Back to Berkeley Preschools

The Model School Comprehensive Humanistic Learning Center

2330 Prince Street
Berkeley, CA 94705

(510) 549-2711

3 parents took the survey TAKE THE SURVEY

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

We believe that adults need to structure environments in which children can be free and which support learning through experience. We also believe that teachers need to provide information and cognitive input. Thus there are times when teachers give information and do demonstrations. While I would never describe our program as play based, we recognize the value of play in the process of growth and development.

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
  • sandpaper letters, chalk boards, moveable alphabet, sand writing trays
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

More Information

  • Puzzles
  • spindle box, full set of Montessori equipment, number rods, unifix cubes, etc.
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
  • goldfish, land and water forms, electricity, magnets
Music more

More Information

  • Musical instruments
  • music classes, ethnic dances
Visual arts more

More Information

  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • classic art, 'mommy its a Renoir' Montessori program
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
  • A full perceptual motor program with walking boards and large geometric shapes, rebound and other equipment
Other subjects taught Perceptual motor training, Spanish, martial arts, and affective development

From the Director:

Teachers often formally introduce and demonstrate activities to and for the children either during group times or individually as needed. Then children are allowed long periods of free time to explore on their own with guidance from teachers as needed or requested.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

We provide a true alternative for parents who know that children can't wait and who want a comprehensive education program in an ideally prepared humanistic developmental learning environment. Our philosophy agrees with the concepts expressed in the works of Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, John Dewey and Maria Montessori. Our program is based on many Montessori concepts because they agree with those of our founder.

A Typical Day

Circle time, <p> Independent work period/free play, <p>Outdoor times, <p>Library/computer times (for pre-schoolers), <p>Special activities (perceptual motor training, martial arts, Spanish, affective development), <p>Snack and Lunch time

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

For infants and toddlers: Daily reports and quarterly reports <br><br>For Pre-schoolers: Parent conferences 2 times per year or on call at any time. <br><br>We provide:<br>Student assessments and Developmental Records, <br>Parent education classes,<br>A meeting during which parents of graduates come to share information about the elementary schools. (Parents also visit several or many schools, private and public, before making a decision.)

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • 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
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

We encourage parents to visit the school with the child several times before leaving him or her so that the child can get comfortable in the new environment in the comfort of the parents. Also, start with a short period of time and gradually increase the time. Of course it depends partly on the child's comfort level.