Early Childhood Education Center


Teachers plan curriculum to meet the individual needs of the children enrolled and respect the culture of every child. All aspects of our indoor/outdoor curriculum including the aesthetics of each classroom environment, selection of materials, choice of activities/projects and child interactions are carefully chosen to respect children’s sense of wonder, encourage them to interact and explore at their own pace and support their play.

In our Infant-Toddler Program, we formed a partnership and aligned our practice with that of the nationally recognized West ED Program for Infant Toddler Care (PITC). PITC is a relationship-based curriculum that recognizes the importance of a close and trusting parent-teacher partnership. Teachers explore ways to get “in tune” with each child and recognize what he needs, thinks and feels. As relationships develop and deepen through these connections and an understanding of cues, teachers adapt the environment for appropriate challenges to optimize growth and development. Frequent dialogue with parents supports teachers’ observations and enhances a child’s learning process.

In our Preschool Program, we adhere to NAEYC’s play-based curriculum where teachers actively listen and observe children to support their curiosity and creativity, express their feelings and thrive as part of a loving community. Through use of emergent curriculum, teachers extend children’s thinking by providing multiple opportunities for them to express, revisit, construct and reconstruct their ideas, feelings and understandings. The result is a classroom, yard and Studio bursting with work initiated by children and extended over time in support of their learning. In addition to children’s work, teachers design their classrooms to offer children ample opportunities to engage in dramatic play, listen to and tell stories, sing, explore nature, run and climb, and share meals together.

Teaching Staff

Each classroom has a full-time Head Teacher who is a professional early childhood educator dedicated to the growth and development of young children and families. Head Teachers are responsible for the classroom curriculum and environment, child assessments, parent communication, and the supervision of teacher assistants, volunteers and interns. Some Head Teachers participate in local early childhood organizations as part of our community outreach.

Infant-Toddler Head Teachers

TIm Bongco
Hello! I’m Tim Bongco and I have been working at the center since August 2007. I have a BA in Child and Adolescent Development with a concentration in Young Children and Families from SFSU. I have worked with children of various ages spanning from infants to 8 yr olds.

Nahid Pourfarrokh
My name is Nahid Pourfarrokh and I am the room 1 head teacher. I’ve been working in this center since August 1990. I am a mother of two. I have a B.A. in psychology and a Master’s degree in Counseling and Guidance.

Christina Sosa
Hi everyone, welcome to the Early Childhood Education Center. I started at the Center in February 2000. I graduated from SFSU in 2003 with a Bachelors Degree in Child and Adolescent Development emphasizing in Young Child and Family.

Erica Almaguer
I have worked at this center since August 1999. I have a BA in Child and Adolescent Development and an MA in Early Childhood Education from SFSU. I am also a proud parent of two beautiful (and very active boys). On our free time my family enjoys camping, swimming, soccer, baseball (GO Giants!), basketball and everything else we can enjoy together.

Gena Wilson
Welcome! I’m Gena, and I’ve worked at the ECEC since January 2001. Since that time, I have worked with all three age groups in the Infant/Toddler program. I earned my B.A. in Child Development in 2002, and an M.A. Degree in Early Childhood Education in 2009. I love walking in my neighborhood, chatting with friends, reading, and seeing movies and musicals. When not at work or school, I also like to get over to the east bay to visit with my family.

Hanaadi Samman
I have been at the center since January 2005. I have a BA in Child and Adolescent Development with an emphasis in young child and family and am in the process of completing coursework leading to a MA in Early Childhood Special Education. When I am not at the Center, I enjoy spending time with my son and family, reading, hiking with our dogs, and eating at the amazing variety of restaurants in San Francisco.

Helen Voong
I have been at the Center since January 2006. I have a BA in Child and Adolescent Development with an emphasis in Young child and family.

