About University Preschool

Our Principles

Flexible Care to Fit Your Schedule

At University Preschool, we understand that your childcare needs may not always fit neatly into a strict 9-5 schedule. That's why we allow you to pick a schedule that fits your life. Until the day comes when the professional world adapts to fit around your family time, we're here to seamlessly fill in the gaps. Need to drop off your daughter at 4 am so you can make pre-rounds at the hospital? Sounds good. Need to pick up your son after your 8 pm conference call? We'll have him ready to go for you. Have time to swing by at lunch to say "Hi" to your favorite little scientist? We think it's a great idea. We offer around-the-clock care with flexible scheduling based around subscription plans so we can be available when you need us.

Founded upon the Latest in Child Development and Educational Research

At University Preschool our educators are continually improving our pedagogical practices and consuming the latest research as it pertains to our students and education as a whole. We adapt our generalized curriculum design to ensure each child's learning experience is optimized to fit their individual personality. Our staff meets frequently to critically evaluate our techniques and explore what improvements we can try for the next day. New research gets applied and tested in the classroom. This process of continual self-evaluation ensures that no matter how your child learns best, we will create an optimal learning environment.

Healthy, Wholesome, Handmade Meals

We believe firmly in the importance of healty, tasty food. All meals are hand-made and designed to give our students the well-balanced nutrition they deserve. Many of the ingredients come directly from our fully organic garden.

Action Learning for Maximal Engagement

We don't believe in sitting and lecturing. Learning is best when it is participatory. We draw the children into the education process by immersing them in the lesson. When students actively engage and work together, they don't just memorize facts; new concepts are incorporated into their understanding of the world. We take students outside to learn directly by exploration and immersion.

Family-Style Care: Baby-Wearing and Breastfeeding Friendly

Babies love the soothing nature of being in close contact. At University Preschool, babies get a front-row seat to the day for an environment of early learning and enjoyment. We encourage breastfeeding and are happy to accommodate scheduled breastmilk pick-ups when possible.


University Preschool students get to enjoy the pleasures of maintaining and exploring our very own organic, edible garden. With the garden as our guide we learn about nutrition, plant biology, and caring for our environment. Digging in the dirt provides natural exposure to a diversity of microbes, which are important in developing a healthy microbiota. Research is increasingly showing the importance of a healthy, diverse microbiota, especially in maintaining our immune and gastrointestinal systems.

Combining Montessori and Reggio Emilia Education

University Preschool combines the practices of Montessori and Reggio Emilia education. The Montessori approach is founded upon student independence to choose activities within a variety of options and hands-on learning from engaging with surroundings. The classroom is a teacher as children learn through play, discovering concepts organically by working directly with materials. The Reggio Emilia Approach is similarly based upon learning by self-guided exploration and discovery. The focus is on developing respect, responsibility, and community. Students work together to plan the day and select projects. Reggio Emilia stresses the importance of documentation, as the educators record observations and contiually evaluate their practices.

Pet Care and Play

Our furry friends are excellent, patient teachers. Dogs provide hours of fun and help us calm down when challenges become too taxing. Our students spend time daily learning to play with and care for the UP pups. Research has shown that children who are around pets are less likely to develop environmental allergies and asthma. Please note that due to the presence of dogs onsite, we cannot accommodate children who are allergic to dogs.

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Our Staff

Olivia Sommers

UP - Teacher

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Ellen Williams


Ellen received her degree from UC Berkeley in English Literature and her Master's of Education from University of San Diego. She has a Master's of Finance from Harvard and is working on a Juris Doctorate at University of San Diego.  She envisions a world where education is individualized to every student through Universal Design and Individualized Curriculum Planning.

Ellen's thesis project for her Master's of Education focused on building out a classroom curriculum based on the engagement principles of action learning.  Her thesis curriculum was built for high school, but the underlying design applies to all education levels.  Link to her thesis website: Technology and Project-Based Learning in Engagement Education

Brandon Williams


Brandon is an doctor at Scripps Mercy Hospital.  He received a Masters in Business from Stanford and his Medical Doctorate from UC San Diego. His research focuses on our bodies' interactions with our gut microbiota in health and disease. Brandon believes in the importance of food in promoting long term health.

Gabriel Lopez Lopez


Gabriel comes from Northern Spain, where his family's farm specializes in producing blue cheese. He has experience with infants and he is committed with children and a belief in their competency and capability. He is currently studying commercial aviation.  Gabriel especially loves hiking with the kids and teaching them how to speak Spanish.

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Scheduling Options

Daytime Care

UP Preschool is available when you need us. Flex Scheduling means you don't have to stick to a strict 9-5 childcare schedule. We will work with you to plan your childcare so it fits your schedule perfectly. We require at least one week advance notice to guarantee availability. If you need to change your plans within the one week window, we understand and we will do our best to accommodate you. Plans start at $1350 per month. We offer discounts for multiple children and more frequent care.

Flexible Timing

If you know ahead of time that you may run late or need to arrive early on certain days, let us know. We can plan for last-minute changes in your flex schedule. This means you no longer have to pay unreasonable late pickup fees when your boss wants to discuss one more item before you go.

Nighttime Care

UP Preschool offers around-the-clock care. We can accommodate childcare at any hour of the day or night. We will even work with you to accommodate your child's nighttime routine so they feel right at home. Night hours (7pm to 6am) can easily be added into your subscription plan, and they only cost $2 more per hour.

On Call Care

Are you going to be on call and need us to be available to take over at a moment's notice? At UP, you can schedule us to be on call with you. We keep a spot ready for your kid in case you have to go into work. This way you can enjoy as much of your available time with your family without having to worry about arranging last minute childcare or paying for a babysitter you don't need. We only charge $20 per day to be on call. Any actual childcare time is counted as a part of your regular monthly plan.

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