Planting Seeds for Change
WHO WE ARE
Semillas Children’s School is a mixed-age, play-based preschool caring for children ages 18 months-4 years of age. We use an emergent curriculum based on the children’s and teacher’s interests. Our rich indoor and outdoor environments allow children the freedom to make choices and provide opportunities to learn problem-solving skills and to use their own ideas to create meaningful play. In our safe and supportive space, children express themselves freely, take risks, build confidence and positive self-identity. A strong emphasis on social and emotional development builds lasting and loving relationships with peers and teachers where children learn to value the differences among us. We initiate activities to foster a sense of empathy and respect for ourselves, our community, and nature. Above all, at Semillas we have a lot of fun learning, exploring, and playing together!
Play-Based Approach - In play, children learn to solve their own problems, recognize and negotiate differences, control their impulses, harmonize emotions, see from others’ perspectives, and get along with others as equals. We provide a safe and loving environment with endless time to play, dream, explore, and wonder where children may navigate and experience the world through their own lenses.
Mixed-Age Learning Approach -Children are placed in a diverse family space from years 18 months-4yrs with the same teachers and are allowed to move at their own pace. Creating a structure that allows educators to fit the school to children rather than the children to the school. This approach allows children to learn from one another. Younger children learn from the older ones. Older children become big siblings to their younger playmates creating a family feel. In a mixed-age setting, children who may not have siblings get to experience what that feels like.
Encourage Exploration -Encouraging children to explore inspires them to care for our world and become stewards of our environment through exploration, discovery and using their natural curiosity. Semillas provides a fun learning adventure environment, expanding the children’s idea of school, classroom and learning.
Building Community - We recognize how important family and the community is in child development. A child who feels safe, loved, and cared for will reach for the stars! Our approach enables teachers to address the children’s individual needs and work together with their parents as a community to build a strong foundation. We facilitate community-building opportunities such as potlucks, cultural celebrations, and meet-ups outside of school. Here bonds are formed, our network of support for one another expands and our village is strengthened to hold our children in its arms. Our example teaches our children respect, empathy, compassion, responsibility, and how to positively relate to one another.
Folks often ask, which educational philosophy does Semillas follow? My answer is this, we do things the Semillas way! While we learn about and appreciate the great teachings of Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, Mother Nature, and more, we take the parts that we like, mix in a little extra love, mud, and magic, and ta-da! The Semillas Way was born. At Semillas school, we see each child as a unique individual with their own set of needs, ideas, and feelings. Through play, movement, exploration, and plenty of time to wonder, we see seeds blossom into the most incredible flowers, and then when it is their time, we send them off knowing that these flowers will color our world in remarkable ways. At the heart of what we do, is play. Our children get messy and never seem to want to leave!
We have a daily routine that our children quickly learn to follow. Every day begins by taking the temperature of the group. If the group temperature says we have outside energy today, we scratch the projects and spend our day outside in the yard or out in nature in our community instead. If the energy is feeling tired and cozy, we’ll have more of an inside day with fun art activities, cozy storytimes, cooking, baking, and more! The skills learned during play are far more important than pushing a teacher-centered agenda on any child. When the play is good- then let the play live on!
MEET THE TEAM
Teacher Elisa (She/Her) born in Brasil and raised in the Bay, was propagated from a preschool teacher mother! During a year long journey by bike from Berkeley to São Paulo, Brasil, she met children of all walks of life who inspired her to open her own school to provide a loving, nurturing, and fun place for children to learn about the world and their surroundings through the art of play. Her teaching style involves movement, mud, and music! She believes that children are crucial to making the world a better place. In her spare time, you will likely find her with her Family, chasing chickens, playing capoeira or gardening barefoot in her front yard.
Teacher Paula (She/Her) born and raised in São Paulo, Brasil, discovered her love for teaching young children at the age of 16 working as an assistant teacher. And she hasn’t stopped since! She earned her teaching degree at Maria Montessori School in São Paulo with focus in preschool. In 1986 she came to the US and ran her very own home daycare for 10 years. Since then she has updated her ECE at Contra Costa College and taught at Gay Austin School in Berkeley for 15 years. She believes that children learn through play and by watching other children, and her job is to provide them with a safe environment with lots of love. She has raised three wonderful kids of her own, and has two delicious grandkids. Her passions are arts, puppetry, music and storytelling. When not at school, she loves to cook, bake, watch movies, crafts, walking, nature, and most of all being with her family. “For the last 5 years I’ve been fulfilling my dream of working with my daughter at Semillas where we have built a loving community of amazing children!!
Teacher "Tweety" (She/Her) is a person who is kind and enjoys helping children learn to express themselves through words and feelings. She likes to do messy play, sensory play and art with children. When not at school she loves to play Capoeira, practice Spanish, learn to speak Portuguese, and watch movies.
Teacher Dyani (She/They) recently graduated from San Francisco State with degrees in Black studies and Child Development. She comes from a big family, and couldn’t imagine not being around children. She loves how intuitive, curious, and honestly themselves young children are. She enjoys art, the outdoors, and is currently learning how to surf.
WHAT PARENTS SAY
"From the moment our son set foot in the school, he was over the moon and we knew he would be very happy there. We are so impressed with everything he has learned in the past 2.5 years. The educators are loving, open, and attentive, and have created a beautiful community for our child to thrive in."
NAIMA & CHRISTIAN, PARENTS
MEET THE FUTURE
ASK US ANYTHING
Monday – Friday
8am – 5pm
Monday – Friday
9am – 5pm
NORTH & EAST NEIGHBORHOOD
Richmond, CA 94804