The Curious Caterpillar aims to provide a safe and nurturing environment akin to a chrysalis where our toddlers can transform into beautiful butterflies ready to spread their wings and become preschoolers who fly. We are a play based preschool guided by RIE principles. We believe that secure attachment to caregivers is central to the success of every child. We believe in positive discipline, developmentally appropriate practice, small teacher to student ratios, and educating the whole child. We believe that parents are the experts on their child, but that it truly takes a village… and we want to partner with parents to provide what each individual child needs to grow and succeed. We understand that transitions are difficult for young children and we support gentle transitions for children who may be more apprehensive of parent departures. We believe that children who feel safe and cared for will naturally explore their environment and develop the skills they need to become happy, healthy, successful people.
Our High Scope curriculum is play based and developmentally appropriate. Our learning centers provide varied experiences prompted by the environment. We incorporate American Sign Language into our communication with children to build a language bridge to speech.
Our goal is to give your child the tools needed to successfully transition to preschool at 3 years old. We focus on social and emotional development above all else. We believe that it is essential that toddlers learn how to express emotions in a healthy way and that emotional skills are the most important part of toddler development.
How to join the Curious Caterpillar community:
1. Learn about our Program
We’ve provided basic information about our philosophies and offerings on our website to help you decide if our program might be right for your family. You may also attend an Open House to see our school and learn more about our program before you apply. Please feel free to email our director and head teacher Erin Rhyne if you have questions or concerns you would like to discuss! Erin@OnePreschool.com
If you feel that our program could be a good fit for your family, please fill out an application here: www.onepreschool.com/curiouscaterpillar/apply
3. Schedule a Family Play Date
Once you have submitted an application we will contact you to schedule a Family Play Date. Please bring your child to the Family Play Date.
If we believe that your child will fit well in our program and we have a spot available to meet your needs you will receive an enrollment offer after your Family Play Date. Your deposit will hold your child’s spot in our program.
Parkmerced is one of the largest rental properties in the United States. Built in the 1940’s to accommodate the rising demand for housing during and after World War 2, it consists of 11 towers and a multitude of townhouses surrounded by green spaces. Parkmerced is surrounded by Lake Merced to the West, San Francisco State University to the North, the San Francisco Golf Club to the South and the Oceanview and Ingleside neighborhoods to the East. 750 Gonzalez is one of four apartment towers situated on the four corners of Villa Merced Park, a newly renovated green space with a brand new fenced playground, sand volleyball courts, a community garden, and other community amenities. Our toddlers will utilize this fenced playground on a daily basis. 750 Gonzalez is a newly renovated tower and our preschool is located in a newly renovated unit on the second floor of the building. Our preschool features a wall of windows that bathe our school in sunlight and allow our toddlers to feel as if they have a connection to the outdoors even when they are in the classroom.
Our classroom is divided into several learning centers that are specifically tailored to children 1 to 3 years old. Our centers address development in gross and fine motor skills, language and early literacy skills, creative arts, and social and emotional development.
Our Learning Centers
Community Rug - this center is the heart of our program where we will meet for group activities such as Stories and Songs.
Cozy Book Nook - an abundance of soft and cozy pillows, blankets, puppets and stuffed animals make this center the perfect place to snuggle up with a book or just take a break from the action. The Book Nook is stocked with a rotation of easily accessible board books.
Construction Zone - large soft blocks and a set of wooden unit blocks are the mainstays in this center, accompanied by a rotation of appropriate complementary toys.
Movement - a soft climbing structure is available at all times to our toddlers because we understand that one and two year olds NEED to be able to move their bodies whenever the mood strikes them and we want to provide a safe and appropriate way for them to do so. A variety of other movement toys will rotate into our classroom to complement our climbing structure.
Imaginative Play - the mainstays in this center are our kitchen and dolls. Our dolls are an excellent tool in supporting potty training as well as new sibling adjustment. A large variety of rotating items in this center allows toddlers to explore their emerging need for pretend play and imitation.
Community Table - this center wears many different hats. It is where we meet for family style snacks and meals. It is also the home of our manipulatives, sensory experiences, and process art.
Outdoor Play - a brand new fenced in play structure is located directly behind our building which we will use daily. We will periodically tote a variety of push/ride toys, balls, tunnels and tents, and other outdoor toys with us to play with as well.
Director and Head Teacher
Erin Rhyne is the Director and Head Teacher at The Curious Caterpillar.
She holds an Associate of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts with a concentration in Ceramics and Children’s Literature. Erin also has one year of additional education in Early Childhood Development. Erin has been working with young children since high school and loves watching very young children grow and discover the world during the magical period of early childhood.
“I have an 18 month old son and I absolutely love spending time around toddlers. I feel that they are full of life, love, and pure emotion. I have spent most of my life around young children and I think they are fascinating and immensely entertaining. My goal in life is to develop a deep understanding of young children so that I can help parents, caregivers, and teachers of young children be better. More than that, my goal is to impact the lives of individual children and families by providing the absolute best care possible. It is my goal to make every child at our preschool feel loved, cared for, and safe so that they can develop and grow.”