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Berkeley-Albany Headstart

2009 Tenth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710

(510) 848-9092


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Teacher-Led

From the Director:

While free play is a formal part of the curriculum, we use Creative Curriculum in most classes.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

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

More Information

  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
  • Alphabet posted; books in several languages; computers with literacy games; other games and puzzles that promote literacy skills.
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • Numbers posted in room; computer math games; other manipulatives that are math-based (cuisinaire rods, etc)
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • 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
  • CD players, listening centers
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 Health and nutrition activities are included on a daily basis, including toothbrushing. We also provide vision, hearing and dental examinations. We are required to meet Head Start Performance Standards and Title 5 requirements of the CA Department of Education.

From the Director:

As above, we use Creative Curriculum. This approach is open-ended allowing for child exploration and free play. We also ensure that certain developmental areas are included in daily activities (literacy, numeracy.) that are more teacher-led.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

The Berkeley-Albany YMCA recognizes that we have a great influence in the lives of children and families and a responsibility to work as a team with the family. We believe that : <p>Children learn best when they are healthy, well-nourished, and respected. <p>Children thrive in a healthy, safe, nurturing, and educational environment. <p>Children are more successful when their parents are involved in all aspects of their child's education and development. <p>Well-trained staff with caring and supportive attitudes is better prepared to meet the needs of children and families. <p>The program is more successful when parents and community members partner in program decision-making. <p>Services must be designed to meet the individual needs of all children and families in the context of their culture and community. <p>The Berkeley-Albany YMCA has a long tradition of delivering comprehensive and high quality services designed to foster healthy development in low-income children. The program provides a range of individualized services in the areas of education and early childhood development, medical, dental, and mental health, nutrition, and parent involvement. Specialized services are available for children with disabilities and other special needs. All services are responsive and appropriate to each child and family's developmental, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage and experience.

A Typical Day

Arrival/welcome, <p>breakfast, <p>circle/literacy/music, <p>free play, <p>small group, <p>outdoor play, <p>lunch, <p>nap. <p><br>The program schedule varies by site and classroom and depends on whether the children are in a part or full day program.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

There are 2 home visits and 2 parent conferences per year. <br><br>Parents are encouraged to participate in daily activities as their time allows. <br><br>Monthly parent meetings are run by parent leaders (training provided). <br><br>The Policy Council meets monthly and consists of parents from each center and community representatives. <br><br>Parents sit on hiring committees and must approve all hires and fires. <br><br>We offer classes onsite sponsored by Merritt and Vista colleges at no cost to parents with child care available. <br><br>We offer onsite services for children with disabilities. <br><br>We provide parent workshops and training. <br><br>Representatives from elementary schools come to preschool to meet with parents and review kindergarten enrollment process. Parents are strongly encouraged to visit schools before placing their children.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • 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 handle separation via home visits, meetings with parents, encouraging parents to stay and gradually phase out of class. Children are phased in - small groups to start.