Early Childhood (PS/PK)

Early Childhood Education

Our Program

Building Creative Compassionate Critical Thinkers

ECC Our Program Photo

Young children are naturally curious about the world around them, and everything we do within the Woodland School Early Childhood Center helps foster each child’s innate inquisitiveness. Project based learning, grounded by a deep appreciation for child centered emergent curriculum, guides our philosophical approach to instruction. Our talented team of experienced educators deepen each child’s sense of wonder, as students engage in rich, meaningful, and relevant units of study. Over the course of 6 to 8 weeks, our preschoolers become experts in exciting topics through the use of authentic materials, intentional read alouds, and contextualized learning experiences. Every child is a unique individual, and our robust curriculum supports kinesthetic, auditory, visual, and tactile learners, built upon a developmentally appropriate framework. Through these learning experiences, we hope prepare a generation of children to become creative, compassionate critical thinkers in today’s ever changing world.

VALUING OUR FAMILIES
We understand that, for many children, their time in the Woodland School Early Childhood Center is their first opportunity to join a school family, and we strive to make the experience both joyful and memorable. We strongly believe the importance of positive authentic relationships and partner closely with our families to successfully support the needs of each child in our care.

THE BEST EDUCATION. SUPPORTED BY THE BEST TECHNOLOGY. 
Throughout the day, our children participate in a variety of thoughtfully curated experiences, each constructed to support their social emotional, physical, literacy, language, cognitive, and mathematical development. Our educators leverage Teaching Strategies GOLD®, an early childhood digital portfolio system, to collect observations of student work and intentionally scaffold learning opportunities. Daily small group instruction allows teachers and children to connect through purposefully differentiated activities. As children work in Interest Areas, they engage in hands on intentional play, intentionally constructed to prepare every learner for the rigor of kindergarten.

REFINING LITERACY SKILLS THROUGH ENGAGING READ ALOUDS
Each day, our children enjoy two thoughtfully planned readings of great early childhood literature. Classics, age-appropriate non-fiction, and award winning stories are shared, once in the morning and later in the afternoon. Throughout each interactive reading, new vocabulary is intentionally introduced and thought provoking questions are posed.

Our Daily Schedule

OUR DAILY SCHEDULE

8:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m. - Arrival and Limited Interest Areas

8:50 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - Morning Meeting and Gross Motor Activities
Students will be introduced to meaningful study related content as they practice communication skills to express thoughts, ideas, and feelings.

9:15 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. - First Storybook Reading
Storybook readings engage children in literature and concepts of print as they make predictions, recall events, and learn new vocabulary.

9:30 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. - Specials: Spanish, Music, Physical Education, Science

10:20 a.m. - 10:40 a.m. - Snack

10:40 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - Outdoor Play
Children have the opportunity to participate in intentionally planned free and cooperative play activities.

11:20 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Interest Areas
Center time fosters study exploration through concrete, hands-on experiences in over 8 learning centers.

12:15 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Lunch
Lunch is held at the student's pace. They are welcome to enjoy conversation with friends at the table or head to their nap mat when they have finished eating.

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Rest Time

2:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. - Snack/Gross Motor Activities

2:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. - Limited Interest Areas/Small Group/Outdoor Play

3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. - Second Storybook Reading/Afternoon Circle/Dismissal
Storybook readings engage children in literature and concepts of print as they make predictions, recall events, and learn new vocabulary. After story time, students will reflect on the day prior to departure.

Our daily schedule is flexible to allow for a strong child centered curriculum.

Our Classrooms

World Class Learning Environments

Our beautiful early childhood classrooms are structured to offer children spaces where they can work independently, in small groups, and in larger groups of peers. Art, Blocks, Toys and Games, Sand and Water, Dramatic Play, Library, and Discovery learning areas are available daily and are intentionally prepared with provocations to invoke a sense of wonder. Cooking experiences are also offered twice a month. The learning continues outdoors, with a selection of tricycles, scooters, painting materials, and blocks. You might also find our children engaged in exploration at our beautiful water play center or tending to plants in our child- cultivated garden.

Preschool Prekindergarten Classroom
Prekindergarten Preschool Classroon
early childhood outdoor area

Our Team

Felicity Ackers

Teacher

Ms. Felicity has 27 years of experience in early childhood education and 23 years of service at Woodland School. Her teaching philosophy involves creating a nurturing environment tailored to each child’s individual academic and social-emotional needs. She encourages students to develop communication and fine and gross motor skills through play and self-directed activities. To unleash the power of imagination, creativity, and wonder, Ms. Felicity incorporates stories, arts/crafts, and role-playing into the classroom. She looks forward to witnessing children thrive and transition to Kindergarten with Woodland’s Early Childhood Program.

