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Evergreen Community School

2800 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica , CA 90404

(310) 453-6255


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

Children at Evergreen freely engage with objects and ideas with the ever-present support and facilitation of teachers. While children are empowered to make their own choices, we understand that learning thrives in an environment where questions, modeling and scaffolding flow reciprocally between teacher and child and between the children themselves. Please see our website for more details.

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
  • A large dedicated studio space and a full time studio teacher.
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

From the Director:

We prefer not to fill in the choices in the list above because they do not appropriately describe the curriculum at Evergreen. Through constructivist learning, the values and skills of a multiplicity of intelligences (literacy, mathematical and scientific reasoning, music, visual arts, dance and movement and so on) are embedded in long-term, collaborative inquiries. Small groups emerge from and are fueled by the children's passion and curiosity. While teachers facilitate the small groups, the children's ideas guide the process and its many possibilities.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Evergreen Community School bases its practice on a social constructivist philosophy. Children construct knowledge through experiencing learning in contexts that are meaningful and relevant to their lives and interests. A dynamic dialogue supports the children's learning, valuing a multiplicity of perspectives. Please see our website for more details.

A Typical Day

A day in the life of a child attending Evergreen begins as teachers, parents and children reconnect with each other inside the classroom and out on the yard. When the tambourine rings, the children know that it is time to say good byes to caregivers and join their class in songs and conversation that welcome in a new day of learning possibilities. Large and small group meetings follow giving children the opportunity to engage in long-term inquiries guided by their passions. Time is spent on the yard before children and teachers enjoy a family style lunch together. Our day ends as it begins - with children, teachers and parents connecting over the days work and singing their good-byes. The flow of the day follows a fluid timeline based on the intensity of interest in any given meeting or encounter.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Maintaining a strong connection between caregivers and the school is necessary to facilitate optimal learning for children. Teachers connect with caregivers through multiple methods to ensure that a dynamic dialogue exists between a child's home and his/her classroom. Some of the forms of communication include: - two parent-teacher conferences a year - bi-weekly electronic journals that describe small group and classroom work processes - daily verbal communication with parents - weekly notes sent home to communicate tiny moments of learning, connection or insight - parent meetings every eight weeks to engage parents in the meaning of their children's work - individual portfolios that document a child's learning through his/her years at Evergreen; including teacher analysis and reflection for each learning experience - other forms of documentation that make visible the layers of meaning attached to any dynamic learning experience (wall panels, books, displays, etc.)

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:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

While the teachers at Evergreen take several steps to support a smooth transition from home to school, our belief that children are capable underpins this process. A capable child makes the connection to school supported by educators and families who commit to making this a constructive process. Home visits are made before children begin attending school, providing an opportunity for children and teachers to connect. Families and staff meet before the school year begins to construct identity panels for each child using photographs and stories. These panels are present in the classroom speaking to the identity of each child who enters. Children in Class 1 begin the school year on a staggered schedule, yielding a smaller teacher to child ratio. Family books, completed at home during the summer and collected at the home visit, also create a strong bridge between home and school for the child.