About : History


Early Days in 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.

First Kindergarten Placements

By 2004, Cow Hollow School included children ready to transition to kindergarten and made its first kindergarten placements. The graduating class of nine children were accepted at the top independent elementary schools in San Francisco including Katherine Delmar Burke School, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Town School for Boys, Stuart Hall for Boys, San Francisco Day School, St. Vincent de Paul, Notre Dame de Victoires, and Presidio Hill School. Since then, we have had several years of successful kindergarten placements in public and private schools throughout the Bay Area, and have many more top independent schools to add to our list, including Cathedral School for Boys, French American School, Mt. Tamalpais School, San Francisco Friends School, Marin Country Day School, Marin Primary and Middle School, Alta Vista Elementary School, San Francisco Brightworks School, Alvarado Elementary School, Alamo Elementary School, Sherman Elementary School, Grattan Elementary School, Children’s Day School, and Hamlin School.

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 it’s walls. ​In 2006 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 ma​k​e 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​. Even more importantly, the new location also made possible our goal that ​the student population of Cow Hollow School​ ​reflect the diverse population of our wonderful city.