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Gates and Bridges Preschool

1601 10th Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94122

(415) 664-3005


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Gates & Bridges Preschool is small, intimate full day program for children of working families. While our focus is on providing a quality full time program for preschool age children, there are options for part week attendance.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Teacher-Led

From the Director:

Our philosophy has evolved from the related pedagogies of Dr. Emmi Pikler if the Pikler Institute and Magda Berber of R.I.E. (Resources for Infant Educarers). We believe that children who spend the day apart from their parents benefit from an intimate, involved setting. The philoshopy of our early childhood program rests on the importance of: * primary attachments and the relationship between children, parents, and teachers; * respect of all children as competent and capable people; * provision of a safe, predicatable, interesting and aesthetic environment; * respect and response to the uniqueness of each child; * excellent early childhood professionals.

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 Field trips and in house visitors/presentations are additional ways in which our curriculum is enriched.

From the Director:

We seek to balance various ingredients of a variety of early childhood philosophies into an exemplary program. We believe that children need many opportunities to play, experience, explore, discover, and practice in a safe, child centered environment. We respect the child's need for both nurturing and independence, quiet and active play, time alone and time in group endeavors. We have a planned curriculum geared to the common interests and growing competencies of preschoolers, while our teachers also encourage each child to pursue spontaneous and individual interests.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Teachers at Gates & Bridges are responsible for the care and education of your child. They are expected to develop a familiarity with the development of each child. The IDC staff works as a team; therefore, all the teachers will be involved with your child.

Staff Meetings are held weekly to discuss development of the children individually and as a group and critique their efforts to supply a meaningful curriculum that facilitates each child’s growth and development.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

The Infant Development Center of San Francisco (IDC) was established in 1978 to provide quality child care to working families. Originally supervised by Lone Mountain College (now part of USF's Campus), IDC relocated into the Inner Sunset district when the college closed. Through collaboraitve efforts of staff and parents, the IDC incorporated as an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to providing quality childcare in San Francisco.

In 1983 parents and alumni families made it possible for the organization to purchase our present building. IDC renamed this site Gates & Bridges Preschool in 1994.

A Typical Day

We care for only 16 children with a ratio of one teacher to eight, allowing opportunities for small groupings and individual attention. We also have an additional teacher helping children as needs arise. Our daily program includes language arts, dramatic play, art, music, tactile and sensory exploration, science/math, cooperative games, outdoor play, organized group times, meals together, and rest/nap period. There are opportunities for both structured and spontaneous activities inside and outside. We offer a planned, yet flexible curriculum geared to the children's common interests and growing competencies. Morning and afternoon programs are often centered around themes and interest topics. Much of the curriculum emerges out of play episodes, books, experiences and conversations that children share with their teachers and each other. Teachers encourage each child to pursue spontaneous and individual interests.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We have a variety of home-school connection avenues such as: a book-borrowing program; occupations and hobbies presentations by parents; the afternoon snack program; parents may also serve on a board of directors.

We believe that children who spend the day apart from their parents need a more intimate, involved setting than the traditional preschool environment. We emphasize relationships among children, parents and teachers.

Parents and teachers regularly update one another on the child’s development and care. A joint approach to problem solving and support for the child occur as rapport builds among child, teacher, and parent. While the child is our primary focus, we also recognize parents as our clients and commit ourselves to supporting them in their child-rearing experiences.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • 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 is Handled through:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

Before attending we have enrolled children visit the school several times with their parents and encourage families to schedule play dates outside of school to foster familiarity with peers.

"Phase-in" is the process whereby a child becomes comfortable in a new environment. The child’s sense that his or her parent feels the center is a good place is a key element in this process. Phase-in also gives the parent a chance to observe a portion of their child’s day. It is helpful for the parent to quietly watch from the sidelines and be available, as the child needs reassurance. During this time, parents are responsible for care giving, such as toileting or napping, until a mutual decision is made to transfer these duties to the teacher. Phase-in may be as short as an hour or as long as a week. Individual consideration is given to each child and his or her family. A recommended phase-in strategy might be:
DAY 1: Parent and child stay for most of the morning or afternoon.
DAY 2: Parent stays for one-half hour; child stays for 4-6 hours.
DAY 3: Regular schedule.

If needed, your child’s teachers may schedule an in-home visit. This visit can strengthen the bridge between home and school. New families have an opportunity to share information about their child and concerns or questions about the program. The teachers gain a better understanding of the child’s home surroundings.