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The Importance of Kindergarten


Every year, in the United States the 21st of April is the official celebration date of National Kindergarten Day.

Why April 21 you ask? Well, it is the birthday of the German educator Friedrich Fröbel, who founded the first play and activity institute called kindergarten in 1837. (Kindergarten’s actually a mid-19th century German word literally meaning “children’s garden.”) 

According to Fröbel, young children should follow their own interests and freely explore them. That’s why kindergartens include singing, dancing, and creative play.

Why is Kindergarten Important For A Child’s Development?

Kindergarten is important to students’ success and helps children adjust to elementary school, as well as their success in later years.

Kindergarten learning also lays the groundwork for learning in later grades.

According to developmental psychologist John W. Santrock, children experience rapid growth of their frontal lobes between the ages of three and six. This is the area of the brain that regulates organization, planning, and maintaining attention.

 Researchers believe that kindergarten teaches skills like patience and perseverance and that learning these skills early contributes to later success as an adult.

Kindergarten goes a long way in the overall development of your child. It develops your child’s social, emotional, literacy, and fine motor skills, which they need to build during their lifetime. During this period, children learn by engaging their senses of hearing, sight, smell, and touch. 

What Age Should Kids Start Kindergarten?

Historically, the starting age for kindergarten has varied widely. In the past five years, both states and districts have pushed the minimum age to start kindergarten up so that more and more kids are at least 5 years old when they start school.  In California, a child shall be admitted to a kindergarten maintained by the school district at the beginning of a school year, or at a later time in the same year if the child will have his or her fifth birthday on or before September 1st.  By law, all children must be in compulsory schooling by their 6th birthday. (Please check your state’s requirements for age and cut-off dates.)

Kindergarten Introduces Your Child To New Ideas, Helps Develop Problem-Solving Skills,

Along With The Following Skills:

  • Learn to coordinate and cooperate with fellow studentsWhat do kids learn in kindergarten?
  • Become more aware of his surroundings
  • Respect for others and start understanding others feelings
  • Develop language skills, numeracy, and reading stories
  • Making friends
  • Receptible to new concepts and ideas
  • Build confidence
  • Improve communication skills
  • Express their creativity through art, drawings, and dance
  • Develop academic skills like reading, writing, and counting

 Furthermore, survey results show children who attend kindergarten classes tend to have better cognitive skills, higher IQ, better understanding, improved social interactions, and develop a deeper love for learning. 

How To Choose The Right Kindergarten Program For Your Child?

Choosing the right kindergarten school will enrich your child’s learning experience. An excellent kindergarten program would offer your student a variety of learning experiences that are fun and learning-oriented at the same time.

An article in Psychology Today reported that a good teacher and the quality of early education make a huge difference. They conclude that early education is a very good investment.

10 Tips for Choosing a Kindergarten Program.10 Tips for Choosing a Kinder Program?

  • Half-Day or Full Day
  • Are you interested in Public, Private, Private Homeschool, Small Learning Pod?
  • What has been your response to Covid-19? What policies/protections do you have in place? How do you keep kids safe from infectious diseases?
  • Do the school’s educational philosophy and values match your family’s? 
  • What background checks do you run on prospective employees? 
  • School proximity
  • School transportation, e.g. bus schedule
  • Special interests like language, arts, and alternative programs
  • School curriculum structure.
  • Talk to other parents in the community. Does the school have a good reputation?

Partner Spotlight: Groza Learning Center


As an experienced education partner, Laurel Springs recognizes that when it comes to learning options, one size does not fit all. Whether our partners want a comprehensive education program or to augment their curriculum with a few select courses, we help them find the best solution to suit their specific needs and student populations.

This additional academic support is one of the reasons why Groza Learning Center has chosen Laurel Springs to be a trusted partner for over six years. Tatyana Yukhtman is Director of this center located in Pacific Palisades, CA that offers tutoring, test prep, and other learning support to both full- and part-time students. She recently shared more about the kind of programs Groza provides and how partnering with Laurel Springs benefits all involved.

Groza Learning Center

Growing With Groza Learning Center

At Groza Learning Center, students work one-on-one or in small groups with a dedicated teacher either at the California center, at a student’s home, or online. In addition, the following programs were created to fully ensure each student and family had their unique learning goals met:

  • A program to help parents monitor their child’s learning progress
  • An in-person program for students with learning differences
  • Guiding students through their current school curriculum either online or in-person
  • Providing more time for students to master a certain subject

So, what makes Groza different from other learning centers? According to Ms. Yukhtman, “besides our 20+ years of experience in education working with students from gifted to the ones that have superpowers of ADD, ADHD, Autistic, Learning Differences, etc., to students who just need someone to listen and hear them… We believe that every student is unique, which is why we provide educational experiences that meet each student’s individual needs and we match each teacher with the student.”

