Parent Participation Preschool

We help children reach their full potential.

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About Us

Our History

Almaden Parents’ Pre-school was founded in 1969 by a group of parents in south San Jose who wanted to participate in their children’s early childhood education. They formulated a philosophy that was based on sequential development. The parents wanted to be there with the teachers to witness the discoveries and learning that would take place. Together, parents and teachers would create an environment that would be happy, safe, and secure so that the children could grow physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually.

The school opened in September 1969 at its present location with 72 member families. APPS continues to develop the whole child through the dedication of its teachers and the active participation of parents.

After 30 years of dedication to APPS, parent participant, teacher and Director Nancy Fraser retired in 2009. Nancy had taken over the position of Director in 2004 from Betsy Ding, who had taught at APPS since 1975 and whose family is still part of APPS. Nancy was recognized with awards and accolades including Teacher of the Year by the California Council of Parent Participation Nursery Schools and an Honorary Life Achievement Award for signficant devotion to the parent participation movement.

In 2009, our wonderful 2-Day / 4-Day teacher and Assistant Director, Sanyoo Bharadwaj, was excited to step into the role of Director. She has been with us ever since. We are pleased to welcome Tanya Burrell as teacher and Co-Director this year. Cathy Kawakami will contine to help us as Positive Discipline Coach, teaching parents the techniques and helping our children to mature into strong, socially capable individuals.

Our Teachers


Sanyoo Bharadwaj brought us unique vision and experience when she began teaching at APPS in 2004.

She became Assistant Director in 2006 and then Director in 2009. Sanyoo has a BA from India and has her Early Childhood Education Certificate through UC Santa Cruz. She was a parent participant and board member at Eastside Parent Participating Nursery School for three years. Her years at EPPNS gave her an enduring passion for nurturing the growth and development of young children.

After her daughter’s graduation from EPPNS, she stayed on as a teacher. Sanyoo has taught as a substitute teacher at Mulberry School- in their elementary and pre-school program, while her daughter was enrolled there. She was also a Parent participant and an adult educator in her daughter's middle school program at Discovery Charter School.

During the pursuit of her vocation as an early childhood educator, Sanyoo has consistently worked in helping these Programs advocate the creation of a community to support the “whole child”. 'A child's work is play', is her mantra. She has been married to Rajesh, her husband, for thirty six years. She is the proud mother of Nupur, a UCSC graduate.

Sanyoo will continue to enrich her APPS experience by teaching the 1 Day, 2 Day and 4 Day classes.


Tanya Burrell


Tanya is excited about joining the APPS community as Co-director and 3-day teacher!

She is a California native, a wife and mother of two who currently attend a parent participation K-8 school. Tanya looks to bring her passion for child development and her joyful energy to APPS. She has a BA is Psychology from the University of the Pacific and a MA in Child Development from San Jose State University. Along with her years of study, Tanya has been an educator of young children for the past twelve years, and has enjoyed growing and developing alongside children and families.

She is passionate about sparking the imagination of children as they see themselves as problem solvers, social thinkers, innovators, and caring hearts.

Tanya began her journey in child development as a substitute teacher at the Children’s Center of the Stanford Community. In her time there, she took on an Administrative Assistant role, the Substitute Coordinator role, and eventually her first classroom teaching experience as part of a teaching team. CCSC is were Tanya’s roots for play-based, whole-child learning were formed.

After having her first child with her husband, Patrick, Tanya had the opportunity to direct her own family daycare program, King’s Kids Christian Childcare, which helped further her understanding of administration. It was during this time that her second child was born. Tanya has had opportunities to support children of various cultural and developmental backgrounds, confirming her understanding that all children thrive with a community of love and support.

Her journey eventually took her back into the classroom as a preschool teacher at The Harker Preschool. Currently, Tanya and Patrick’s children attend a parent participation K-8 school, Christa McAuliffe School. As an actively involved parent, participating as a parent aide, co-classroom coordinator, school site council representative, parent faculty group representative, and a facilitator on the McAuliffe parent aide training team, Tanya has further understood the partnership between children, parents, and educators and its benefit to a community.

As a life-long learner, Tanya seeks to continue sharing the joy of learning with children, families, and educators as she believes we are all in this journey together.



Cathy brings with her the family history and connection that epitomizes APPS. She is a former APPS student who attended with her mother in the early days of school. Her mother Betsy went on to become an APPS teacher and director for 29 years before retiring in 2004. Cathy has also been a participating parent, board member and former President during the years that her two daughters, Kristen and Lindsey, attended the school. She continues to participate in the classroom now that her daughters attend the Indigo Program, a parent participation school in San Jose.

In addition to having taught the 1 and 3 Day class for several years, you will see Cathy in the 1, 2, 3 and 4 day classrooms working as a Positive Discipline Coach (PDC). She works with the parents modeling positive interactions with the children and provides parent education during the after class meetings.

“I love working with children, but helping parents learn positive parenting techniques is my true passion. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with both parents and their children at APPS”.

Cathy is an alumnus of San Jose State University and keeps busy running her own parent education business. She is a Certified Positive Discipline Trainer is working toward a certificate in Early Childhood Education. She teaches parent education classes in the south bay area and also works with schools that use Positive Discipline in the classroom. She and her husband Stan and their daughters live in San Jose.