ABOUT COW HOLLOW SCHOOL
Cow Hollow School a full day, full year school for children 2-5 years old, supports the belief that children learn through play, exploration and discovery within the context of nurturing and reciprocal influences of children, parents and teachers. Our curriculum is based on the constructivist philosophy in which children construct knowledge and understanding from authentic experiences—they are encouraged to explore possibilities, invent solutions, collaborate with others, and try out ideas in the context of meaningful experiences. These real-life experiences make connections that inspire and provoke, and foster inquiry and critical thinking.
We hold an image of the child, the parent, and the teacher as competent and active participants in learning and creating the culture of our school. Parents act as partners in the classroom, working alongside the teachers during the school year. Parents are given an opportunity within the low adult-child ratio to closely observe and learn from and with their children with support and guidance from experienced teachers. As a result of this unique setting, partnership and experiences, learning, teaching and parenting are enriched and transformed.
Early Days of Cow Hollow
Founded in 2000 by a group of remarkable San Francisco women, Cow Hollow School was born out of the need for a creative, play-based program for young two-year-olds. The overflowing enrollments of other local preschools with programs for young two-year-olds, and the appeal of a parent participation format for very young children, convinced the founders that there was enough need and interest in San Francisco to create a new school. After coming to an agreement with the Vestry of St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church, the Preschool was able to open for a one-year trial with 12 children. During that first year, the volunteer Board poured an enormous amount of time building a school, soup to nuts—defining and implementing a play-based program, developing a school philosophy, hiring the teaching team, working through the myriad of licensing issues, recruiting families, and raising their own families! Needless to say, it became apparent that the school had a future.
Move to the Presidio
In 2004, in order to actualize and make evident our belief in children as active participating members of a rich and diverse society, we started our search for a space that would reflect this within and outside of its walls. In 2005 we moved into a beautiful historic building in the Presidio. Our first location was small and only could house one class of children at a time (less than forty families total) and required that church parishioners make up a the majority of the school population. Our move to the Presidio meant that enrollment would double in size and become accessible to any and all Bay Area families.
We are excited to announce Cow Hollow School is expanding for the 2023/2024 school year. and will have openings in all classes.
2-3 year-old classes (age 2 by August 1)
3-4 year-old classes (age 3 by August 1)
4-5-year old classes (age 4 by August 1)
After our move to 387 Moraga (projected to be in Spring 2023), Cow Hollow School will be open from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM for all ages. Children may be dropped off at 8:00 AM and stay till 6:00 PM. Core programming will be between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM.
Baby Talk is a parent and baby 1 hour per week program which takes place in the summer. Baby Talk is designed to bring visibility to the subtle and copious ways babies communicate with the world around them and help parents take notice of the nuances of how their child communicates. Each week will have a topic for discussion and accompanying handout with resources. For any questions, please email [email protected]
Tuition for the 2023/2024 School-Year will be posted in early 2023. All ages will be full day and full year. Tuition will be the same across all classes.
Cow Hollow School uses the services of FACTS Tuition Management Company to offer different payment options. We offer three payment options: 1) pay in full, 2) semi annually or 3) nine payments. All initial tuition payments are due at the start of July. At the time of enrollment, a non-refundable deposit is due (which is credited towards your tuition) along with the signed membership agreement. Your enrollment spot is secured once both are received and processed.
Community Fund Program
Cow Hollow School is committed to honoring economic diversity and is dedicated to making our school accessible to all families. Through The Community Tuition Fund, our robust tuition assistance program, we are able to provide financial assistance to a broad range of families. – see our data on diversity and demographics. It is our goal that Cow Hollow School be accessible to any and all Bay Area families interested in applying and it is our hope that families will apply to Cow Hollow School regardless of financial circumstances.
For more information about the Community Fund application process, see the Admissions page.
Cow Hollow School thrives using a combination of professional educators and parent participation. Our strong administrative leadership determines, alongside the extremely qualified faculty (many holding graduate degrees in early childhood education) the curriculum of the school and oversees admissions and operations. Each family at Cow Hollow School shares talents, skills and enthusiasm in many ways—teaching in the classroom, helping with school activities, serving on committees, coordinating fund raising events, and so much more.
