7380 Girard Avenue, La Jolla

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Early Childhood (Ages 2-4)

Early Childhood at Gillispie is comprised of our Preschool and Prekindergarten programs for children ages 2-4.

Young children are capable and natural learners, and our purpose as a school is to facilitate their social, academic, and creative development as they explore their world. We do so by:

Embracing an emergent curriculum. Teachers spend much time observing, questioning, and listening to the children, and frame many activities around their combined interests and knowledge.

Understanding that play is a critical part of learning in the life of a young child, and that it provides a wonderful medium by which children socialize and learn to take healthy risks. We aspire to have an accepting and loving environment that allows children to learn using their senses and whole bodies.

Recognizing that success in school and life requires the acquisition of basic skills and knowledge. Rather than rote memorization and drill, we offer experiences that will develop flexible rather than fixed mindsets in finding solutions, and encourage children to work through challenges.

We believe that children should enter elementary school with confidence about what they already know and can do, and excitement about what is to come.


Our preschool program is based on social-constructivist beliefs that play-based socialization supports children in constructing their own knowledge. We view the child as the protagonist of their own learning, and through projects, teachers support children’s curiosities, questions, and theories. This focus on children’s unique ideas empowers them on their life-long journey to become self-motivated problem solvers. Throughout the day children have long blocks of time for discovery and investigation, as well as providing time for weekly specialties such as music, P.E., and library.


In our prekindergarten program, we believe that children are the protagonists of their own educational journeys, and are given freedom to construct learning and deepen their understanding through authentic experiences. These experiences lead to project work that emerges from student interests. During projects, children utilize mathematical thinking, oral language, reading, writing, and science to research and find answers to their questions and theories. The prekindergarten program is full-day (8:30-3:00). This allows children long blocks of time for discovery and investigation, as well as providing time for weekly specialties including music, P.E., and library.

Early Childhood at a glance

Educational Philosophy:
Reggio/Social-constructivist inspired

Class Sizes:
8:1 or lower ratio

3 or 5 half or full-day program (Prek is 5 full days)

8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (half-day) 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (full-day)

Extended Care (optional):
3:30-5:30 p.m.

$991-$2,018 per month

*Learn more about affording a Gillispie education through financial assistance.

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