Back to San Francisco Preschools

Marin Day Schools - Sherith Israel

2266 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94115

(415) 775-2211


24 parents took the survey TAKE THE SURVEY

At the Sherith Israel Campus, our mission is to provide a caring & nurturing environment, where children can learn & develop through process, at an individual & group level. Children are encouraged to experiment, play & use imagination to explore the Preschool environment to learn about the world around them. Children are guided by teachers through warmth, understanding, patience & love. Each child's unique qualities & potential are nurtured while we encourage the development of a positive self image & a genuine enthusiasm for learning. We support families by working together as partners, knowing that they are each child's first teacher. We work to communicate with them early, and sensitively. We are a community, seeking involvement from our families at their availability. We are diverse & inclusive.

Our school also partners with Congregation Sherith Israel to create a rich Jewish Component in some of our classrooms.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

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

From the Director:

The Marin Day School developmental curriculum is designed to stimulate the child's natural curiosity. Emphasis is placed on a program with realistic goals and advancement on an individual, non-competitive basis. The classroom is a child's world, geared to the size, pace and interests of the child. The educational components are tailored to the needs and capacities of the two to six year old child. We aim to provide an atmosphere that says 'It is all right to try' and plenty of opportunity for success. The curriculum components include: play, social skills, language development, science and nature, arts and crafts, reading readiness, hands on mathematics, social and cultural studies, music and creative dramatics, cooking, movement exploration, health and nutrition, computers, and gross and fine motor skills. The anti-bias and multi-cultural curriculum promotes understanding and acceptance of all people in the world. Field trips are scheduled to highlight and enhance the program. Specialists from the community give classes and performances throughout the year.

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 Since 1989, we have been dedicated to providing a rich and rewarding preschool experience to the children associated with three groups: members of Congregation Sherith Israel, employees of California Pacific Medical Center, and the general San Francisco community. As the campus developed, Congregation Sherith Israel felt there was a need to incorporate a more Jewish experience for their members' children. There are a total of three Jewish curriculum classes in the school. The Jewish curriculum classes are taught by Marin Day Schools faculty and share the same philosophy, program and policies as the secular classes. The main difference is that Jewish traditions, themes, history and culture are incorporated into the curriculum. Because the MDS/CSI campus is licensed for six classes, the other three classrooms will continue to offer the customary MDS secular curriculum and program. Our goal all along has been to create an integrated and collegiate campus. Children at all Marin Day Schools programs are grouped developmentally - where they fit best and feel most comfortable. This process continues within the framework of the two curriculum groups. The children at each developmental level (Entry, Preschool, Pre-K) in both programs spend time together throughout the week. They play together outside during recess time, and share special events and activities.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Bright Horizons Family Solutions recognizes the unique strengths of each child and uses those strengths to help the child meet high expectations. We are committed to helping children develop the information-gathering and problem-solving tools to succeed in school. Children will learn to use their minds, books, computers, scientific instruments, and the people in their lives to seize the opportunities that life presents. Through observation and interaction, teachers look at each child individually and work closely with his parents to make appropriate developmental decisions. Teachers will also work with parents to locate outside resources if necessary and work with those resources to ensure the child is getting everything he needs to be a successful learner.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"We believe that children are important and that their individual processes must be respected and valued. We believe that children learn experientially, by doing rather than being instructed. We are advocates for the child's right to move, to play, and to explore.

The family of Marin Day School is composed of students, parents, teachers and directors. We believe that children's knowledge of themselves and the world around them grows from significant pleasurable learning experiences. Marin Day School provides a way for each child to succeed in building skills and learning appropriate methods of interacting with peers and adults.
The children are exposed to a variety of activities, readiness materials and curriculum that are interesting and fun. The program is based on developmental enrichment activities. Children progress entirely at their own pace. Enthusiasm for learning, respect for oneself and others, and increased self confidence are the goals for each child.
One of the primary aspects of early childhood education is social development. The normal process of socialization occurs in relation to biological constituents, environmental conditions and prior experience. Our focus is to provide a way for the child to learn appropriate methods of interaction, develop a positive self image and a genuine enthusiasm for learning. We want every child to feel that Marin Day School is a fun, safe place and look forward to coming to school."

Extracted from the Marin Day Schools Web-Site.

A Typical Day

"The Early Morning program consists of quiet, relaxed small group and individual activities. These include arts and crafts, stories and manipulative toys. A very special 'Welcome' is waiting for each child.

The School Day begins with 'Circle Time.' The children assemble for singing, rhythm band, sensory motor games, dance and sharing time. They learn to be attentive to others and have the opportunity to be participants as well as an audience. Circle time is an especially wonderful experience for all who participate.

The Morning and Afternoon programs are basically the same and include structured and non-structured class and activity times. The children are grouped developmentally, determined by where they feel most comfortable. The groups are based on socialization, emotional maturity, age, and level of acquired skills. The many processes involved in an activity foster language, motor and cognitive development. Teachers are aware of individual differences and provide special attention and curriculum whenever necessary. Outside times are scheduled periodically throughout the day. The children use outside time for group and individual activities. Gross motor skills and coordination are developed through use of outdoor climbing equipment, balance beams, wheel toys, sandbox, water table, and parachute. Teachers help the children work out social interactions, develop friendships and learn appropriate communication skills.

Late Afternoon programs are available to all students. During these times, educational games, and manipulative materials are provided. Teachers also present art activities, drama and music to stimulate the children's creativity. Children who remain at school for this time receive a great deal of individual attention."

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Bright Horizons offers a variety of school-home connection materials. One is This is a site where parents can find resources, information, and programs designed to help their child grow, learn, and discover. From cultivating a love of books or channeling their child’s natural curiosity into scientific inquiry to discovering valuable parenting tips and ideas, this parent resource website was designed with parents and families in mind.

Our program for learning, The World at Their Fingertips, also has a World at Home component. The World at Home provides a database of activities for infants through school age children to do at home with parents, many that naturally flow from everyday life. The activities cover the curriculum spectrum - language, science, math, social skills and so on. Parents can draw off of this database to extend what is happening in the classrooms. They may also submit activity ideas to share with all of our faculty and families around the world.

Bright Horizons has also teamed up with The Learning Network to offer Bright Horizons EarlyLearner, a wonderful online child development support service. Bright Horizons EarlyLearner allows parents and teachers to track each child's development and create an online portfolio. A portfolio includes parent-teacher Child Observation Records that map the child's growth and a journal to record experiences and insights from parents and teachers. Bright Horizons EarlyLearner also includes:

• information about development
• classroom activities targeted to the child's development
• tips for parents and teachers
• opportunities to question experts

Bright Horizons EarlyLearner is integrated into The World at Their Fingertips approach to parent conferences and tracking development: a partnership approach designed to create a shared point of view on the child's development and goals for success.

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
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Handling Separation: From the Director

Ensuring and facilitating a smooth and successful transition from Bright Horizons' preschool or kindergarten programs to public or private schools is a major goal and responsibility for all of our programs. Our responsibility is not only to provide the best educational experience that we believe is possible, but to prepare children for the schools they will be attending, many of which may be more structured and less developmentally appropriate than we might wish.

Our READY for SCHOOL program includes a set of materials designed to assist our centers in helping children succeed in school and life. These materials combine and highlight many of the excellent aspects of programs already existing and give guidelines for strengthening programs where that is needed. By providing quarter by quarter guidelines for both preschool and school-age programs, parents can feel confident that their children will leave Bright Horizons with the skills needed to succeed in school and life.