San Anselmo nursery school crushed by fallen oak tree

A much loved, San Anselmo three-quarter century day school, finds itself looking for new digs because a massive oak tree, felled by the storms, slammed into it, leaving it homeless for now.

Where parents are making do by doing it all, the best staff any school can have is concerned parents who see the school as a sanctuary for learning, growth, and development; just like the currently closed San Anselmo Cooperative Nursery School.

On Jan. 2, an enormous oak tree fell on the not-in-session school with no injuries reported. The beloved, 75-year-old, non-profit school has 33 young students; some the grandchildren of some of the first school's first attendees.  

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But for now, the school is red-tagged and out of business until major structural repairs can, or even if, be made. 

"We had the insurance adjuster there yesterday, and he said the damage is too extensive for him to put a dollar value on it, so we're bringing out an engineer or a construction consultant," said Alyssa Schiffmann, the school's president, and a mother.

Research conducted determined, conservatively speaking, the tree weighs between 30 and 60 tons, possibly more. 

"I couldn't understand how a tree of that size could fall over like that," said mom Shabnaz Yousefia.

Nonetheless, the director, teachers, and parents decided that the school must go on, in their homes if need be, and for as long as need be, until they find another location. 

"We immediately made a spreadsheet, a Google doc, and we have a sign-up sheet and parents are opening up their homes to as many kids as they can take. We just made it through Covid. So, we're actually used to doing some remote schooling," said Schiffmann.

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One person we interviewed dropped a friend's child off while the mother works. 

"I think it's a wonderful thing…they're, coming up with these great solutions," said Sevanti Zarco.

By Wednesday, at scattered locations, the kids were back in nursery school. 

"Each day is different; we're getting all these impromptu random play dates at different peoples' homes, we're coming together…we're trying to stay together until we can find a new place," said Schiffmann. 

"I've never been part of a community like this…an incredible community. I was really impressed by how quickly the parents came together and created this backup plan,": said Yousefia.

The school, which offers scholarships to parents needing help, put up a GoFundMe post that you'll find on KTVU. Creekside Pizza, will donate a portion of its dine-in and take-out profits Wednesday.