What Inspired You to Become A Teacher?
I had a very nurturing and passionate fourth-grade teacher who took a real interest in her students, always motivating and cheering us on. Since then, I have always wanted to be a teacher and emulate her energy and enthusiasm.

Julie Berk

Teacher

Pat Bond

Art Teacher

Ms. Pat begins her 17th year at Woodland. After spending her first 16 years teaching preschool and prekindergarten students at Woodland, she is excited to share her love of art as the Art Teacher for preschool through second grade students. Ms. Pat's expertise include surface design on fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap specializing in children's designs.

What Inspired You to Become A Teacher?
I love being around young children. Being a part of their early discoveries in life and helping to set their foundations for a lifetime of learning is very exciting and rewarding to me.

Kayla Clark

Teacher

Kayla is starting her second year as an ECC teacher. She grew up in the Bay Area, graduating from Carlmont High School. Prior to Kayla's teaching career at Woodland she taught gymnastics to girls and boys for over 10 years ages ranging from 3-18 years old. This year she will be teaching in Woodland's Room 2 classroom.

What Inspired You To Become A Teacher?
Since a young age, I have always had a passion in helping children grow on different levels. After teaching gymnastics to a wide range of children I found the younger age group to be so exciting and interesting! Now that I have the opportunity to teach children more than coordination, I am beyond excited to continue to watch them grow.

Scott Harding

Director of Early Childhood Education


Mr. Harding joins Woodland after spending over a dozen years on the East Coast as both an early childhood educator and administrator. He began his career with Teach for America and most recently served as the founding Director of Early Childhood Education at a new public school in the District of Columbia. In 2012, Mr. Harding received the Rubenstein Award for Highly Effective Teaching, presented by DC Public Schools. Mr. Harding earned his B.S. in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University and his M.Ed. from George Mason University. In his free time, Mr. Harding enjoys reading, watching movies, traveling, exploring new restaurants, and learning new skills.

What inspired you to become a teacher?
I became a teacher because I strongly believe that educating young children is the most important thing we can do to help build a better world. Supporting the development of compassionate critical thinkers is an essential component to our democratic society, and my goal is to build lifelong learners who love (and feel loved at) school.

Gina Maestrini

Teacher

Gina Maestrini always dreamed of becoming a teacher. Throughout high school, she took on various nanny positions and had always knew she would pursue a career in teaching. Ms. Gina attended San Jose State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development. Ms. Gina is a Bay Area native who has a love for hiking, going to the beach, exploring new eating spots, and spending time with loved ones!

What Inspired You to Become a Teacher?

There are many joys that come with being an educator. I love supporting children’s personal, social, and academic development. I particularly enjoy reading with children. Reading helps stimulate children’s imagination and promotes bonding, which helps build a strong teacher/student relationship.

Ayeshah Tahirah

Teacher

Ayeshah Tahirah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the College of Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has enjoyed teaching young children in the classroom for the past decade. Ayeshah has taught internationally in Turkey, Singapore, and Austria, where she grew immensely, working with culturally diverse students ranging in age from four through six. Ayeshah helped develop and implement an international curriculum focused on student-centered, balanced, whole-child creative learning. She has also taught American curricula. Ayeshah’s aim as an educator is to ensure that each student feels supported, happy, safe, engaged and challenged. She is committed to fostering the growth of the whole individual, focusing on their social, emotional, physical and mental development, all while catering to a child's specific needs and learning style. Besides teaching, Ayeshah’s other passions include traveling, photography, hiking and writing.


Lauren Weingram

Teacher
Ms. Weingram brings 10 years of teaching preschool, prekindergarten, kindergarten and first-grade students to Woodland. Her experience bridges both public and private schools. In addition, she has taught drama and Spanish to elementary students. Ms. Weingram's teaching extends beyond the classroom as a gymnastics and skiing instructor. She holds a BA in Drama and an Elementary and Education Teaching Credential.

What Inspired You to Become a Teacher?
My amazing third grade teacher who showed me how to let children grow by encouraging them to help their peers. My academic skills improved dramatically during third grade when I helped teach two non-English speaking classmates. Interestingly, I did not speak either of their languages, nonetheless, the three of us helped each other grow both socially and academically.