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The Community Preschool, Grace Cathedral

1100 California St. @ Taylor St.
San Francisco, CA 94108

(415) 749-6383


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Montessori

From the Director:

Since children learn through play, we plan our time, classrooms, and playground to encourage this activity. Through play, children re-enact experiences, try out different roles, express ideas, process information, widen their world view and relate to each other. Children learn by doing, so we provide first hand experience as a basis for expanding knowledge about our physical world. At the Community Preschool, we implement a play-based and developmentally appropriate curriculum based on age-appropriate activities which enable each child to learn according to their level of readiness. Concepts are adapted to various levels to increase understanding for the child. Learning occurs through discovery and activities which challenge growth physically, cognitively, emotionally, and socially. The classroom is set up with Interest Areas which promote the development of specific skills. The Interest Areas include: Dramatic Play Area, Language and Listening Area, Science and Math Corner, Sand and Water Center, Creative Arts Area, and Building and Block Center.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

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

More Information

  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
  • daily sign-in, fine motor station, bring home book bag program (Raising A Reader), etc....
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
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Science and Discovery Interest Area
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
Other subjects taught Language and Listening Area Key Skills Developed: • Listening to gather information • Asking questions and verbalizing ideas • Emerging writing by using scribbles, letter-like symbols and words as pretend writing to represent ideas • Recognizing symbols, letters and pictures • Learning new vocabulary words Building and Block Center Key Skills Developed: • Classify items by such properties as size, shape, weight, and color • Learn to organize different positional relationships by noting their equivalency, repeating steps or groups, and estimating space • Strengthen perceptions of space as under, over, in front of, behind, above, etc. • Matching objects • Create architectural forms by bridging, building, making tunnels, ramps, etc. • Practice beginning measurements and develop beginning concepts of volume • Encounter scientific concepts such as leverage, balance, and stability • Develop a sense of directionality • Strengthen hand-eye coordination • Work with peers by combining ideas and solving problems Science Center Key Skills Developed: • Provide opportunity to ask questions and seek out answers • Observe carefully and predict outcomes • Test Ideas • Observe and test concepts such as sink and float, temperature, magnetism, and cause and effect • Care for and watch the growth of living things • Compare objects based on weight, length, and composition • Understand concepts related to seasons, weather, and the world around us Math Center Key Skills Developed: • Child use number names to represent quantities and learn to count increasingly larger sets of objects • Provide opportunities for items to be grouped and counted • Orientation and familiarity to various shapes, and their names • The use of time-related vocabulary for routine actions, sequences, and durations of events • Compare, match, and sort objects into groups according to some common attribute Creative Arts Center Key Skills Developed: • Experiment with color, texture, design, and proportion • Learn to rely on their personal taste and judgment, and to take pride in their efforts • Follow a series of steps in a sequence • Balance and stimulation of imagination Dramatic Play Area Key Skills Developed: • Child learns to play with others using organized role-playing and symbolic play • Opportunities to act out life experiences and feelings • Understand how others feel, and observe how others relate to them • Try out self and family roles, work out concerns, and recognize real life situations

From the Director:

Educational Goals • To build confidence and joy in the child's early educational experience. • To recognize each child as an individual by encouraging independent thinking, uniqueness, and exploration. • To teach problem solving and patience through social skills. • To recognize that children are unique and learn at different rates and in different ways, therefore providing a diverse curriculum that is child-centered with hands-on exploration. • To provide gender equity and multi-ethnic teachings, to avoid stereotyped and bias judgments. • To teach respect for one’s self, the environment, and others which share the earth. • To encourage self-esteem for a strong, confident, and wise child. • To work in collaboration with the families to promote the overall growth and development of the child.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

The preschool staff consists of one Director, one Lead Teacher, one Teacher, two Associates, and one Aide. The staff are the members who provide the environment and experiences from which children learn. They create experiences appropriate for each child, ask stimulating questions, provide challenges, and help children find new answers and new opportunities. Our staff represent a diversity of talents and have been selected for their professional skills and commitments to the education of young children. We focus on maintaining excellent standards of professionalism. Our staff is sensitive to the needs of the children and families, and committed to quality education.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

