View Full Version : Hollywood-Wilshire Wagon Wheel Preschool Keeps Rolling

05-09-2011, 02:49 PM
From the Larchmont Chronicle (http://www.larchmontchronicle.com/ArchiveDetail.asp?ArchiveID=1158) by Sondi Sepenuk:
Wagon Wheel School in the Hancock Park neighborhood has been educating children ages two to five since 1943.

Unless you know its location at 653 N. Cahuenga Blvd., you may have a hard time spotting it. Made up of two converted bungalow homes and several small buildings, the school is a hidden oasis within the city. With decades-old ficus trees, Chinese elm and Japanese maples forming a lush canopy over the play area, water structure, gardens, library and picnic tables, you might just think you’ve entered Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden.”

Originally owned by Tress Journey, the school was purchased by Ruth Segal in 1977. A child development devotee, she has been running the school ever since. “This school is my mother’s baby,” says one of her three children, Tahlia, who attended the school as a child and currently works as an assistant at the school. “I hope to take it over someday, but I don’t think my mom will ever retire!”

“I’ve lived in many, many countries, and I’ve watched how they related to children and I thought we could do so much more here [in the United States] than we’re doing,” says Ruth. “It was fun for me to see all these cultures, and I wanted to combine all that and show the children how beautiful and eclectic the world is.”

The end result was Ruth’s philosophy to teach everything through creative art, music and dance. “Whenever we teach shapes, colors and numbers, we do it creatively.”

For example, the school’s “Handwriting Without Tears” program encourages children to learn their letters through wooden pieces that they put together to form the letter, as well as to write stories in their journals. “In this manner, their self-expressions become very developed by the time they leave us,” states Ruth proudly.

Lisa O’Malley, a parent who has put three children through the school, appreciates this learning method. “The teachers at Wagon Wheel foster a loving, nurturing environment by providing kids with a strong social foundation through play, which I believe is the most important building block for a child’s education.”

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