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Creative Minds Child Development Center

4977 Dent Ave
San Jose, CA 95118

(408) 445-0101


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Reggio-Emilia

From the Director:

Creative Minds offers an exceptionally rich, caring environment for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Located two minutes from Hwy 85 and Camden Ave, we serve families throughout San Jose, Almaden, Cambrian, Campbell, Los Gatos, and surrounding communities. We follow the emergent curriculum and hands-on creative learning approaches of the Reggio Emilia schools of Italy. Hailed as an exemplary model of early childhood education (Newsweek, 1991), the Reggio Emilia approach to education enables children to think outside the box, build on their interests, work in teams to solve problems, and to learn as a community. There is a strong emphasis on respect for children and for our community learning environment. We seek to set a strong foundation for a lifetime of curiosity and love of learning. We believe young children learn through hands-on experiences and pretend play, so our children have the opportunity to explore concepts in language, math, science, the arts, physical development and social relationships every day. Activities include cooking, gardening, arts'n'crafts, music, dancing, outside time, ample time for pretend play, and optional enrichment with gymnastics and painting classes. The teacher's role is to guide, observe, and challenge the children, always with a focus on respect for each child's individual needs and innate curiosity. We see teachers and parents as partners, communicating openly and working together to support each child's development.

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
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
  • 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
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 more

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  • 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 Gymnastics, art & creative expression, organic gardening & eco-education, pretend play, drama & public speaking, creative problem solving.

From the Director:

We believe, and decades of early childhood research confirm, that young children learn best through hands-on experience. Their brains are physiologically different from those of older children, so simply introducing elementary school-style learning at an earlier age does not ensure earlier learning. We honor the unique developmental time that preschool represents by giving children the opportunities and tools to explore their world and construct their own understanding. This learning happens both in the world of imagination (where we provide ample opportunity for pretend play) and in the real world (where we offer cooking, gardening, and other hands-on activities throughout the day). An example that came up in a recent workshop was this: Think about what a young child learns from the printed word "apple" on a card. Then think about a picture of an apple. Then a wooden toy apple. Then an actual apple. There are sensory experiences and deep, intuitive learning that can never happen from flashcards and worksheets, so we take a very wholistic approach to children's active learning.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Our low student to teacher ratios allow us to provide more individualized learning. Activity stations offer small-group instruction and one-on-one support with new skills. Frequent parent communication also helps us get to know your family and work with you to support the whole child.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Our mission is to foster a vibrant and innovative learning community where child-focused exploration, creativity and collaboration inspire the curriculum. We provide excellent quality, developmentally appropriate education and care for young children in partnership with parents, and the community.

The Reggio Approach:
Our Reggio Emilia inspired program blends traditional and non-traditional ways of learning. Creative Minds combines the emergent curriculum and creative approaches of Reggio Emilia schools of Italy with a strong educational component. Every child is naturally creative, curious, and loves to learn. It is our job as parents and teachers to present opportunities where children can be stimulated and challenged in a positive non-threatening environment, where each can explore his/her imagination and discover his/her own innate style of learning. We offer opportunities for creative learning and thinking outside the box, to set a strong foundation for a life time of curiosity and learning. Our graduating preschoolers should expect to be thoroughly prepared for kindergarten, having developed hands-on interest in science, music, drama, art, organic gardening, and physical education.

A Typical Day

Each program component -- infant, toddler, preschool -- has its own schedule. In general, our schedule is less about to-the-minute precision and more about providing a structured sequence that's consistent for the children every day, while allowing them flexible time to make choices and focus their attention on different activities.

Please visit the school to discuss a particular classroom schedule. We offer tours by appointment on weekdays between 9 AM and 11 AM.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Open door policy, observation windows, written and verbal daily reports with parents, parent/teacher meetings, plus Flickr, Facebook and blogs

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

We love pre-entry meetings with the parents AND the children. Its a great idea to ease the child into the program, starting a few hours a day for a few days even before the formal start date.