New to Our School? 

Welcome to Stepping Stones! Check out the New Parent Information page and read our FAQ. Also, please don't forget to sign-up for eScrip - the world's easiest way to support your child's school! 


Parent Socials

The Parent Committee organizes monthly parent socials for the parents and the children. There are Movie Nights, Spaghetti Dinner Nights, Parent Night Outs, and more! This is a great opportunity to meet parents in our Stepping Stones Preschool community. 


At the arboretum

Stepping Stones is blessed by it's close proximity to Golden Gate Park. Every day (as long as the weather co-operates) the children walk to the arboretum and enjoy outside time in this natural setting. 


At the Garden for the Environment

Our preschool is also nearby a community garden and the children get to an active part of the garden. It is located on 7th Avenue between Kirkham Street and Lawton Street. 


Movie Night

A few times a year, Stepping Stones hosts an after-school Movie Night. Everyone gathers for a pizza party, followed by a movie, and, of course, popcorn!

New Parent Information

Welcome to Stepping Stones Preschool! We all remember the first days of school and many of us remember being slightly confused about this or that detail of the school routine. We hope this resource helps you feel a little more oriented to your child's day at school! Also, don't forget to check out the other site resources including the Frequently Asked Questions for New Parents and the Calendar.


Daily Schedule

Note, for the youngest group (Yellow Class), the schedule is modified slightly. This class eats their morning snack at 9:15am, leaves for the park around 9:45 AM, and has Circle Time and Project Time when they return from the park around 11 AM.


7:00-9:15 Free Play, Arts & Crafts Early arrivals are greeted in the big classroom. As more kids arrive, the group splits into two. One group plays on the indoor playground, and the other stays in the big classroom. In the classroom the kids are often led through games or dances. Then the two groups switch spots.


9:10-9:30 AM Morning Snack A typical snack might contain muffins, crackers, dried fruit, yogurt or applesauce. The weekly menu is posted on the fridge.


9:45-10:00 AM Circle Time The kids are divided into their age-based classes, and go to their respective classrooms. Classroom time begins with circle time, where the kids sing songs, learn rhymes and read books that focus on core preschool skills (letters, numbers, counting, shapes, colors, etc.) as well as on the monthly theme.


10:00-10:30 AM Activity Time During activity time the kids work at tables on small projects with their peers and guided by a teacher.


10:45 AM-11:45 PM Outside Time at Golden Gate Park This seems to be everybody's favorite time of the day. The kids walk to the Botanical Garden, Shakespeare Garden, Baseball Field, or the Garden for the Environment.


11:45-12:45 PM Lunch Time Except on Thursdays, the kids return to school for lunch. All the kids eat together at the tables in the main room. Teachers will heat up appropriate items and deliver them to the kids at the table. Anything that your child does not eat will be sent back home in their lunch box. Please do NOT pack nut items in their lunches. We are a nut-free preschool to protect the children with severe allergies.


1:00-3:00 PM Nap/Rest Time


3:00-3:15 PM Wake Up, Quiet Table Activities

* The kids wake up from their nap and are directed towards quieter, table-based activities until the whole group is awake and ready for snack time.


3:15-3:30 PM Snack

* Afternoon snack might include fruit, vegetables, pasta, bagels, etc. The menu is posted on the fridge.


3:30-5:45 PM Free Play, Storytime

* Once again the kids split into their groups. In the big classroom, the kids may be led through games or dances, sit down to read a story, or sit at the tables for a simple art activity like coloring. After about a half an hour, the groups switch places. The children get to participate in the scheduled afternoon activities listed below.


Weekly Schedule

In the afternoons, an afternoon teacher comes in for a different activity each day. 


Monday

Monday afternoons the children participate in a Music Class with Mr. Rado. 


Tuesday

Tuesday afternoons the children participate in Fitness Class with Miss Jenny. They learn about spatial awareness and learn about what the different parts of their bodies can do (tumbling).   


Wednesday

Wednesdays are bookshare days. The kids always like a new story - please bring in a favorite to share. Wednesday afternoons the children have Science Class with Miss Nahid. The children have opportunities to use their observation skills and their prediction skills to find out about things in nature and in their bodies that they are already naturally curious about.


