FAQs about Alta Vista School
project-based learning? an experiential curriculum?
experiential learning is rooted in a hands-on, dynamic learning process. Students participate in a variety of engaging activities that allow them to explore ideas and concepts in action. At Alta Vista, students are
not “told” – they “do.” They
learn how to think critically and creatively. Our goal is to teach students to explore the world around them independently and to
apply concepts to multiple situations. They thereby learn how to solve problems, not
just recite answers.
Alta Vista a “community school”?
For us, being
a community school represents our overall philosophy and commitments. To start, we believe in developing a
strong sense of school community for our students and their families. But it is important that we go beyond that. We are also a school that wants to
reflect and be an active participant in our vibrant San Francisco
community. Our school takes
advantage of the City’s extensive and diverse resources as an extension of our classrooms
through Alta Vista Adventures. Community service is also an integral part of our curriculum.
What is "Junior Kindergarten" at Alta Vista?
curriculum sounds very academic. My child has been in a play-based preschool.
Does that mean s/he wouldn't be ready for Alta Vista?
Vista, we enroll and place students based on developmental age, not calendar
age. Junior Kindergarten (sometimes-called “transitional kindergarten”) is for school-ready, but
developmentally younger students.
Our Junior Kindergarten program is very similar to the Kindergarten
program, with a similar academic focus and goals, but with an even smaller class size and an approach more
closely aligned with the students’ developmental age. Because each child has his/her own learning curve, our
faculty teams with parents in assessing where the child is at the end of Junior
Kindergarten. Some children are
ready to move directly to First Grade, while others will thrive in Kindergarten
the following year.
Vista is an academically focused school, our experiential, project-based
approach keeps students active and involved in the process of learning and allows
them to develop at their own individualized level and pace. We integrate play into our own
curriculum and are fans of play-based preschools, which allow children to focus
on socialization and the gross and fine motor development that they will use in
Junior Kindergarten/Kindergarten school activities.
What is the homework philosophy at Alta Vista?
I see that many of your faculty members are Spanish-speaking. How is Spanish integrated into the curriculum at Alta Vista?
We view homework as a way to connect school and home. Like our curriculum, our homework is activity-based, not worksheets. For example, playing a math-skills card game together, finding objects that start with a certain letter or sound, or interviewing a family member on a particular topic. Our innovative teacher-developed curriculum and integrated homework assignments are posted weekly on our website under "This Week at Alta Vista." Check it out!
Vista have an active parents group?
Alta Vista is not an immersion school nor do we approach foreign language as an academic subject in the lower grades. Instead, our philosophy is to introduce a second language, Spanish, in the lower grades as something interesting and fun. We present it in a very natural setting – play. Over 80% of our faculty is fluent in Spanish, and we speak in Spanish during transitions and at snack, lunch and recess. In Kindergarten, as the year evolves and the students become more acclimated to school, a Spanish vocabulary and oral language component is gradually introduced reflecting our class lessons. In first grade, Spanish starts to be used as a natural part of everyday school activities early on.
We are proud
that Alta Vista is a school of families, for families. Our parents are very
active in creating and participating in our school community. One of the tenets of our school is that
every family has something valuable to add to our community. Alta Vista wants and values the ideas, contributions and
participation of all of its families. That comes in many different
forms. We do not mandate
participation. Families become as
involved as they like, or as their time permits.
diverse is Alta Vista?
School is committed to developing a school community as diverse as the San
Francisco community it serves.
Creating an environment that is accepting of and welcoming to a variety
of views and backgrounds is important to us. You can see that abundantly in the curriculum developed by our faculty, from social studies and art projects to ball games from other countries and cultures. We are
proud to have a vibrant community welcoming to a diversity of backgrounds, including ethnicity, sexual orientation, race, and socio-economics. Many of our families are multicultural and multilingual, and some of our families/parents originate outside of the United States, including from Denmark, Ghana, Germany, Mexico, England, Italy and Guatemala.
the growth plan for Alta Vista?
Our plan is
to grow a full lower school and then add a middle school. For
2012-13, we offer Jr. Kindergarten, Kindergarten, First, Second and Third Grades. Thereafter, we will add
one grade per year, building to Jr K through Eighth Grade. We have secured a new bridge location on Somerset which we will begin to occupy in Fall 2012, and the process already is underway for securing our permanent home to accommodate the fully grown school in the future.
very interested in Alta Vista School, but would need financial aid. What
tuition assistance is available?
Can I see
Alta Vista in session?
School is committed to building a community of families who share common
values, irrespective of financial means. As part of that vision, the
school reserves a significant portion of its operational budget to support
need-based financial assistance. We strongly encourage families who may need assistance to apply.
Absolutely! We truly enjoy showing our school in action and welcoming families to experience Alta Vista "hands on".
Please call or email us to schedule a convenient time for a visit.
a progressive learning environment
an emphasis on science, math and technology
Alta Vista School | firstname.lastname@example.org | Telephone: 415/467.3700