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Berkeley Hills Nursery School

1161 Sterling Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94708

(510) 849-1216


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

We believe that children learn best through free play and exploration of materials with the guidance of well trained professionals who observe each child and situation and address those particulars needs. (Information from the Director)

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
  • Letters, signs, name cards
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

More Information

  • Puzzles
  • Pattern blocks, building blocks, numbers, objects
Time & space more

More Information

  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

More Information

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

More Information

  • Musical instruments
  • Other sound producing equipment, songs, tapes
Visual arts more

More Information

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

More Information

  • 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
  • Mats for tumbling
Other subjects taught Our curriculum is emergent so necessarily part of our program will involve the discussion of social issues which arise in the group. (Information from the Director)

From the Director:

We provide all of the above in our program. These aspects of the program are explored individually by children and in groups with the guidance of teachers. (Information from the Director)

Day in the Life

General School Mission

The purpose of Berkeley Hills Nursery School is to nurture the growth of a well-rounded child with a positive self-image by enhancing and stimulating his or her development socially, emotionally, mentally and physically. Through the medium of play in art, music, drama, and conversation, and with rich experiences and materials for exploration, we provide and environment in which each child can develop as an independent responsible, thinking and caring person. (Information from the Director)

A Typical Day

Because our curriculum is based on ideas which emerge from the group, projects or interest groups are carried out during a large block of indoor free play time followed by a group time with snack followed by a large block of outside time followed by lunch and again a group time to close the day's program. (Information from the Director)

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

- Open House - Conferences Available anytime, but regularly 1 or 2 per year - Parent Education (Information from Director) Provide guidance and fill out evaluations for schools. (Information from Director)

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:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

Teachers talk with parents and help the process. (Information from Director)