The Curious Caterpillar Openings Now!

Transforming Toddlers into Preschoolers
Openings Now!


The Curious Caterpillar aims to provide a safe and nurturing environment akin to a chrysalis where our toddlers can transform into beautiful butterflies ready to spread their wings and become preschoolers who fly.

Our school is specifically designed around the unique needs of children 15-36 months old. Our goal is to bridge the gap between infant care and preschool to create a nurturing and smooth transition. As a Small Family Child Care Home with a teacher ratio that never exceeds 3:1 we are able to give each child focused attention, develop deep bonds, and offer the perfect balance between a home and a school.

We are a play based pre-preschool guided by many different early childhood philosophies. We believe in a research based approach to early childhood education. We believe that secure attachment to caregivers is central to the success of every child. We believe in positive discipline, developmentally appropriate practice, small teacher to student ratios, and educating the whole child. We believe that young children crave and need time outdoors in nature, and we try to provide as many connections to the natural world as we can on a daily basis. We believe that parents are the experts on their child, but that it truly takes a village… and we want to partner with parents to provide what each individual child needs to grow and succeed. We understand that transitions are difficult for young children and we support gentle transitions for children who may be more apprehensive of parent departures. We believe that children who feel safe and cared for will naturally explore their environment and develop the skills they need to become happy, healthy, successful people.​

Our curriculum is play based and developmentally appropriate. We use monthly themes to guide our activities and create opportunities for authentic natural learning to take place. Our learning centers provide varied experiences prompted by the environment in areas such as early literacy, early STEM skills, process art, music, gross and fine motor skills, and sensory integration. We incorporate American Sign Language into our communication with children to build a language bridge to speech.

Our goal is to give your child the tools needed to successfully transition to preschool between 3 and 4 years old. We focus on social and emotional development above all else. We believe that it is essential that toddlers learn how to express emotions in a healthy way and that social and emotional skills are the most important part of toddler development.


Please Note: Curious Caterpillar is currently touring for ages 2+ only.

How to join the Curious Caterpillar community:

1. Learn about our Program

We’ve provided basic information about our philosophies and offerings on our website to help you decide if our program might be right for your family. Please feel free to email our director and head teacher Erin Rhyne if you have questions or concerns you would like to discuss!

2. Schedule a Tour

Sign up for a tour of our school using our website or send an email to

3. Application

If you feel that our program could be a good fit for your family, please fill out an application:

4. Play Date

If we believe that your child will fit well in our program we will ask you to bring your child in for a play date! If we do not currently have a space available for your child, we may offer your child a spot on our waitlist.


Parkmerced is one of the largest rental properties in the United States. Built in the 1940’s to accommodate the rising demand for housing during and after World War 2, it consists of 11 towers and a multitude of townhouses surrounded by green spaces. Parkmerced is surrounded by Lake Merced to the West, San Francisco State University to the North, the San Francisco Golf Club to the South and the Oceanview and Ingleside neighborhoods to the East. 750 Gonzalez is one of four apartment towers situated on the four corners of Villa Merced Park, a newly renovated green space with a brand new fenced playground, sand volleyball courts, a community garden, and other community amenities. Our toddlers will utilize this fenced playground on a daily basis. 750 Gonzalez is a newly renovated tower and our preschool is located in a newly renovated unit on the second floor of the building. Our preschool features a wall of windows that bathe our school in sunlight and allow our toddlers to feel as if they have a connection to the outdoors even when they are in the classroom.

About Our School

Our Classroom

Our classroom is divided into several learning centers that are specifically tailored to the needs of toddlers. Our centers address development in gross and fine motor skills, language and early literacy skills, creative arts, STEM foundations, and social and emotional development. Our learning centers include a building center, a dramatic play center, a library center, a gross motor area, and a community table for art, sensory, fine motor and STEM activities. We also have access to a brand new fenced outdoor playground which we utilize daily.

Our Schedule

We offer the following options: 2 days per week = Tuesday & Thursday 3 days per week = Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 5 days per week = Monday - Friday

Our school hours are 8:30 am to 3:00 pm. We offer extended care from 3:00 pm until 5:30 pm.

Parent Perks

We believe that parents are an integral part of early childhood education. You are the expert on your child and we are here to be your village - to help you be the best parent you can be and to care for your child in the best way that we can. We offer the following perks free of charge to all of our Caterpillar Families.

Parent’s Night Out - One Friday night per month we offer our families free drop off child care from 5:30-10:30 pm so that parents can spend a night away without any worries.

Parent Coffee - We provide coffee to go for our parents every morning at drop off.

Parent Lending Library - We have an ever growing library of parenting/child development books and resources available to our parents.

Family Field Trips - Every few weeks we offer all of our families the opportunity to meet somewhere as a group on a weekend to spend time together and give our children real life experiences that connect to the things we are learning at school.

Meals & Snacks

We provide Breakfast, Lunch, and Afternoon Snack. Our menu is vegetarian, organic, and nut free. We strive to maintain a balance between foods toddlers like to eat and adventurous flavors and textures. An example menu is below.

Breakfast: Organic Free Range Eggs, Organic Sprouted Wheat Toast topped with Cream Cheese, Organic Blueberries

Lunch: Organic Black Bean Quesadilla (Sprouted Wheat Tortilla, Mexican Cheese Blend, Black Beans), Organic Red Bell Pepper Strips with Guacamole, Organic Banana, Organic Whole Milk

Afternoon Snack: Organic Brioche Toast topped with Cinnamon Goat Cheese Chevre and Figs

Our Teachers

Erin Rhyne

Director and Head Teacher

Erin Rhyne is the Director and Head Teacher at The Curious Caterpillar.

She holds an Associate of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts with a concentration in Ceramics and Children’s Literature. Erin also has additional education in Early Childhood Development as part of her Bachelors degree. She was selected as The Most Outstanding Student in the Early Childhood Department by the ECE professors. Erin has been working with young children since high school and loves watching very young children grow and discover the world during the magical period of early childhood. She is currently enrolled in WestEd’s Program for Infant and Toddler Development (PITC) and is a member of the National Association for the Education of the Young Child (NAEYC).

“I have a 2 year old son and I absolutely love spending time around toddlers. I feel that they are full of life, love, and pure emotion. I have spent most of my life around young children and I think they are fascinating and immensely entertaining. My goal in life is to develop a deep understanding of young children so that I can help parents, caregivers, and teachers of young children have better relationships with the young children they care for. More than that, my goal is to impact the lives of individual children and families by providing the absolute best care possible. It is my goal to make every child at our school feel loved, cared for, and safe so that they can develop and grow.”

Elizabeth Lawrence

Assistant Teacher

Elizabeth recently graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. She has worked with children in a variety of settings inside and outside of the classroom. She developed her love of working with children after participating in an internship where she was a classroom assistant at a preschool that provides educational services to children with developmental disabilities. She hopes to eventually attend graduate school in a psychology related field and would love to continue working with children in the future. She is very excited to be working at The Curious Caterpillar!

We are a proud member of the Wonderschool network.

Wonderschool is a group of early childhood programs that combine the quality standards of the best child care centers with the warmth of an in-home program in your neighborhood.

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