Noe Valley Voice May 2012

Big Fun at Small Summer Camp

Noe Valley Nursery School Enjoying Its Clubhouse

By Heather World


Children from Noe Valley Nursery School—(front to rear) Toby Chandriani, Dante Jared De Leone, Jaguar Share, Mathilda Clemons, Elina Asensio, Christopher Tawadrous, and Tom Hammond—explore plant and wildlife in Glen Canyon during an April nature walk with teacher Susan Edwards.    Photo by Karin Asensio

The Noe Valley Nursery School will offer six weeklong camps for preschool children this summer, a first for the 43-year-old parent co-op, now located at Christopher Playground in Diamond Heights.

“We’re delighted to be offering a summer camp for an age group that is often hard to find things for in June and July,” said parent Molly McCall.

Children 31/2 years to those entering kindergarten next fall can attend one or all six sessions, which run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and start June 4. All camps will include daily outings to Glen Canyon, a community garden, and the playground, but each week will have a different theme.

For the first week, children will explore science through magnetism, simple machines, and natural elements. Next comes an arts-focused week, promising full-body contact with paint and canvas. The children take to the stage the week of June 18, creating their own plays and props. For the final week in June, the camp will focus on math using games and art. After a three-week hiatus, the camps run for two more weeks starting July 23, when the theme will be art and nature.

Director Susan Edwards said the school’s new woodsy location made summer camp possible. The co-op left its original home in the Noe Valley Ministry a year and a half ago, ahead of the church’s planned remodel. Now the school occupies the Christopher Clubhouse in the park at 5210 Diamond Heights Boulevard, and they can use the building year-round, she said.

The benefits of the new location go further than that, Edwards said. “We have a garden, we have a playground, we have the field and the canyon,” she said. “And we have the shopping center.”

More than just a place to park, the shopping center has been the source of many rainy-day field trips, Edwards said. The children visit the bank, the post office, the veterinarian’s office, and the dry cleaner. “The people in the shopping center have embraced the children so much,” Edwards said. “It’s a very nice community.”

During the year, the co-op is run by about 30 families. In the fall of 2010, their move to the clubhouse necessitated a grant from the city for renovation.

“That’s what helped us be able to make adjustments to the building,” Edwards said. The school now has a fenced-in play yard and an upgraded interior that meets city code.

The summer camp is not being run as a co-op, though. Instead, Edwards and Patrick Romero will be the teachers. Both have experience with camps, Edwards with her own Explorer’s Club.

The teacher-to-child ratio will be one to five, so much of the experimenting, exploring, and learning will be done in small groups, Edwards said. There are 15 slots per session, and about five slots remain in each.

Each week costs $250, and there are discounts available for children attending more than one session. To register or for more information, visit