Laurel Hill Nursery School, San Francisco:
Established in 1946 and set in the heart of San Francisco, Laurel Hill is the oldest parent-participation, cooperative private nursery school in San Francisco. Our philosophy is child-centered and is focused on building a child's self esteem through socialization and play. While there is no strict academic program at Laurel Hill, our children thrive in an environment that lets them learn organically. Laurel Hill is the largest co-op nursery school in the Bay Area, with approximately 80 families enrolled.
We believe that the nursery school provides the richest and most stimulating environment in which children may explore and develop intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically.
The Laurel Hill philosophy is to encourage the development of children in an environment that promotes self-esteem. In such an environment, children thrive intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically. Ultimately, the sense of self-esteem and accomplishment enables a child to develop natural inner controls based not on inhibitions, but on self-discipline and creativity; not on dependence on guidance, but on respect for one's own and others' ideas.
Laurel Hill follows a child-centered philosophy of early childhood education. Children are allowed to learn through play and by exploring their environment at their own developmental pace. Organized activities are offered daily and children are free to participate in whichever activities they prefer. While children are assigned to a classroom as their base at school, they are free to roam about and take part in activities in any room they choose, or to play outside.
- Nursery School Program: We follow a child-centered philosophy of early childhood education for ages 2 years 9 months to 5 years. Children are allowed to learn through play and by exploring their environment at their own developmental pace.
- Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) Program: Our Pre-K curriculum is tailored to the needs of young 5 year olds, while still adhering to our child-focused philosophy.
- Extended care program: This program is offered from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., depending on space available.
For most children, the first sustained group or out-of-family experience begins with the nursery school. It is a big transition. Within the family, the value of the child is accepted no matter what he or she may do. Outside the family, and particularly in the nursery school, the child builds his or her place and acceptance as a result of developing personality and skill.
Unlike the situation in the family, children find themselves in a group made of contemporaries whose interests and capacities are comparable to their own. Each child must find ways of handling the complexities, conflicts, friendships, and the sharing of attention of her or his own parent and an objective adult, the staff person. Children's experiences in a group gradually help them to shape their awareness of themselves and each one's special individuality.
Children are encountering everything in the universe for the first time: language, people and things; form, weight and balance; wind, rain and the possibility of earthquakes; space and time. What each child absorbs and the range of skills each develops is incalculable. It is of the utmost importance that we provide the time for each child to progress through each stage of overlapping learning processes without skimping on or skipping any.
Although parents and teachers tend to be very ambitious for their children to show intellectual progress, it is much more important for adults to provide the opportunities for fulfillment and avoid the pressures and tensions bound to arise when the child enters elementary school. We will then create an enjoyment of learning that will project happily through life and will provide an environment in which nursery school is not only a preparation for kindergarten and later life, but also a fully valid experience in itself.
One of the most important functions performed at the nursery school is to help children find acceptable and fulfilling ways to express feelings. At this age, the eruption of negative feelings may require restraint by an adult, redirection, interpretation and guidance, all of which must be done in such a way as to support the self-esteem of the child. If a child's frustration is unbearable, we can help the child to solve the problem; if a child's wrath is uncontrollable, we remove the child from its source.
Accepting emotions does not imply accepting the behavior they produce. Understanding a child's fury does not mean that we tolerate biting, hitting or scratching. We can help to prevent tension and frustration by controlling the environment, by having enough similar toys to reduce competition, by providing opportunities for participation, by finding a quiet spot or activity when there is over-stimulation. When necessary, we can step in to prevent anger from developing to an unacceptable level. It takes a long time and a lot of trust for a child to be able to wait, share, take turns or relinquish.
Children will handle tasks that require the most complex small muscle controls and will handle the large boards, wagons, blocks and tricycles that use their biggest muscles. They will haul, build, ride, climb and slide in a protected and supervised play yard. These physical skills are important in and of themselves as a child builds self-awareness and self-esteem, but are also important as foundations for later school skills. For example, through stacking blocks, a child learns hand-eye coordination. Later, that coordination helps the child learn to write.
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|Address: Euclid Avenue, San Francisco, California , USA|
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