With a 35-year history in Berkeley, Step One is one of the East Bay’s bestloved preschools, with a track record of developing children’s curiosity, empathy, and love of learning for a lifetime.
For 21st century learning, creativity and collaboration are the name of the game. Step One fosters both through teaching that stimulates both children’s intellectual curiosity and their social-emotional development. Children at Step One are encouraged to explore and discover: to take initiative in their learning so that they ‘learn how to learn’. This approach positions them to engage deeply and to find learning meaningful.
Step One students are also learning empathy, which is encouraged and modeled by teachers. They internalize respect for self and others while developing close relationships with teachers and peers. The schools our graduates attend praise Step One students as academically well-prepared, strong school leaders, and exceptional classroom citizens.
In addition to an enriching classroom environment, Step One offers an exceptional outdoor space in the beautiful Berkeley hills. Along with a large play-yard, Step One has built childfriendly nature areas on our hillside, complete with garden and outdoor kitchen: a complete indoor-outdoor learning environment. On any given day, you’ll find children engineering ways to bring water from the waterfall to the sand box, or practicing their math and measurement skills by planting a spring garden.
Step One’s teachers are one-of-akind and are at the core of our highlyregarded program. Over 60% of our teachers have been at Step One for 10 years or longer. They are highly educated, motivated early childhood experts.Teachers bring their creative abilities (such as music, dance, Spanish language expertise, art, and photography) to the classroom. Staff also receive on-going professional development, mentorship, and coaching.
Each child is unique, with his or her own strengths and challenges. Our expert teachers know how to teach to the individual, while at the same time creating a warm, cohesive classroom environment. A low student teacher ratio (ratios range from 1:5 in the Twos program to 1:8 for the 3’s and 4’s to 1:11 for the Transitional Kindergarten) makes that possible.
Step One is also set apart by a strong anti-bias curriculum and emphasis that shapes our work. We encourage diversity through exposure to different languages, cultures, family structure, and family traditions. We strongly commit to maintaining diversity when accepting applicants and hiring teachers, and are one of the only preschools in the country with a faculty composed of over 30% male teachers.
We were honored to receive this recommendation from a Step One parent: “I can say with all sincerity that you will be hard-pressed to find a warmer, more nurturing, or more exciting place for your little one.” Please contact us to learn more about our environment as a fit for your child: Step One, Starting from the Heart.