Patricia Nowicki

As I was growing up my mom used to say that I never wanted to leave kindergarten. I remember having a magical childhood. Playing in the creek behind my house, catching frogs and turtles. Exploring the surrounding fields and ponds, creating little worlds of our own known only to my friends and I. The possibilities were endless. All we needed was our imaginations and the freedom to use it. I think all children deserve to have a magical childhood. Children’s make believe is rooted in their unique experience of people and events. When given the opportunity to play, it comes naturally to them and serves as an essential early experience of self-reflection and expression. It is a gift, both to children and to the adults who care for them, and can be a window into their hearts and minds. Creating spaces for children to play, to develop their imagination, explore their ideas and wonder about the world around them is something I am passionate about.

PattyNowicki 3

I earned a BS in elementary education and early childhood development from Michigan Sate University. I started my journey as an early childhood educator in the kindergarten classroom. My mom was not surprised that I ended up back in kindergarten. I taught kindergarten for seven years and loved every minute of it. I then had two children and spent time at home with them. As my children grew and were in school all day I discovered parent co op nursery school and that’s when my real learning as a teacher began. I found that a community nursery school is a truly a place that cherishes and values young children. Parents and teachers work together to create an environment that is nurturing, accepting, encouraging and secure. Parents understand that play is the primary vehicle for children’s learning. It was a place where I could put all my energy into what mattered to me most as a teacher. Creating an environment that allows children to do what they do best. Play is what kids do best.

Susan Linn the author of “The Case for Make Believe” says that play affords children the opportunity to learn invaluable skills. Play allows children to immerse themselves in experience, solve problems, create possibilities where none exist, learn what its like to be someone else, and make something new from that which already exists. Isn’t our future as a society dependent on those skills? Art, music, cures for disease, new technologies, the plots, themes and languages for poems, novels, songs,and plays, as well as resolutions for conflict, are all rooted in creative play. Serra Preschool is a place that supports and nurtures children’s growing imaginations and need for play. I am happy to be part of this very special preschool and look forward to all the promising adventures that await kids, parents and teachers!!

Patty Nowicki
Serra Preschool Director / Teacher


Cori Preisler

I have some very vivid memories of my preschool. I remember the sound of the metal spoon as it clanked against the glass jar when I was mixing yellow and blue-colored water, I remember sitting on the rug and singing “I Like to Eat Apples and Bananas,” and I remember playing in the dirt underneath a climber. I remember my best friend, Jenny, and how we liked to wear the same pink Strawberry Shortcake t-shirt, and I remember getting a kick out of my two teacher’s names rhyming: Miss Sherry and Miss Jerry.

What do you want your child to remember about preschool? As a parent, I lovingly wanted my children to remember the simple and pure joys of their first educational experience, and (selfishly) I wanted to be a part of those first steps. And so began my days at Serra Preschool with my 4 kids, Anya, Theo, Elisa and Luke. We did a lot of laughing and playing, getting messy, cleaning it up, and getting messy again. Having taught first grade before becoming a stay-at-home mom, going back into the classroom was natural for me. But, oh the joys of play that Serra cherished! I knew from the moment I visited Serra that this preschool values childhood and will preserve the very basic interests of children- to be themselves, to grow and learn through playing and experiencing, trying and failing and trying some more, making friendships quickly and slowly, letting their imaginations run wild, and figuring out how they fit into this great, wondrous world.

I earned my BA in Psychology with a Practicum in Child Development and minor in German Studies from UCSD. I then went straight to Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology where I earned my teaching credential and Masters in Education. I worked in La Canada Unified in LA County and Chappaqua School District in Westchester, New York before settling down with my own family in San Clemente. During my parenting years at Serra, I started taking Early Childhood Education and Administration classes, workshops, training sessions, etc. And while not directly related to preschool, I also became a certificated GATE Instructor through UCI.

And yet the very best education I received to prepare me as a teacher at Serra and as a parent in this great “Game of Life” was to experience a cooperative preschool with my children, and that is why I am so excited for every new family that comes through our doors. I’ve been that parent whose oldest child is 3 years old, and I’m wondering which preschool is the right fit for my family. This isn’t an “easy” preschool. Parents don’t drop off and pick up and that’s it. There’s so much more, and it is incredibly rewarding. All that time and energy and heart that parents put into Serra comes back tenfold. The power of community is strong; what fun you will have! You’re going to love it.


Come Play With Us!

Miss Cori

Serra Preschool Teacher/ Co-Director