The San Anselmo Preschool Center is committed to the growth of each child in an emotionally supportive environment that encourages self-acceptance and self-exploration.We offer a program that blends teacher directed activities and self-initiated learning in a setting that includes art, music, dramatic play, pre-reading manipulatives, large motor activities, and “hands on” natural science. Children work together in mixed-aged groupings except for an hour long “group time” each morning and afternoon. At “group time” children are divided by age with one teacher for activities appropriate to their age and development.Parents are welcome to come and observe and meet with our staff at any time during the year.

Our philosophy respects the autonomy of the child in various different learning situations. Teachers are alert, and ready to protect, counsel and guide at the right moment. We believe that children can learn to work out problems and conflicts when given the opportunity.

Our emphasis is on the process more than the product of learning. It is our goal to plant within each child the seed of confidence that grows with every success in meeting a challenge. Through careful selection of learning materials, we hope to instill in our children the desire, the need, and the joy of learning.

We offer two Pre-K options for children the year before Kindergarten. We have an integrated Pre-K component to our regular preschool program and we also offer a self contained Pre-K. Both are appropriate Pre-k experiences for children the year before kindergarten. The Pre-K classes are developmental programs with age appropriate activities, including pre-reading skills woven throughout the curriculum.

Pre-K Frequently Asked Questions

What is the distinction between the Self-Contained Pre-k and the Integrated Pre-k group?
· The Self-Contained Pre-k program is a five morning per week program. The Integrated Pre-k has several days and time slots from which to choose.
· The Self-Contained Pre-k has an April 1 cut-off date. The child should be five years old by April 1.
· The Integrated program is available to any child beginning kindergarten the following year.
· The Self-Contained Pre-k is in a self-contained classroom; the Integrated Pre-k program is a component of our daily preschool program.

How is the integrated Pre-k program delineated from the 2.6-year-olds?
· Activities at art are open-ended and geared to children of all ages. As the child gets older, they are able to do much more.
· Science is geared to older children for the first 45 minutes of the program (9:00- 9:45 AM).
· At group time, children are separated by age. Pre-k children have longer attention spans and are able to do more with books and stories, calendars, problem solving skills, recognizing letters and names, listening skills, taking turns, and respecting others.
· Pre-k groups take more field trips.

How did the self-contained Pre-k group come to be?
· We were finding that each year we were losing a good number of children to other Pre-k programs whose parent’s decided that although the child was old enough for kindergarten he or she was not socially or emotionally ready. Many of these children had already been a part of our program for two years and their parents felt that they needed a change for the last year of preschool, something that would meet the developmental needs of 41/2 and 5 year olds. After observing several Pre-k classrooms throughout Marin, we felt that we had the space, the materials, and the qualified staff to offer a new program to our families.

What differences in the preschool will a child experience between this year and next if they are enrolled in the integrated Pre-k program?
· They will experience new social issues and learn how to solve them.
· They will have an opportunity to be the ‘big kid’ at school.
· Their group time experience will be geared towards age appropriate activities.

How do the integrated preschool children view the Self-Contained group?
· We integrate many activities during the school year, such as special music times, group presentations, and group field trips.
· Children from the Self-Contained group who stay for the afternoon program are integrated after lunchtime.

Do you ever counsel parents of children from the Self-Contained group if you feel the children are out of their element?
· In our first year, we had two specific cases in which this happened. The first one: the child was too young for the program but the parents insisted he was ready and needed to be there. We decided to give it a try. We noticed that the child was having difficulty adjusting to the situation and by the second week both the teachers and the parents were convinced that the child would be much happier in the integrated program. The second child was already five when she started in our program. We slowly started noticing that she was withdrawing more and more from the program and it’s routines. We met with her parents and they simply asked us to give it a little more time. After two more weeks, the parents reluctantly agreed to move her into the integrated program. The child blossomed almost immediately. Her parents primary concern regarding the change was that she would stand out as a failure. The children missed her and played with her on the playground every chance they had. She had also made new friends in the integrated program.

We accept up to six children in diapers at a given time. Pull-ups are considered “diapers”. Potty-trained means wearing underpants with very few if any accidents.

Parent Participation

We require each family to perform 20 hours of work for the school year to keep school costs down and foster a sense of community. There are many ways to help:


  • Driving on a field trip. If you drive a child besides your own, you will receive one hour of Parent Participation for every hour spent on the field trip. If you prefer to just drive your own child, you will receive .5 hours of Parent Participation for every hour spent on the field trip.
  • Stuffing envelopes or writing thank you notes.
  • Helping plan and organize school events.
  • Serving on our Board of Directors. The Center is a program of and operates on property owned by the First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo. A volunteer Board ofDirectors, composed of parents of past and present students, church members, and members of the Ross Valley community, oversees the operations of the Center. The Board meets once a month.
  • Helping any way you can. If you have special skills, let us know. If you see a problem that you can fix, let us know. In past years, parents helped by planting our garden, pouring cement to fix the puddle by the door, refurbishing our dollhouse, painting rooms, repairing faucets, building a new gate, building new benches around our tree in the courtyard, and writing this handbook.

For a list of suggestions check out information in our Parent Handbook.

The San Anselmo Preschool Center is located in the heart of San Anselmo at 121 Ross Avenue in the First Presbyterian Church complex. Our site is a spacious, sunny redwood building with an outdoor area for large motor development and a neighborhood rich in natural science adventures.

Please complete this form to request a tour for August 2023 enrollment.

Can I bring my child to school on extra days?

Yes, if there’s room. Before you bring your child, be sure to call the head teacher the day before and check if there is enough room. If you get an okay from the head teacher, be sure to sign in as a drop in. The rate for drop-ins is $12.00 / hour.

When is my child too sick to come to school?

If your child is obviously sick, do not bring him or her to school. If your child has a very runny nose, a fever, or is unable to participate in the normal routine, we will call you to take him/her home.
• Vomiting; If your child vomits two or more times in 24 hours, keep him home.
• Rash, lice or nits; If your child has a body rash, especially with a fever or itching, has lice or nits, please keep him home.
• Diarrhea; If your child has three or more watery stools in 24 hours, keep him home.
• Eye infection; If your child has thick mucus or pus draining from the eye keep him home.
• Sore throat; If your child has a sore throat with a fever or swollen glands, keep him home.
• Not feeling well; If your child is unusually tired, pale, has a lack of appetite, acts confused or cranky, keep him home.
• Fever; If your child has a temperature of 100*(F) or more (taken under the arm) AND a sore throat, rash, vomiting, diarrhea, earache, or just not feeling good, keep him home.
– From the Child Care Health ConnectionsIf your child comes down with any contagious illnesses, such as flu, pink eye, strep throat, or chicken pox, please let the school know so that we can warn other parents.
If your child is staying home, please let us know.

When is a Child too Sick to Attend Child Care?

Can my morning child stay for lunch?

Yes, by calling the day ahead or checking in with the morning head teacher your child can drop-in for lunch. You can also arrange through the office to set this up as a regular schedule until as late as 2:00 p.m.

Will you accept children throughout the school year?

Yes, as space comes available we will add children from our waitlist to our program.

Can I visit or tour the preschool?

Pre-arranged tours are available on Thursday mornings at 9:30. Please call the office to schedule the next available date.