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Temple Emanu-el Preschool

2 Lake Street
San Francisco, CA 94118

(415) 751-2541


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

We follow the principles of emergent and inquiry-based curriculum where we observe and reflect on children's interests and developmental stages. We plan our curriculum on a weekly and daily basis to best match those interests and needs.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

More Information

  • A well-stocked bookcase
  • Writing Centers; Story Telling Clipboard
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

More Information

  • Puzzles
  • Math-oriented materials and songs
Time & space more

More Information

  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
  • Manipulatives
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

More Information

  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Focus on inquiry-based approach/ scientific method; Science specialists
Music more

More Information

  • Musical instruments
  • Recorded music; singing; Shabbat
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • Tactile arts - clay, etc.
Physical activity more

More Information

  • 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 always feel that social learning is the most basic. We feature group identity, responsibility for each other and our work and kindness. Judaic learning and identification is an important part of our program. We do lots of cooking and will be expanding our gardening program.

From the Director:

We value inquiry, play and practice and have a very fluid way of stepping in and out to allow children to discover their own answers while ready to help them expand and continue.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

The Temple Emanu-El Preschool provides a safe, nurturing and supportive environment in a Jewish setting. Our program promotes the physical, social, emotional and cognitive growth of young children while responding to the needs of the families.

The curriculum emphasizes learning as an interactive process where children learn through a concrete, play-oriented approach. Children learn through active exploration and interaction with adults, with other children, and with materials. The teaching staff designs the curriculum based on their observations of the children and their reflections of those observations.

We emphasize learning over time and through real life skills. In this way we create a curriculum that is meaningful and relevant to the children in our program. Children are given the opportunity to explore, question, practice, and pretend in order to discover the world around them. The curriculum fosters inquiry so that children learn about the world in an emergent fashion that follows their interests and what is relevant to their lives.

The practices of kindness, listening and inclusion are demonstrated and encouraged by adults so that children learn to take responsibility for themselves, each other, their work and their classroom. Each child is viewed as a unique person with an individual pattern of growth and development. Different levels of ability, development, and learning styles are expected and accepted, and used to design appropriate activities.

The curriculum and adult's interactions are responsive to individual differences in ability and interests. Activities provided are both directed and non-directed and designed to promote independence and self-esteem. A caring and supportive teaching staff supervises and interacts with the children in a warm and secure learning environment.

The program takes place within a framework based on the values and celebrations traditional to our Jewish heritage and consistent with excellent principles in Early Childhood Education.

A Typical Day

The children experience a balance of active and focused play, small-group and large group experience. They go outdoors at least once per day. We always emphasize tactile and sensory learning, so there is plenty of opportunity to work with open-ended materials. We emphasize the value of routines with snack, toileting and transitions accruing at similar times everyday. We celebrate Shabbat every week and Jewish Holidays.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We emphasize that we support the parents' process and use our strong history and experience.

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
  • Small group sessions
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on