Our History

Calvary Nursery School was created in 1954 when a group of parents from Calvary Presbyterian Church decided that a preschool would greatly serve their community of growing families and young children. From those humble beginnings in the church basement, with only one small class, Calvary has grown into a large, well-respected program where generations of San Franciscans have received exceptional preschool education.

​The school maintains close ties to the church, though it is now an independent non-profit, operating adjacent to the church sanctuary, with classrooms on both the 1st and 3rd floor of the historic church building.

School Philosophy

Through the process of exploration, our hope is to guide children in making meaningful connections as they investigate their environment and the people around them. This is why we honor child-initiated play as a major tenet of our program.

Each day, children have a block of uninterrupted time to pursue what appeals them – whether it’s an intricate block structure, a play-doh creature, or an abstract painting at the easel. We balance this with age-appropriate introductions to skill development, such as name-writing and counting, all offered to the children in playful, child-centered ways. We aim to help foster a love of learning in children and a true zest for inquiry and curiosity.

Above all else, we honor each individual child and his or her strengths. We cultivate a climate of respect and warmth, where a child can build lasting relationships with other children and teachers, and find out what it means to be an important part of the group. This focus on social and emotional development, fostering good will, and general esteem for others is at the core of the Calvary program.