All Five founder Carol Thomsen receives 2023 Kiwanis Angel Award

by Contributed Content on September 28, 2023

Carol Thomsen, the Founder and Executive Director of All Five preschool in Menlo Park has been selected by the Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto to receive their 12th Annual Angel Award. This award honors an individual who has had a significant, positive impact on children and youth and provides a $2,500 contribution to the recipient’s organization.

All Five is an early childhood education (ECE) school that serves families of socioeconomically and ethno-racially diverse backgrounds for 10 hours/day and 50 weeks each year in the Belle Haven neighborhood. Carol founded All Five in response to her decades of early childhood teaching in low- and high-income communities.

She experienced young children, in their first five years of life, being treated very differently. Children from low-income families were assumed to need to be told how to learn, even though research shows that approach does not work and does not last. Children from families with high-incomes were nurtured using the latest research showing that children are inherently curious, and when given the opportunity to direct their own learning, the learning sticks. Beautiful environments were not considered important for children of low-income families, yet essential for high income children.

All Five is just eight years old, but already its impact is recognized in the community, state, and beyond. The waiting list of children and families, and desire of teachers and community members to visit the school, are examples of All Five’s impact locally.

Carol is regularly consulted by education’s top researchers, journalists, and policymakers including Stanford’s Dr. Deborah Stipek who stated, “We know that children benefit from economic and ethnic diversity in their early childhood programs. With ingenuity and huge effort, All Five is bucking a system of policies that typically force segregation. They serve as a model for the state.”

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