Cori Preisler ~ 3 Day Teacher and Director
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 teachers’ 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!
Serra Preschool Director and Teacher
Jenny White ~ 2 Day Teacher
I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and minor in European Studies (yep, lots of trips to Europe in my 20s!) from Seattle Pacific University. I then worked as a Youth Director at a church, a School Counselor, and nanny before earning my California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and becoming an elementary school teacher. I worked briefly in Kinder, 1st and 5th grade classrooms in the Saddleback and Newport-Mesa School Districts before becoming a stay-at-home mom with my two girls: Natalie and Margot. Those first few years with my babies at home, I worked remotely as an Educational Event Planner and Copyeditor for Seidlitz Education, a Texas-based consulting group for teachers of English Language Learners.
Then we found Serra Preschool, and my desire to work with children again grew in a new direction. As a parent at Serra, I fell in love with Early Childhood Education (ECE). In 2017, I quit my remote job and started taking classes in ECE to be able to be a Preschool Teacher. Working in a few different preschools before I came on staff at Serra showed me how important it is for me to work in a school that places a huge emphasis on play-based learning. Not just in rhetoric but in practice: providing a stimulating environment for children to run, jump, explore, pretend, cry, spill, have conflict, problem solve, try and fail, and try again! Children are only preschoolers once and their need for spontaneous play and social/emotional skill development far outweighs their need for academics. In 2020, I leapt at the opportunity to work at Serra as the Teacher Aide, where I knew my philosophy of ECE aligned and where it all began. A dream come true! I am thrilled to take on Lead Teacher/Co-Director and can’t wait to partner with each family to make this first exposure to preschool for your child a happy, healthy, and exciting one!
The preschool years are some of the most fun, special, exhausting, and fast (!) years you’ll have with your little one. Blink and you’ll miss them. Take a breath, savor, cuddle, wonder, explore, paint, play, and remember it’s temporary, so cherish this time and look at the world through their eyes. My time as a parent at Serra taught me to try and recognize the lasts; we typically look for the “firsts” when raising our children, but the lasts are harder to see and in many ways more precious. The last time they are held on your hip, the last naptime, the last boo-boo kiss, the last time they ask for a bedtime story. No matter what “lasts” we notice, my hope is that a love of learning endures, formed in their preschool years, and motivates them through their future education and growth beyond Serra. Enjoy this special time being a part of your child’s early educational journey!
Serra Preschool Co-Director & Teacher