Our Pre-Kinder Program
The pre-kinder program at EBI is where the love for learning begins! Using a positive approach to learning through play, our pre-kinder classes introduce our youngest students to the school environment and give them a solid foundation for learning many important life skills. Our pre-kinder students explore, create and interact with others through a variety of learning experiences. We provide them with a loving and safe environment that promotes their social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.
The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) for Pre-Kinder
The educational model we use in our pre-kinder classes is based on the Primary Years Programme (PYP) developed by the International Baccalaureate (IB). The PYP instills thinking skills in our students and deepens their understanding of themselves, their environment, and our changing world. .
Through a process of discovery and structured learning experiences, our pre-kinder students are introduced to basic math concepts such as sorting, ordering, counting and shapes. We support the development of their reading skills through oral language, phonics and literature. They learn how to communicate in Spanish through daily conversations and presentations from their peers and teachers. Art projects and activities with manipulative items help them to gain fine motor skills. As our pre-kinder students interact with each other, they acquire important social skills like sharing and respect for one another.
The EBI Approach to Language in Pre-Kinder
Young children can quickly learn a second language through natural consistent exposure as their minds are easily able to learn new words and form new sounds. These advantages support rapid language learning and enhance the benefits of bilingualism.
In the EBI pre-kinder program, our faculty only use Spanish in the classroom. Teachers support non-Spanish speaking students by using signs, gestures, facial expressions, drawings or anything necessary to support their understanding and language acquisition. Our pre-kinder teachers seldom speak another language unless it is an urgent physical or emotional matter. Children are always able to respond in their mother tongue and are encouraged to use Spanish more frequently as their ability progresses.
Native Spanish-speaking children benefit from our Spanish immersion program because it reinforces and develops their home language. It also encourages native Spanish-speaking children to continue to develop their fluency in Spanish and allows them to build a solid foundation in linguistic skills that will propel them to advanced levels in English and Spanish.
Meet Our Head of Pre-Kinder
Pre-Kinder y Escuela Primaria / Principal of Pre-Kinder and Principal of K-1st Grade (K-1 Grade)
Dr. Balfour is an experienced school leader, teacher and researcher with a passion for early years education. Holding American/Italian dual-citizenship, and being trilingual, she grew up in Italy and lived, worked and studied in the US, UK, and Ecuador. After completing my undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley and being a PYP teacher at La Scuola, she completed a Masters and PhD in Education from the University of Cambridge where she was awarded the highest honors for her dissertation on the Reggio Emilia Approach—a renowned and progressive educational approach for children from 0-6 years old that originated in Italy after the Second World War. She then worked in Ecuador where she was Professor of Education at the National University of Education of Ecuador and where she led the creation of the laboratory school connected to the University, which became a national model. After moving back to California, she continued her career in school leadership leading a local school in the East Bay. She is excited to be joining EBI in July and looks forward to getting to know you!
When she is not working in education, she enjoys going for walks in nature, traveling, being with her family, friends, and her cat, Adar.
Head of Pre-Kinder and Head of Lower School (K-1 Grade)