Darcy Campbell, ExecutiveDirector
Darcy has been directing at Cow Hollow School since 2002. Darcy has over 30 years of experience working with teachers, families and children in the Bay Area. She has more than 25 years of Site Administration experience and has taught and learned from children three months to twelve years old. She teaches early childhood and elementary education courses at San Francisco State University and conducts early childhood training and consultations with families, schools, and educational organizations throughout the Bay Area. She is a strong advocate for children and specializes in reflective, responsive, collaborative teaching and parenting practices. Darcy is the founder of The COLLABORATORY, a parent and teacher workshop series and the co-founder of REAL PARENTING, a workshop and coaching practice for parents. Darcy holds a graduate degree in early childhood development.
Trevor Valentino, Chief Operating Officer
Trevor started teaching at Cow Hollow School since 2007 and moved into an administrative role in 2017. Trevor received his B.A. in African American Studies and English at the University of California, Berkeley. He later received an M.A. in early child education from San Francisco State University where he wrote about his collaborative experience with teachers in Kenya. He comes from a strong constructivist perspective which endorses an emergent curriculum, child-centered approach to education. He is interested in inclusive early childhood programs and the effects such programs have on children’s social consciousness development. Trevor is also the Summer Program Coordinator which he has helped run for the last several years.
Leslie Norris, Office Administrator and Director of Admissions
Leslie joined the Cow Hollow School community in 2004 as a parent. Since then, two of her children have graduated from Cow Hollow School with one interning during the CHS Summer Program. Leslie has served on the Parent Association and Cow Hollow School Board as Director of Community Enrichment and Visibility. Leslie began working as the school office administrator and admissions director in 2009. She received her Masters in Early Childhood Education and California Teaching credential from Mills College.
Melissa Rivers, Curriculum Coordinator ([email protected])
Melissa has been teaching at Cow Hollow School since 2008. She has been an early childhood educator for over 17 years. Melissa has worked with children ranging in ages from 6 months to 6 years old as well as with intern teachers and alongside parents in the classroom. She received her BA in Child Development from Sacramento State University and her MA in Education with a focus on Early Childhood Education from San Francisco State University. Melissa has experience conducting workshops for educators and parents with organizations including CAEYC and The Innovative Teacher Project. Melissa is a dedicated advocate for forming strong partnerships with parents and families of young children. In 2022, she moved out of the classroom and became the Curriculum Coordinator for the school. She works closely with all the teachers and supports them in developing and implementing high quality inquiry based curriculum that integrates our school values and guiding principles.
Christina Chin ([email protected])
Christina joined Cow Hollow School in 2021. Christina was born and raised in San Francisco and graduated from San Francisco State University with Bachelors in Child and Adolescent Development. Last year, after many years of teaching and wanting to earn her Masters, she decided to go back to school. She is currently in her second year in the online MA Early Childhood Education Program at the University of Colorado, Denver. As an early childhood educator, Christina sees the importance of supporting the children in developing their social-emotional skills and confidence to know they are capable and competent. She really enjoys listening to the children and asking them questions to provoke their thoughts to see where their ideas lead to support them in loving to learn. She enjoyed her first school year at CHS and looks forward to another exciting year.
Cece Del Rio ([email protected])
Cece began working at Cow Hollow in 2022. She is so grateful to be a member of the Cow Hollow community! Her love for teaching began when she started volunteering at a Child Care Center in 2016 and she has been a preschool teacher ever since. Cece grew up in San Diego and moved to San Francisco for college. She loved the city so much she decided to stay after getting her degree. Cece has a B.A in Psychology with a minor in Counseling and an A.A in Child Development as well as a Early Childhood Education Site Supervisor Permit. Cece is passionate about children’s social and emotional development and supports an environment that is welcoming and inclusive for all. Cece is fluent in English and Spanish. During her free time, she loves to dance, roller skate and spend time with her family and cat! She loves working on messy projects and being out in nature.
