About Us

Our Story

Open Minds Early School – nestled in Oakland, California in the communities of Piedmont and Montclair District – has been at the forefront of pioneering early childhood education. Our school draws inspiration from the renowned Reggio Emilia approach, aiming to create a nurturing and stimulating environment that caters to the individual strengths and needs of each child. 

Catering to a range of developmental stages from toddlers to elementary ages, Open Minds is committed to fostering an environment where children are empowered to explore, discover, and express themselves, setting the stage for a lifetime of learning and growth. 

Karen Hernandez

A Passionate Educator with a Global Heart

Karen, our founder and Academic Director, is a Venezuelan educator with a deep-rooted passion for teaching, shaped by her upbringing in a family dedicated to education and her mother’s special needs after-school program. Her career spans various educational levels and continents, significantly influenced by the child-centric Reggio Emilia approach. Karen is committed to lifelong learning and dreams of creating an inclusive, creative school that honors each child’s uniqueness. Her journey reflects a dedication to blending cultural richness with educational practices to inspire and shape future generations.

Jesus Bolivar

Engineer and Education Advocate

Jesus Bolivar is an accomplished engineer and economist, deeply rooted in a family legacy of educators and entrepreneurs from Venezuela. He holds dual Bachelor’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, as well as a Master’s in Public Administration in International Development from Harvard Kennedy School of Government. His early education at I.E. Juan XXIII, an International Baccalaureate K-12 school founded by his grandparents in 1964, instilled in him a passion for education and innovation. As the founder of Open Minds Early School, he aims to provide educational support for children, drawing inspiration from his journey as a father of two boys and the legacy of his family.

Our Mission

Open Minds is dedicated to crafting a stimulating and healthy environment for children to flourish. We believe every classroom activity should connect with a specific developmental objective, laying a solid foundation for a child’s educational journey.

Our Philosophy

Guided by the Reggio Emilia approach, we champion a philosophy where children are viewed as unique, resourceful, and full of potential. Our tailored curriculum supports and challenges each student, fostering critical thinking, creativity, and individual expression.

Key to Success

Success is achieved through a nurturing partnership between educators, families, and the community, ensuring every child receives comprehensive support for their growth. We provide the tools and opportunities for children to explore, discover, and express themselves, cultivating lifelong learners.

Child-Centered Collaborative Learning

Our ethos revolves around collaborative learning, recognizing each child’s voice to foster a supportive and inclusive atmosphere. We emphasize the joy of group discovery and collective problem-solving.

Expert, Diverse Educators

Our team of educators brings a wealth of expertise and diverse perspectives from over 6 Spanish-speaking countries, working collaboratively to tailor a holistic educational experience that meets the unique needs of each child.

Family and Community Partnerships

We believe in the power of community in shaping the educational experience, forging strong partnerships with families to create a supportive network for our students.

Multifacted Learning Channels

Our approach harnesses various mediums—from art to technology—to ensure that learning is an immersive, multi-sensory journey that resonates with every child.

Foundations for the Future

We engage students in long-term projects that build upon their interests, teaching persistence, critical thinking, and the life skills needed to navigate the complexities of the world.