Not-A-School
Creative Enrichment Preschool

Monday – Friday
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Optional extended day add-on: 1 – 4 p.m.
Ages 2.9 – 5 years

Not-A-School is designed to nurture young children’s creative thinking as they explore the arts, the sciences and the environment through play and guided inquiry at the Bay Area Discovery Museum.

Our school is a laboratory for creative thinking where children have the freedom to pursue their passions, interests and ideas. We believe that young children are competent and deserve to be treated as collaborators in the construction of their own knowledge; that families are our partners in cultivating a community of trust and growth; and in the importance of nurturing the joy of lifelong learning. We strive to be responsive to all members of our community as we work together to create a program which values respect and equality.

This innovative program is now licensed as a childcare center by the State of California and features a staff of fully qualified teachers. *Facility number 214005255

Educational Philosophy


Creative thinking begins early in every child’s life. It enables original thought and the ability to see solutions where others don’t. It unlocks possibilities and foster innovation. It provides the fundamental building blocks for success in school and beyond.

Our methods are drawn from the Museum’s unique educational philosophy, which allows children and adults to construct learning together: 

  • Providing opportunities for children to learn through play takes precedence over the need to teach specific educational content. Our goal is child-directed play, creating conditions for adults to let children make choices, take risks and spend the time they need to construct their own understanding of the world. Our programs are designed to be fun for children and to allow parents, caregivers and Museum staff to join children as facilitators, researchers and collaborators.
  • Our delightful place-based exhibitions are the backdrop for unfacilitated play and programs that offer concrete experiences to deepen a child’s understanding of the local environment and the diverse communities that live here.
  • We employ developmentally-appropriate practices that incorporate knowledge of child development with flexible activities and curriculum that appeal to a wide range of ages and abilities.
  • We emphasize the process in activities that allow children to connect ideas and build their own structure through experimentation and repetition, developing and evaluating their own theories.
  • Our curriculum is open-ended. Activities are intrinsically motivating, allowing for active engagement, sustained involvement and multiple outcomes.

Application Process


Applications are currently being accepted.

In addition to basic family information, we will request answers to the following questions - you may wish to reflect on these prior to filling out the application form:

  • What is your reason for seeking a drop-off enrichment program for your child?
  • Tell us about your child’s previous playgroup or care-giver experiences.
  • What about this program is attractive to you (pedagogy, values, location, philosophy).
  • This program is designed to nurture creativity in young children. Why is creativity important to you and your family?
  • Please tell us about your child’s strengths and areas in which you hope they will develop.
  • What do you hope your child will learn and experience at Not-a-School?

An application and fee is required for each child applying to the program. Enrollment for children continuing in multiple sessions will be guaranteed pending positive experiences for both children and staff. We are not able to accept children in diapers or pull-ups. All children must be current on immunizations. Proof of vaccinations will be required upon enrollment.

Contact Us


For more information or to learn about upcoming tours and information sessions, please contact Elisa Pagliarulo at (415) 339-3982 or epagliarulo(at)badm.org.

Created with flickr badge.
content footer