Childcare, School and Leisure

An Insider’s Guide to Moving to San Francisco

This relocation guide has been designed with the explicit intention to provide expats and travellers with all they need to know about moving to San Francisco.

This exciting chapter covers Childcare and Schools.

Moving to San Francisco with kids

There’s a huge choice when it comes to childcare and schools in San Francisco. From Preschool all the way through to secondary schools, your kids are going to get the best education they can get. Your choices of schools may well have an affect on their path to Higher Education.

To make this easier for you, we’ve put together this chapter which will highlight the school options that you can take advantage of while you’re in San Francisco.

Before we start jumping into pre-school, it’s best for you to understand “the lottery” of school places in San Francisco. When you start enrolling your child in education, be it kindergarten or High School, you have to send out an application to the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) which has a list of your personal choices for your child.

This is the only state that has this process when it comes to education and school places. Children in other states have their school and place determined by the area they live in. This “school lottery” system was set up in San Francisco to integrate children from all areas and social classes. This is supposed to stop segregation of children based on ethnicity, class and wealth.

While this sounds like a liberal’s dream come true, it does have its drawbacks. Sometimes, after when parents have toured the schools that they want to put their children in and sent off the application to (SFUSD), the children are given places at schools that weren’t on the lists or are underperforming in general.

So don’t be surprised if you don’t get the schools you apply for as not every parent does.

5.1 Preschool Childcare

Your child’s first few years are some of the most informative years of their lives and are where they will start to grow into the person they were born to be.

Education at this stage is reduced to children playing, singing, completing practical activities such as drawing, and social interaction between peers. You can expect your child to pick up the basics of language, numbers, creativity and friendship while they navigate through this part of their education.

By the end they’ll have established friendships and the basics of literacy, numeracy and, most importantly, community.

Children education in San Francisco

Childcare Centres

Parents choose these places especially if they are career minded or, most often, need to work to keep on top of the bills. There are a variety of child care and day care centres that are full of staff that have been specially trained to look after your child.

They will ensure that your child progresses and develops to become an active member of the community and understands the need for friendship, manners and kindness.

The day centre has to be officially licensed by the state in order to function. However, this is to ensure that the child care centre abides by health and safety laws to keep your children safe while you’re at work.

Childminders, Nannies and Au Pairs  

Also known as in-home care providers, childminders are another good idea if you don’t want to go down the child care centre route. This keeps your children under one home environment (either yours or the provider’s) and gives them all the attention they need, rather than having to share the attention among many other children.

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