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Duck Soup

5304 Bryant Street
Oakland, CA 94618

(510) 653-7430

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
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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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
  • Use of 5 minute bell and 'It's time to...'
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
  • Large collection of music tapes, CDs and videos
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
  • Garage converted into a 'rumpus room': padded walls and floor, climbing rope, balance beams, and trampoline. Dance and movement class and dance parties.
Other subjects taught I work closely with conflict resolution and social skills. We cook, bake, compost, garden, sing, dance and do arts and crafts.

From the Director:

I believe that preschoolers learn through play. I arrange a variety of activities that teach skills, i.e. count out pieces of snacks, art projects teaching the alphabet, phone numbers, addresses, etc. There will be much academia once in school.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

We prefer a small group of children so that we can develop a special relationship with each child, therefore, better met their needs. We have found that large groups require disproportionate amounts of energy to maintain harmony and we want to use our energy in more satisfying ways.

We will be providing a family child care situation, as opposed to a formal pre-school. We believe that now is the time for children to explore, to create, to learn through play, and that there will be plenty of time for academia later. All learning will come spontaneously as the natural balance of structured activities, free play, and rest time throughout the day. We will be extended family and for an extended family throughout the community. Some of the things we will share are hugs, laughter, love and family style meals.

We will provide enriching experiences, go on regular field trips, do a variety of art projects, crafts, we will dance, sing, tell stories, amke music, read, compost, garden and cook together.

We provide 3 meals which are mostly vegetarian and mostly organic. We maintain organic vegetable and herb gardens and eat the 'fruits' of our labor as well as other natural foods.

We will help the children be as self-sufficient as possible, teaching them to do things for themmselves, be responsible for actions, ask for what they want as opposed to demanding, hitting, grabbing or whining.

We work very closely with conflict resolution, guiding each person involved to use appropriate words to express themselves. We will encourage the children to treat us and each other with respect. We will model non-sexist roles and will encourage non-competitive games and cooperation.

We will work closely with parents, communicating daily events, progressess and challenges and look forward to hearing from parents regarding any current changes, developments, thoughts, suggestions, and comments.

A Typical Day

Arriving between 8:30 and 9:30 to an inviting activity with peers (i.e. play doh, lacing cards, art project, etc. and/or free play).

10:00 a.m. clean up and snack outside for mix of free play and structured activity.

11:00 a.m. is inside for circle (i.e. felt board stories, finger play, etc).

We have a nice mix of inside and outside activities, structured and unstructured time.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

I write a daily summary of activities, behaviors, and accomplishments. I also hold annual parent meetings to discuss development, goals, challenges, accomplishments and possible ways parents can help at home and in the community.


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

Daily projects and activities to prepare for school. Talk about who will go to school and when and some of the things they will be doing, including samenesses and differences.