Applegarden Montessori (Oakland, CA)
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Applegarden Montessori (Oakland, CA)
- Owner: Naome Dragstedt
- Phone: (510) 339-9666 or (510) 531-0416
- Email: email@example.com
- Neighborhood: Montclair
- Zip: 94611
- License #: 010205969
- Capacity: 22
- Website: http://www.applegardenschool.org/
- Ages: 2.9 - 5 years
I'm posting to let folks know about our fantastic preschool in Montclair, Applegarden
Montessori. It's a warm, nurturing, small montessori school for kids 2 years 9 month
through 6. They offer 1/2 day or full day programs and even have an afternoon only half
day program that's great for avoiding that morning rush.
What we love:
Experienced, gentle, professional teachers
Beautiful, wholesome, thoughtful school environment and materials
Lovely garden with sand box, play structure, play house, trike track, picnic tables
Some structure (circle time, lunch time) with a long open ''work period'' where kids can
tackle the projects they find most interesting.
Great parent community with parent workshops and opportunities for parents to
participate in the school
It's a really special place.
Happy Applegarden Parent
My daughter has attended Applegarden for almost 3 years and we are huge
fans. The school itself is a beautiful cottage nestled in the redwoods with
ample outside space for the kids to burn off energy. There's a large picnic
table where they gather to eat lunch, read books and do art projects.
There's a climbing structure, monkey bars, climbing frame with ample room to
run around which the kids love. It's quiet and cute. There's a gorgeous
playhouse. There's fruit trees which provide shade in the summer, vegetables
growing and flowers and a 'peace garden' for when the kids want a bit of
space and quiet. There's a race track for trikes, a water table and a whole
area for painting outside.
The Montessori approach has worked so well for us. My initial concern was
that it would be rigid and disciplined but it doesn't dampen a child's sense
of play. Far from it. The approach teaches kids to focus and how to learn.
It teaches self-control and respect for others. For example, when the kids
are inside and working in groups or individually on their crafts or puzzles,
there's another group preparing snacks in the kitchen who then walk around
to the other kids and serve them a little snack.
The school is beautifully organized and maintained. The activities are
changed out every few months so the kids are exposed to new things all the
time. There are teacher conferences each semester which introduce parents to
the Montessori approach as well as tell us what out kids will be learning
that semester, so we can encourage supplemental learning at home. The
teachers are responsive to the children and any issues which have come up
for us have been dealt with quickly and with kindness. It's a really loving
place. We couldn't be happier and my 2nd child will also attend and we're
looking forward to providing him that opportunity.
I'm seriously considering the Applegarden's morning program
for my 3-year-old son this Fall. Initially, I was set on a
play-based program, but my observation at Applegarden and
several other Montessori schools has convinced me otherwise.
I'd love to hear about any recent experiences
(positive/negative) at the Applegarden. Specifically, I'm
nervous about sending my son for 5 full mornings, as this is
his first experience away from home. Also, I'm convinced my
son will get an excellent foundation, but will he have FUN at
Nervous about preschool
Applegarden has been a wonderful school for our now 4 year
old son. He started when he was just under 3. Like you,
I was a little apprehensive about his transition to 5 days
a week especially because he was on the young side and I
was due to deliver his little brother the week he started
school. The school did a great job helping him (and us!)
with the transition. I really think going 5 days a week
was not too much for him - full day would have been I
think, but half day was fine. This year he has been
staying till 1:30 one day a week for extra art and that's
his favorite day of the week. As far as whether school
is ''fun'' for him I would say definitely yes. Perhaps you
are concerned by the designation of ''worktime'' for the
kids. Alot of these ''works'' or activities may seem like
chores to adults (practicing cutting fruit to serve
others, trimming back the hedges with little scissors,
sweeping)and therefore not very ''fun''. But remember,kids
LOVE to do grown up things and Montessori fosters such
independence and pride in the little ones when they can do
things grown ups can do. There is also plenty of
unstructured run around time outside. My son is quite a
goofball and the school has done nothing to squelch that.
Feel free to email me if you have any specific questions
Our family has mixed feelings about Applegarden. For 2
years, we had our daughter in the morning program of this
school. For us, the transition from staying with mom all
day to pre-school life was quite difficult. It took a commitment
of almost 3 weeks before our daughter could stay alone in school
all morning. Since I did not work, I had the luxury of taking the
time and phasing myself out a little more every day. During the first
week, I effectively was in school all morning, observing our daughter
from a corner of the room as she was getting accustomed to the
school routine. I felt bad for those parents who had to go to work
and could not invest the time. A little more pro-active approach on
the part of the school may have been helpful. Applegarden's
philosophy is to avoid traumatizing the child during the separation
phase. That's a sensible strategy but I would have wished for
some upfront coaching in terms of the needed time investment.
