Frequently Asked Questions

We are happy to answer your email queries and we try to check our email every day.  However to get your questions answered even faster be sure to  surf the menu of pages (to the left) to learn about Farm Camp, Homeschoolers On the Farm,  and our Soquel After School Care programs. 

Do you Facebook?  Be sure to like and follow our Facebook page to find out about upcoming events and other news from the farm.  Be the first to know when registration opens for Fall After Care or Summer Farm Camp!

Q: What Ages do you serve?

A: We primarily serve children aged 5-8 years old.   All children must be at least kindergarten ready and able to abide by the limits/rules in our "Behavior Agreement"   consistently.   Enrolled children who "age out" may continue on through grades 4 and 5 if they are able to be kind and welcoming to the younger children, have not grown bored with what we offer at the farm, and can respect the limits set by the teachers as well as the other guidelines contained in the Behavior Agreement.  Upper grade children at Little Garden Patch are typically children who began with us in kindergarten or first grade and have younger siblings at the farm.

 Please note that we do not accept children younger than age 5, or who are enrolled in TK rather than kindergarten, due to safety considerations and licensing limitations. 

Additionally, all children must be fully potty trained and able to handle toileting needs completely on their own (including any "potty accidents").  Our staff are not able to assist children with toileting, changing clothes, or "accident clean up" for logistical and liability reasons.  Thank you for your help.

Q: Where are you located?

A: In Soquel, CA.   Please email us for our address and directions.

Q: Why don't you have space available for my child on the days that I requested? 

A:  As a licensed "family home childcare" program our enrollment is capped at 14.  This means that on any given day we may not have more than 14 children present when two teachers are present.  If only one teacher is present, we may only have 8.  And the teacher must be pre-screened and their information on file with state licensing.  A huge fine would be incurred if we deviated from this limitation and we would be at risk for being closed down . 

We do understand that there are other programs which are allowed to have many more children on site and which are even allowed to have more children per teacher.  However these are either unlicensed programs (which are illegal)  or corporate childcare programs which operate under a different license.  Or sports programs which operate under a different jurisdiction.

We know it can be frustrating to have to work within some of the limits imposed by state licensing, including the enrollment cap.  However, we are committed to offering a program that parents can trust and in which the safety of every child is valued and prioritized.  And being in compliance with all state licensing requirements is part of that goal. 

And, to be realistic, we could not remain in business if our license was revoked!  So please help us keep Little Garden Patch a part of the community by helping us remain in compliance at all times.  Thank you for your help and understanding.


Q: What does it mean that Little Garden Patch is "licensed"?

A:  For the safety of our enrolled children, LGPF is licensed under the state of California Community Care child care licensing program,  and receives regular inspections from visiting licensing analysts.  In addition, all of our staff has received a thorough background check and has been cleared for working with children.



Q: Why are your summer day camp and after school programs primarily outdoor programs?

A:  One of the key missions here at Little Garden Patch is connecting children with nature.  And in fact we were very excited to have been acknowledged in this effort by Richard Louv's Children & Nature Network

Children learn best through first order experiences.  That is through seeing, touching, smelling the real thing -- not by watching a video about that thing or even just reading a book.  Thus we experience the farm and other elements of nature by daily immersion within it.  Seasonal changes and fluctuations in weather, changes in animal behavior and in plants -- all of these make deep and lasting impressions when experienced directly.  And, therefore,  cause children to ask "why?" and "what if?"   When the question comes from inside the child, or from a valued peer, children are far more likely to take an interest and retain the answer.  This in turn creates an exciting opporutnity to help children connect with the natural world around them here at the farm, and then to extend that connection and understanding to related persons, places, and other issues around the globe as they mature.

What's more, each child is an individual and only some prefer being inside doing quiet play.  Here at the farm we have tried to create different interest areas outside that will appeal to many different children -- art, reading, building toys, doll play, sand & water play, puppets and other forms of dramatic play, and of course all of the active play opportunities.  (And farm & garden experiences.)  For many children, being outside means that active play is almost always an option!  This is great for children who already love active play, and perhaps even better for those more sedentary types who get roped into active play and pretend by their new friends! 


