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Telegraph Hill Cooperative Nursery School

555 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

(415) 421-3313


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Co-op

From the Director:

Our Program: Our program provides a learning-through-play environment with parents and teachers. We focus on the socialization of children and the education of the parents. The school provides a half-day of child-centered learning through both organized and free-choice of activities. We provide opportunities for both fine and gross motor skill development in a pleasant indoor/outdoor setting. Our environment is primarily self-directed. Parent-workers and two credentialed teachers provide positive encouragement while allowing children to explore activities at their own pace. The structure of the program allows parents and children to learn things together, providing enrichment for both. We offer a supportive and nurturing environment for potty training. When children graduate from the school they are highly socialized and ready for kindergarten. Extracted from the Telegraph Hill Cooperative Nursery School Web-Site.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"Our Mission: Telegraph Hill Cooperative Nursery School is a parent participation preschool that provides a happy first school experience for children ages 2-5. Children learn self-confidence and respect for others through play in a safe, nurturing, and fun environment. We strive to develop creative kids with the socialization skills and self-confidence to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. We educate parents on child development and positive and respectful techniques for working with children. We create an extended family community both within the school and our neighborhood.

Our Philosophy: We believe that Play is the key to the social, physical, emotional and intellectual development of a child. If children have the freedom to choose with what they want to play, we believe they will usually find the activity that meets their developmental needs at that time. Children deserve the same respect as any other human being. Family immersion education makes self-confident children and parents. We believe a child-centered, nurturing atmosphere where children learn through play in a safe, healthy and positive environment will provide a happy first school experience for our children, and will help them to develop to the best of their abilities.

Our Values: Families, community, cooperation and diversity. Hugs. Creativity. Hard work. Imagination. Patience. Individuality. Respect for the child. Participation in our children's education. Affordable quality education. The skills, talents, and interests of our parents and teachers that enrich our school. Positive discipline. Tolerance of differences. The importance of play for children and parents. We advocate for children and families and issues affecting neighborhood businesses and causes."

Extracted from the Telegraph Hill Cooperative Nursery School Web-Site.

A Typical Day

"8:45am-9:15am - Program starts outdoors
This is a good time for parents who are not working that day to talk to each other while the children are playing. Please don't distract working parents.
9:20am - Circle time
Songs, jokes, music, dance, and orientation to the day. Parents are encouraged to stay quietly or participate in circle time if they wish. No child should be dropped off at this time.
9:30am - Free Choice of Activities
We find that children choose the activities that will teach them the most. Parents who are bringing children in late can bring them between 9:30 and 10:00 am.
10:20am - Hand wash
A parent worker assists the children while they wash their hands.
10:30 am -- Snack Time
Snack is usually water, a bread group, a protein, and fruits or vegetables. A special cooking project may be served. If you are interested in preparing a special snack, you can arrange it with the director/teacher and the snack person.
10:40am-11:15am -Outdoor Activities
Most children go outside. Some may stay to assist in clean up or for quiet play.
11:20am-11:40am - Story Time
Group story reading, story plays, or quiet discussion. The children are split into two groups: 2 to young 3 year-olds and older 3 to 5 year-olds. The younger group gathers on the circle time mat; the older group goes to the front room of the preschool across the hall with a teacher and parent. Parents who arrive during story time to pick up their child are asked to wait outside or signal a working parent to send their child out.
11:40am-11:45am Wash hands
11:45am-12:15pm - Lunch
A parent worker sits at each lunch table to assist. When finished, children are encouraged to put their own lunch away.
At 12 Noon, children who are finished eating can go out to the yard. Children should bring their backpacks, jackets and belongings with them outside.
12.15pm - 12:30pm - Yard Play and Pick-Up
Don't forget to Sign out your child. Please pick-up your child promptly. We must vacate the yard by 12:30pm sharp as the preschool children begin their nap at that time. This is a good time for non-working parents to visit with other parents or talk with the Director or teacher about your child.
12:30 pm - School ends"

Extracted from the Telegraph Hill Cooperative Nursery School Web-Site.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

"Parents determine the policies, regulate the finances, maintain the equipment and supplies, and assist in the daily program of the school. Each member is co-owner, as well as worker. The school itself is held fully accountable to each of its families. Parents are encouraged to share any talents or interests. The teachers welcome special projects (art, music, cooking, games, carpentry, etc) you would like to do on your workday but always check in advance with the director and teacher so that they can be sure that it is an age-appropriate project. A cooperative nursery school is only as good as the participating parents make it. Success depends on parents ability as a group to replace the paid professional staff employed by a regular childcare facility. Every family is expected to do their share and commit to the school as a whole."

Extracted from the Telegraph Hill Cooperative Nursery School Web-Site.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • 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