The Laura Vicuña Pre-Kindergarten was established in 1987 to inspire an early love of learning and to prepare students for their further education at Saints Peter and Paul School. We are a state-licensed, Catholic, nonprofit program. We have a capacity for twenty-five students and adult- to- student ratio of 1–6 or 1–8. We’re located on Washington Square in historic North Beach, just minutes from both bridges and walking distance to the Financial District. With few exceptions, the Pre-K follows the yearly calendar of Saints Peter and Paul school, beginning in September and ending in early June. Our hours are 8am to 3pm Monday through Thursday and 8am to 1:20pm on Friday. After-school care until 530pm may be provided based upon demand. We also refer parents to other neighborhood after-care options.
The Pre-K is named for Blessed Laura Vicuna of Chile. Devoted to her Catholic faith, Laura was a student of The Salesian Sisters of Saint John Bosco. The Salesian Sisters and Priests presently assist at Sts. Peter and Paul School and Parish. We follow the educational system of Saint John Bosco, which is based on reason, religion, and loving kindness.
OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH SAINTS PETER AND PAUL SCHOOL
Because the Laura Vicuña Pre-Kindergarten is a feeder program for Saints Peter and Paul School, admission priority is given to those with siblings enrolled there and also to those intending to continue their education at the school. Our affiliation with SSPP includes parent participation in our annual Columbus Day Bazaar and Spring Fundraiser as well as student participation in the annual Christmas show. Extracurricular activities, such as the school’s dance program, are also available to the Pre-K students. In the fall, the students are paired with 8th grade partners and activities are planned with them on a regular basis throughout the year.
Barbara Simons, director and co-founder of the Laura Vicuña Pre-Kindergarten, holds a master’s degree in elementary education and environmental education from Southern Connecticut University. Prior to co-founding the pre-kindergarten, she taught elementary school for ten years including two years as a reading resource teacher. She has been part of Sts. Peter and Paul School and Church family since 1984.
To hear Barbara speak about The Pre-K program, click here.
Diana Phung, a full-time teacher, has been with the Pre-K since 2006. Ms. Phung came to us with previous experience at The Hamlin School. She is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz. The Pre-Kindergarteners respond well to Ms. Phung’s nurturing and patient demeanor.
Abby Herget, art teacher, started her work in the Pre-K in 2001. Textile designer, graphic designer, and art director are all part of Ms. Herget’s creative background. She is a masterful puppeteer and parade organizer. Her original and imaginative art projects reinforce our weekly themes and are an essential and significant part of the Pre-K program.
Natalia Tiches, a teacher since 2008, is a vivacious, energetic presence in the classroom and our in-house yoga instructor. A credentialed teacher, Ms.Tiches previously taught kindergarten for the SFUSD.
Frances Emmons, teaching assistant, was our after school care director for several years. In 2010, she returned to work in the classroom full time. Ms. Frances is encouraging with the children and does an excellent job leading small group projects.
Cindy Choi, a student in Barbara Simons’ first Pre-K class in 1987, has been a part-time teaching assistant since 2003. Cindy was a part of Gallileo High School’s Community Access Transition Program and is continuing her studies at City College in San Francisco. She provides important support for our teaching staff and our students.
Jessyca Ng, a Pre-K and SSPP alumni is currently completing her early childhood education degree at SFSU. Jessyca is our dedicated after school care teacher and often assists us when needed during our school day. We are very fortunate to have her as part of our staff.