Back to Pasadena Preschools

Altadena Nursery School

789 N. Altadena Drive
Pasadena, CA 91107

(626) 296-1231


9 parents took the survey TAKE THE SURVEY

Welcome to Altadena Nursery School, a Pasadena Parent Cooperative Nursery School. ANS is a mixed age, parent participation developmental preschool serving children ages 2 thru 5. For info about our classes, tuition and attendance days or to sign up for a TOUR, visit us at

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Co-op

From the Director:

Our enduring slogan, “respecting children since 1950” simply reflects our philosophical approach in working with children and what we strive to convey to them. We believe children will embrace and model it for others and in turn will empathize and respect others. We believe that children will more than adequately rise to meet the challenges of life when given loving support from a community of caring parents and teachers that respect them and trust in them. We believe with this experience as their foundation, at their own pace young children will be primed to develop their sense of self, learn to take risks as well as understand limits, experience a diverse community, become problem-solvers and critical thinkers and acquire the self-confidence to reach for their potential in life.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense
Time & space
Sci. reasoning/physical world
Visual arts
Physical activity
Other subjects taught

From the Director:


Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Miss Janet: Block Room, 4-5s
Miss Janet discovered ANS as a parent 21 years ago. She walked two sons through the school and her progression from parent, to board member, to sub (for both parents workers and teachers), to teacher was a natural one. Before being offered the position 13 years ago, Janet went to PCC to take their Early Childhood Education courses.

She works with the four and five year olds, where she feels blessed to nurture and honor the whole child. While they learn and explore quite a lot in the Block & Doll room, Miss Janet knows that her kids are at a passionate and intense age. Everything they feel is intense, whether it's the high of being happy or the inconsolable tears of desperation. They are extremely social beings and their whole world begins to revolve around their friends and playdates. 4 year olds are also starting to discover the world of silly jokes, so Miss Janet is always ready for an endless stream of knock, knock jokes. And she'll never forget to laugh!

Miss Julie: Art Room/ 3s
Miss Julie is our Art Room teacher. She was born and raised in Pasadena but traveled the states quite a bit before settling back here with her husband and two elementary school age girls. She was a parent at ANS for 2 years before stepping into her teacher shoes. Luckily, they fit just fine as she had graduated from USC with a BS in Elementary Education and received an MA in Education – Curriculum and Instruction at Cal State Long Beach. She also has a California Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, but most notably to the kids in her classroom, she's a musical theatre junkie - which means the kids always get a good dose of song and dance after snack!
The kids in the art room are at a terrific age. This is the year that their imaginations take off, along with their language skills. The world becomes a much bigger place for them as friendships begin to form and they become truly interested in what their peers are doing.

Miss Milly: Discovery Room/2's
Miss Milly is our Discovery Room teacher. She was born on a cattle ranch in Utah, but luckily for us, moved to Pasadena in the 1960s in plenty of time to be a local. She was directed to ANS 28 years ago when a playgroup leader suggested her first born son could benefit from the social environment here. Though her career background was in high pressure banking, she realized teaching was the next calling in her life. She fulfilled her state requirements thru the UCLA early childhood development program and accepted the position at ANS 20 years ago.

The two year old class is definitely about the child's first separation from parents, language development, and social development, but it is also the beginning of nurturing and empowering these children so that their control comes from within.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Altadena Nursery School (ANS) is a licensed, non-profit, non-sectarian, interracial, cooperative nursery school in which each family shares in the school's planning and operations. ANS was started in 1950 by a small group of CalTech parents as a babysitting co-op and has grown into a nursery school that operates daily for up to 45 children from the ages of two to first grade. Since its beginning, ANS has made a unique and profound contribution to children and families of the Pasadena/Altadena community.

It is impossible to talk about the history of our school without mentioning Miss Pat. Patricia Hedlund has been intimately connected to our school for over fifty years; as a parent, a teacher, a director, and now a cherished alumni. The contribution that she has made is truly immeasurable and will never be lost. In her name, the Patricia Hedlund Fund is used to bring the sorts of extra curricular experiences to the children that Miss Pat loved to provide.

The community that began over half a century ago has grown and blossomed because we have remained true to our first, simple philosophy: We believe in respecting children. And the way in which the children have responded to this philosophy continues to inspire us generation after generation.

A Typical Day

Sign up for a tour and see it "LIVE"!

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

The most important and dynamic parent education Altadena Nursery School offers is the time you spend as a working parent during your workdays. As our history and philosophy reflect, we are committed to being a place of enrichment and education for the entire family. And while your children are gently guided toward greater confidence and independence, you can also take advantage of the Parent Education opportunities we offer.

Each year our director works with our Parent Education coordinator to develop a schedule of parent ed opportunities that meet the needs of our current school families. In the past we have offered workshops on...Toilet learning, Setting Limits, Childhood Sexuality, the ANS Language and more. We have also enjoyed other professionals who share their area of expertise with our families.


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
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation

Handling Separation: From the Director

Parents are invited to stay the 1st day and be available to their child. But we also know that the separation process can be unique to each child and parent. Sometimes a child needs more time to settle in and connect with his/her teacher and then separate from their parent. So the staff develops an individual plan to support that process for the parent and child.