We’ve loved working with Prairie Athletic Club for the last two years, so when we found out they were starting The Learning Academy, a preschool focused on health and wellness, we had to learn more! We sat down with director Erin Sadler to learn why this is going to be the best way to start your kids out on the right track to a healthy lifestyle, inside and out.
Why did PAC decide to start a preschool program?
Sun Prairie has seen a huge amount of population growth in the last decade, many of whom are young families. There simply aren’t enough preschools to accommodate our community’s needs. With my children now all in elementary school, I was eager to venture back in to the world of education, and found the perfect space at the PAC.
I proposed the idea to my fellow employees, and developed a mindfulness curriculum for children centered around seven components of brain development. I’ve always appreciated the calming and mental benefits of yoga, and it has helped me handle all the things life throws at you as a parent! The great thing is that research shows that our children can reap the same benefits – creating mindful, peaceful kids who are prepared for the challenges of school and the world around them. And so, The Learning Academy at Prairie Athletic Club was born!
Tell us about the curriculum. What is your teaching philosophy?
The curriculum combines seven components of brain development, and gives each child a basis to develop, grow, and learn through play. It also allows children to explore, reflect on what they learn, and develop a mind-body connection through their natural curiosity and imagination. Throughout the year, we will help kids understand that healthy habits influence their health, learning, and well-being.
One unique aspect of our program is the focus on healthy food. Food is the greatest form of medicine or disease, so we intend to help kids draw the connection between what they eat and how it impacts their health.
With the connection to Prairie Athletic Club, our hope is that we can inspire families to pursue health in all life’s ages and stages.
What do you hope to see during this first year?
This year, I would like to measure the impact of the curriculum in the lives of our children. As a teacher, we have lots of creative and fun ways to view this in action!
Since The Learning Academy is based within the PAC, I hope that families will utilize the abundance of resources available to them. For example, while one child is learning with us, a parent could take an older child to our activity centers, and maybe have some time for their own workout! I feel that the PAC is the best place to have a preschool, as we have access to so many wonderful resources to keep kids moving and having fun – it’s a “one-stop shop” for the entire family’s health.
Sounds like a great opportunity for partnership with Tri 4 Schools – what do you think?
Absolutely! We’d love to work with Tri 4 Schools to prepare the youngest triathletes. I can see tricycle races and running relays to help get them excited about the sport. Our missions are similarly focused, and this is another way to work together for the good of kids in our community.
How can someone learn more?
We’re starting a FREE Yoga in the Park program focused on kids ages 2-5, at 10am on Mondays. Please come and ask questions in person, as well as meet our staff! All the details can be found here.
Erin Sadler, educator, mother of three, and founder/director of The Learning Academy