little School students shared a story with me.
Her daughter was extremely excited for the Bike-A-Thon. She couldn’t wait to bring her bike to school and was ecstatic that her family would be coming to cheer her on. Her mother mentioned that the Bike-A-Thon was a fundraiser for the school. This seemed to concern her daughter, cautiously she asked, “Is my new school going to close too?” Her mother realized that her daughter was worried that Old Adobe needed to do a fundraiser because we were in danger of closing. She told her mom how much fun she was having at school and was going to ride as fast as she could to help the Old Adobe School. Her mother eased her worries, by telling her that sometimes schools do fundraisers so that they can buy fun new toys and supplies for the kids. She told her not to worry, that Old Adobe wouldn’t be closing.
This story was so sweet, but also showcased to us that these kids are paying attention to everything that is going on around them.
SP: After the pandemic is over, what are looking most forward to doing at your school?
MM: We look forward to our classes being able to mix together again. For them to engage with students outside of their age group, to expand their friend group, and learn from their peer models.
We look forward to inviting our families back into our classrooms. For them to again be a part of everything we do here and for them to feel they are involved in their child’s early education.
You can see just what an important part OAS plays in these children’s learning journey. We are grateful to have found this amazing high-quality preschool that inspired The Blue Rose Foundation’s mission. High-quality preschool has been proven to increase a child’s chances at a successful future, in education and in life. Please support preschool for disadvantaged children.
We have another fabulous Silver Lining to share from one of our incredible supporters as we get into fall and try to stay cozy.
This year #GT is on November 30th. It’s our 2nd year participating! There will be lots of ways to help out and give back, so EVERYONE can participate.
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