Groza students not only receive the right amount of academic support, but they’re also given the tools necessary to strengthen their life skills and become more self-sufficient, strong, and self-confident learners. “For many of our students, we provide Academic Management, Executive Functioning, Foreign Language Classes (French, Spanish, Latin, Russian, Mandarin, and Japanese), and Study Skills. Our credential and experienced teachers work with each student based on their learning style, whether the student is gifted or has learning differences.”

Where Laurel Springs Comes In

For a learning center that already provides students with so much support, what else can a family ask for? Well, there’s a lot more, actually. Part of the personalized learning structure that both Groza and Laurel Springs provides caters to students from many different backgrounds, with a variety of scheduling needs, and who pursue a host of different passions.

“Over the years we have had the privilege of working with students who are looking for a flexible school schedule and rolling enrollment while having an ability to grow and excel academically and personally. Among our student body, we have students who travel the world with their parents, students who are in [the] entertainment industry, students athletes, or students who are looking for a part time or a full time alternative schooling program. We strive to provide our students a curriculum option that meets their needs…a WASC accredited, college prep, online and text-based [options], with courses approved by the NCAA and the University of California a-g. We appreciate that Laurel Springs provides our students the curriculum that we are looking for and more.”

Not only does Laurel Springs prioritize a student’s needs, but we also support our partners with a multi-faceted approach including guidance, progress reports, and more. It’s what keeps partners like Groza coming back for more. “We love having an opportunity to have a trusted partner in our corner. One that meets our goals for the family and that we feel comfortable referring.”

Tips For Mid Year Homeschool Transition

Tips For Mid Year Homeschool Transition 1

Here’s the good news, mid-year is the perfect time to transition to homeschool! Whether you’re considering transitioning due to the current pandemic, your child is falling behind, not being challenged, struggling with on-line learning, has learning differences, or any other justification, here are tips that will help make the shift more manageable.

Deciding to homeschool is a complex one, and the switch often causes parents to feel anxious and overwhelmed. However, realizing the benefits of homeschooling, such as customized curriculums, continually updated educational plans for optimal learning, 1:1 or small group instruction, and flexible schedules, often makes the process worthwhile.

Thankfully, if this process seems daunting, there are experts you can turn to that are well versed in homeschooling and who can help make the transition seamless.


Homeschooling 101:

1) Be aware of your state’s homeschooling rules and regulations.

Many states require:

  • Notification of your intent to homeschool to necessary officials.
  • Specific subjects that need to be covered.
  • Assessments for academic progress. 
  • Parents who homeschool have a highschool diploma or GED.
  • Record keeping and submission of students progress.

2) Withdrawing your child from their current school:

  • Contact your child’s school and school district to notify them of the change.
  • Make sure that every entity is notified correctly and on time.
  • Obtain all records and transcripts needed from your current school.

3) Explore Curriculum Options:

  • Research available curriculums to identify which work best for your family’s needs and match your child’s learning style.
  • Take into account your child’s educational goals, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Join local homeschool groups and social media groups to help answer questions.

4) Create an Optimal Learning Environment:

  • Designate a space where your child can learn according to their specific learning style.
  • Remove distractions.
  • Gather all supplies, books, teaching materials in advance.
  • Create and follow a schedule.
  • Set Goals!

Be Patient

While you are navigating this new adventure, remember to be patient with yourself and your child until everyone gets used to the change. Without a doubt, you will encounter challenges, uncertainty, and many questions but know that it will get easier, and the gratification of watching your child reach their full potential will be priceless.

Groza Homeschool Parent Testimonial

“He says he has done more reading in 2 days than he has in 9 months on Zoom!-eeek!!

Reading is really something he resists doing so he'[s making up for lost time;)

Aside from that, interacting with friends and teachers has made all the difference and he absolutely loves it. We are very fortunate he has this opportunity.”

How to Build Successful Learning Pods

Learning Pods 2

What is a Learning Pod?

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many school districts across the country are continuing with remote learning for the 2020-2021 school year. Parents worry that their children are not advancing academically or socially since they lack in-person teaching and are isolated from their friends. Learning pods to the rescue!  A learning pod — also referred to as a pandemic pod, teaching pod, learning bubble, or micro-school — consists of a small group of children receiving guided education outside of school through a parent, tutor, or hired teacher.

