Back to San Francisco Preschools

Laurel Hill Nursery School and Pre-Kindergarten

401 Euclid Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94118

(415) 751-8784


25 parents took the survey TAKE THE SURVEY

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

Free play time is predominant at Laurel Hill. In a mixed age group, children choose from an abundance of preschool materials, indoors and out. Choices include art, sensory play, gross motor activities, dramatic play and manipulative's. There is an emphasis on social interactions and learning social skills. Adult-directed activities such as cooking, science, music and movement are presented as choices during the free choice period. Our pre-k has more adult-directed activities appropriate for young five year olds, still within the overall philosophy of free choice. Structured time for preschool is during snack and a meeting time for each classroom at the end of the session. During these times, children sit down with their group while an adult reads a story or conducts a song, and activity or a discussion. Structured time in the pre-k also includes individual sharing, projects and more challenging games.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Each child is expected and encouraged to develop at his or her own pace. If we see that a child is meeting a developmental challenge or struggling with a certain area of development, we will provide special support throughout the day and/or meet with the parent to coordinate support at home and at school.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

We believe that the nursery school provides the richest and most stimulating environment in which children may explore and develop intellectually, socially,emotionally and physically through play.

A Typical Day

9-10:10 Free play
10:10-10:30 Snack
10:30-11:25 Free play
11:25-11:40 Potpourri--music, dance, other structured activities
11:40-11:50 Group meeting time
11:50-12:00 Gate time (dismissal)

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Parents participate weekly in the classroom, where much learning occurs about their own child's development and interactions. They see their child in the context of a larger community, and they learn with other parents about the developmental needs of the preschool child. At monthly parent education meetings, the parents have the chance to talk with other members and teachers about child development. One on one conferences with teachers provide a chance to get personal advice and support with children as individuals. In the fall, there is an information night, with speakers about both private and public schools. Laurel Hill parents of elementary school children also return to give information to current families.

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:

  • 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

New children start on the parent's workday, which means that the first day the parent is with the child for the entire three hour session. After that, the parent is encouraged to leave the child briefly at first, then for an increasing amount of time. Parents and teachers discuss these transitions on a case by case basis. If children are signed up for extended care, these longer schedules begin after they are adjusted to the school.