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Centro VIDA Children's Center (Berkeley, CA)
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Hi We are in the lucky position of having had our son accepted at Centro Vida's 2 year old program for next fall. We would like to hear from any parents who currently have kids attending Centro Vida so we can get a sense of your experience. What's the good, bad, and ugly about Centro Vida? Some specific questions we have are: - What is the quality of the care and instruction? - How structured is the program for younger children? - What are your opinions on the facility/location? - How engaged is the school with the parent community and vice-versa? Thanks in advance! OJ
We are same sex parents to a toddler and preschooler, and we are considering Fall enrollment for at least one of our children at Centro Vida. Can anyone share their experiences of this school as part of an ''alternative'' family (glbt, single parent, adoptive, foster, etc) structure? Is/was your family validated and recognized by teachers, students, families, and within the curriculum? A review from the archives suggested that the concept of family can be treated from a more ''traditional'' standpoint- has this been your experience? Thank you! Queer and Curious
So far as I know, our family was the only lesbian family at CV while we were there. Although that registered w/ me and my partner, I'm not sure our kid ever noticed -- there were other kids w/ only one parent, or being raised by a grandparent, and there was tremendous racial, language and class diversity, so he understood that families have similarities and differences. But it would have been nice for us as parents to have had other gay parents to connect with.
If you have other questions about CV or Bahia, please feel free to email me directly.
Re: Spanish immersion-type preschool programs
Centro Vida is a wonderful Spanish immersion preschool. However, I would get on their waiting list NOW. I put my son on the list as soon as he was born, and he didn't get in until part way through the first year! But he loved it, and spoke Spanish fluently while he was there. hablamos espanol
The reviews onthe webiste for Centro Vida are quite dated. Do you have your child enrolled there now, and if so, what do you like/dislike about the school? Thanks!
The school tries hard to bring in local resources to enrich the kids learning -- my son really enjoys the ballet folklorico, and artists from MOCHA do art projects with the kids on a regular basis. The general orientation of the school is play-based learning, and the kids have a good amount of time outside in well-supervised play each day. The teachers work to foster community among the kids, and my son loves the food. Our son clearly understands a lot of Spanish, knows a lot of Spanish words, and has a good accent when he says them, but he does not speak Spanish. The teachers conduct a lot of the day in Spanish, but the kids may answer in Spanish or English. Neither my partner nor I speaks Spanish -- although it would have been nice, we did not expect him to learn to speak the language at school.
The downsides: the school culture is more traditional than our family, so our son occasionally comes home reporting things like, ''we were drawing families today, and my teacher told me mommies wear dresses.'' (He wasn't upset, just puzzled, since that did not jibe with his experience.) Many of the art projects seem to be pretty ''closed-ended,'' in that the kids are given instructions on what they should do with their art materials, and what the finished project should look like, whereas I'd prefer to see more open-ended creative projects.
On the whole, our experience at CV has been very good, and I
would send my kid there again. You can email me if you have
we have heard about centro vida preschool. i am looking for more
info. i hear the waitlist is 2years. any advice/info would be great.
what is the day like: is it all play? any learning? how long? what
are they learning.
our daughter will be 3.5 next sept. i plan on keeping her home
another year. our son will be 20 months next sept, but i think i want
to keep him home as long as i do my daughter. also, does anyone know
the costs of the program for full time and part time? thanks, any
info would be super helpful.
