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Bernice and Joe Playschool

7001 Sunkist Drive
Oakland, CA 94605

(510) 638-3529


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

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
  • pre-reading activities like letter boxes, plus a Spanish teacher
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • counting, sorting table toys
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
  • raise butterflies from caterpillars, have the children plant seeds and plants in our garden
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • finger play songs, exercises, music teacher
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • usually free art, with an easel always available, but we do have teacher directed art projects
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
  • unique play structures outside, like a 2-story wooden rocket ship and a 20-foot sailboat, plus our gym teacher
Other subjects taught We work with sign language, and we make the children aware of gender bias. We also discourage any play involving violence, fighting, or superheroes.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

We try to have all the children be inclusive, so we do extra work for those who are different from the majority of the students. For example, we have a boy who is having transgender issues but we and his parents are very supportive of his orientation.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

We believe children feel the most secure, learn best, and are the happiest when they can explore a diverse range of indoor and outdoor activities which our experienced and caring staff offer in an open setting. We find value in having all ages play together.

Of course, younger children will learn from older ones. But, we also believe that older children can learn from younger ones, for example, by being more nurturing and more patient, and that they can realize that they, too, were at that age once. We remember one five-year-old remarking, 'When I was a little kid...'

We strive for verbalization and socialization -- we want the children to get along with one another and to express their feelings; to resolve their conflicts through words, not hurtful deeds. To that end, we strictly disallow fighting games and weapons play, and discourage superhero references in clothing and shoes.

We encourage them to share toys. While we don't stress academics, we don't ignore them either. Children learn best through play -- it is, after all, their work. To that end, we do a lot of pre-reading, pre-writing, and pre-math hands-on activities.

Children who graduate from here are fully prepared for kindergarten.

A Typical Day

While events generally occur in the order shown, the scheduled times are subject to change, for example, we modify our morning schedule to allow our outside teachers to do their work.

Outdoor free play depends on the weather. On mildly showery days, some children can choose to go outside in raincoats and boots. On very rainy days, we have indoor free play.

Morning Block:
8:00a.m. - Open
8:00-9:30 - Indoor free play/
Teacher directed activities
9:30-9:45 - Indoor clean-up/ Toileting/diaper changes/ Prepare a.m. snack
9:45-10:30 - Circle Time/
a.m. snack time
10:30-11:30 - Outdoor free play/ Clean-up after snack
11:30-12:15 - Outdoor clean-up/
Toileting/diaper change/
Start lunch preparation
12:15-12:40 - Circle Time/
Share time/
End lunch preparation
12:40-1:00 - Lunch time/

At 1:00 p.m., the morning kids get picked up.

Afternoon Block:
1:00-1:30 - Prepare nap mats and blankets/
Clean-up after lunch
1:30-3:00 - Nap (or quiet) time
3:00-4:00 - Indoor free-play/ Toileting/diaper changes/
Pick up nap mats and blankets/ Prepare p.m. snack
4:00-4:15 - p.m. snack time
4:15-5:30 - Outdoor free play
5:30p.m. - Closed

Between 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., the afternoon kids get picked up.

A look at our Schedule shows that we have a large indoor free play when we first open up. Art materials are available. Depending on the day, we may have a gym, Spanish, or music teacher come in during the morning time. We clean up, have a Circle Time, have our morning snack, then a large outdoor free play time in late morning. We come in, have another Circle Time, do lunch, and the morning children leave at 1 pm. All day kids have a nap until 3 pm, indoor free play, small Circle Time, afternoon snack, then we finish the day with outdoor time.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We have daily contact, talks with parents, and a yearly parent-teacher conference. We have a Kindergarten forum in January to help parents decide on what school to go to.

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
  • Small group sessions
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

We put extra effort to help the child adjust to the many new faces and new routines.