Q: What sets Little Garden Patch apart from other farm or nature based programs?

A: Although connecting kids with nature is a big part of our mission at Little Garden Patch, parents and children soon discover that there is a lot more going on here.  Besides all the fun activities and the natural beauty there are a few things that might not be so obvious at first glance:

  • "Whole child" approach.  Whereas many programs rely on a single focus (typically sports or academic), Little Garden Patch provides actvities and areas that appeal to many different interests and personalities.  We understand that children must learn and develop in many different ways, including creatively and socially.

  • Child-led activities.   Most programs keep children busy in very structured activities, whether sports, arts, or academic.  The majority of the child's time is scripted out and controlled for them by an adult.  In contrast, Little Garden Patch  understands that children get quite enough of that during the school year and that Summer especially is an opportunity for children to explore their own feelings, interests, and imagination.  At LGPF we offer a menu of joyful options and areas that support children as they learn through doing, an approach supported by a host of scientific studies on "best practices" for education and child development.

  • Emergent curriculum.  Although a great deal of time, thought, and preparation is put into the activities that we offer at Little Garden Patch, especially during our full-day summer programs, we know that the most profound learning happens when the motivation to learn or to master a skill is intrinsic to the child.  Therefore we strive to create "open ended" projects and activities that children can adapt to their own interests and purposes. 

  • Social learning in a community of kindness.  While conventional education has typically placed its emphasis on memorizing facts and repeating them back (for the purpose of testing and assessment), current research strongly suggests that true success in life correlates not with an individual's ability to memorize random facts, but with an individual's ability to use and acquire information creatively AND to get along with and work productively with others.  Hence at Little Garden Patch our staff members scaffold children as they learn to:

    • set healthy boundaries and communicate needs.

    • develop compassion and respect the boundaries and needs of others.

    • use language and experimentation to gather more information.

    • understand that mistakes and failure are a natural part of life and nothing to be ashamed of.

    • learn how to learn from our mistakes, make amends where needed, and move on in a healthy and productive direction.

    • respect and explore their own interests and talents.


  • Developmentally appropriate activities and limits.  Children today are often asked to do far more, far sooner, than any generation in human history.  In fact many feel that our nation's approach to public education has become a Race To Nowhere with our wonderful teachers and children caught in the middle, trying to teach/learn material that children's bodies and brains are simply not ready to process, utilize, or retain. 

    For passionate educators eager to help chidlren embark on the adventure of understanding our marvellous world...this is a dismal state of affairs.  And yet we feel the key to reversing this trend lies in the growing grass roots movement of teachers and parents who know that the best way to educate children is to begin with understanding the different stages and areas of development that school aged children pass through and working with those, rather than against them.

Part and parcel of this approach is the awareness that not all children pass through these stages in exactly the same way.  Each child is a unique individual, already embarked on their own adventure of learning and growing.  We welcome the opportunity to get to know your child and nurture them on this adventure.




Q: Do you accomodate children with allergies, special diets, or food prohibitions?

A: As long as your child is not allergic to the plants, animals, and materials already present on the farm then yes, we will be happy to work around your child's allergies. 

Note that you will be asked to provide appropriate snacks/meals for your child if they require special food -- due either to alleriges, special diet (low carb, gluten free, or etc.)  or "picky eater" issues.  When you enroll you will also need to provide a complete list of your child's allergies, medications, and emergency procedures and contacts  and/or dangerous foods.  

All children must bring their own lunch, snack, & water bottle and we discourage "food sharing"  of lunch box contents. 

However please understand that our primary focus must be on monitoring children engaged in active play, animal interactions, tree climbing, and art table and water table activities.  We cannot always focus on what your child is (or is not) eating.  If your child must be rigidly monitored at meals, then LGPF may not be a good fit for you.

In the event that we provide a special treat or will be eating the results of a cooking project, you may need to send something for morning/afternoon snack. 