The Community Preschool, Grace Cathedral’s belief is that a positive early childhood education plays a strong influence on a child’s overall growth and development. We believe a child’s experience with early learning is at the core of building a positive self-image, and enthusiasm for school success. Through cooperative team efforts of parents and teachers, the Community Preschool operates on a team philosophy to enhance the potential of each child. This learning environment is a developmentally appropriate program of teacher and child guided activities that prepare one not only for Kindergarten success, but for the journey of life itself.

A Typical Day

8:00 Early bird program begins with table top activities, manipulatives, music, and reading

9:00 Morning Snack. Students still arriving

9:30 All children have arrived, school starts

9:45 Circle Time as a Group (weather, calendar, current events, singing, movement, storytelling)

10:15 One Group Outside for Gross Motor ( 2 teachers : 10 kids)
One Group Inside for Morning Activities and teacher guided project ( 2 teachers: 10 kids)

11:15 Switch Groups from above

12:15 Lunch time served family-style.

1:15 Quiet/ Nap Time

3:00 Snack Time. Interest Areas Open

3:30 Pick-up time. School Ends.

4:00 Extended Day Program

4:30 Outside Time

5:15 Quiet activities and prepare to go home.

6:00 Program Closed

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Family involvement, family satisfaction, and shared decision making about your child’s experience are essential to The Community Preschool. We seek to provide opportunities for families to become more involved in all aspects of their child's development. Family involvement is an all-purpose term that encompasses parent groups and committees, volunteering, parent/teacher conferences, and special events. The following are some of the many was you can be involved in your child’s preschool environment:

• The program’s open-door policy welcomes and encourages you to call or visit anytime
• Attending the program’s Open House and Parent discussions/workshops. Formal parent-Teacher Conferences are held twice a year; however, you are encouraged to arrange a conference at any time a concern may arise.
• Special events such as field trips, Holiday functions, potluck dinners, and family support group meetings are held throughout the year.
• You are invited to attend the preschool to share a special activity or project.

Parent/Staff Communication
We are committed to creating a strong home and preschool connection by developing a process of open, honest communication with you regarding your child’s development and experience at the program. This includes a continual exchange of information between you and the preschool staff.

Bulletin boards may be located throughout the preschool classrooms, primarily by the sign-in, sign-out area to communicate news, daily events, holiday closing dates, center visitors, etc.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • 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:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • 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

A young child's first experience of preschool is both exciting and frightening; no matter how easy we try to make this important transition. While some children, especially those with prior experiences of child care, may make the transition easily, others may become upset and will show this. Just as the first days of a new job can be a trying time for adults, your child's entry into a new environment can be filled with anxiety and doubt. Once enrolled, talk to your child about going to school. Let them know you will drop them off in the morning and come back for them at the end of the day. Tell your child what you’ll be doing while they are at school. Familiarize yourself with the classroom and teachers; talk about the fun activities he or she will do. Encourage your child to talk about preschool, the children and the teachers. This is a good way to help him or her feel that you understand.

Whether this is your child’s first experience in a child development program, or transitioning from a different program, there will naturally be feelings of anticipation and anxiety from the child and/or you. Take the time to acknowledge these feelings by addressing the concerns with reassurance. Separation anxiety usually stems from being unsure about what will happen next. This is true for you as well as your child. Your child may experience some separation anxiety by crying when you leave, wetting (even though he or she has been toilet trained), clinging and whining, or making excessive demands upon you. The teachers will comfort your child and gradually introduce him or her to the program. Though it is painful to leave a crying child, most children adjust quickly after parents leave, and come to enjoy their arrival at preschool. You can help by giving extra hugs and kisses and making the arrival and departure transition short and sweet. Most children will stop crying shortly after a parent is out of sight. Parents are always welcome to call the preschool to check-in on your child.