I've been looking into daycare/preschool for my 19-month-old recently and have been recommended to both Centro Vida and Child Education Center in Berkeley. I'm aware of the waiting list at Centro Vida and would most likely be eligible for the subsidized assistance if and/or when my child attends. Currently CEC has space in the toddler room and if I like the facility and staff I may utilize them for part-time immediate care. Does anyone have more current comments on either of these programs? I am currently working with only one personal recommendation each for these centers and am really interested to hear more varied and current feedback from fellow BPN members. Thanks. Maria
Hi!I am interested in current information regarding Centro Vida Children's Center.The posts that are up rave about the school, but state they have an extremely long waiting list. I confirmed that when I called earlier this year and was told that most parents apply while their baby is in utero!!!! I was really turned off. Soon after that I visited a couple of preschools in the oakland area but just havent found the right one for our daughter. We are extremly intersted in the language immersion program the school has to offer but would appreciate any information regarding other aspects of their center...ie....approach to discipline, rigidity, happy children...etc.Since our daughter will be starting preschool next year and we are expecting I decided to revisit the idea.I called and placed my unborn on the waiting list(weird!)and after talking to the director briefly they agreed to place my toddler on the list as well as meet with the both of us in the upcoming weeks. I am looking forward to this but at the same time I can't help but wonder is the whole never ending waiting list a marketing tatic that preschols use to draw parents in? (The oakland preschools we visited were said to be,''hard to get in'', not only us but friends have found the contrary) The dishonest energy just feels wrong. Thanks in advance for your response. anon
I'm glad I waited it out. The care my son gets at Vida is warm, loving, and safe. There is always an adult nearby to do projects with him, to hug him, and sometimes to just watch over him and friends when they play. He is stimulated, challenged, and given plenty of time to play and just be a preschooler. He gets 2 nutritious meals a day and snacks. He tells me that their food is better than mine (and he's right). As an extra bonus, I am part of a wonderful community of families. The truth is that we need more preschools like Centro Vida that offer a top quality preschool education, place a high value on supporting the diversity of language and culture in the Bay Area, and have a long-standing commitment to serve the Berkeley community (regardless of ability to pay). Alina
Can anyone comment on the pros and cons of Centro Vida in
particular and bilingual education in general? We are
considering this route, beginning with the Spanish Preschool
Centro Vida for our son. My husband and I are not bilingual. I
have a rudimentary Spanish knowledge but would study it again if
my I enrolled my son. Also his two older sisters have both
taken a few years of Spanish so we would encourage them to speak
with him. In my son's case, I would consider enrolling him in
an immersion program for elementary school. My questions are:
-Has anyone sent their non Spanish speaking child to Centro Vida and how was the experience for the child?
-Does anyone have thoughts on our idea to try to have the public school system successfully teach our child a second language?
-And what impact would this have on his overall education?
Thank you for all comments! dmm
I have two kids, ages 2 and 4, at Centro VIDA. This pre-school program has it's unbelievably long waiting list for a reason. I cannot recommend it more highly. The program is remarkable for its nurturing and loving staff. Many of the teachers have as much as ten years in and several have over twenty! It is the only bilingual (Spanish/English) pre-school in Berkeley. The school has a play-based curriculum. It is not highly structured. There's a lot of art and singing. There is a focus in the 4 year-olds' classroom on preparing for kindergarten. Recently, a BUSD kindergarten teacher came to visit Centro VIDA because she felt VIDA children were among the best prepared kindergarteners. She wanted to see what the teachers were doing that was so special. If you want to get your child through the Centro VIDA waiting list, my recommendation is that you call the staff often. Make sure they know your name and your child's name. Visit. Write. Make sure that they know you want to be there. Di
Centro Vida in Berkeley (1000 Camelia Street) is a *fabulous* place. Our son is in the middle of his second year there, and continues to look forward to school every day. We're also looking forward to sending our second son there, in Fall of 2000. Alexis
It is a great school. My son has been there for two years and I hope that when he starts kindergarten next fall, he will be able to go to their after-school program, Bahia, that is held at a different site. There may be some other bilingual programs in the East Bay, but I think Centro Vida is the only truly bilingual preschool in Berkeley.
My daughter attends Centro VIDA here in Berkeley (behind REI and Smith&Hawkins) at 1000 Camelia. Its a great program, spanish/english and has 2-4 year olds (3 classrooms: one for 2's, 3,s, 4's); All staff are native spanish speaking, and all parents but 3 of us don't speak spanish. The phone number is 525-1463. Beatriz is the director and Lupe the site Head Teacher. The waiting list is long so apply as early as possible. It costs $ 620 month for full fee, including breakfast, lunch and snacks. Open 7:30-5:30. From a satisfied daycare customer & happy mom--Tavie
I felt very comfortable there and I recommend that you call and make an appt. to see the school. Their number is 510-525-1463... Carolyn
My son is starting at the pre-school in January. I've been visiting the school for the past year and am very impressed. They have been around for 25 years and just won some national award. The staff are very dedicated. The primary language is Spanish, but all the teachers are bi-lingual.
Call to get on the waiting list and then keep calling and visiting at least once a month. Martha
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