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Almaden Country School

6835 Trinidad Drive
San Jose, CA 95120

(408) 997-0424


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

From a child's perspective, our Begindergarten classroom is all about discovery, play, and friendships. From a teacher's perspective, it's all about helping the children develop those skills and attributes necessary to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. Children learn best by doing, and they do best those things that they initiate. Thus, children are given broad choices of activities within a developmentally appropriate structure. Each of these activities is designed to develop the whole child: fine and gross motor skills, socialization, personal responsibility, spatial awareness, auditory and visual processing, and reading and math readiness, to name a few.

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
  • Children don't trace letters with paper and pencil. Rather, they learn letter shapes by gluing, cutting, and building objects associated with sound the letter makes.
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • Manipulatives. Games.
Time & space more

More Information

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

More Information

  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
  • Projects that teach gravity, senses, and movement.
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • Singing, dancing
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • 3-D building. Glue gun jobs.
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
  • Indoor two-story playhouse with dress-up and pay kitchen.
Other subjects taught Once each week, students participate in 'musical movement,' a teacher-lead gross motor skill development class. Students develop coordination and spatial awareness through rhythmic and imaginative dance.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Every student has unique strengths and weaknesses. Our small class size (9:1 student-teacher ratio) allows teachers to differentiate the curriculum and activities to fit the readiness of the child.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Since 1982, the mission of Almaden Country School has been to provide a 'gifted education' for every child.

A gifted education is one that offers a traditional liberal arts and sciences curriculum, taught in a developmentally appropriate sequence. It focuses on the individual and includes strong academics, continuity and integration of curriculum, broad enrichment programs and a dedicated partnership between home and school.

A Typical Day

Each day begins and ends with circle time.

During circle time, students take turns leading the class in a set of reading and math readiness activities, such as calendar job, sharing, and reciting songs and rhymes learned in prior classes.

The teacher also uses this time to teach students new poems and songs associated with the letter of the week.

As circle time concludes, the teacher introduces the day's workshop activities and allows each student to make his or her own learning plan for the day.

Midway through the day, students rejoin the circle, share what they've learned, and sit for a healthy snack, which children help prepare.

After snack time, students resume the learning plan they made earlier in the day.

Class concludes in circle time, again with a discussion of what was learned that day.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Each child receives a Personal Learning Plan, which contains learning goals that the teacher and parent create together.

Parents can conference with teachers at any time; however, we have two formal parent-teacher conferences.

Student work is sent home each Friday.

Parents also receive a weekly classroom newsletter introducing future activities.

Almost all of our preschool students will continue through 8th grade at Almaden Country School. Thus, we work very closely with our Kindergarten and Elementary School faculty to prepare our students to succeed in these programs.

That being said, we strive to prepare our preschoolers to succeed in any Kindergarten environment.

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
  • Parents in classroom early on

Handling Separation: From the Director

The first day of school is a Lemonade Party, where students and parents explore the learning stations, meet the classroom pets, see other students, and learn their way around the classroom and play yard.

Students come the second day familiar with the environment.

Parents are welcome to stay as long as it takes for their children to feel comfortable saying goodbye. We work gently and patiently with children and parents while they develop trust in their new environment.