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Woolsey Children's School

2223A Woolsey Street
Berkeley, CA 94705

(510) 845-8084

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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

We describe ourselves as a play based program, but any of the three descriptions above could apply to us. We are not an academic program, but we do have developmental goals for the children at Woolsey.

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
  • We do interactive writing making snack sign on white boards.
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • Daily snack sign have math quantities, calendar
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
  • Dance and music teachers come once a week; daily song at circle
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
Other subjects taught Social problem solving and conflict resolution.

From the Director:

All of the areas listed above are addressed in teacher led curriculum as well as during child directed activities.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Woolsey is a multi-aged, play-based preschool with an emphasis on social and emotional development and emotional intelligence.

Our mission is to create a community for children where they can fully express all of who they are.

We foster an atmosphere where children will learn to balance their own needs with the needs of others, where they will learn to trust adults who are not in their family, and have a lot of fun. The children are able to move freely between the indoor space and the outdoor space the majority of the day.

A Typical Day

For the children the day begins with separating from a parent or caregiver and entering into an activity. <br><br>We have activities to chose from as well as free play until snack. <br>Then we have more play and teacher led activities, clean-up, lunch, circle, nap, snack, play, clean-up and then go home.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Every day we are available to talk about how each child's day went. <br><br>We have written reports 2 times a year and parent conferences 1 time a year. <br><br>The director is available to consult on a regular basis about parenting issues, child development, and social issues. <br><br>We have several social events: a camp out, graduation and potlucks.<br><br>We hold a kindergarten conversation to help parents frame the issues and talk to one another. Different parents want different amounts of support. <br><br>We write letters of recommendation for private schools.

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
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up


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 like to have the children visit in the weeks leading up to their start. On the first day we have extra staff on hand. We allow parent to stay as long as they like, but once they say they are leaving they must go. They can then be gone for as long as they chose. We like to start with a short day (3 hours at the most) and then add time as the child seems comfortable. We recognize that different families have different needs and we work with each family to create a start that balances the parent's work needs with the child's need for security.