We believe parents are the first and most important teachers of children.

Little Preschool on Prairie is set up to enrich the lives of children in the Paso Robles area. We offer a half-day, morning Pre-School. We would like to partner with parents to bring Play as Learning to our children. We are a Play-Based Preschool. Learning is happening in everything that takes place here. In play-based preschool the environment is set up to allow child-led learning to take place. The Teachers are observant and ready to add to the learning taking place. Materials are open-ended to encourage imagination, self-regulation, discovery, and a sense of wonder.

Group of preschoolers cutting veggies, learning about food and cooking
Happy preschool girl building higher
Community of Joyful, kids playing in mud


The environment is usually set up to include areas or centers, such as the dramatic-play area, block area, loose parts area, art area. The learning takes place as the child leads the play by choosing to use the materials in a self- discovery and Self Expression.


The teacher is ready to step in with a well place question or comment to help the child get to the next step. A thought provoking question such as “I wonder what would happen if…” will keep the child in a discovery mode of learning.


Play that is child-led and open ended allows the child to stretch above their zone of what they know or can do. This is called the “Zone of Proximal Development” going just beyond what the child knows and can do with a little bit of help. (The zone of proximal development (ZPD) has been defined as “the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers” (Vygotsky, 1978).


Materials in the class room and playground are open end. Open end toys are those that can be used for many activities and can be many different things with imagination. Loose parts “Raw Materials” spark imagination, problem solving, wonder and discovery. Open-ended materials encourage children in to use bodies and minds.

preschool slide with boys having fun
Five preschool kids finding harmony in their friendship
Preschool kids making rivers in the sand with water by digging and sqishing mud

What are the outcomes of a quality play based preschool?

Children who come out of a good play based program are thinkers. They are more prepared to adapt to kindergarten and life in general. These are some of the important outcomes we strive for:

  • Developing a solid self-regulation system that holds strong through listening (when you would rather not), failing and struggling prepares a child for life.
  • Having opportunities to think of solutions for problems, and building confidence through accomplishing tasks all on their own prepares a child for life.
  • Asking for what we need and offering to help others prepares a child for life.
  • Assessing and experiencing risk along with lots of opportunities for practicing caution prepares a child for life.
  • Curiously trying new things and testing new theories, in an environment where one is free to do so, prepares a child for life.
  • Developing a solid foundation of social skills that helps one navigate the tricky waters of social conflict, teamwork and collaboration prepares a child for life.
preschool girl building small muscles with play dough
Happy smiling girl painting herself
Preschool kids having fun and building social skills