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Oakland Garden School

4012 Maybelle Avenue
Oakland, CA 94619

Phone:
(510) 531-4800

Website:

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Every child should have a magical childhood! At Oakland Garden School, play is the vehicle and nature is the playground. We are a nature-based preschool serving children age 2 - Pre K, focused on nurturing your child's sense of wonder.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

We employ a combination of child-centered, emergent curriculum and teacher-directed projects and themes allowing children to follow their natural curiosity while being introduced to new topics and ideas.

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
  • 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 The afternoon program includes enrichment classes such as Spanish, dance, nature exploration, and yoga.

From the Director:

Nature-based curriculum focused on nurturing child’s sense of wonder and early childhood social/emotional awareness. Twelve monthly themes synthesize psychological, emotional, spiritual, and physical qualities arising from experiences and observations of Nature. Expansive outdoor area and gardens with fruit trees, unique sand and water area, chicken and goat barn, and play structures made from recycled and natural materials. Children spend lots of time outdoors; all activities are developmental and play-based. Teacher’s guided lessons and themes are combined with children’s emergent interests.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

The teachers at our school are deeply committed to knowing each child individually as well as understanding how the group dynamic is evolving.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

There is a spirit in every place--an intangible something that we intuitively know to be its characteristic energetic quality. It is the spirit of a place that makes it memorable. It expands our sense of possibility, and puts us in touch with what is most loving, creative and human in ourselves.

The Oakland Garden School (OGS) is a place of wonder, discovery, creativity, freedom and beauty. The garden setting is a vessel for this most critical time in a child's journey.

At OGS our core curriculum is based around play and contains elements from Art, Science, Music, Dance, Storytelling, and most importantly, the living rhythms of the natural world. The teaching philosophy centers around child-based learning, emphasizing independence, creativity, and guided exploration - all balanced with teacher-directed monthly themes to expose our children to exciting new ideas and experiences.

We have a Nature-based curriculum focused on nurturing child’s sense of wonder and early childhood social/emotional awareness. Twelve monthly themes synthesize psychological, emotional, spiritual, and physical qualities arising from experiences and observations of Nature. Our expansive outdoor area and gardens showcase fruit trees, unique sand and water areas, a chicken and goat barn, and play structures made from recycled and natural materials. Children spend lots of time outdoors; all activities are developmental and play-based. Teacher’s guided lessons and themes are combined with children’s emergent interests.

A Typical Day

These are some of the kinds of activities kids at OGS enjoy: outdoor play, gardening, and care of animals (goats and chickens); art and music; cooking and science; moon and nature journals; making dream boxes; creative movement, dance, and yoga; storytelling and dramatic fantasy play; creative problem solving; walks and field trips exploring and observing nature.

A sample daily schedule (will vary by age group):
7:30-8:45 Early Morning Program
9:00-11:00 Morning Program (each class with their own age group) - e.g. circle, potties, snack and activities, e.g. art projects, sensory exploration, nature walks, stories, movement, and songs, free choice
11:00-1:00 Outside Time, including lunch (weather permitting)
1:00-3:00 Nap/Rest time, then quiet indoor activity as children wake up
3:00-3:30 After nap transition - wake up, potties, snack
3:30-5:30 Outside Afternoon Program - Mixed age (children grouped by activity rather than class) and may include gardening/nature class, woodwork, animal care, art, dance, spanish, free play.
5:30-6:00 Pick up - remaining children have indoor activities, story time, etc.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We seek to have transparent communication in our community. We pass information in many different ways including a regular Director's communication, google groups, online calendar, white board calendar and reminders, written notes between teachers and parents, informal verbal check ins, formal conferences with assessments, Open Houses, and seasonal community celebrations.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • 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
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school

Separation

Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

We work with each individual family to devise a transition that works best with their child's temperament and the family's needs. Children are comforted at the level that they need to be in the beginning, and teachers are conscious of helping the child to gradually form bonds with peers and the group as a whole as they acclimate to the school. Teachers will help children through the transition by encouraging them to "keep mommy in your heart" until the parent/caregiver returns.