How to Build a Learning Pod:

Parents considering forming learning pods should consider the following questions: 

1.What are your academic goals?

  •  All-day coverage
  • Academic support
  •  Enhancement of remote learning
  • Learning through play

2. Are your children going to be safe? 

  • Are the other families following the same social distancing practices? 
  • Do you have adults available to lead the pod, or will you hire a private teacher?
  • Where will your learning pod be held?
  • Will you require regular testing for everyone?
  • Will you have mixed grade pods?
  • If so, are you familiar with the pros and cons of mixed grade learning pods?

Learning Pods

The Pros of Learning Pods:

  • individualized learning plans
  • minimizing health risks
  • flexible hours and days
  • socialization
  • helps kids stay motivated
  • higher concentration
  • greater confidence
  • higher course completion
  • greater engagement
  •  mental health
  • support for working parents
What parents need to be aware of :
  • Choosing the right curriculum can be stressful.
  • Researching state homeschool requirements can be confusing.
  • Is someone ensuring that your teacher is following proper CDC guidelines and social distancing protocol?
  • Does your teacher have all the necessary credentials?
  • Do you have a substitute if your teacher becomes ill or quits? 
  • Do you have insurance for all students and teachers in your home in case someone gets injured?
  • Are you receiving updates and progress reports from the teacher? 
  • Is your child learning at their pace and to their academic ability?
  • Learning Pods do not always work well for high school students since, being in the same grade does not necessarily mean you are taking the same subjects.
Groza Can Provide a Safe Alternative:
  • Fully Vetted, Experienced, Insured Teachers/Tutors.
  • 18+ years of reputable history in providing personal tutors. 
  • Learning and Grade Level Assessments
  • Customized Learning Plans
  • Customized Curriculum 
  • Learn from the safety of your home with an in-person or online teacher
  • Learn in our center, which follows strict CDC guidelines
  • Full transparency with detailed academic updates for parents
  • Regular COVID testing for teachers and staff
  • Peace of mind


For more information about our Learning Pods and Homeschool Programs:

Call: 310-454-3731


Grow With Groza



Tips on How to Reduce Homework Distractions

Tips on How to Reduce Homework Distractions

In a time of digital media, a world of distractions is at your fingertips so, minimizing as many distractions as possible will help get homework off your to-do list quicker and more efficiently.   Here are a few tricks to help get you started.

Cultivating the Perfect Environment:

In order to save memory for more important tasks your brain builds associations between objects and actions.  For example, the dining room is associated with eating, the kitchen with cooking, and the bedroom with sleeping. These associations are especially useful when trying to build an environment that primes your brain for homework.  If you can designate a room in your house for homework, then you are already on the right track however, if this is not the case there are other actions you can take.  Begin with finding a desk that you will use exclusively for schoolwork and not for any other activities such as, video games.  Building a homework environment is not limited to the actual location.

Other Environmental Factors to Consider:

• Do you focus better in a warmer or colder room?

• Do you prefer warmer (orange) light or colder (blue) light?

• Do you prefer perfect silence or listening to music?

• If you prefer to listen to music, can you concentrate with or without lyrics?

Once again, these are only examples and if you stumble upon other factors that make or break your environment feel free to adjust.

Material Clutter:

Being surrounded by clutter and mess is no fun in fact, it can be quite stressful.  Having papers scattered all over your desk before getting to work is just one more distraction from getting your homework done.  It should be a no-brainer, but it is worth a mention. Everyday after you finish your homework, make sure to clean your desk and revert it back to its original state. This ensures that the next day you will get to your homework much faster. Remove everything you don’t need for your current task from your desk and ensure you have all your papers, pens, pencils and, other materials at hand.  An organized environment will allow you to stay focused for longer.

If you are constantly getting up from your desk to get something, you will begin to forget where you left off, and eventually you will have to rethink through all the homework.  Lastly, creating a filing system at home can be very useful; filing older assignments away will ensure less clutter while working and easier referencing to previous material when studying.

Mental Clutter:

Physical clutter is distracting, but the effects of mental clutter can be even worse.  Have you ever just thought about all the tests and projects in the upcoming week and felt completely stress out?  We have all been there and experienced that overwhelming feeling of not knowing where to start. It is something every student goes through, but it can be avoided. Using simple organizers such as a planner, to-do list, or a calendar are all strategies for decluttering your mind. By writing things down you ease the stress level by allowing your brain to forget about it and use the energy towards something else. Want to go the extra mile and further reduce stress?  Block out the time it will take to complete each task so that you can better plan your days and weeks.

