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Little Bear School

65 Ocean Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112

(415) 239-2220


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

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 We have a 'pre-math' program in which children use small wooden blocks to create ever more complex patterns. We also work on counting and one to one correspondence using manipulatives to visualize addition and subtraction. We encourage participation in our academic activities, which are presented in small groups.

From the Director:

Art materials (paper, pens, scissors, glue and fun things to glue, etc.) are always available, and we also have some teacher led projects. Music is an integral part of circle time and all classes. There is often a teacher or parent reading stories, and every classroom has a well-stocked book area. We have a huge yard with bikes and climbing structures and a large indoor space for dance, tumbling, yoga and rainy day play.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

One of the most important aspects of our teaching philosophy is the understanding of and relationship with every child, which is developed through interaction and observation. Because we do all of our academic work in small groups, we are able to tailor every project or lesson to fit each individual. When we select the children for a group, we are mindful of each child's abilities and skill level. We will frequently group a child who is working on developing a new skill with a child who has already mastered it. Sometimes, when a child is way ahead or behind the rest of the class, individual attention is needed. In this case, the 'small group' can be a group of one.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

At the very heart of our philosophy is the idea that every teacher must develop an individual relationship with every child in her class. This relationship is the foundation for everything we do. It allows us to know what each child is capable of and what each child needs. We work hard to provide a safe, nurturing environment where every child feels comfortable. We help children develop their creativity and independence, and strive to create a lifelong love of learning in every child who comes to our school.

A Typical Day

8:00 - 10:00 drop off (we allow drop off any time after 8 except on field trip days, but most kids are here by 10)
9:30 - 10:00 morning snack
10:00 - 11:00 projects/ free play
11:00 - 11:45 dance/ tumbling/ yoga/ circle depending on the class and the day of the week
12:00 lunch
1:30 set up for nap
1:45 story time
2:00 - 3:30 nap
3:30 - 4:00 afternoon snack
4:00 - 6:00 projects/ free play/ pick up (we allow pick up anytime before 6:00. The majority happens between 4:30 and 5:30)

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We encourage informal discussions with teachers and other staff on a daily basis, and can schedule formal meetings when necessary. At drop off and/ or pick up, the teachers share information about your child's successes and challenges, who she is playing with, upcoming events, and a variety of highlights from your child's day. In addition, there are yahoo groups for the school and for each class, we put out a monthly newsletter and have regular potlucks where parents visit with their teachers and the rest of the class.

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
  • 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

We recognize that every child is unique and that almost everyone experiences some difficulties with adjustment. Our goal is for every child to feel welcome, safe, and at-home here. We give each child the love and attention they need as they settle in at Little Bear School