Tamalpais Preschool provides a happy and secure environment for your child's early learning. The school promotes the development of the child through an integrated program, designed to stimulate and enhance creative, cognitive, social, emotional and physical growth. By emphasizing the child's overall development, we hope to lay the foundation for social adaptability, creative achievement, cognitive challenge and a job of learning.
Tamalpais Preschool offers preschool and pre-kindergarten programs, based on the child's age and level of development. Each child is given many varied opportunities for working and learning through a play-based curriculum.
Our curriculum is tailored to the interests of the children, and evolves as teachers observe topics suggested by the children's spontaneous play. Weekly and monthly themes are the foundation for our presentation of learning tasks and creative activities, across a range of developmental stages.
Our primary teaching philosophy is based on the work of Jean Piaget, a Swiss philosopher and developmental psychologist. This child-centered approach to education facilitates cognitive development by:
Hired on the basis of their professional commitment to children, Tamalpais teachers have been trained in Early Childhood Education and participate in regular in-service training sessions, workshops and seminars. Each teacher strives to be supportive and responsive to children throughout the day, by facilitating play, arranging the physical environment for appropriate learning challenges and guiding children's behavior and emotional development. All our teachers have Early Childhood Education Teaching Permits from the State of California.
Staff meetings are held each week, to discuss programming and to focus on the particular needs of children. A minimum ratio of one teacher to ten children is maintained throughout the day.
School hours for our Preschool Program are 9:00am to 1:00pm; our Pre-K Program hours are 9:00am to 1:00pm. Download our 2016-2017 Preschool Rotation Schedule (for MWF, T/TH, and 5-Day Classes).
Two-and-a-half to three-year-old children attend the program on Tuesday and Thursday. Four-year-old children can attend preschool Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or five days. Child Care and Enrichment Activities are offered from 8:00 to 9:00am and from 1:00 to 5:00pm. Tamalpais Preschool generally follows the local public school calendar, beginning school in early September and ending in the beginning of June. Optional summer programs are offered during June and July.
The preschool classroom is a spacious playroom, divided into three learning areas, with a large outdoor yard and garden. The indoor space includes an Art Room for artistic and creative expression, a Library that includes children's access to our large collection of children's books, and tables for cognitive small-motor tasks and science exploration. The Library also includes a dramatic play center with dress-up costumes, furniture and housekeeping equipment. Our third indoor area is the Block Room, which includes small unit blocks and large hollow blocks for play. The space can provide more large motor activities such as music, body movement, musical instruments, dancing and the use of other movement equipment.
Our Pre-K program is a five-day program with 16 students and two teachers. The program has been designed for children old enough to attend Kindergarten, but whose families feel an additional year in preschool would be beneficial. The children are usually four-and-a-half to five years old in September. Enrollment in the program is determined by birthday order of currently enrolled students (the older the child, the higher the priority).
Pre-K is located in the church building in two adjoining classrooms. The children move between the classrooms for various activities. These classrooms contain many learning materials and are designed to enhance children's social, emotional, cognitive and physical development.
Tam Pre-K uses a project approach and emergent curriculum. We focus on children's interests, but expand on their knowledge by creating group-based projects. We use the "Handwriting Without Tears" program for literacy, with a combination of phonics and a letter of the week. Like the Preschool, Pre-K focuses on Independence, Social, Classroom, and Pre-Academic Skills, in a combination of child-directed and teacher-directed activities.
The Pre-K classroom has its own two playgrounds, separate from the Preschool. One of the playgrounds is a large motor space with a play structure, sandbox, and building materials, while the smaller yard is an outside classroom and transition area for outdoor creative projects.
Daily snacks are provided in the morning and in the afternoon. Snack may include crackers, cereal, vegetables, or fruit and a beverage, and an occasional birthday treat.
Children who stay for lunch, bring their own lunches to school in a lunch box or sack. Nutritious lunches give children energy and begin a lifetime habit of healthy eating. Pediatricians advise parents to avoid foods that may cause a child to choke, such as popcorn,nuts of all kinds, uncooked celery, carrots and hot dogs. Please no candy or drinks in cans or bottles.
Due to a few severe peanut allergies among our students, Tamalpais Preschool is a "nut free" school and we do not allow any peanuts or peanut products in our school. Please avoid peanut butter (a safer alternative is sunflower butter or soy butter) and peanut oil products in lunches or treats brought to school for any occasion.
Children who attend Tamalpais Preschool must be toilet trained. We understand that occasional "accidents" happen and are to be expected, especially when children are adjusting to a new school setting. We have extra clothes for this contingency. Should a child be continually wetting or soiling him/herself, staff will ask the parents to withdraw their child until toilet training is fully accomplished.
Tamalpais Preschool is housed within the United Methodist Church
at 410 Sycamore Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941
(though we are nonsectarian)
Main Phone (415) 388-4286 | Pre-K Phone (415) 388-9286