Sam Estrada ([email protected])
Sam joined Cow Hollow in October 2020. She graduated from San Francisco State University in 2019 with a Bachelor’s in Child and Adolescent Development. In the midst of her studies two recurring questions would pop up: “Why do I want to work with children? What draws me to this field?” It was these key questions that required her to reflect on her time in the field, studies, and deep within. Sam’s answers rarely varied. They were always embedded with love and understanding– the two driving forces that push her to work with youth . Sam is interested in children’s self-development, self-awareness, and self-identity. In every situation, lesson, or moment that she finds herself engaged with children, she strives to support them through love and understanding, the two pillars that guide her work with youth. Sam is currently pursuing a degree in Psychology and next year hopes to obtain a MA in School Counseling. She has worked with children of all ages through employment and various volunteer programs, such as the San Francisco Education Fund’s mentor program and Mission Graduates.
Cassie Fennel ([email protected])
Cassie joined Cow Hollow School in 2022. She began working with children when she was a teenager and her passion for working with the early childhood age group has only grown! Cassie has always been interested in how the mind of a young child works and how to enhance their curiosity of the world. Cassie’s education has focused on early childhood education with an emphasis on social and behavioral psychology. She graduated from CSU Long Beach with a BA in Human Development and a minor in Child and Family Studies. While in college she worked at a Reggio Emilia inspired school where she was able to practice her naturalistic and learner-centered teaching style. Cassie has also worked as a Registered Behavioral Technician supporting children with behavioral challenges to reach their goals. In the ABA field she taught children to use effective coping skills and mindfulness to benefit their everyday life. She believes the best teaching approach comes from love, understanding, and patience.
Cindy Grynkiewicz ([email protected])
Cindy began teaching at Cow Hollow School in May 2021 and moved from Dallas to the Bay Area in Spring 2021. Cindy is an auntie to three little ones in Dallas. She earned her B.S. in Elementary Education with a concentration in Middle School Mathematics from the University of Delaware. Cindy has worked with children from ages 1-13 for eight years. Cindy looks forward to continuing to deepen her relationships within the CHS community. Cindy is particularly excited to build children’s confidence through love, guidance, and play!
Emily Kish ([email protected])
Emily joined Cow Hollow School in 2022. She earned a BA in Early Childhood Studies with a concentration in Education from Sonoma State University. Emily’s career in the field of early education brought her from Sonoma to the city of San Francisco. Her intention is to work alongside the children, connect to their relationship with natural materials while integrating concepts of mindfulness in teaching. Emily looks forward to making connections with the children, their interests, and families.
Jamie Kelty, Teaching Artist ([email protected])
Jamie has been with Cow Hollow School since 2012 and has enjoyed the privilege of sharing art experiences with children since 1992. She works also as an assemblage/collage painter with a variety of mediums which translates well into exploring a multitude of materials with children. She received her B.F.A. in painting and her K-12 art teaching certificate from Fort Hays State University in Kansas. Jamie taught art in schools in Kansas, Missouri, and New York City. She worked at the The Children’s Museum of the Arts in New York teaching in public programs and in schools, creating programming, and managing the Fine Arts Studio teaching artists. Jamie regularly presents studio workshops for parents and educators through The COLLABORATORY at Cow Hollow School and The Innovative Teacher Project in San Francisco.
Natalie Kleefeld ([email protected])
Tommy Lin ([email protected])
Tommy obtained his bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University focusing on Finance, and has experience working in the finance field. However, a conversation pivoted his view on Early Childhood Education and motivated him to shift his major to Early Childhood Education. Tommy obtained a masters degree in Early Childhood Education from San Francisco State University. Tommy has one year of experience working with children ranging from 1 year old to 12 years old. Tommy believes the best learning moment sparks from children’s interest. He is fluent in English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Fujianese.Tommy is also a proud parent of a 1 1/2 year old.
Sienna Nobleza ([email protected])
Sienna began teaching at Cow Hollow School in October 2020. She earned her BA in Child and Adolescent Development and her MA in Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education, both from San Francisco State University. She has been an early childhood educator for the past 6 years working with children from four months to five years old. Sienna is eager to create strong relationships with children and their families, form connections with colleagues, and is motivated to grow in her passion for this field. She is an advocate for social-emotional development, honors the curiosity of young children, and strives to promote inclusivity wherever and whenever she can. Sienna enjoys witnessing children making their own discoveries and is grateful to be a guide to them in their ever changing environment.
