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Nia House Learning Center

2234 Ninth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710

(510) 845-6099

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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

We allow free choice in choosing materials and how children use them but presentation by teachers is very consistent. We believe there are sensitive periods for children to absorb specific information and direct them to those materials.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

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

More Information

  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense
Time & space more

More Information

  • Calendars and clocks
  • 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
Music more

More Information

  • Musical instruments
  • Bell work
Visual arts more

More Information

  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
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
Other subjects taught

From the Director:

It's difficult to answer these questions because everything in a Montessori environment is purposeful. We direct children rather than teach them. The amount of teacher led activity can change from day to day depending on where the child is in their development -- free 'choice' can also be part of 'structure'.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

We are a Montessori school. We have AMS and AMI Teachers and follow the Montessori philosophy. We stress consistency and independence.

A Typical Day

Choosing materials after AM circle, getting individual and/or small group presentation, setting up lunch..

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Parent-teacher meetings, parent education classes, and 6-8 evening parent meetings per school year.

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

Handling Separation: From the Director

We advise parents to visit as often as they can before their child starts and to do short day if necessary or possible.