The philosophy of early childhood education at St. Mark’s Nursery School embraces teacher guided, child-driven, play-based curriculum in a structured, nurturing environment. Our curriculum provides children with daily opportunities to develop across all areas (social-emotional, cognitive and physical). Our smaller class sizes promote a sense of community allowing teachers to model verbal conflict resolution skills and help children enter into play with their peers. Our program is designed to strengthen critical thinking skills and engage children's natural curiosity leading to a life long love of learning.

We are located in Orinda, CA and primarily serve Orinda, Lafayette, and Moraga families. Established in 1962, many families have happily called St. Mark's "our preschool" for over 50 years.


Our program offers...

  • Classes for children ages 2 through entering kindergarten
  • Small class sizes combined with opportunities for children of different ages to play together 
  • Play-based, developmentally appropriate curriculum focused on building community and developing a life-long love of learning
  • Flexible schedules to suit the needs of our families, including:
    • Bright and Early Morning Drop Off - 8:00am arrival available
    • Flexible Days of attendance for all programs (2, 3, 4 or 5 days per week)
    • Regular Morning Program hours 9:00am - 12:00pm
    • Lunch Bunch - 12:00-2:30 
    • Small Group Extended Day Program - 12:00pm-5:30pm (limited to 12 students daily)

Our school is owned by the United Methodist Church, but does not include faith based curriculum. Please call 925-254-1364 or email us at to schedule a tour. We would love to show you our school! 

--Claire Peterson, Director

2s Program

At St Mark’s, our 2s class provides a small intimate environment in which our youngest students have the opportunity to have their first school experiences under the guidance and supervision of a loving and experienced team of teachers. Highlights of the 2s class include:

  • Average enrollment of 8 students daily
  • Staffed by two teachers - Head Teacher Ms. Breanne; and Assistant Teachers Ms. Vanessa Tran & Ms. Gina Gabriel
  • Currently building a play yard just for our youngest students

3s Program

The 3s class provides a rich and engaging curriculum for our three-year old students. The class provides ongoing opportunities to practice cooperative play, community building, and verbal conflict resolution. Highlights of the 3s class include:

  • Average enrollment of 12 students daily
  • Staffed by two teachers - Head Teacher Ms. Amanda Lyon; and Assistant Teachers Ms. Margaret Navarro, Ms. Mary Lind, & Ms. Catharine "Cat" Arroyo 

4s and 5s Program

The transition from preschool to elementary school, whether to a TK or kindergarten classroom, is an important step for both students and families. At St. Mark’s our teaching team takes great pride in maintaining our play based philosophy while simultaneously engaging the children in child inspired, teacher guided emergent curriculum projects that provide our students with the opportunity to gain the skills needed to be successful elementary schoolers.

Projects in our classroom range from cooking our own snack and building endless kinds of towers; to creating super heroes (complete with capes and our own stories) and even hatching baby chickens. Each and every project is inspired by the children’s interests and includes many different learning opportunities, including but not limited to:

  • Practicing pre-math and pre-writing skills
  • Expanding our vocabulary
  • Honing our verbal negotiation and complex cooperative play skills
  • Building community
  • Taking care of our environment
  • Practicing kindness
  • Practicing observation and prediction
  • Taking risks
  • Problem solving
  • Staffed by two teachers - Ms. Martine Fournier and Ms. Amanda Silverman