Thursday

Thursdays are Picnic Day! On Thursdays, the kids leave early for the park - around 9:45 AM. After an extended park play session, the kids have a picnic lunch at the park, and then return to school by 12:00 PM. Please note - your child is expected to carry his/her own lunch box to the park on Thursdays (a backpack is a great idea!) and be mostly self-sufficient about eating the contents. Please keep the total weight appropriate for your child, and don't send tupperware or food items that need to be heated. Thursday afternoons the children have Spanish Class with Maestra Maggie.


Fridays

Friday afternoons the children participate in Yoga Class. Ending the week on a calming note, the children learn a little mindful awareness. 


Don't forget to pick up your child's bedding. Please bring it home for a wash over the weekend and then bring it back on Monday.


Got the drop-off blues?

The most important thing to remember is we've all been there! Starting school (or a new school) is almost always hard on both the parents and the child. As a parent you may feel sadness for your child, or even embarrassment that they are creating such a scene. Your child may act sad, or angry. Whatever it is that you're feeling - it's normal and it will pass. It's hard to provide a "magic bullet" for surviving drop-off, as the experience is so dependent on the personality of the individual child and parents. 


A few tips that may keep you sane:


It very well may get worse before it gets better It's quite common for a child to be only moderately phased their first day, a little more upset the second day, and a complete disaster the third day. It may even keep getting worse for a week or more. Eventually, it will turn around.


Try the other parent Is your child particularly clingy with one parent? If possible - try having the other parent do drop-offs for a few days.


Tips

Make sure shoes stay attached to the feet On their daily walk to the park, these tiny tots sometimes forget to look down and step on the heels of the child in front of them. Please make sure your child's shoes are resistant to these small mishaps and easy to put back on if they do fall off. Shoes with secure velcro straps are best. 


Leave appropriate outdoor clothing

The teachers trust your judgment about what your child should be wearing. If you leave a jacket on the hooks for your child - your child will wear the jacket to the park! So, if it's warm enough that you think your child would be happier without their coat - tuck it away in their cubby for the day.


Leave plenty of extra clothing

Often the younger children in this class are in the final stages of diaper-free potty training. Make sure that they have plenty of dry clothing if they need it. Extra shoes can sometimes be important too!

FAQ

Eating

Q: What should I pack for lunch on Picnic Days?

A: On Picnic Day, your child will walk to and from the San Francisco Botanical Gardens carrying their lunch. They will eat their lunch sitting cross-legged on the ground, sitting on stairs or sitting on a park bench (depending on where exactly their class goes that day). Given these logistics, the two most important things are keep it light and keep it simple. Your child must carry their own lunch, so make sure that the lunch is light enough to carry and in a bag that is easy to carry. The teachers are particularly fond of the back-pack style lunch containers. Please send your child with a beverage (juice boxes are fine). Do not send your child with food that needs to be heated or is difficult for them to eat seated on the ground.


Q: Is peanut butter allowed?

A: No - peanut butter and other nut products are not allowed at Stepping Stones, due to children with severe nut allergies. Please do not pack any nut products in your child's lunch, and also, please do bring any dishes with nuts to school potlucks. For those whose kids only like PB&J, try Soy or Sunflower Butter, which tastes similar but is made without nuts and is safe for those with nut allergies.


Sleeping

Q: What kind of bedding should I bring for nap time?

A: Your child will sleep on a little blue cot that looks like this. They can use any kind of blanket or pillow that they find comfortable. Please write their name on their pillow - these are always difficult to tell apart! Many of the children have light sleeping bags, or nap mats like this, but any blanket is fine.  

Toiletries

Q: My child seems to be wearing different clothes than when I dropped them off - where are the dirty ones?

A: Wet or dirty clothes will appear in a ziplock bag in your child's cubby.


Q: How do I know when my child needs more diapers and/or extra clothes?

A:Teachers appreciate it if you keep an eye on the supply stored in their cubbies. But if it gets too low, they will leave you a reminder in your mailbox.


Q: What happens to the books we bring on Book Share days?

A: These books are read to the children, either during circle time in their classroom, or doing one of the twice-daily all-school story times. You are welcome to bring in a book to share any day of the week.


Special Events

Q: How can I sign up to volunteer at a special event? 

A: Sign up when the sheet is put out in the parent area.   


Q: What happens on Potluck Days?