Our first year at Applegarden was generally a success. Our
daughter had a great mix of teachers and made friends quickly.
Also in the first year, she still received the benefit of highly individual
attention on the part of her teachers as they were getting her used to
the school routine.
But by the second year, the magic was gone for us. The mix of
morning teachers changed. Our daughter did not care for one of the
teachers in particular, who was more strict and academic than we had
hoped for in this pre-school setting. Since our child is very playful and
developmentally not at the top of the class, we felt she received less
attention. Also, the head morning teacher seemed less engaged with
our daughter than she had been the previous year. We felt quite
pressured to stay for a third year, but we are very glad that we did not
put our daughter in the kindergroup rather than move on to kindergarten.
She is thriving at her new school (where imaginative play is still part of the
K-class curriculum). I am now wondering if she would have benefitted
from switching to a different pre-school in her second year.
Applegarden exudes a cozy environment and with the right teacher mix,
can be a great pre-school. In retrospect, the afternoon class and its head
teacher may have been a better fit for our child.
I wanted to reply in response to the request for feedback
regarding Applegarden school. We had an amazingly postive
experience there and feel this school is a real gem. Our
daughter went to Applegarden 5 days a week from age 4 for
two years, and our younger daughter went fulltime to
summerschool upon just turning 2 yrs, until we moved that
fall. We loved Applegarden for both our girls. Our first
daughter had been in a play-based preschool that just
overall stressed her out from the lack of structure and
the relatively high staff turnover. She thrived with the
gentle structure at Applegarden, which has lots of time
for imaginative and active play, in my opinion. She found
the 'works' to be like play as far as she was concerned,
as they frequently center around drawing, animals,
building...hey, that's play to them! My younger daughter
is a rough and bold girl, and she also thrived in this
environment. Every child is different, but attending 5
days a week is probably less confusing for most; this is
what we did. We found that our kids frequently did not
want to leave Applegarden when we came to pick them up!
The teachers are warm and loving and the level of
education a Montessori teacher (and Director) has compared
to my two other prior preschool experiences in my opinion
brought a huge increase in the overall professionalism of
the school in all areas (I found this to be true for other
Montessoris since we've moved). My oldest attended the
Kindergroup program at Applegarden and now is reading at
the top of her first grade class, and is very well
socialized. My kids and I have fond memories of
Applegarden, which prepared them well socially and
emotionally, as well as academically, and, yes, they had
I've read a lot of praise for Applegarden Montessori preschool
in Montclair, and I admire it's thoughtful and well-organized
curriculum and physical environment, but I do have reservations
about how... well... reserved it seems. When I visited, there
was a quiet earnestness in the air rather than the giggling and
robust talking and bits of jostling I expected in a preschool.
The quiet, ''work''-oriented atmosphere seemed a little tense to
me, even though the kids seemed fairly content and engaged. The
kids would get self-conscious when talking in the hushed
environment and I found myself wondering if the school
were ''warm'' enough to meet the needs of me and my
daughter. Anyway, I'd be curious to hear from those who like
Applegarden as well as those who looked into it or tried it and
decided it wasn't for their family. I can see how this
beautifully structured atmosphere and approach could end up
being *truly* suppotive and wonderful, but I do have some
concerns about it based on those first impressions.
mom of 2 year old girl
You made some good observations about Applegarden. What you saw
in the work period is what they are trying to achieve in that the
class is mostly quiet, students doing their works, and the class
running smoothly. This is the way that a Montessori class should
look like. With that said remember that the students are in this
work period for about 2 hours out of a 4 1/2 hour morning
session. If you are really concerned about the ability to be
silly I would recommend doing an observation during the time that
they are outside or during lunch. The students are learning to
be disciplined and controlled when that is appropriate. It is
actually amazing to me to see my very active, get into everything
boys sit and work like they do at school. They love the school
and want to be there longer. Of course, with that discipline
does come rules and guidance that might not be the right
environment for everyone.
Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions or want a
more detailed information.
Re: Looking for a preschool with an afternoon session
I want to recommend
Applegarden Montessori for a great afternoon program. The
afternoon is from 1:30 to 4:30 with the possibility to join an
art class from 1 to 1:30 and aftercare until 6. Applegarden is a
great little school. I have 2 sons(5yo & 3yo) that currently
attend the morning session, though my older son started in the
afternoon and was there all day 2 days a week last year. He asks
me every week when he can stay all day again (that is the best
indicator for me that it is a good school). The teachers are all
very good at knowing the kids and helping them to be the best
individuals they can be while learning about the world, nature,
science, math, and reading. Good luck in finding a good fit for you.
