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Baby Steps

20 Crestlake Drive
San Francisco, CA 94132

(415) 661-6124


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Reggio-Emilia

From the Director:

Emergent curriculum design is child-directed learning. Teachers act as facilitatiors to learning guiding and encouraging children to investigate their questions and to expand on that learning to insure that each student leaves with the tools they will need to learn in school and the confidence to know that they can think and reason.

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
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 nature study, animal science, enviornmental science.

From the Director:

Learning is supposed to be fun and we do all we can to make it entertaining by keeping it fresh and new with each project we begin. No two groups of children are alike and since 1992 no two projects have been alike. We've rescued rabbits, planted vegetable gardens and written letters to the president. Learning how to think is more important than learning how to memorize. The children at Baby Steps are encouraged to ask questions and use resources.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

All the children are unique. Our low teacher ratio enables us to provide individual instruction to each child, to hear each voice and to help them develop the social, emotional, cognitive and physical skills they will need to move on to elementary school and beyond.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

We are a natre and outdoor education preschool. Our emergent curriculum is designed with a focus on science and math. Our teachers incorporate their respect for nature and preschool standards in all our curriculum. Nature walks, observations, field trips, research and exploration gives all our little scientists the room to expand their critical and creating thinking skills!

A Typical Day

In good weather we spend as much as 75% of our time outside, running in the meadow just beyond the yard, walking through the grove of eyucluputus to the playground or the library and lots of time to spend sitting in the sandbox and creating new worlds. We always have a project we're working on, birdwatching and tallies, squirl diet and behavior, gardening, animal safari hunts, and more. In the afternoon, while the youngest sleep, older children practice writing, reading and working on projects that will help them develop the skills they will need for school.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We communicate with our parents on a daily basis, at pick up and drop-offs, with special emphasis on the positive things their children have done during the day. Parents are free to talk to the director at any time about any aspect of the school.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • 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
  • 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

Parents are allowed to call in as many times as they want for updates on how their children are doing. They are also welcome to stay in the classroom for a while, provided this isn't contraindicated. Parents are encouraged to give us as much information about the child's behavior, moods, likes and dislikes as possible to speed up the process of "getting to know" the child. Favorite comfort items, pictures of mom and dad and familure foods often helps the transition. We encorage the child to attach to one specific teacher initally.