For parents of children with life-threatening allergies triggered by air or skin contact with food particles or other substances please understand that although we deeply sympathize with your child's needs, LGPF is not a suitable environment to accomodate these very special needs.   This is primarily because, in addition to our regular attendees, we have many children who come on a part time basis (and in the summer for only a week or two at a time) and it is our experience that this makes controlling the substances arriving in luch boxes, lotions, and etc. impossible to monitor reliably. 


Q: Are you certified in CPR and First Aid?

A: Linnaea, our Director and primary teacher/caregiver, is fully certified in CPR and First Aid for infants, children, and adults and has taken the training several times.  She is deemed by friends, former students, and colleagues to be a cool head in a crisis.   Teachers Mike, Michelle, Jon, Gabbi, and Maria are also fully certified in Pediatric First Aid and CPR.   

If your child has specific health risks such as asthma, severe allergic reactions, seizures, or other issues please notify us before registering to see if we can adequately meet your child's needs.  

Be sure to also notify us of any food allergies.


Q: What should I do if my child is sick? 

A: We are not allowed to have children in our licensed care facility if they are experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, or a high fever (over 101).  If your child is experiencing these symptoms or has experienced any of them within the past 24 hours, please plan to keep your child home

Children must also stay home if they are suspected to have Covid-19, chicken pox, measles, mumps, step throat, influenza or other moderately or severly serious illnesses.  If you are not sure if you need to keep your child home, call us.  

If anyone in your household has tested positive for Covid-19 or has the symptoms associated with Covid-19, your child must stay home.  Please contact us for more information AND to notfiy us as we may need to send out a notification to families about exposure.

If your child develops any of the above symptoms or shows signs of a moderate to severe contagious illness we will contact you to come pick up your child immediately. 

If your child has a runny nose or persistant cough when they arrive or while they are here we will discuss your child's health with you to determine whether home or care (LGPF) is the most appropriate setting.  (Please note that during the pandemic we cannot accept any child into care that has any cold or flu-like symptoms.)

Please note that children may not attend LIttle Garden Patch Farm if they have lice or nits or are suspected to have lice or nits.


Q: What are you growing on the farm?

A:  Little Garden Patch is not a commercial farm nor are we a conventional farm with acres of fields or pasture.  Rather we are a small family homestead or hobby farm in a semi-rural residential neighborhood.   We have a small "classroom" garden -- our little garden patches -- that the children help us plant, maintain, and harvest all year round.  What we are growing changes with the season but we typically have the usual kitchen garden staples such as beans, peas, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, summer and winter squash, pumpkins and so forth. 

We have a wide variety of herbs as well as some berries which, although very small in number, allow the children to experience the entire growth process from flower to fruit.    We also have a small green house for sprouting seeds with the children.

Little Garden Patch Farm  has a smattering of fruit trees including apples, pears, plums, nectarines, oranges, lemons, and some rather disappointing cherries.    We make our own applesauce, apple butter, and plum jam annually. 

And last, but certainly not least, there are the animals who provide affectionate companionship as well as lessons in responsiblity, compassion & respect for other creatures, animal care, animal behavior, life cycles, and egg & milk production -- and of course, tons of fun!

Q: What kind of animals do you have?

A: We have chickens, ducks, and goats who provide eggs and milk for the family.   And we have two adorable  pot bellied pigs who provides us with lots of love and occasions to giggle.   Our beautiful American Shetland pony, Mia, and our two miniature ponies-- Cookie and Pearl -- complete the barnyard menagerie.

We also have some well loved and spoiled cats who patrol the grounds for mice and gophers.  And we have two small but lively dogs who keep us all safe from browsing deer, the mailman, and the UPS truck.   They are a great favorite with the children and love hanging out with them.   If your child is afraid of animals, including dogs, LGPF may not be a good fit for them.

Check our photo gallery for a preview of our animals friends!


Q: Do you have a Facebook page?

A: Yes.  Please "Like" us on Facebook and recommend us to your friends.  If you have a favorite picture or story to share, please post it. 





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