Preschool Head Teachers

Amber Morabito
I began working at the Center in 2000. I have worked with every age group (6-months to 5-years old.) I have a B.A. in Psychology and a M.A. in Developmental Psychology from SFSU. I absolutely LOVE my job and relish my time working with children and their families. I am also a proud mother and wife. My husband, William, and I have a 3 ½ years old son, Isaiah, and a 2 month old daughter, Martina. I think that it is indeed a gift to be able to see the world through the eyes of a child.

Teacher Assistants

Each classroom is also staffed with part-time teacher assistants. As an ASI subsidized program, we provide SF State students with campus employment on a semester-by-semester basis. Teacher assistants with child development and/or early childhood units receive priority hiring. Although we strive to maintain caregiver continuity each semester, we can’t guarantee who will return or in which classroom a teacher assistant will work. In addition, when a teacher assistant graduates, she is no longer eligible to work at the Center unless she has at least 6 ECE units and can commit to a 5-day work schedule.

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Daily Schedule

(copy/paste “Flow of the Day”)

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Center goals

To meet the needs of children and build self-esteem, our goals are to provide an environment that encourages children to:

To meet the needs of families and build high self-esteem, our goals are to:

To support teacher learning and reflection, our goals are to:

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Classroom Projects

Since 2006, the teachers and administrators have been studying the Reggio Emilia philosophy and project approach to learning. Through our readings, observations, discussions and reflection, we have altered and deepened our practices, particularly the incorporation of more authentic projects and the aesthetics of our environments. Documentation in the forms of observation of children and extensive record-keeping has long been encouraged and practiced in our program. However, documentation in Reggio Emilia focuses more intensively on children’s experience, memories, thoughts and ideas in the course of their work. Documentation in Reggio-inspired programs provides inspiring examples of the importance of displaying children’s work with great care and attention to both highlight the content of the work and to make children’s learning more visible.

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The Studio is intended and envisioned as a natural and reciprocal adjunct to the work that is already happening in our infant, toddler, twos and preschool indoor and outdoor classrooms. While many of the experiences taking place in the studio at first glance might look like art activities, this space is more than a place to make art. The Studio is instead a space that is part laboratory, part “think tank,” part repository of wondrous possibilities and part training ground for future artists, inventors and creative thinkers alike.

The Studio is:

Our Studio design is the work and long-term goal of former head teacher, Mia Cavalca. Mia has worked at the Center since August of 2002 as a preschool head teacher and prior to coming to our site was a children’s art and Italian language teacher, campus-based director and museum educator. Mia has undergraduate degrees in Italian Studies and Studio Art from the East Coast and a MA in Child Development from Mills College in Oakland, CA. Mia also co-taught child development courses at SF State as well as Italian language, writing and conversation classes. Her passions are fostering creative thinking, joy and a sense of wonder in everything children and the adults who work with

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Program Assessment

Once a year, you will be asked to complete an assessment of your child’s program to determine if the service we are providing is meeting your needs. The administrators and Head Teachers review your ideas and determine what appropriate action to take. You will receive a summary of the information collected and told of any changes being considered for Center policies and procedures.

Assessors from the University’s Gateway to Quality Program who utilize the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scales (ECERS/ITERS), a nationally recognized assessment tool, evaluate the Center’s classrooms every three years. The Center was also accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in 1995, and validators revisit the Center every 5 years.

Child Assessment

All teachers adhere to NAEYC’s best practice when assessing children. They incorporate a variety of methods to keep track of each child’s developmental growth such as checklists, journals, photographs, dictation and portfolios. The “work” of young children centers on process and exploration, and children do not often create products on their own. Therefore, the assessment of a child relies heavily on the teacher’s observation skills. Written anecdotes in journals and portfolio items are “word pictures” of your child’s participation in classroom activities. They capture a moment in the child’s classroom experience. Progress is demonstrated through documentation of the same areas of learning over time.

Parent-teacher conferences include a written assessment of the child’s development and are held twice a year.

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