About Manhattan Beach Nursery School
Since our beginnings in 1956, Manhattan Beach Nursery School has been committed to being a warm and welcoming home for both children and their caregivers. When your child steps through the wooden gates into MBNS, they enter into an environment full of play, discovery and wonder. We celebrate the individuality of each child and are committed to respecting and trusting them and their process. Children are encouraged to display their full range of emotions and means of expression creatively, cognitively and physically.
MBNS isn't just a space for children; it provides a special community for their parents and caregivers as well. Our unique co-operative environment lends itself to opportunities for parents and caregivers to befriend each other and to share and support one another in the hard yet meaningful work of raising children. Learn more about our Family Participation responsibilities.
We believe that children learn best when they are allowed the freedom to control and explore their own environment.
As a community, we agree to combat racism, homophobia, classism, ageism, bodyism, sexism and religious and non-religious discrimination. Nor do we discriminate on the basis of national origin, ethnic origin, ableness, special needs, or gender identity. Our program is based on the guidelines set forth by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the anti-bias curriculum developed by Pacific Oaks College.
Carol Tatsumi first joined MBNS in 1994, when her daughter Kate enrolled in the middle group. Carol has served on the Board of Directors (Billing, President) helping to bring MBNS to a financially sound footing through fundraising while on the board. She joined staff in 1997 and became director in 2010. Carol obtained her B.F.A. from California State University at Long Beach in 1988 with a focus in Psychology, her certificate in Art Therapy from Loyola Marymount College, and an M.A. in Human Development with a focus on bi-cultural issues from Pacific Oaks College.
She continues to enjoy nature, biking, camping and enhancing her interest in human development by attending conferences and workshops through the U.S.
Laura Dotson M.A., LMFT is both the mother and grandmother of MBNS alums. Laura has over 40 years of varied experience working with children and their families. Laura was a long-time staff member at Play Mountain Place and for many years has been the psychological consultant at MBNS. Laura continues to present parenting workshops for a number of schools and conferences and she maintains a private practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist in the South Bay.
On-Site Director (Monday's)
Teacher - M/T/W/F
A former student of MBNS, Kate began teaching at MBNS in 2014 while simultaneously taking classes at Santa Monica College. In 2016, she took a brief sabbatical to get her BFA at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. She also teaches clay classes in Manhattan Beach.
Teacher - F
Teacher - M/W/Th
An alumna of MBNS, Marlena began working with infants and toddlers in her first year at UCLA
within the UCLA Early Childhood Education programs. She received her B.A. in International
Development Studies with a minor in Applied Developmental Psychology in 2020. She has
experience working with children in the classroom, as a one-on-one caregiver for a young blind
child with disabilities, and in an early intervention center for children with disabilities. Her
passion lies specifically in early intervention therapy and she will be pursuing her Doctor of
Occupational Therapy at USC this fall.
Her favorite activities as an MBNS child included tree climbing, mixing plans, and taking baths in
the sink with her (to this day) best friend. Nowadays, she enjoys spending time playing soccer,
running, finding new books to read, and trying new places to eat.
Manhattan Beach Nursery School is a family participation co-operative and a community that works together in loving service to the children and each other. As such, MBNS operates largely through the volunteer efforts of each of our member families. Member participation responsibilities include:
One member (18+) from each family is responsible to work at school directly with the children in an assigned post one day per week, from 8:45am-12:15pm. Assignments are made at the beginning of the school year or at enrollment.
Each family is assigned a family 'job', some of which include a position on the board. These jobs are vital to the day-to-day business of running MBNS and are assigned at the time of enrollment. Some jobs include: record keeper, school photographer, among others.
Families Tending to School
Each family is required to complete 6 hours of school maintenance work each semester (2 hours during each session of Summer school). Work can look like: repairing broken toys, washing school laundry or sweeping.
Tuition accounts for the staff salaries and property taxes on our school building. The rest of the money required to keep school running come from fundraisers held throughout the year. Each family is responsible for participating in fundraising activities.
During the regular school year, families provide a group snack on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on a rotating basis. Some ideal snacks include: carrots & hummus, apples & sunflower butter, veggie crudite, hard boiled eggs, etc.
Adult Education Meetings
We offer adult education meetings to support families on their parenting journey. Some of these meetings require attendance of at least one family member without children present.