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The Serra PreSchool

#7 Building, Funston Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94129

(415) 561-2200


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

Children are able to choose the activities they want to engage during their time at school. Some of the activities are preplanned curriculum and some are based on the evolving interests of the children. The children move in or outdoors as they desire. Our outdoor space is located in the middle of a national park. Circle time at the end of each program is a teacher-directed activity.

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
  • letter writing, story writing, play writing
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • geoboards, counting toys, unifix cubes, Everyday Math program, University of Chicago.
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • 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
  • magnifiers, color paddles, torso and stethoscope, natural environment
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • piano, tape/cd player
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • posters, numbers, alphabet, kites, mobiles
Physical activity more

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  • 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
  • huge grassy area, huge sandbox and water lay area, slide, rocking boat, rocking horse, cars, wheelbarrows, large wooden riding vehicles
Other subjects taught We offer opportunities for cooking, theater arts and puppetry. As we are surrounded by a national park there are endless opportunities to discover the natural world around them.

From the Director:

Curriculum is planned weekly around themes that enhance a trust relationship between the teachers and the children and develop a curiosity about their world and its' workings.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Each child learns at his or her own pace. The activities provided are open-ended activities that allow each child to move at a pace that suits the individual need.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

The overall philosophy of The Serra Preschool recognizes that each child is important and holds a unique place in the world. We understand, respect and respond to the individual gifts and interests of children. Our mission is to provide a play based program that offers a spiritual component of Catholicism. The school provides an environment that fosters self confidence and independence. We enhance a child's intrinsic motivation to enjoy learning, and encourage children to become critical thinkers and problem solvers.

A Typical Day

The child is greeted at the beginning of the day by the teachers and is invited to play. All areas of the school are open for them to explore: the art room, the manipulative and movement room, the dramatic play and book area and the outdoors. Snack is served in the middle of their day and children continue on with their play. At the end of the day there is a cleaning time, quiet book time and circle time.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

At the end of every week there is a newsletter that describes the activities and events of the week and the upcoming topics of interest. There are two conferences a year where the child's development is discussed. There is a back-to-school night for the parents and a children's art show at the end of the year.

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

The children begin the process of preschool separation by reflecting on the growth they have seen in themselves over the course of the year. They are encouraged to create projects that support connectedness to friends, teachers and school, while learning about the new opportunities that they will experience. Alums are welcomed back to talk about their new schools. Books are read about new settings.