“School is not just a place where you learn, but where you live.”
- Bev Boss
In 1984 KMS relocated to its current home, an historic Victorian mansion on Guerrero and 25th streets In San Francisco’s Mission District. The beautiful building, with its high ceilings, many windows and large rooms, provides a perfect, light-filled space for children and staff to explore, create, learn, rest and eat, conducive to our hands-on approach to learning. It is also a very sturdy and secure building with its massive steel girder and concrete construction. It was one of the first buildings of this type in the country when it was built in 1918.
Loving attention is put into the KMS building and grounds. It is constantly evolving, with walls filled with artwork, photographs and projects. Parents and children walk into the main foyer and see an ever-changing display – from Dia de Los Muertos altars made by staff, children and their families – or a vase of flowers from our garden, to an intricate, collaborative art project done by the students. The look and feel of the spaces is seen as an important part of our principle that the environment of the school is a “Third Teacher” as in the Reggio educational approach. See our “Victorian Third teacher” for more information.
KMS has four floors, each designated for our different age groups and programs. Each area is designed with the developmental stage of the child in mind.
The lower level includes our Infant Program (affectionately known as “Peach Palace”). It is a safe, warm and comfortable space for our babies and toddlers. It includes a large, carpeted play area with age-appropriate toys and books, story times, music and crawling around with friends. There is also an eating area with bottle and food preparation space and separate, quiet nap rooms. The lower level also includes a large space for our 2 year olds classroom with an art room, play structure and open area for movement, blocks and imaginative play.
The main level is the Preschool area with classrooms for our three year old children. The children have many choices including art, books and stories, music and motion, blocks and building, playhouse and dress up. Our preschoolers have room to put on shows, have a musical parade around the school and have a peaceful rest at naptime.
Heading up to the second level is the perfect transition for the elementary students with its grand staircase and beautiful stained-glass window with a landing that holds the elementary children’s latest projects, from self-portraits at the beginning of the year to models of Mesopotamia as the school year progresses. This level holds the 2 year Kindergarten classrooms and the First through Fifth grade classrooms, as well as an art room, music area, and rooms for tutoring and computers.
The KMS library is located on the main floor in one of the most beautiful rooms in the building. It is called the “Star Room” because of the star like details on the ceiling. With its dark wood paneling it is the perfect place to keep the books for the whole school. All age groups use this space which is maintained by the Elementary students. (They can even show you where the secret passage used to be when the building had a “speakeasy” back in the 20’s.)
The top level contains our administrative offices, and our dance studio, remodeled with professional dance floors, used for the KMS dance program including Mexican Folk Dance taught by Maria Luna. The space is also used for our Capoeria classes, taught by ABADA studio teachers, Yoga classes for children and parents, and on the weekends the studio is used by professional dance groups including Flamenco and Ballet. This is also a great space for movement and games during rainy days!
KMS is very fortunate to have a large, multifunctional, and sunny outdoor area. There is a grass area with a slide and stage area, with mature orange and plum trees (which can be harvested by the children). The backyard includes a large sand area with monkey bars and plenty of sand toys and a large deck for organized sports such as basketball, soccer and kick ball as well as bikes, wagons and scooters. Adjacent to the deck is our famous “Dirt Mountain” for digging, dump trucks, and building dams and volcanoes. Under a fragrant jasmine arbor is the entrance to our award-winning garden, filled with flowers, vegetables; many grown by the students from seed. The garden is a wonderful respite from urban life and is an integral part of teaching our philosophies of caring for the Earth, and social and personal responsibility.
Our large, recently expanded and remodeled kitchen is home to the YUM Chefs Cooking School which teaches cooking and baking to children and adults. It is run by Chef Leah Brooks. It is also where Leah prepares the school’s healthy, organic vegetarian snacks. It is a well-designed space for children and adults to use comfortably and safely. The Elementary students take weekly cooking classes with Leah. The kitchen is an important part of the school, a place for the children to learn about healthy foods, and make tangible our principles of being resourceful, responsible and creative. Children plant greens, care for them, harvest them, take them to the kitchen learn how to make salad for themselves and others to enjoy and take pride in. YUM Chefs also offers cooking classes on the weekends and throughout the summer.