This month, as schools across the Bay Area conduct graduation ceremonies, so too will the Roberts School, a pre-school and kindergarten nestled in The Willows of Menlo Park.
The graduation ceremony for this year's Roberts School kindergarten class, however, is not just any graduation ceremony. The ceremony on Friday, June 15, marks the 31st graduating class from a school that has always focused on providing academic and enrichment activities that encourage, support and develop the whole child.
Founded by Patricia Roberts in 1975, the Roberts School has seen more than 600 children pass through its doors each morning, many of whom live in The Willows or in the nearby communities of Atherton, Redwood City, Palo Alto and Mountain View.
"I have always loved caring for and teaching children," said Mrs. Roberts, who is now in her 80s and has passed on the management of the school to her daughter Brenda Roberts. "I was heavily involved in my daughters' activities when they were young, from Girls Scouts to being their Sunday school teacher. So after they had grown and left home, I felt it was time for me to embark on my own dream of opening a school for young children that met their academic, emotional and social needs."
So at the age of 57, having worked at a preschool in San Mateo and armed with a degree in childhood development from Caņada College in Redwood City, Patricia Roberts began her career as the founder and director of the Roberts School.
And while the last 31 years have brought many societal, cultural and technological changes and advances, the basic philosophy and mission of the Roberts School remains the same: to help prepare children for school and instill in them a life-long appreciation and love of learning.
"When my mother opened the Roberts School, the idea of a preschool designed to help children prepare for school and instill a life-long appreciation and love of learning was unheard of," said Brenda Roberts. "But it remains the cornerstone of the school today through our academic programs, which include reading and math, to our enrichment activities, which include music, cooking, gymnastics and Spanish."
While no longer involved in the management or day-to-day activities of the Roberts School, Patricia Roberts can still be seen at the school during special occasions, such as kindergarten graduation and the Holiday Sing-a-Long.
"She loves to hear about the goings on at the school even if she can't be there everyday like she used to," added Brenda Roberts. "My mother has left a lasting impression not only in the lives of many children but on this community as well. I am proud to carry on her legacy and be involved in such an important job the successful development of a child."
About the Roberts School
Based on the philosophy of child development expert Jean Piaget, the Roberts School believes in developing the whole child via balanced programs that include "hands-on" developmental and enrichment activities, age appropriate academics and unstructured play. The Roberts School is designed for children 2 years through kindergarten age and is opened from 7:30 am 6 pm, Monday through Friday, year round. The Roberts School is located in Menlo Park. For more information about the school, visit www.robertsschool.com or call 650) 322-3535.