“We’re like one big family over here, it’s great!”
SmartyPants Preschool began around 7 years ago when Hali Larsen and her husband relocated to North Ogden. She owned a couple preschools in Morgan and Mountain Green, but her husband teaches at Weber High and they wanted to be closer to his work. Larsen said it’s always hard starting a new school, but she believes a community recognizes the difference when high quality makes an appearance. “It wasn’t super hard for us to start from scratch because we already had an awesome teacher, Jodi Lafeber… I built the preschool around what I wanted for my kids and other people saw the value in it as well.”
Larsen said kindergarten teachers frequently tell them the kids who come from SmartyPants are more ready than other children from any other preschool in the area. “We give them a firm foundation and a love of learning. That makes them easy students to teach. Our kids pass the kindergarten readiness test by a mile,” said Larsen.
When a child comes to this preschool, they are loved. Amber Hodges said in a blog post, her son’s teacher always greeted him with a bear hug when he arrived, and when they’d see her at the grocery store she came over and made a big deal about how much she loved him. Larsen and all the staff at Smarty Pants chose to teach preschool because they love children, especially this age. “There’s not another age I’d rather teach! The kids love to be there and everything is magical at this age.”
Preschool is usually a child’s first introduction to a classroom setting, and learning the academic lessons like letters and numbers isn’t the only purpose of it. It is teaching children how to be students and instilling a love of learning that will help them excel as they move from grade to grade. The love and the attitudes the teachers bring as they teach here make all the difference though. “It’s not what we teach it’s how we teach.” Larsen said this foundation gives children educational self-esteem because they know how to handle themselves in a classroom. This is what helps them to be successful when they move on from grade to grade.
The social experience children get through preschool is very valuable. Children have play time at SmartyPants and they learn how to get along with peers, share, resolve conflict, and take turns. This is one of the reasons why teachers want all their students to go through Smarty Pants. If they can’t handle the classroom and being in a group setting, students will not be successful academically.
The SmartyPants Preschool staff understands the process of learning and how to transition kids into taking the next step in the child’s education. The school has twelve teachers and a lot of them have been there since the SmartyPants opened. Parents happily bring their younger children to teachers their older ones loved so much. The head teachers are licensed and certified and have around 15 years of experience each. The aids have their Early Childhood Development Degree and all their staff are highly trained. They have teachers who specialize in teaching Spanish, STEAM, Preschool, and their Discovery class for 2-3 year-olds.
If you want to guarantee a spot for your child at Smarty Pants Preschool, register in January because sometimes they can have a waitlist for classes. Larsen’s favorite part of her job is being involved with the families and watching their students’ families turn into friends. “We’re like one big family over here, it’s great!”
Address: 859 W. Pleasant View Drive, Pleasant ViewPhone: 801-425-1079