• Students playing

    More About Our Approach:

    Bright Futures Preschool is designed to meet the developmental needs of students by building supportive relationships with students, offering a rich, play-based environment, fostering a love of learning, and creating a strong home-to-school partnership.



    Social-Emotional Development

    Learning takes place when children have the opportunity to build strong relationships and to freely engage with a variety of engaging objects in their environment. Using the Teaching Pyramid Framework, staff will support students in developing friendships and friendship skills, to identify emotions, to manage big emotions, to practice coping and self-regulation skills, and to practice social problem solving and conflict resolution.

    The Classroom as “The Third Teacher” (inspired by a Reggio & Project Approach)

    According to the Reggio Emilia educational approach, the most effective learning environment is one in which the classroom itself becomes “the third teacher” in the room. In such an environment, the adults become facilitators, introducing materials and their appropriate uses to the students in a whole group, small group, or 1:1 setting, but then letting students take the lead. This is an important balance to adult-directed lessons and activities, especially in preschool and expanded learning spaces. Students thrive in environments that are set up in a beautiful, inspiring, intentional way, one that is organized so that they can have agency as learners. For example, students should be able to access art and office supplies as needed. Every item should “live”in a well-designated place so that cleaning up is a simple and self-evident process, something that students grow to feel capable of doing themselves. In the Reggio Emilia approach, the classroom becomes a place that is welcoming, authentic, culturally competent, well-organized, beautiful, and representative and reflective of the local community. It should feature purposeful, natural, well-maintained materials. The layout should promote collaboration, flexibility, flow, experimentation, and exploration through play.

    Language, Literacy and English Language Development

    Language development is integrated into all areas of the curriculum. Staff will read to children, teach songs and rhymes, perform finger plays, and discuss and explore educational topics that are age-appropriate on a daily basis. Staff will engage one-on-one with each student each day, finding opportunities to check in regularly, to have conversations, to acknowledge and describe what students are doing and the ways in which they are meeting the classroom expectations: We are safe, We are caring, We are learners. The use of what the Teaching Pyramid calls Positive Descriptive Acknowledgements helps to build relationships between students and staff, helps students to feel seen and heard, helps to reinforce expectations, and helps to introduce students to new vocabulary.

    Critical Thinking, Cognitive, and Creative Development

    Learning in content areas such as reading, math, social studies, and science are integrated into the program through meaningful, active exploration with blocks, sand, food, music, art, story, garden, and observations of seasons, animals, and other natural phenomena. Children are given the freedom to explore the learning activities and interest centers, designed to illuminate a weekly/monthly theme. Children are provided with an opportunity for creative development through art activities, music and movement, and dramatic play. Creative activities will focus primarily on the children’s individual experience, interests, and process rather than the end product.

    Physical Development

    Staff will provide students with opportunities to use their whole bodies in play, music, and dance. Students will engage in “big muscle” activities such as running, jumping, climbing, and balancing in structured and unstructured outdoor activities. Students will engage in “fine motor” activities such as puzzling, writing, painting, beading, and drawing. Staff will provide a daily nutritious snack-- sometimes featuring fruit, veggies, and "taste tests" from our own garden!-- and/or families are welcome to provide a snack that they know their child will happily eat. 

    Handwriting Without Tears: Get Set for School

    This early literacy and numeracy program is designed specifically for the preschool years, and uses hands-on, multisensory methods to build alphabet knowledge and to prepare students to write in a developmentally appropriate way. Staff will support students to play, build, sing, color and learn while developing pre-kindergarten academic skills. Students will be introduced to the alphabet, letter and number recognition and formation, counting, shapes, colors and drawing. Students will practice these emerging skills in small groups and with opportunities to use geo-boards, alphabet boards, to work in their “office” etc.

    Home-to-School Partnership

    Our program recognizes that a child’s parent(s)/guardian(s) are their first teacher and we respect and honor the learning that each child does in their home environments. We welcome family members in the classroom to join our teachers in partnership towards serving the needs of the whole child.

    Our Teachers:

    Selfa GonzalezLead Teacher Selfa Gonzalez My name is Selfa Gonzalez. I migrated to the United States in 1987. Got married in 1990, lived in Novato for seven years, then moved to Petaluma with my wonderful husband, Gamaliel and our lovely girls, Kathy and Andrea. I love my garden, and I enjoy spending time caring for my plants and fruit trees. Green is my favorite color, and I feel that the plants give tranquility when I feel stressed. I discovered my passion for teaching young children when I was a parent volunteer in Andrea’s preschool classroom in 2002. I started taking child development classes right after that to obtain my ECE teacher's permit. There’s nothing more gratifying than hearing young children’s honest expressions about their feelings for classmates and teachers.

    Michelle QueckeAssociate Teacher Michelle Quecke My name is Michelle Quecke. I grew up in Petaluma and have lived in Sonoma County most of my life. I am married to my wonderful husband, Mike, who is the Superintendent of a sanitary sewer district in Marin County. We are a blended family, with three children: Bailey, Lizzy, and Charlie. We enjoy spending time with our pugs, Popeye and Wimpy, or tending to our flock of chickens. We also love camping and backyard barbecues with family and friends. I have been working as an Associate Teacher for OAUSD since 2014 and love working with children! The unpredictability of the preschool age makes my day so much brighter. I love the way they see things in such an authentic way or how they express themselves! My hope as a teacher is to make a positive impact on a child’s life during the short time they are in preschool.