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Home | Preschool Profile: Ross Valley Nursery School in Kentfield

Preschool Profile: Ross Valley Nursery School in Kentfield

Preschoolers playing at Ross Valley Nursery School

Established in Ross in 1951 and at its current Kentfield location since 1968, Ross Valley Nursery School (RVNS) offers preschool and pre-kindergarten classes for three-, four-, and five-year-olds. Taught by devoted and experienced teachers, children at RVNS develop positive self-esteem; grow in independence and confidence; learn to give, take turns, and get along with others; experience success; and develop self-control, all in a traditional play-based environment. You can learn more about the school and its programs at

Please describe your school's educational philosophy. What’s it all about?

Ross Valley Nursery School is a traditional play-based nursery school where children have the freedom to gleefully enjoy childhood. We foster an environment in which children develop positive self-esteem, develop independence and confidence, learn to give and take turns and how to make friends, experience success and develop self-control. Our school emphasizes building confidence, dramatic play, creative expression, intellectual development, group relationships, growth of physical abilities and most importantly, social and emotional development. Children learn, grow and explore at their own pace, while benefitting from the group experience in an environment created specifically for young children.

What does a typical day at your school look like?

The children come to school at 8:30 am (or 1 pm for our Pre-K) and are provided with a variety of activities of their choice. Some children like to be busy as soon as they walk through the doors and some need a little more time to adjust and choose a quiet activity to transition into the day. They engage in a variety of activities including art, cooking, science and block building that provide many opportunities for social-emotional development. During outside time in our wonderful playground, children can ride a tricycle, dig in the sand, ride the tire swing, slide and climb on the play structure, engage in dramatic play in the outdoor kitchen and participate in simple carpentry projects, paint the fence, build volcanoes and in the spring, pick fruit from the blueberry plants.

Preschoolers involved in activities at Ross Valley Nursery School

What programs does your school offer?

Our school offers three different programs, specified by age:  three year olds (Juniors) on Tuesday and Thursday 8:30-11:45am. Four year olds (Seniors) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8:30-12:00pm.  Five year olds (Pre-K) Monday thru Thursday 1:00-4:15pm.  Each program is designed to meet the special needs of the specific age group while allowing for individual differences.  

  • Juniors: For many children, the Junior program is their initial nursery school experience so teachers actively provide needed reassurance to make the adjustment from home to school.  The children gain satisfaction in their growth and development by mastering skills such as pouring, pasting, using the potty, playing with a friend and climbing on equipment. There is beginning exploration of art and tactile materials, block building, dramatic play and fine motor activities. In addition, books and stories are used to encourage listening and speaking and there are lots of opportunities for the children to verbally express their thoughts and feelings. Our teachers offer support and encouragement in helping children to separate from their parent with confidence and adjust to new experiences.
  • Seniors: Realizing that four is an age of great exuberance and expansiveness, the Senior program meets the challenge of these active youngsters. Activity, language, imagination and group relationships are all essential program aspects. Activity abounds for these ever moving and inquisitive children. Language acquisition accelerates as teachers encourage communication and provide materials throughout all areas of the curriculum. Everything from art to blocks, to dramatic play provides opportunity for the children’s imaginations to expand. Four year olds are experiencing a year of tremendous intellectual growth, as well as feeling the need for beginning independence. This program encourages and enhances both areas while providing a stimulating curriculum in a nurturing environment
  • Pre-K: The Pre-K program provides alternating quiet and active periods beginning with quiet time in the afternoon. During this time, children work with activity-centered materials in small groups. Emphasis is placed on working independently, productively and with absorption as well as completing tasks, learning to participate cooperatively in a small group and acquiring readiness skills. The program also incorporates periods of active play, indoors and out. Our Pre-K curriculum includes learning games that help in the development of basic math and language concepts, sorting, seriation, individualized cooking with simple recipes, book-making and more complex crafts.  While the program is more structured, there is also much emphasis on democratic problem solving and group planning.

What is the process for admissions?

The minimum age for entry is two years, eight months by September 2nd in the year of entry. Children are placed on a registration list upon receipt of an enrollment application and payment of $100. Applications can be downloaded from our website at

All enrollment applications are filed in order of receipt. Priority will be given to siblings and scholarships are available. Please call for a tour.

What makes your school special?

RVNS is a magical place for children, their families and staff. Our children benefit and thrive because of our low student/teacher ratio in all three classes. Our staff is dedicated to teaching young children and their love is clearly evident upon entering our school. It is a place where children always come first, where they are nurtured and cared for in a way that allows them to take risks, where their creativity blossoms and where there is a real sense of community. It is a place where parents and children alike make long lasting friendships. Parent involvement in the school is welcomed and encouraged with activities and events, from coffees and nights out to classroom volunteering. Our annual auction and the parent run Board of Directors are also wonderful opportunities for involvement in our school community. Our loving, kind and patient teachers all bring great experience and credentials to RVNS and most have been here for many years including our director who has been here for over 30 years!