Educators are innovators.


The Katherine Michiels School has been a Bay Area education innovator since 1976. Our founder, Katherine Michiels, met David Giveans soon after earning her degree in biology from San Francisco State University, and was profoundly influenced by his teachings on progressive early-childhood education. At his suggestion, Michiels traveled to London to study the British Infant Schools, and later visited more than 50 educational facilities in 15 cities and countries, from Europe to the Far East. For Michiels and those who joined her, education would become the passion of a lifetime. KMS started on Ivring Street, serving 13 families with programs for young children. It was the start of what will become a celebrated multiethnic community of students, teachers, parents and staff. The school’s focus on active, child-centered learning stimulates independent thinking, ignites creativity, strengthens environmental awareness and sensitivity, and empowers children as valuable and responsible citizens of our global society. Over the decades KMS continued to grow, expanding to cool camp, multiple locations, infants, a full Elementary program through 5th grade and YUM Chefs, while building on its child-centered, experiential philosophy and incorporating a multilingual program with a focus on the Reggio Emilia approach.

In 1995 a group of KMS parents established Open Mind, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the KMS philosophy, assisting middle and low income Bay Area families obtain quality child care, and improving and enriching educational opportunities for infants and young children in the Bay Area. As Open Mind continued to develop, championing the KMS educational approach, and finding solutions for addressing the changing economical climate by creating KMS scholarship programs, diversity initiatives and teacher-retention plans, it became the foundation for the continued growth of KMS. In 2000, Katherine Michiels, the founder of KMS, transferred the elementary program to Open Mind. Today KMS is flourishing as two separate schools. The Elementary, After School, Enrichment, Summer Camp, and Y.U.M. Chefs Programs are owned and operated by Open Mind: A Project for the Development and Education of Children a Not for Profit Corporation DBA Katherine Michiels School. The Infant/Toddler and Preschool Programs are a licensed component, owned and operated by Katherine Michiels School, Inc., a private for profit corporation. Both schools are rooted in the KMS C.A.R.E. philosophy.

KMS is a community who celebrates diversity. We celebrate International Feast Day around Thanksgiving and Family Day around Mother’s and Father’s Day to be inclusive of all families.