Back to Venice Preschools

Ecole Clairefontaine

310 Westminster Avenue
Venice, CA 90291

(310) 314-9976


18 parents took the survey TAKE THE SURVEY

ECF is a French-American preschool that cares for children aged 2 to 6 on two garden-style campuses. Founded over 20 years ago by director Joelle Dumas, the French language immersion school encourages a child’s natural, holistic growth.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

Raising a child is a universal experience, central to many people`s lives. Becoming a parent contains many surprises and a new world of feelings, a sense of the fragility of life and a new sense of responsibility. At Claire Fontaine, we celebrate children and affirm the value and importance of parenting in an enlightened society. We believe that education, like gardening, is a process that requires time and care. Our philosophy is to nurture a child`s self-esteem so that their self-confidence and dignity will grow. Providing the elements for this growth and blossoming is our mission. At Claire Fontaine, a child develops a sense of himself and his place in the world, a sense of responsibility and inner discipline, and so strengthens his ability to give himself direction and purpose. Claire Fontaine provides a secure and loving place for children to learn and play. We believe that a child`s intelligence and reasoning are exercised through playful creativity. Play is a natural medium for children to express pleasure, curiosity, autonomy, and is integrated into our curriculum as a primary way of learning. Every day, the children also practice and experience making art, music, writing, storytelling - enriching their emotional life. During small group activities our teachers create a supportive space for the children`s spontaneity. Lively discussions call upon the child to express his thoughts, his feelings and his will, quickening his faculties and encouraging him to learn by interacting with his peers and adults. School activities also take into consideration the individual needs and development of each child. School rules are designed so that children, parents, faculty and staff maintain mutual respect in all situations. Through the years I have integrated my many years of research, study and experience with the richness of personal knowledge and shared values that our families bring to the school into the creation of Claire Fontaine`s curriculum. As citizens of the world, when we are enthusiastic and share the pleasures and joys of learning with children, our collective ability to change the world for the better is within our reach.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense
Time & space
Sci. reasoning/physical world
Visual arts
Physical activity
Other subjects taught Astronomy, Discovery of savor and cuisine, Ecology, Floral Art, Gardening, Geology, Mineralogy, Theater, Yoga.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

To promote the benefits of the presence of children in our community, as a source of renewal and creativity.

A Typical Day

Please visit

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
  • 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
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on