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Peter's Place Nursery School

227 Balboa Street
San Francisco, CA 94118

(415) 752-1444


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Play-based, half-day preschool with a highly qualified staff and dynamic curriculum. Particluar emphasis on the social and emotional development of young children.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

The foundation of our developmental, play based curriculum is the belief that young children learn best through play and absorb knowledge primarily through active involvement with the materials and with their peers. We want to foster a love of learning and a positive attitude towards school.

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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  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • 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.
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
  • 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 The development of the social, emotional and expressive skills of young children are equally as important as the development of their cognitive and physical skills.

From the Director:

During the first half of the program, children can choose from a number of open ended activities or teacher led activities. Self discovery is cultivated as is the exploration of their interests. The second segment of the program has more structure; meeting, clean up and circle times followed by table top activities, free play and then the final story of the day.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Mission Statement: In a warm and supportive setting, Peter's Place values the uniqueness of each child and his or her family. Peter's Place fosters a strong connection among children and teachers based on respect and a humane regard for others. We cultivate opportunities for engaging the mind, self-discovery and empowerment, which lead to an understanding of how to navigate the world with success. Our program is designed to foster each child's emotional, social, expressive, cognitive, and physical development:

We believe that the emotions that children experience are complex. Therefore we sustain the quality of our listening, taking the time and making the effort to attend closely, understand and respond appropriately to children. We are empathetic, respectful and compassionate in our relationships with children. We do this to help children develop these positive traits and to resist the influences of hurtfulness, prejudice and hatred in this imperfect world.

We define and respect each child as a unique individual who has been and continues to be influenced by their family life, the community in which they live, their cultural heritage and their experiences. Moreover, we value the contribution that each child and each family make to the diversity of our school community and the educational experience we provide. We support children in discovering who they are, developing self-respect and learning to respect others.

We believe that children develop expressive skills when they are exposed to a variety of activities that foster language and literacy through meaningful experiences, that encourage communication with adults and other children and that allow for a range of answers and opinions. We believe that children benefit from daily opportunities for aesthetic and creative expression through dance, dramatic play, music and a variety of art media.

We believe that young children learn through play, exploration, and problem solving rather than relying on rote memorization. Therefore we assure that children feel supported and emotionally safe in trying out new opportunities for creative and cognitive growth. We value the learning process and progress toward greater maturity and mastery. We believe that children develop at different rates and that they learn in a variety of ways; we respect and respond to these differences.

We believe that children need daily opportunities to develop both fine and gross motor skills; therefore our schedule balances indoor and outdoor times, self-directed play with teacher-directed activities and allows for a variety of physical experiences.

A Typical Day

The following is the basic structure of each class and is modified as needed:

As each child enters the classroom, he will be warmly welcomed by the teachers. He will be allowed to follow his/her interests during the free play segment of the day. During this time, children are fully engaged with open ended activities, playing either in the classroom or in the outside area with their peers. Teachers are readily available to give the social and emotional support that young children need when navigating through their world.

Meeting time is followed by clean-up and then circle time.

Following circle time, children transition to table top activities.

This is then followed by outside free play time and then the final story of the day.

The Pre-Kindergarten class provides a slightly more structured schedule featuring many (still play-based) activities designed to prepare the children for kindergarten.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We support and welcome a good home-school relationship.

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

We allow parents in the classroom.