Silver Bell Nursery is a completely outdoor forest preschool program with days spent in the parks and green areas in San Francisco. By choosing to have an outdoor forest preschool program the children become awakened to their natural surroundings so that they become more in tune with the rhythms of the earth and thus more in tune with their own natural rhythms. Children learn through their senses, from things that they can hear, touch, smell, see, and taste and also through their vestibular system (balance) and proprioceptive system (joints and muscles). While outdoors they learn through exploration using their bodies and senses. The children also learn about the natural world around them through songs, poems, rhymes, stories and movement and are nurtured through these daily activities at school. Through oral storytelling, the children develop their imaginations by creating their own inner pictures. This also strengthens their listening skills, memory skills and vocabulary.
During the day we work with the children to teach them how to complete tasks, follow through on directions in order to promote independence and positive self-esteem. Providing guidance to the young child through an understanding of their temperament needs. We try to have a mixed age group, children 2 1/2 to 5 years of age. This age range helps to develop awareness of others who have either mastered or are learning certain skills. This striving together helps promote responsibility, compassion and pride within the group.
When working with children during their foundation years, we see it as our responsibility to encourage and prepare them to embrace the challenges in their lives and give them the confidence to over come them.
Silver Bell Nursery follows Developmentally Appropriate Practices and Waldorf methods. We are a media-free school and ask and encourage that nursery age children watch no television, videos, or computer games. This allows a child to create their own pictures to what is resonating in their hearts and imagination. Outside influences such as television, videos, and computer games inhibit this beautiful and important process. We ask that you strongly consider other activities for your child. Childhood is a time for play, simple pleasures, and a protection from images that may influence unwanted behavior. Many of the children in our school have never experienced electronic media. We wish to support all of our families with this endeavor.
The school year begins with a Family Day during the morning where all the parents and children come together to meet and play. That evening the parents and teacher have a Parent Meeting to discuss the year ahead and talk about what to expect as a parent of a nursery school child.
In late fall we have our annual Lantern Walk. This is a lovely tradition to welcome the darkness and quiet that winter brings. We all gather just before sunset and watch the sun go down. Once it has set, we then light our lanterns (the children make these while at school) and walk and sing till darkness falls, and then we enjoy some refreshments by the lantern light.
In the Spring we have our annual barbecue picnic in Golden Gate Park which is a great way to welcome the warmer weather and longer days.
There are two parent-teacher conferences each year, one in the early fall to talk about goals for the year and how parents can work with us to help accomplish these goals, and the other in late spring to round out the year. Parents are welcome to connect with the teacher at any time throughout the year with any questions or concerns so that we can work together as a team to support the child’s development in the best possible way.
The food we give the children to eat is very important to us as we feel it also plays a large role in promoting healthy development in the young child. We provide snacks that are organic and locally grown or made. The bread dough for bread and honey-butter day is made the night before so the whole wheat grain has time to sprout and the rice is soaked for 2 days so that it can sprout and be more digestible. The apples, cheese and dried fruit and nuts we serve are always organic and sourced from within California when possible. We try to make any changes necessary to address and support children with special dietary needs.