[EDITOR'S NOTE: I've been out of it for two weeks. I had hip resurfacing surgery back on March 26, then I was swamped working on the video below. I'm doing very well now, limping but doing just about everything again. I'm sorry for the hiatus, but I'm back, stronger (and more cantankerous) than ever...]
I just shot and edited the video below about La Piccola Scuola Italiana (LPSI), a wonderful Reggio-Emilia inspired preschool in San Francisco. I am very happy with my son’s preschool, Bing Nursery School, one of the most prestigious, sought-after nursery schools in the US. However, I prefer LPSI. Unfortunately, we live in Palo Alto, CA, 40 minutes away from LPSI.
Why do I prefer LPSI to Bing?I have four reasons:
- While both are Reggio-Emilia inspired, LPSI is run by people who went to the best Reggio-Emilia schools in the world – in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. Bing is run by people who have studied this approach from Stanford University in the United States. So, LPSI has the Reggio approach running through its veins more than Bing, and it works fabulously. This fact is quite evident in the video.
- LPSI is small and family-like, while Bing is much larger and laboratory-like. Classes at LPSI have 12 students each, while classes at Bing have 36. Kids get to know each other much better at LPSI, and teachers (and administrators and cooks!) regularly hug and kiss the kids.
- LPSI has a cultural/linguistic theme, while Bing doesn’t. That cultural/linguistic theme is Italian, and it gives the whole community more of a unifying purpose than just a great preschool. Thus, the parents, Italians and non-Italians included, form an exceptionally tight community. The school is not just about the kids. It’s about the kids and Italian language and Italian culture. If you care at all for the latter two, having this theme creates more bonds among parents, kids, teachers, and administrators.
- LPSI is Italian. Yes, I’m Italian-American, but even if you’re not, you’ll have to admit that Italian language and culture are pretty wonderful, aren’t they? Besides, what other preschool can boast that they have their own cooks from Italy who cook gourmet organic Italian lunches for students (and staff) every day?
LPSI, flush from the success of their fundraiser last weekend, is considering expansion, either to a K-8 school in San Francisco or to another preschool in Palo Alto or elsewhere in the Bay Area. I vote for the latter. How about you?