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Aquatic Park School

830 Heinz Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94710

(510) 843-2273


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • music and movement room
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught We have an exciting music and movement room that allows children to explore instruments in an open environment.

From the Director:

Our approach is emergent. We allow children to discover what is interesting to them.

Day in the Life

A Typical Day

A day in the life starts outside unless it is pouring rain.

Children start to transition at 9:15 AM until 10 AM.

There are 4 groups of children, Panda, Giraffe, Elephant and Dolphin. Each group meets for about 10-45 minutes, depending on age.

We then go to different stations around the school: art, science, music, ABC, playhouse.

The teachers are available to children as needed, but children get to choose what they want to do.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We are an open school and encourage parents to drop in and chat anytime. We also have back to school night and parents night out. We do journaling for each child to keep family connected to child's day. We have monthly parent-run parent meetings and individual child assessments with each teacher. We involve the community as needed in group projects.We offer help if asked.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are required to make donations ourselves
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

We have conversations about what is going to be going on in the next couple of months. We also encourage families to visit the schools that are interested in attending.