Back to San Rafael Preschools

Marin Jewish Community Center

200 North San Pedro Road
San Rafael, CA 94903

(415) 444-8042


Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Reggio-Emilia

From the Director:

Our curriculum is built on the foundation of our image of the child as a competent and capable individual with the potential to construct his or her own knowledge about the world in which we live and inspired by the philosophy and educational practices of the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. We are guided by developmentally appropriate practice and believe that it is through the passionate pursuit of play that children focus on their interests and make meaning of the world. Constructivism and emergent curriculum, together with Jewish values, provide the core principles of our approach to early childhood education. Constructivism asserts that children create knowledge and internalize values as a result of interacting with their physical and social world. Emergent curriculum builds on the interests of the children through sustained project work coupled with the teachers’ role as a guide and researcher and based on a deep knowledge of child development. Literacy, science and mathematical concepts are woven into the natural work of the classroom. Jewish values include concepts of respect, honoring others and taking care of our community and the environment. We reflect Jewish culture by organically integrating values, traditions and customs into the curriculum through music, language, literature, expressive arts, cooking, dance, and play.

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 in every room, comfortable seating for children and adults to read together
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

More Information

  • Puzzles
  • Namipulatives, sorting, sequencing natural materials
Time & space more

More Information

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

More Information

  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Nature walks
Music more

More Information

  • Musical instruments
  • Music specialist 1-2 days a week
Visual arts more

More Information

  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • Art studio and studio teacher works with all classes
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
  • Willow hit, bamboo forest, climbing wall, sports area, gym, pools
Other subjects taught caring for the environment, social responsibility, Jewish cuiture, values and tradition, socialization

From the Director:

Children and teachers work in partnership to co-consturct learning; teachers are researchers, working sid-by-side with the children to deepen their learning and understanding of the world around them.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

teachers see children full of capacity, and potential and treat each with dignity and as a unique individual. Teachers document each child's learning with an individual portfolio of child's work. Teachers work sid by side with children as researchers, discovering, provoking and building on the interests of the children.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"We believe that children learn best in a safe environment from caring staff who provide warmth and support. We employ highly qualified teachers, who design classroom environments with a wealth of opportunities for children to discover, investigate and explore. We ensure that children feel cared for and comfortable while challenging them to develop in their first formal learning experience. This is further enhanced by our low staff-to-child ratios in all of our programs, which allows us to provide close, personal attention to every child."
Excerpted from the preschool's website

A Typical Day

Indoor/Outdoor Playtime
Welcome Circle & Snack
Project Time
Music/Creative Movement
Outdoor Playtime/Nature Walks
Outdoor Playtime
Shalom (goodbye) Reflection Circle
Dismissal or rest period for full day children
Afternoon Play & Discovery Time

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

robust interactive parent communication system begins with tours, new family orientation, parent handbook, back-to-school events, active parent association, parenting classes. School website communicates school wide and classroom specific information where teachers post 2x per week and include photo albums of classroom work and classroom journals so that even parents who don't come to school regularly can feel in touch with the curriculum unfolding in their child's class and get a glimpse into the school life of the child. Regular face to face, phone and/or email parent-teacher communication and conferences. Directors greet each family by name in the lobby.


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

Instead of focussing on separation we view the process of building meaningful, trusting relationships with each child and his or her family.