Annual Festival of Learning

The following is a general description of how most of our festivals of Learning are organized.

Directions to C5 Children’s School is near the end.

The Festival of Learning is held throughout most of the month of May.

The public is invited to all events. Each year, we include partner programs in our festival. They are typically other early childhood programs and curriculum classes from regional colleges or universities.

Preparation

Throughout the school year, beginning in September, children, parents, family members, and C5 staff begin collecting samples of work from ongoing explorations and projects and reserve them for display, reflection, discussion, and expanded learning during the festival in May. From January through April, teachers, staff members and parents plan and prepare for the many events that will be featured in the festival. The theme each year is merely to showcase aspects of the program that we are already working on with children and helps to make visible and otherwise accessible how children are developing and learning at C5 Children’s School.

The Main Elements of the Festival

  • Collaborating with children, parents, family members, other early childhood education programs & ECE students, San Francisco City government &
  • First 5 of San Francisco, and community members
  • The Exhibit of Children’s Work
  • The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
  • The Public Seminar and Workshop
  • Tours of the Exhibit, Centers, and Classrooms at C5
  • Public Demonstrations
  • Saturday Festival Picnic

Exhibit of Children’s Work

The exhibit is now held during the month of May in the two buildings housing our centers in San Francisco. One is in the Hiram Johnson Building in its Great Hall at 455 Golden Gate Avenue. It is open during business hours. The other is in the San Francisco Public Utilities Building at 525 Golden Gate Avenue in its large display windows on Golden Gate Avenue. It is available to the public from the sidewalk 24 hours a day.

The exhibits feature examples of children’s work from all learning groups, ages 6 weeks old to 5.9 years old. Visitors will see displays of children’s ongoing projects and activities that document their in-depth explorations, projects, and expressions in a wide array of various media, processes, and discoveries that reveal the power of learning of young children in collaboration with each other, teachers, parents, family members, and community participants.

Special tours are also available by appointment.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

This grand event is held in the morning on the day after the exhibits are set up and includes all of the children and staff from both centers, many of the parents, dignitaries, supporters of C5 Children’s School, and neighborhood representatives.

Public Seminar and Workshop

On one of the first Saturday mornings in May, we conduct a comprehensive four hour seminar and workshop centering on the theme for the festival. See below for a history of themes for each year since 20015. Participants sign up online and begin the interactive process there with a survey and input from their own experiences. They continue the processes at the seminar and workshop. The session has been attended by over 100 participants in the past.

Tours of the Exhibit, Centers, and Classrooms at C5

Tours of our facilities are available after the seminar and workshop and by appointment at other times. We have and will accept and guide individuals and groups from other countries, representatives of government groups, staff members from other early childhood education programs, students of early childhood education, prospective families who are considering enrollment in our programs, researchers, and members of the media.

Saturday Festival Picnic

Midway in the month, we hold a big celebration picnic on a Saturday morning. We have our picnics at the Julius Kahn Playground. Hundreds of people join us for a morning of festival full of fun, food, excitement, and learning for all. Families bring food to share and we have outdoor activities for children and families to enjoy.

Children and Teachers Working in Public

We call these Public Demonstrations. For most of the week days during the month of the festival, the children and staff at C5, with parent chaperons, take their learning processes into the public view. In most cases, the children are continuing explorations and development of their projects or their current interests and fascinations. A schedule of the Public Demonstrations is published online and is subject to change.

A sampling of Public Demonstrations is listed below.

Public Demonstration (1) The C5 Apples and Rocket Ships children will demonstrate their “Restaurant Food Preparation and Servings Skills” with their teachers in the CA State Building Center’s Great Hall at 455 Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco, May 4th, from 10:00 to11:00 am.

