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Mustard Seed Preschool

1640 Hopkins Street
Berkeley, CA 94707

(510) 527-6627


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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
  • Story dictation; Word rich environment set in a natural setting of the classrooms
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • Earning & chores projects, graphing, counting, sorting, geometric shapes, unit box, weights & balance
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
  • Music class and dance taught by specialists
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
  • Large indoor fellowship hall for gross motor activities
Other subjects taught Our school also provides elective classes taught by specialists. Classes include: Spanish, French, Dance, Gym and Karate. Other than dance, which offers on Friday mornings, all other elective classes are offered in the afternoon from 1:00PM to 2:00PM.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

We strive to develop the whole child in a rich and varied school environment, balancing structure and free choice, child-initiated and teacher directed activities, form and freedom.

We encourage children to build concepts, develop new interests and competencies, understand and express their feelings, and develop a healthy sense of self.

Our emphasis on social-emotional development is reflected in the value we place on learning the concept about interdependence in the classroom community.

As a school, we provide various community building events for the families, such as Harvest Festival, family fun night, parent education and parent support groups.

A Typical Day

Our program has five classrooms, each structured by the ages of children. So depending on the age and development of children, each classroom varies in the details and content of the general structure of a child's daily routines/activities.

Here are the elements of the daily schedule of activities in every classroom:

Early Morning Session (optional, begins at 7:30AM) Free play

Breakfast (from children's lunchboxes)

Morning Session (begins at 9:00AM) Free play Individual or group projects

Circle time

Snacks Outside yard play

Potty break/Diaper


Indoor gross motor play (younger children) Second circle time (older children)

Parents pick up children

Afternoon Session (begins at 1:00PM)

Outside yard play for Resters, while Nappers begin nap

Indoor Resters go inside to rest quietly (with potty break)

Afternoon snacks (indoor or outdoor)

Gross motor and structured activities outdoor

Indoor quiet activities Parents pick up children

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Parent Orientations, open house, weekly or monthly newsletters from classroom teachers to parents, family night events, annual parent conferences, and occasional parent education classes/support onsite or other outside agencies.

We do not offer advice or recommendation for which kindergarten or elementary school parents should send their kids.

A resource binder containing various schools with their brochures and orientation dates of schools is available to parents to view.

Parents are also encouraged to network with other parents who have looked into or have sent their children to selective schools.

Parents who have experience and insights into the various schools in the community may offer advice and recommendation to one another.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Receive newsletters

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:

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

Handling Separation: From the Director

We respect that every parent-child pair has a different 'separation style.' However, we request that parents limit their separation routine to 5 minutes maximum.

If a parent would like to spend more time in the classroom during the first weeks of his/her child's attendance, the parent is asked to talk with the child's teacher and together develop a workable plan for separation.

Also, parents are made aware that if parents are concerned about their child, they may call the school at any time for an update.

We communicate with parents that children, in general, will sense the confidence of the adults; therefore, if parents are confident that their child will be safe and will have a good time, then the child will feel the same.