A: Over the course of the year, the school hosts around six potluck lunches. Parents are invited to attend the potluck lunch and/or contribute an item to the menu. A few days before the lunch, the school will put out a sign-up sheet for food contributions. The school suggests a menu, and parents sign-up for a particular dish. The school asks that each parent try to attend at least one potluck lunch per year. Potlucks are typically held in celebration of Halloween, the December Holidays, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter / Passover and Father's Day. At the potluck, the parents help serve the food to the kids, then sit down and enjoy some lunch themselves! Parents are also asked to volunteer to help clean up.


Q: Should I pack my child a lunch on Potluck Day?

A: Unsurprisingly, the menus for Potluck Days are pretty kid friendly. However, if your child is a particularly picky eater, you are welcome to pack them their own lunch.


Q: What holidays does the school celebrate in December?

A: In keeping with our multicultural city, the Stepping Stones students are a diverse, multicultural bunch. Stepping Stones aims to be inclusive of all cultures and traditions. In December, the school celebrates Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. The children learn about each tradition during classroom time. If your family celebrates something else in December, the school is happy to incorporate this into their curriculum. Before the December break, the school hosts a Holiday Potluck lunch.


Q: I came to school for a potluck / field trip and my child was whiny and horrible! Are they always like this?

A: Invariably, the answer is NO! But, for some reason, they all seem to behave more than a little oddly at school when Mommy or Daddy is around. Some have even been known to refuse to eat their own birthday cupcakes! This behavior will likely subside once you've made an appearance at school a few times. In the meantime - take comfort - your child is not the only one who does this!

ESCRIPT

Escrip is am amazing fundraising program through which participating business partners contribute a percentage of your purchases back to our school.


Escrip costs you nothing and benefits our school tremendously. You continue to do your everyday shopping, and participating merchants send our school money! Escrip partners come in two flavors : local merchant partners and online retailers. 


Local Merchant Partners

Escrip partners include many of the major grocery chains, including Safeway, Pak N Save, Molly Stones and Andronico's. To see the complete list of merchants view the downloadable flyer. The amount contributed to our school depends on how much you spend in a month. Safeway, Andronico's and Pak N Save all follow the following structure: 

1% Monthly Purchases Between $0-$300

2% Monthly Purchases Between $301-$500

3% Monthly Purchases Between $501-$600 Plus

4% Monthly Purchases Above $600


To enable contributions from local merchants you need to register your grocery loyalty cards (e.g. Safeway card) and credit cards with Escrip. Then, you just do your normal shopping and Escrip sends the contributions directly to our school. 


Online Partners

Escrip is also partnered with many of the major online retailers such as Amazon, Pottery Barn, Borders and Dell. Contributions from online retailers are generally much more generous than those from local merchants. With online retailers you earn up to 6% of your purchase. 


To enable contributions from online retailers you need to register your credit cards with Escrip and enter their sites through special links on the Escrip site. I know, this part is a little harder to remember to do, but if you're shopping online, try to start here and our school will reap the benefits! "Special links" to a few popular online retailers are also included in the right-hand sidebar of this page. If you have a favorite online retailer that you would like added to this list, we're more than happy to do so. 


How to Get Started

Visit eScrip.com and click on Sign Up - It's Free. Our Group ID is 500020950. On completion of the registration process make sure that you set a password so that you can check back and watch your contributions grow! 


Make sure that you register all credit cards and grocery loyalty cards for you and your spouse. You may register all cards under a single Escrip account. You are more than welcome to register cards for local grandparents as well!


If You're Already Signed Up

If you are already signed up, please take a moment to review your account and verify that:

  • All credit card numbers are still valid
  • You have registered all cards for both you and your spouse

To do this: 

  1. Visit Escrip.com
  2. Near the top left, click on members / supporters
  3. In the email address field, fill in your email address and click Enter. Note you ONLY need to put in your email address, not your phone number or credit card number. 
  4. Click my eScrip towards the top right
  5. The Supporter ID should now be pre-filled, enter your password to continue
  6. In the What can I do in my eScrip? menu click Register credit and debit cards and/or Register grocery/community cards.

Shopping Online? 

Amazon gives back to our preschool. Show now using our Amazon Smile link.


If you shop at any of the retailers below - please sign-up for eScrip and then start your shopping from these links! 


For a full list of links - visit the eScrip online mall.