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Step One School

499 Spruce Street
Berkeley, CA 94708

(510) 527-9021


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Twos Program, Nursery School, Bridge Kindergarten

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

Step One School was established in 1981 in Berkeley, California to provide the East Bay community with a model early childhood education program for children ages two to six. We are committed to giving each child the very best possible experience in early education.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

We formed Step One School because we are committed to excellence in promoting the development of young children. We believe that all the ways a child grows-emotionally, socially, mentally and physically-are interrelated, and that learning and discovery in these areas begins at a very young age. Our goal at Step One is to guide the development of a well-rounded child, one who knows and trusts himself, can get along with others and who can recognize and follow her interests as well as develop new ones. We begin our work with the knowledge that each child is unique in personality and in style and rate of learning. With this in mind, our teachers prepare a warm, safe, and stimulating environment which appeals to the interests of the children. Children are encouraged to explore, create, and question at their own developmental levels; in this way they learn to solve increasingly complex tasks. Our teachers function pict as a team and, as such, provide a consistent framework for the children, with clear and simple limits. We create a supportive environment where children can feel free to express themselves through play, art, drama, music, and conversation. Family events and family support are two important components of the total program at Step One. We strive to reinforce the primary bond which exists between the child and her family. We also help each child to create a sense of worth and integrity in her ethnic identity through conversation, sensitivity, stories, and activities. Families and staff at Step One have a unique opportunity to help children develop an awareness of and respect for the diversity of human experience. Together, we work to examine the nature of bias/prejudice and its effects on our daily experiences with young children; as we explore different points of view and set goals together, we are building a stronger community. (Extracted from Step One Website)

Home-School Connection

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
  • Small group sessions
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation