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Happy Baby Small School

1416 Derby St.
Berkeley, CA 94702

(510) 849-1649


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Reggio-Emilia

From the Director:

We are a play-based, emergent curriculum program specializing in the needs of toddlers.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

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

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  • 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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  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
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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  • 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 many experiential art projects, as well as teacher led emergent music and art classes weekly. We also have a weekly yoga class.

From the Director:

We follow the children's and teacher's interest. What the world brings us, we explore. Our children are in a small environment where they build trust, empathy, and interest in each other. Our curriculum starts there.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Our program is small, so each child is well known to the teachers. We try to work with their emerging language skills and learn where they excel and where they are challenged, and use both to best engage the child.

Each day we conduct a morning meeting to inquire about the children's ideas for their day. We document and revisit these ideas and use them to structure our day.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

We are a Reggio inspired program, emphasizing nature and emergent curriculum. We believe in creating a comfortable, engaging environment where twos and toddlers can develop and extend their autonomy. We foster the budding relationships between very young children and guide them as the begin to navigate in the world away from home. We try to provide a safe and loving space that is inspiring and challenging.

A Typical Day

Each day is different, but predictable. The kids play and listen to stories and music. We sit together at the table to eat fresh organic meals, go outside and play all day in our ample fenced yard, take walks in the rain. We work on developing routines, making lunch, setting the table and clearing our dishes, and working the garden. Special emphasis is placed on positive social interactions between the children, while giving them the guidance and tools to solve their own problems. We strive to follow the rhythm of each child and integrate those rhythms into the daily lives of all the children in our program. Children's interests and experiences guide our pursuits.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

At the end of every day parents are given an account of their child's day, including activities, toileting, eating, challenges, and triumphs.

Family potlucks are organized. Occasional family outings also planned (Fairyland, Little Farm, Slide Ranch etc.) with the assistance of interested parents.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up


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 work with the families to ease the transitions. Early start visits and family get togethers help with the transition. Since we are a home based program, transition is eased through family connections. We are flexible and willing to do what is required to make the transition easy for everyone.