Parents who have a child too old for preschool but too young for kindergarten have a pre-K option in Pacific Palisades: Eclipse School. The school’s co-founders, Beth Reilly and Shea Morris, are both licensed and experienced, and they are limiting the school’s enrollment to 12 students. Eligible students are those who will turn 5 in 2022.
Reilly and Morris told CTN, “This one year can be the most rewarding and formative year of a child’s primary and secondary education. There is no other year like it.”
Shea, who is from Oklahoma City, was working in higher education at Clemson University. “I loved working with college students,” she said, but with two daughters, she decided to get her teaching certification. “I should have known I’d become a teacher because both my mom and grandmother were life-long educators.”
She started as a preschool director in South Carolina before moving to Los Angeles and a job at Village School, where she taught pre-K and kindergarten. “The early childhood years are my favorite, she said. “Students are eager to learn and soak up everything.”
Reilly, who grew up in Houston, was focused on becoming a teacher early on. “I knew in kindergarten,” she said. “I announced it at the dinner table and that was that. I never deviated.”
She obtained her degree from DePauw University and then taught for eight years at Kinkaid School in Houston before moving to Los Angeles and the Village School.
The two met 15 years ago at Village, a pre-K through sixth grade private school, and realized their educational philosophies aligned.
The two list what they believe on their website (eclipseschool.org) and that includes: children are innately curious, independent thinkers and deserve to be heard, taken seriously and treated as individuals and that students should have the opportunity to make mistakes and feel safe learning from those mistakes.”
“I had taught first grade for 10 years and never dreamed I could go younger,” Reilly said. “I was talked into it when I started at Village. Once I completed my first year, I knew it was the age group for me.
“I love everything about it, the age of the students, their enthusiasm for learning, and their ability to embrace whatever challenges that come their way,” Reilly said. “TKers [transitional kindergarteners] are more capable than most people realize. I love helping them reach their potential.”
Summer camps will be available in 2022, with weekly themes of art, science, social and fun and run, and will run Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. “The goal for all Eclipse Camps is FUN!” Morris and Reilly said. Applications are also being accepted for the school year 2022.