I'm considering Applegarden Montessori Preschool for my daughter
and would like to hear from current or alumni parents about their
experience there, both positive and negative. I am also curious
to find out from the full-time working parents what they have
done for childcare during the month of August when the school is
closed. Thanks so much in advance for your comments.
I have 2 children that attended Applegarden from 3.5-5 years of
age. I selected this pre=school because it took place in a
house and was small compared to other pre-schools and Montessori
schools I visited. I also selected this school because it
follows the Maria Montessori method of teaching (as opposed to
some where it uses the name but does not use the actual method
of teaching). one feature that helped my children learn to
read, was the use of phoenetics that they used at Applegarden.
The place is clean and runs like clockwork. The only 2
drawbacks about the schooll is the small yard which inhibits the
amount of running space for active little ones, and there aren't
supplemental teachings provided-such as teaching music (Kodaly,
Suzuki, Orff), and art (ceramics, making sculptures, different
mediums of art). We were very happy with the teachers and the
school. during August, I enrolled the children in Montclair rec
center and they made lots of friends there too.
Our son has attended Applegarden for two years now, he goes
full time as both parents work. I can't write enough how the
Montessori philosophy has created in him such a desire and
curiosity to learn. Now he is one of the oldest kids at
Applegarden (he'll be 6 in October) and being one of the
oldest, he has taken on the ''responsibility'' of welcoming the
younger kids, showing and teaching them things, providing
guidance, etc. Having delayed his admittance to Kindergarden,
he is learning to read and develop his math skills - as well as
science (they disected a tulip bulb), studied the human
skeleton, studied the craters on the moon, etc. For the month
of August our son attended a Mandarin Chinese camp for 3 weeks -
the Chinese Cultural Education Association at the Lake Merritt
United Methodist Church on Lakeshore Avenue. He loved it there
and looks forward to going again this year.
Re: Preschools with Male Teachers
Applegarden Montessori in Montclair has a male teacher in the afternoon class.
Dennis changed professions to become a preschool teacher and it shows that this is
what he wants to do.
I'd love to get some feedback on Applegarden Montessori School in Oakland.
and Negative. Particularly the afternoon program. What is the the environment and
outdoor play space like? We're not in town to see the school at the moment.
This information may be 20 years out-of-date, but I had a very
positive experience attending Applegarden as a preschooler. The
teachers have stayed in touch and have a very strong alumni
community. I was free to do the activities that I wanted, and
have memories of a very tidy, organized system, which I now know
is in keeping with the Montessori method. If Montessori is the
way you want to go, you found a great school. I have since become
an avid follower of the waldorf education system, but remember my
preschool days (the only time I was not in a waldorf school) fondly.
We had the pleasure of using the Applegarden school on
Thornhill in Oakland about 8 years ago for two years and it was
wonderful. Good people then and seems I have heard good things
since. It was a safe environment with good mixture of age
groups and interaction.
We consider enrolling our soon-to-be 3 year old girl at
Applegarden Preschool in Montclair. Does anyone have feedback
about the school and its teachers? How would you rate the
curriculum in terms of its rigor and Montessori program aspects?
Our girl has never been to a preschool before and she is quite
shy. We are considering Applegarden because we heard that it has
a very warm, nurturing atmosphere. Thanks for any feedback about
My oldest son went to Applegarden for two years. We only left
because we moved out of the area. Applegarden offered him a
wonderful social and educational experience, he loved going to
school. He now is 6 years old and still asks to go back to
Applegarden. We have had experiences with two other schools now
and didn't realize how lucky we were to have started with
I can't seem to find anything about Applegarden Montessori on the BPN -
it's not even
listed in the Alpha Listing of Preschools. Can anyone tell me anything
about it - good,
bad. Thank you for sharing your experience
Having previously been one of the unanswered posts the moderator
mentions, I'd like to take the opportunity to finally put
Applegarden on the record!
Earlier this year I looked into 30 preschools, visiting a dozen
of them formally. We chose Applegarden and couldn't be happier.
It is classic Montessori (i.e, a quiet, structured environment -
if you like chaotic, this is not for you) which I have become
convinced is what kids this age thrive on. The staff is highly
qualified (my sons's teachers all have degrees from Berkeley,
Mills etc, and the school's Director is a PhD in pschology) and
infinitely patient. I also especially like the physical facility
(in a cute little house with apple tress in the yard) and small
size (only one class). I feel good about bringing my child here
every day, and he not only enjoys it but is already showing
signs of growth, independence and learning
I adore Applegarden Montessori school. It is a rare and special
school. The teachers are warm and creative, the school is
extremely well run, and my son really thrived there. I looked
at a lot of preschools and will forever be grateful that I
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