Raquel Petty ([email protected])
Raquel began teaching at Cow Hollow School in July 2021. She received her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education and B.S. in Psychology from the University of Utah. She has worked in the educational setting with various age groups for 8 years. Raquel is an advocate for inclusive early childhood programs as they provide students of all abilities the opportunity to learn together, build friendships, improve social-emotional skills, and acceptance of others. She is passionate about understanding how early experiences, beginning at birth, will shape cognitive, social-emotional, language, and motor development and what we as educators and caregivers can do to promote healthy development in young children.
Simone Radliff ([email protected])
Simone began working at Cow Hollow School in 2021. Simone is honored to be a member of the Cow Hollow community. She comes from a family of educators and spent her childhood “playing school.” This childhood obsession quickly turned into a lifelong passion when she came to the Bay Area to study Political Science at San Francisco State University. There she worked on various research projects in conjunction with the Early Childhood Education Department and Head Start Program that motivated Simone to become an educator and advocate for young children. She strives to create a warm and inspiring environment where all children are empowered to create their own learning, form lasting friendships, and have an impact on their world. Simone has continued her education at City College of San Francisco and enjoys attending various professional development workshops and conferences where she learns about topics ranging from arts and activism to supporting children’s play. She now has a Site Supervisor Permit from the California Department of Teacher Credentialing and plans to receive her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Educational Leadership at Mills College.
Gray Stewart ([email protected])
Gray joined Cow Hollow School in 2021. She first fell in love with early childhood education when she worked as a teaching and learning coordinator at the International Friends School, a dual-language Reggio Emilia inspired preschool, in Bellevue, Washington. She quickly became enamored with social-emotional learning, early curriculum construction, and the long-standing successful elements of Reggio Emilia philosophy. Upon leaving Washington, she began graduate school at Teachers College, Columbia University. In April of 2021, she graduated from Teachers College with an Ed.M. in School Counseling and M.A. in Psychological Counseling. Her ambition is driven by her hope that she can be an advocate for all children by generously listening to, sitting in companionship with, and holistically supporting the unique development of all students at Cow Hollow School. Her pursuit to become a teacher at Cow Hollow School is grounded in her belief that great social, emotional, and academic change can happen in the school setting and can flourish even further when partnered with the home environment.
Teaching Parents – Parents in the Cow Hollow School Community teach in their child’s classroom alongside the teachers and are an integral part of the classroom community. Families in the two’s and three’s classes are scheduled for parent participation days once per month. Families in the four/five’s classes are scheduled for parent participation days 2-3 days per semester.
Parent Association – The Parent Association is committed to developing and strengthening the family-school partnership, and building a strong community to enhance the experience of all children. All CHS parents are members of the Parents’ Association. The Parent Association is led by a dedicated Executive Committee.
Room Parents – Room Parents serve as the liaison between, and partner with, their child’s class, teachers, and Director.
Cow Hollow School is a community of families and teachers from a broad range of cultures, nationalities, family structures, languages, and economic backgrounds. We strive to be a community where each child and family is included, valued, and represented, and where each participant is actively invited to voice and contribute ideas, opinions, questions, and values.
Cow Hollow School supports the ever-growing diversity of our school population through outreach and admissions. This includes , but is not limited to: family structure, culture, race, religion, socio-economics, sexual orientation, gender, identity, and mental and social abilities. It is our goal that the children and families of our school reflect the rich diversity of the city in which we live.
Demographics of Cow Hollow School families:
As a component of knowing, making visible, and celebrating the diversity of our school population, we conduct a demographic survey of our school families on a tri-annual basis. Following is the data from our most recent survey.
2020-2021 Cow Hollow School Demographic Survey Data
- 67% Dual–Working Parent Families
- 3% Multi--Generational Caregivers
- 3% Same--Sex Parents
- 1% Adoptive Families
- 43% of families spoke a language other than English in the home
- 97% Dual-‐Parent Home
- 3% Separated and Co-‐Parenting
- 1% Single Parents
Children’s Racial Identities:
- 70% Caucasian/White
- 24% Multi-racial (see below)
- 3% South Asian/Indian
- 1% Asian
- 1% Latino/Hispanin
- 24% of families identified their children as multi-racial. Within that pool of respondents,
- 90% Caucasian/White
- 62% Asian
- 24% South Asian
- 10% African American/Black
- 5% Native American
- 5% Asian Pacific Islander
- 24% of families identified their children as multi-racial. Within that pool of respondents,