Serving Preschool Through 8th Grade in the San Francisco East Bay Since 1962

Early Childhood Education at Seven Hills

The Early Childhood Education (ECE) program at Seven Hills is dedicated to nurturing the school's youngest learners. Inspired by the Reggio-Emilia approach, we focus on developing the whole child through an innovative and inspiring pedagogical approach that encourages inquiry, innovation, collaboration, and creativity.

Children are honored as competent and capable individuals. They embark on their learning journey through meaningful interactions with the world around them, including the natural environment and a rich array of materials, in a supportive community of peers, families, and dedicated educators.

The curriculum is flexible, generative, and dynamic, constructed upon children’s interests and questions, featuring large spans of uninterrupted indoor/outdoor play and a variety of media, including literature, art, music, movement, dramatic play, and more. This whole child pedagogical approach breathes into life our mission for centering a child’s sense of belonging in our classroom community, preparing them with the skills needed to thrive in a diverse, and ever-evolving complex world.
The ECE program is based upon the following set of Reggio principles:

Each child will have some control over the direction of their learning.
Each child will have opportunities to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, and observing.
Each child will have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world they will be allowed to explore.
Each child will have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.
Each child’s environment and context is critical to learning success.
The teacher, parent, and child will work in collaboration to strengthen learning.
Inquiry is essential to a child’s engagement in learning.
Learning and play are not mutually exclusive.
Learning and thinking will be made visible to children and families through ongoing documentation.
    • Daphna Klugman, Director of Early Childhood


The student-teacher ratio in both the Seven Hills Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten is 7:1.

List of 4 items.


    We believe Children…
    - Are capable, curious, and competent.
    - Deserve to feel a sense of belonging and have their identity reflected in the classroom.
    - Deserve strong and meaningful relationships that may take time and trust to build.
    - Have voices that deserve to be heard and perspectives that matter.
    - Have a right to learn and express themselves through different "languages."
    - Explore and learn at their own pace.
    - Have a right to be trusted as "meaning-makers."
    - Have a right to safety and security.

    We believe Parents and Guardians…
    - Are their child’s first and most important educator.
    - Are integral to their child's learning journey in partnership with the school.
    - Deserve to be actively engaged and uplifted by the school and SHS family community.
    - Deserve to feel a sense of belonging and have their identity reflected in our program.
    - Are allowed to show up authentically.
    - Have the right to open communication and clarity about their child as a learner.

    We believe Teachers…
    - Are fulfilled and motivated by lifelong learning.
    - Benefit the learning community through their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusionary practices.
    - Are invested in whole-child education.
    - Make children’s learning visible through reflection and documentation.
    - Cultivate a collective of engaged learners through compassion and embodied joy.
    - Deserve ample opportunities to reflect upon and develop their pedagogical practices individually and collaboratively.

    We believe in an Educational Approach that...
    - Emerges from children’s interest and reflective of the students’ developmental ages and stages.
    - Meets children where they are, yet challenges them to expand and deepen their thinking.
    - Is about creating immersive experiences to yield a cycle of meaningful inquiry and learning.
    - Relies on the indoor and outdoor environments as a “Third Teacher.”
    - Honors the process (not the product) of the learning experience.
    - Understands that joyful, open-ended, and uninterrupted play is essential to embodied learning.
    - Is centered around social-emotional learning.
    - Includes respect for nature, fosters respect for the planet, and use of materials intentionally with a shared understanding of “the commons” we all share.
    - Honors risk-taking, mistake-making, and self-reflection.
    - Relies on every member of the community to invest and contribute to this style of learning.