Article | August 20, 2021
The Community Preschool: Putting Families First
A Place for Family
Learning starts at the home. The Community Preschool at Grace Cathedral is home not just to its students, but to their families as well.
“They provide so much support, not only to the kids, but to parents and extended family members,” says Nikki, whose two children have been through the preschool; her son graduated last year and her daughter, Bea, is currently enrolled. “Everyone is welcome here, and I love that.”
Diversity is Key
Teachers take time getting to know the families and their perspective, integrating it with the values of the Preschool. A reflection of the cultural mosaic that is San Francisco, those values include diversity and the celebration of the differences that make us unique.
“[It] has really pushed me and my partner to be more intentional as parents about including diversity in our lives … and embracing other people’s backgrounds and asking questions and learning,” says Nikki. “I am really so appreciative of the preschool for pushing us in that way.”
“She’s learning another language,” says Yessy, whose daughter Alina is learning Thai from one of her classmates. “The kids bring a lot of culture,” says Jose, Alina’s father.
A Steady Rock
When the pandemic forced a pivot to online learning, The Community Preschool stayed connected to the families, checking in and providing a space to talk.
“The Community Preschool has been such a steady rock for us through it all,” says Nikki. “We have felt such deep connection and support and love from the teachers — to have that steady influence, not only for our daughter, but for our entire family.”
Now back onsite, the teachers and staff work hard to ensure every precaution is taken and the students’ health, safety and education is top priority.
“She knows about COVID,” says Jose, “and actually she’s more alert because the [preschool] teach them about that, and how to use the mask and how to social distance.”
“I can’t imagine having our daughter in school at any other place during this time,” says Nikki.
Bringing It All Back Home
The Community Preschool prepares its students not just for elementary school, but life beyond.
“The other day we saw her as the leader in front of everybody and trying to guide the other kids, and we were like, oh my God, she’s only four years old,” says Jose. “And that’s the thing, she’s teaching us, too.”
“Both of our kids just blossomed as soon as they were enrolled here,” says Nikki. “To be around other children, to be around different families, to get to know their teachers… it’s been incredible.”
Intentionally socio-economically diverse, The Community Preschool provides fully adjusted tuition to a third of its families, and a sliding scale level of tuition support to another third. The proceeds of Grace Cathedral’s 9th annual Yoga for Change benefit student financial aid, teacher training programs, hot nutritious meals and more. Gather with good intentions September 18.