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The First School

1733 Ocean Park Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90402

(310) 452-0095


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

The First School curriculum progresses from nurturing a child's emerging autonomy to promoting initiative and accomplishment. Throughout the preschool experience, we support play as the heart of our program because we believe that play activities foster a child's natural inclination to develop the primary building blocks for all future learning: motivation, initiative, curiosity, exploration, persistence and skill mastery. Within the structure of a predictable and consistent school day, our teachers focus on facilitating problem solving, encouraging creativity, providing developmentallly appropriate activities, and promoting social skills.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

The essential core of our curriculum philosophy is the belief that human interaction and relationships are the center of our existence as people, and that raising an emotionally healthy child is the most important task facing teachers and parents.

The child learns by doing, and curriculum is the concrete experiences and activities planned and unplanned, through which the child's mind and body are helped to develop.

The emotional climate surrounding those experiences- as expressed through speech, body language, and feeling, of both teacher and child- is learned as much as through concrete activities, and become part of the child's emotional health.

The First School core philosophy also validates cultural diversity and embraces the belief that "we are all alike and different." Our curriculum is centered around activities that teach about similarities and differences in realistic and positive ways. The multicultural First School staff helps children value and respect themselves, and others as well.

Home-School Connection

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Parents in classroom early on