Public Demonstration (2) The C5 Lions-Zebras-Tigers Learning Group children will be “Taping and Cutting” with their teachers in the CA State Building Center’s Great Hall at 455 Golden Gate Avenue, May 5th, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Public Demonstration (3) The C5 Monkeys Learning Group toddler-aged children will be working on “Bubbles” with their teachers in the CA State Building Center’s Great Hall at 455 Golden Gate Avenue, May 6th, from 10:15 to 10:45 a.m.

Public Demonstration (4) The C5 Apples and Rocket Ships Learning Group children will demonstrate their “Restaurant Food Preparation and Servings Skills” with their teachers in Civic Center Park, May 9th, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Public Demonstration (5) The C5 Bumblebees Learning Group of toddler-aged children will be working on “Paper Rolls” with their teachers in the SF City Building Center’s Cafe, May 10th, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Public Demonstration (6) The C5 Orcas Learning Group children will be working on “Collages” with their teachers in the CA State Building Center’s Great Hall at 455 Golden Gate Avenue, May 10th, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Public Demonstration (7) The C5 Caterpillars and Butterflies Learning Groups of toddler-aged children will be working on “Mirrors & Reflections” with their teachers in the SF City Building Center’s Cafe, May 11th, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Public Demonstration (8) The C5 Elephants Learning Groups toddler-aged children will be presenting their “Dance Band” with their teachers in Civic Center Park, May 11th, from 10:15 to 10:45 a.m.

Public Demonstration (9) The C5 Jungle Cupcakes Learning Group children will demonstrate “Working with Recycled Materials” with their teachers in Civic Center Park, May 12th, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Public Demonstration (10) The C5 Sprinkle Ice Creams Learning Group children will be demonstrating “Hammering Nails” with their teachers in the CA State Building Center’s Great Hall at 455 Golden Gate Avenue, May 13th, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Public Demonstration (11) The C5 Penguins Learning Group of toddler-aged children will be demonstrating on “Music”” with their teachers in the SF City Building Center’s Cafe, May 16th, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Public Demonstration (12) The C5 Peacocks Learning Group children will be working on “Sketching with Crash the Robot” with their teachers in Civic Center Park, May 17th, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Public Demonstration (13) The C5 Race Cars Learning Group children will demonstrate their “Science Lab” project with their teachers in CA State Building Center’s great Hall at 455 Golden Gate Avenue, May 19th, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Public Demonstration (14) The C5 Okey Dokey Learning Group children will demonstrate their “Hot Glue” project work with their teachers in the CA State Building Center’s Great Hall at 455 Golden Gate Avenue, May 20th, from 10:30 to 11:00 a.m.

Public Demonstration (15) The C5 Race Car Tiger-Striped Butterflies Learning Group children will demonstrate their “Car Collages” with their teachers in the SF City Building Center’s Cafe, May 21st, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Public Demonstration (16) The C5 Cable Cars Learning Group children will demonstrate their “Magnet Tiles” with their teachers in the CA State Building Center’s Great Hall at 455 Golden Gate Avenue, May 22nd, from 10:30 to 11:00 a.m.

Public Demonstration (17) The C5 Race Cars and the Cocos Learning Groups children will demonstrate their “Sound of Music Musical” with their teachers in City Hall Park, May 23rd, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Directions to C5

C5 Children’s School main offices and the CA State Building Center are located at 455 Golden Gate Avenue, Suite 2400, San Francisco, California, 94102. We are in the Hiram Johnson State of California Office Building. It takes up the entire block. The main entrance to the building is on the South side in the middle of the block between Polk and Larkin Streets.

Our other center is located across Polk Street in the San Francisco Public Utilities Building at 525 Golden Gate Avenue.

Parking

The closest parking is in the block next to our building. It is the new University of California Hastings Parking garage at 376 Larkin Street, between McAllister and Golden Gate Avenue, on the right side as you are traveling north on Larkin. The rate for 3 hours is approximately $11.

The next closest parking garage is in another block next to our building. It is the Civic Center garage that is underground below Civic Center Park in front of City Hall. The entrance is on McAllister Street between Polk and Larkin. The rates are approximately: 0-1 hour $2; 1-2 hours $5; 2-3 hours $9; 3-4 hours $11.

