Sign Up for a School Tour

Our enrollment process for the 2018-19 school year will begin early next year, with an open house on Tuesday, January 24th from 7 to 8:30 PM, and school tours the first weeks of February. Tour sign ups are now open!

Families are required to attend a tour before applying to the school. We ask that each family member sign up individually so that we know exactly how many are attending. (In other words, parents planning to come together should sign up for two slots on the same tour.) Our space is limited, and we do sometimes have to turn away those who come in a group without registering beforehand. All tours are from 9:15 to 10 a.m., and the tours are for parents only—no kids, please. We look forward to seeing you!

2018 Open House: January 23rd

Please join our annual open house night for an informal evening of questions, answers, and a tour of our building and grounds. Our 2018 open house will be held on Tuesday, January 23rd from 7 to 8:30 PM (parents only, please). We look forward to meeting you!

Alumni! We Want to Get Back in Touch!

Shout out to all the wonderful people who have been a part of the Peter Pan community during our 70 years in Oakland! We’d like to make sure we’ve got your contact info so we can send you invitations to Alumni Day, our holiday party, and other events celebrating this year’s anniversary. Please give us your mailing and email address below! There is also an alumni mailing list that you can sign up for to receive our monthly newsletter and other updates from our community.

Peter Pan Nursery School Celebrates 70 years in Maxwell Park Neighborhood

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” —Fred Rogers, aka Mr. Rogers

Housed in the historic Maxwell House, Peter Pan Cooperative has been a neighborhood institution for 70 years, educating generations of preschoolers through the power of play. While flashcards, drills, and memorization filter down to younger and younger children, Peter Pan is guided by research showing that open-ended play in the preschool years better prepares children for long term educational success. What’s more, as a co-op, the parents are deeply involved in the school and drive every aspect of its curriculum and schedule. Because of this total parent participation, fees stay affordable and the school’s community is a strong and lasting one.

“The basics for young children are wonder, discovery and experience. If it hasn’t been in the hand, the body and the heart, it can’t be in the brain.” —Bev Bos, who was a mentor to the director Gail Murphy, was one of the strongest advocates of the play-based philosophy of early childhood education in the cooperative setting. Her work has had an enormous influence on Peter Pan.

Peter Pan Nursery School was established by 10 mothers in a backyard in Oakland during the latter part of the 1940s. Licenced in 1947, the co-op moved to the historic Maxwell House in 1983. An early brochure boasts that Peter Pan was the first parent cooperative preschool in the City of Oakland.

“(Peter Pan) is unique because we follow the children’s lead and have faith that this kind of school works. Kids love their school: they look forward to coming each day and they thrive. When they leave they are leaders and helpers and are kind.” —Gail Murphy, Peter Pan’s director for 33 of the 70 years.

On a broader scale, Peter Pan’s goal is to educate parents in teaching children acceptance, advocacy, and personal responsibility. Peter Pan parents gain parenting education on topics including positive discipline, kindergarten readiness, temperament, race, gender, and ages and stages.

To be as inclusive as possible, the school has a scholarship program and provides opportunities for parents to pay tuition through a work exchange in the extended care program.

Peter Pan Co-Op will be celebrating their anniversary in multiple events this school year. The school is asking alumni to register through the school website as the Peter Pan community is eager to reconnect with the 70 years of alumni students. Alumni are invited to attend and celebrate Peter Pan on Alumni Day, Friday, November 10th, 10 AM at the Maxwell Park campus, as well as at the Peter Pan Annual Holiday Auction, Saturday, December 2nd, 6 PM at the Oakland Center for Spiritual Living.

2017 Open House: January 24th

Please join our annual open house night for an informal evening of questions, answers, and a tour of our building and grounds. Our 2017 open house will be held on Tuesday, January 24th from 7 to 8:30 PM (parents only, please). We look forward to meeting you!

Holiday Party Tickets On Sale!

Our annual holiday party and silent auction is our biggest fundraiser of the year. All friends of Peter Pan are cordially invited to join us for a night of great food, drinking and dancing at the Center for Spiritual Living (5000 Clarewood Dr, Oakland, CA 94618) on Saturday, December 3rd from 7 PM to 10 PM. Your $25 dollar ticket includes dinner, dessert, and a drink ticket; or, if you are able, please select the individual + donation option for $30 in order to help pay for another’s ticket.

Don’t forget to arrange for a designated driver or take Uber/Lyft!


Type of ticket




Sign Up for a School Tour

Our enrollment process for the 2017-18 school year will begin early next year, with an open house on Tuesday, January 24th from 7 to 8:30 PM, and school tours the first weeks of February. Tour sign ups are now open at the following link: http://www.wejoinin.com/sheets/nisnw

Families are required to attend a tour before applying to the school. We ask that each family member sign up individually so that we know exactly how many are attending. (In other words, parents planning to come together should sign up for two slots on the same tour.) Our space is limited, and we do sometimes have to turn away those who come in a group without registering beforehand. All tours are from 9:15 to 10 a.m., and the tours are for parents only—no kids, please. We look forward to seeing you!

Virtual Food Drive for the Alameda County Community Food Bank

It’s time for our annual virtual food drive! Our goal is to raise $700 for the Alameda County Community Food Bank between now and March 31. Our $700 translates to $4200 worth of actual food for our neighbors in the East Bay—because it has great resources and connections, the Food Bank turns each donated dollar into six dollars of food.

From the Peter Pan Virtual Food Drive page, you can choose to donate money to purchase a specific type of food (eg, milk or fresh produce), or you can choose to make a simple monetary donation that the Food Bank will use for whatever needs are greatest. According to the Food Bank, one in five Alameda County residents depend on the Food Bank to feed their families, and most recipients are children and seniors. We all know folks who rely on the Food Bank or other supportive agencies, and this is a chance for Peter Pan to appreciate our neighbors and our East Bay community.

Mourning Bev Bos

We at Peter Pan join the community of educators and families mourning the death of Bev Bos, who served nearly 50 years as director of Roseville Community Preschool and whose play-based philosophy of early childhood education has had an enormous influence on our school. From The Sacramento Bee:

Bos described her life’s work as expanding horizons for children and their parents, Leeman said. Her philosophy gained popularity after she was featured on ABC’s television show “20/20.” “The basics for young children are wonder, discovery and experience,” she said. “If it hasn’t been in the hand, the body and the heart, it can’t be in the brain.”

Maben said teachers and parent volunteers at the preschool took their cues from the children.

“People used to say there was no structure, but everything placed there was intentional, so kids could explore, develop a sense of self and know how to be with others in the world,” she said.

Holiday Party and Silent Auction

Please join us for Peter Pan’s annual holiday party and silent auction—our biggest fundraiser of the year! This year the party will be held on Saturday, December 5th from 7 to 10 PM, at Studio 360. We’ll have light food and desserts, a cash bar, and many wonderful prizes up for auction. Tickets are $10; buy yours now by clicking below:





Studio 360 is located at 4268 Broadway in Oakland. Please note this is an adult-only venue, so plan for a babysitter!