What is unique about our preschool?

  • Since 1970, our preschool has provided a vibrant learning community for families in San Carlos and surrounding cities. Because parents work in the classroom once a week, the adult-to-child ratio is exceptionally high, offering children supervised activities all around the large play space. SPNS is a play-based, developmentally appropriate program that prepares children for today's kindergarten and beyond.

What is a co-op preschool?

  • A co-op is a non-profit school that is run by its membership.

  • A member-elected Board of Directors oversees the operations of the school.

Who is on the school's Board?

  • The Board is comprised of school members who are voted into committee chair roles the previous year. Positions can be held for one or two years. Participation at the board level means you do not have to log job hours or perform maintenance hours.

Hometown Days Parade

What is parent participation?

  • Parents generously offer time and energy for the benefit of their young children by participating in the school in the ways specifically outlined here.

  • A parent will spend approximately 8 to 15 hours per month participating in these school activities, the majority of which are spent in the classroom. 

  • The advantages of sharing in a child's preschool experience provides the parent with a unique opportunity to see their child in the community learning environment and is able to develop a more knowledgeable approach to their child's education.

  • We welcome grandparents, or other close relatives to participate and share in a parent's commitment in the school. Non-family caregivers can work in the classroom in lieu of the parent under certain circumstances, and with board approval. All parents and caregivers who participate in the classroom must attend orientations, parent education classes and submit all paperwork.

  • Please check the school calendar for an overview of the school's annual activities; a final version is put out at orientation. 


What is a workday?

  • A workday is a parent's regular workday in the classroom. One parent must work in the classroom once a week.

What is parent education?

  • Alongside the children, parents are also learners at SPNS.

  • Facilitated by the class teacher each week, parents meet to discuss pertinent child development topics. Our school is affiliated with Sequoia District Adult Education whose mission is to provide quality programs in which students develop the skills needed to find and retain employment, support their children in the Pre-K to 12 educational system, and contribute to vibrant and healthy communities, and we aim to support that mission.

When does the parent education meeting occur?

  • Uniquely at SPNS, parent ed primarily takes place during the day. On the classroom workday, parents stay for an additional hour of parent ed (and lunch) while their children are supervised at Lunch Bunch. For Sprouts, parents gather for a break-out group session during class time.

Besides the class orientation, SPNS holds three mandatory evening meetings per year.

Regarding the Sprouts afternoon class time -what about naps? What if a parent has an older child that needs to be picked up from school?

  • Children usually adapt quite quickly to the afternoon class. They may need a quiet, restful morning on school days in order to have the best possible experience in the afternoon. Many families have negotiated the afternoon pick-up of older children successfully by swapping pick-up with friends or neighbors. Sprouts quickly learn to look forward to school and rally their energy for play.

What is Lunch Bunch?

  • Lunch Bunch is a child's hour of lunch and playtime while the parent attends the parent meeting.

  • Lunch Bunch is supervised by a few parents who sign up to work that hour a week. 

More FAQs

Any perks for signing up as a Lunch Bunch supervisor?

  • Yes, parents who choose to work one Lunch Bunch hour a week receive a monthly discount on tuition. Only a limited number of Lunch Bunch supervisor slots are available each year and are first come, first served, sign up is at registration.

  • Supervisors are also welcome to bring other siblings for the Lunch Bunch shift.

Who provides school snacks & lunches?

  • All snacks and lunches are provided by parents.

  • Class snacks are provided by the parent assigned to kitchen duty. A standard snack consists of crackers, fruit and cheese. Kitchen duty comes around for a parent roughly every 8-12 weeks depending on the class.

  • The parent assigned to kitchen duty also provides a light lunch for the working parents which is enjoyed during parent ed. This meal often consists of a hearty salad.

  • Parents provide their own child with a lunch for Lunch Bunch.

  • We are a nut-free school and will make various accommodations for other food allergies.

What is a school job?

  • Upon registration, you will get to choose a school-wide job that suits your talents and interest. Every member is matched to a job and must complete a certain amount of hours to fulfill their co-op duties. For an outline of all family commitments, click here. You must keep track of your job hours and submit them to your supervisor or committee chair each trimester.


What is an all school cleaning/maintenance day?

  • As part of the co-op duties, a parent must help deep clean the school on one of the school's scheduled cleaning days. Parents get to pick a date from 5 choices. 

What about care for younger siblings while the parent works in the class?

  • Parents can arrange with the independent babysitter offering care on site for younger siblings on a parent's workday. The cost is approximately $170-$160 per month, depending on the hours.

What if a family wants to enroll multiple children at SPNS?

  • SPNS does not offer application, registration or tuition discounts for multiple children enrolled.

  • There are various accommodations we will make to a family's required workdays, school job hours, parent ed classes and fundraising duties. Please ask at the time of application. These accommodations will depend on the needs of the school and class, and have to be Board approved.

Does my child need to be potty trained?

  • No. Teachers and fellow parents will help children with learning to use the potty, changes of diapers and/or clothing as needed.

To register, does the school require vaccines for children and adults?

  • Yes. You can read the requirements here. You are welcome to download the document and share with your physician. As of September 1, 2016, it is required that adults working with children must also provide proof of certain vaccinations, including influenza.

When does the school year begin?

  • The calendar runs September to June. However, if the school has openings in any of the classes, enrollment is possible anytime during the school year through March. School closes down in early June, and then Summer Camps begin for the latter weeks of June and most of July. Please check the Summer School & Enrichment page for more up to date information.

How many children are enrolled at SPNS?

  • School capacity is 72 children across 4 classes.

Does SPNS have a waiting list?

  • Priority is given to returning and alumni families.

  • Registration then opens to the public at Open House, typically held the first Saturday in February.

  • If more applications are received then there are openings in a class, a waiting list is generated. 

Is SPNS affiliated with any religious organization?

  • No, SPNS leases its space and is not otherwise affiliated with the church.

How can one learn more about SPNS?

  • Call and arrange for a visit.

  • Like and follow us on Facebook.

How do I enroll?

  • Start by attending the Open House the first Saturday in February or by calling the school for a tour: (650) 593-3344.

  • You can also email us at sequoiaparentsnurseryschool@gmail.com

  • Once you have visited our school, we will send you a link to the application.

  • The admissions process is explained in further detail on the Admissions page.