A Step Ahead is a Montessori-inspired Spanish bilingual preschool, based out of a loving home in Oakland, CA. We have a low student/teacher ratio with convenient hours of 7:45a-6p.
A Step Ahead provides an enriching & fun Spanish bilingual program based in the Montessori method for children ages 2 to 5 years old. Our goal is school-readiness: that each child who enters our doors will be ready for kindergarten. We strive to nurture the social-emotional, physical, & cognitive development of children in order to develop the “whole child”. These experiences all take place within a loving, safe, and respectful environment to encourage curiosity and discovery.
A Step Ahead is a bilingual program – we use Spanish words in speaking with the children as much as we use the English language. Our circle time incorporates songs and games from both American & Hispanic/Latino culture. The preschool years are ideal for language comprehension, and we instill values of open communication within the classroom. Here is a recent article citing the importance of bilingual education: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/05/bilingual-education_n_4049170.html
We are inspired by the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori. We believe children should be able to make their own decisions about their environment and lives whenever possible. Our classroom is set up so that children can choose whatever activity they are drawn to, and play with it until they want to move onto something else. We encourage independent discovery within a safe and structured setting. Through the use of Montessori materials, children learn to complete tasks on their own, or sometimes with the help of a teacher when asked, which encourages self-confidence and a lifetime love of learning. More information on the Montessori Method here: https://www.amshq.org/Montessori-Education/Introduction-to-Montessori.aspx
Through lessons in care of self and conflict resolution, we prepare children with skills they will use throughout their lives. We teach valuable social skills that the children develop and use well into adulthood. We believe children learn through interacting with their environment, family, & teachers, and they have a natural desire to learn. At A Step Ahead, we cultivate that desire.
At A Step Ahead, we like to foster teachers and parents contributing together actively in our children’s education. We encourage parents to come in as experts and share their particular talent, culture, or interest with the class.
We hold parent conferences twice a year and speak daily to parents about their child’s activities.
Food & Nutrition
A Step Ahead will provide a nutritious morning and afternoon snack, as well as a nutritious lunch. Children in care past 5p will have an additional snack.
Diapers & Toileting
We teach self-care, and part of that is learning how to use the potty. Children do not need to be potty-trained when they begin at A Step Ahead. We support families in working with their children towards developing the skills for them to learn how to use the potty when the child is ready. Should your child use diapers (and wipes), they must be provided by the parents. Sometimes we have accidents, and that’s OK. We ask that parents leave a change of clothes at school in the event that children need them. Here is a post written by Ms. Julia regarding potty-training of the young child: https://astepaheadpreschool.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/helping-parents-in-potty-training/
Discipline & Learning
A Step Ahead Preschool believes in helping children develop inner restraint. Dr. Montessori described the work of a teacher as helping a child “act for herself, will himself, think for herself”. As children grow, they advance through different periods of obedience and disobedience; they discover that their actions have consequences. We provide a safe environment for children to learn and grow. Within that safe setting, we will monitor behavior and redirect children when appropriate.
Discipline is approached in a positive manner, stressing problem solving and providing the child with lessons on making positive choices. Lessons in Grace and Courtesy at the beginning of the year lay the foundation and culture of respect and kindness towards others and responsibility for one’s own behaviors. Laying this foundation assists children in learning life skills that will support them in their lives as responsible and caring adults.
When a child’s behavior is unacceptable, it is the goal of the teacher to help the child learn appropriate behavior. We work with the student (or students) to develop better skills.
Should parents need to discuss a concern regarding development of their child, please contact Ms. Julia privately by email or phone. Confidentiality of each child is of the utmost importance, and we cannot guarantee confidentiality during drop-off/pick-up times. Ms. Julia is available after hours to speak on the phone, please schedule a time by email or text.
Julia Rose Wolfe
Lead Preschool Teacher
(revised July 2015)