Mass Transit

If you take BART or MUNI, get off at the Civic Center Station, walk to Larkin, go north on Larkin to Golden Gate Avenue, turn left before crossing Golden Gate Avenue, walk to the middle of the block, and the main entrance to our building is immediately off of the sidewalk in the State of California Building.

Security in the Building

There is security screening in the CA State Building that is similar to screening at courtrooms and airports. It is augmented by the California Highway Patrol. The security officers can direct you to our school and meeting spaces. Security at the SF City Building is conducted by the San Francisco County Sheriffs.

Donations

C5 Children’s School is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public interest organization. Donations and Sponsorships are accepted. Contributions are tax deductible.

History of Our Festival of Learning

Our first exhibit was in 2005. Many examples of children’s work were displayed on the mezzanine in front of the Preschool Center and around the hallways outside the school. The theme that year was “Making Learning VisibleAn exhibit advocating for the rights of children and the possibilities of learning for all.”

In 2006, the exhibit was installed in the Great Hall at the Preschool Center building and was displayed prior to the auction. That year, the theme was “Growing Strong Together.”

In 2007, we discontinued the auction and created the Festival of Learning with the central focus on children, their work, and their learning. We replaced the fundraising function of the auction with money donations from families, friends, extended families, and corporations; and, the sales of raffle tickets and tickets to the Gala Party. These funds were used for special enhancement activities and a small number of partial scholarships. The festival theme that year was “Facilitating Learning and Development in Partnership with Young Children and Families.”

Also in 2007, as part of our staff retention and incentive plan and to augment our comprehensive staff development and curriculum planning, we set an objective of sending two teachers each year on the U.S. Study Tour to Reggio Emilia, Italy. The proceeds from the Festival of Learning fundraising activities go to support these study tours, along with providing scholarships for children whose families could not otherwise afford to enroll their children in our school or to stay at C5 Children’s School.

In 2008, the festival and exhibit theme was “The Surprise! … what children can do!!!”

In 2009, the festival and exhibit theme was “The Greening of Learning Reducing, Reusing, Recycling, ReCreating.”

In 2010, the theme for the Festival of Learning was “Discoveries! The Inspirations, Insights, and Innovations from Children’s Interactions with Materials, People, and Processes.”

In 2011, the theme was “Deeper Learning Through Collaborationwith Children, Parents, Family, Colleagues, and Community Members.”

In 2012, the theme was “Dreaming and Doing The Power of Collaborating Teams and Individual Imagination.”

In 2013, the theme was “The Whole Child Developing Multiple Intelligences & The 100 Languages of Children.”

In 2014, the theme was “Brain Power! Developing, Functioning, Applying.”

In 2015, the theme was “Diversity in Its Many Forms Understanding, Appreciating, and Developing Our Bodies, Brains, Multiple Intelligences, Learning Styles, Attitudes, Perspectives, Approaches, Materials, Tools, Processes, Equipment, Environments, Languages, Concepts, Cultures.”

In 2016, the theme will be“The Sublime Facilitating Making Meaning and Fostering Optimal Development with Infants, Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Pre-Kindergarten.”

The strong support we have had over the years from our parent and family community, our neighbors and vendors, and the community at large have helped to spread the word about children’s capabilities and accomplishments from birth to kindergarten, to fund tuition scholarships for some of our families, and to send staff members to special conferences and other training and workshop events each year.

By the end of 2012, we had sent 13 staff members on the one-week U.S. Study Tours to Reggio Emilia. Many are still working at C5. The study tours have been life-changing professional growth events for all of the staff members who went and very influential on those who have benefited from their return and sharing through many professional development training events. They enthusiastically provided details of their experiences and implemented what they learned to create many more amazing possibilities for a new culture of childhood for children and families and staff development at C5.

We invite you and those you care most about to join us each year for a marvelous four weeks of a Festival of Learning!