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Beacon Day School

2101 Livingston Street
Oakland, CA 94606

(510) 437-2311


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Our early childhood program inspires a love of learning in children from the very start. Beacon provides a rich, stimulating, and nurturing environment in which children can safely explore and learn about their world.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

At Beacon, we know that young children learn best from their own actions in the world around them. We provide an appropriately structured and nurturing program for children ages 3 through 5 to learn through play and free exploration with a rich array of materials. Our teachers understand child development and will build upon what your child brings to the classroom to prepare him or her for what comes next.

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
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
Time & space more

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  • 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
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 Beacon’s program emphasizes language enrichment through discovery and play. Prereading and premath activities emphasize patterns, concepts and vocabulary over work with letters and numerals. Science, social studies, health and safety, and cultural awareness are taught via both formal and discovery methods, including celebrations of diverse cultural events. Social and emotional growth activities are adapted especially for young children. Our curriculum incorporates the Pathways to Life Skills program (formerly named E.P.I.C., Every Person Influences Children), a nation-wide self-esteem program for children. Our Founder, Thelma Farley, is the primary author of the program materials. Social and emotional development is systematically nurtured at Beacon through participation in the this program.

From the Director:

Our teachers thematically integrate art, music, dance and movement every day. Students regularly attend a music class and a dance class taught by our skilled artist-teachers in their studio-classrooms. The physical exercise program, both indoors and out, includes two 45-minute recesses daily. Our ceramics program helps develop fine motor and creative skills. Our classroom garden teaches students about how plants grow, where food comes from, and how to nurture living things.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

As with every Beacon program, the level and pace of instruction matches the needs of the children who make up the class. Our teachers understand child development and will build upon what your child brings to the classroom to prepare him or her for what comes next.

We aim to
* help young students discover how they learn best
* motivate them to want to learn by giving them successful experiences
* encourage them to create and to express themselves
* teach them how to be with others cooperatively, and
* give them a sure sense of belonging.

Children on the cusp of kindergarten who have demonstrated developmental readiness for more structure and instruction can take part in kindergarten prep activities.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Beacon's founding premise is to educate children for life in today's knowledge-based world, by providing the tools, skills and approach that establish the independent learner. The power of a Beacon education is that children become passionate learners for life, with the skills, courage, competence and commitment to achieve whatever they need to accomplish now and in the future.

A Typical Day

Examples of typical daily activities:

* Circe/Language activity
* Science and Pre-Math activities
* Draw and Write activities
* Story Time several times a day
* Hands-on art activity
* Fina Motor Skills activity
* Gross Motor Skills activity
* Music
* Dance/Movement
* Dramatic Play
* Two 45 minute recesses
* Lunch with 2 snacks a day
* Rest/Nap period
* Toileting

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

There are 3 parent-teacher conferences a year. Additional parent/teacher or parent/director meetings may be scheduled as needed. Each classroom teacher produces a class letter at the start of each trimester. There is a weekly e-newsletter and parenting workshops are offered throughout the 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
  • 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
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

We schedule carefully planned transitions that are unique to each child's situation.