Digital Distractions:

The greatest source of distraction for students at this time is digital media. It is the phone in your pocket, the TV in the living room, and video games on your desk.  The first tip for minimizing digital distractions is, if you do not need it, put it away.  Instead of using your iPhone for math use a calculator. If you are struggling to stay focused because of your devices consider using apps such as Freedom and Anti-Social, both provide features that will limit your internet access to keep you on track with your assignments.

If you trust yourself enough, the Pomodoro Technique might be the way to go. This technique regimes your homework time into intervals of 25 minutes of intense work, then five minutes of break. After 4 repetitions of this (one hour and 40 minutes of laser focus work,) you can take a break for a longer interval such as 30 minutes. If you can hold yourself to this standard without falling into routine checks of your social media account, then your homework will be done in no time. Lastly, with most assignments being completed and submitted online it is crucial to keep organized files on your computer. Whether you use, OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox, accurately labelling and filing your work will make it easy to navigate, and  less likely that you will be frantically scrolling through folders trying to find that one paper minutes before submission.

Academic Management:

If your student is struggling to stay organized and is falling behind due to poor academic management there is help available.  A tutor or learning center can set them up for success by empowering them with specific organizational tools and tactics.  Academic management programs will teach students how to stay on task by developing new ways of thinking, habits, and routines that directly impact schoolwork and day-to-day living.

For more information about Groza’s Academic Management program:
Call: (310)454-3731

The MicroSchool Phenomenon


The word “microschool” or “minischool” may sound like a new concept given that most of us are accustomed to the large scale schooling system. However, the idea is not as foreign as one might think. In fact, microschools have been around for centuries! While their demand began to decline when the modern “large-scale” school system became widely adopted, microschools have recently seen a reemergence in popularity amidst the pandemic. It is now considered an alternate schooling method that manages itself quite differently from the traditional learning style that we are all used to. 


What is microschool? 

As the name implies, a microschool is a school with a limited student population; some with as few as two students. The schools can operate as private learning institutions that create customized learning plans and curriculum or teachers can assist students with their current curriculums acting as the “guide on the side” who offers support rather than lectures. Furthermore, there are no set locations for the classrooms with many microschools taking advantage of public and community spaces. 

What are the advantages of a microschool? 

1. Personalized Curriculum

The curriculum and learning style are entirely personalized, ensuring that students are developing proper learning habits, and are comfortable with the pace and style. Students are taught according to their learning style, which can be:

  •  Visual (Spatial)
  • Aural (Auditory-Musical)
  • Verbal (Linguistic)
  • Physical (Kinesthetic)
  • Logical (Mathematical)
  • Social (Interpersonal)
  • Solitary (Intrapersonal)

2. Moves Away from Standardized Testing 

The anxiety of studying for a test, test-taking, and waiting for results is a process that most do not miss. For teachers, tests are supposed to assess a student’s skill level and understanding of a topic but, for many students, testing spells out nothing but stress. While some microschools may rely on standardized tests from time to time, most are moving students away from it. 

3.Self Organization and Adaptability

Traditional schools often enforce strict schedules; students have to go to class at a certain time, eat lunch at a specific time, or even have a free period at a particular time. Consequently, no control and little freedom often lead to behavioral issues. In contrast, microschools create student based schedules that are flexible, encourage extracurricular activity and, give students choices. Microsschools help students build self-management skills and confidence which will help them throughout their life.

 4. Reduced Homework Burden 

If you were to ask students what is the one thing they dislike about school, homework is undeniably one of the top answers. With micro schools, students can work at their own pace. This is why, unlike the traditional classroom formula where students bring work home daily, micro schools are geared towards making sure that students understand the material they’re learning. 

5. Stronger Student-Teacher Relationship

Microschools help strengthen the student-teacher relationship because the small class size allows teachers to give students the individual attention they need. Teachers have a chance to really get to know their students and focus on strengthening weaker areas.  Customized and small group learning strengthens student-teacher relationships, helps students stay motivated, engaged, inspired, and empowered.   

6. Social Distancing Made Easier 

The coronavirus has made social distancing, face coverings, and handwashing a mandatory part of our daily lives. Safety is a significant concern for parents when considering whether to send their children back to school. The bigger the school, the higher the risk. Microschools offer a safer alternative; smaller student populations allow for social distancing and make it easier for teachers to maintain CDC safety practices. 

For more information about microschools, tutoring, and support programs:

Call: 310-454-3731