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Both my son and my daughter attended Children's Garden in El Cerrito. Alaina Benner runs a beautiful school, and has a beautiful relationship with the children. It's perfect for toddlers, all her teachers are gentle, nurturing, and experienced. Her school is set up in a Montessori style but the experience for the kids is more play-based. I highly recommend Children's Garden for toddlers. You can contact the school at firstname.lastname@example.org. tracey
Re: Preschool recommendation for El Cerrito
I highly recommend Children's Garden Montessori Preschool in El Cerrito. It's run by Alaina Benner, who we absolutely adored. It's play-based and the kids spend a lot of time outdoors in her backyard. The indoor space is kind of small, but she made it work. The caregivers were loving and patient with our very active daughter, and my daughter (now a first grader) still remembers preschool with fondness. At the time our daughter was there, there was little emphasis on worksheets and traditional academics, which has its pros and cons. She had yoga and dance for the kids, and my daughter brought home art projects that we still save. There were bunnies that the kids got to feed, a picnic bench in the back, and she gave annual conferences that she hand-wrote lovingly and took an hour to discuss. If you want structured, disciplined academics, don't go there. If you want a place where your child is held, loved, can play and learn happily, don't hesitate. The teachers were wonderful and we remember the time there fondly. Johanna
I would like to recommend a lovely preschool in El Cerrito. Children's Garden Montessori is run by Alaina Benner who has something like 40 years of experience. The teachers she hires are excellent. I had both of my children attend the school and are sad to leave. The school is more of a 'soft' montessori school, not one by any strict meaning of the word. The toys and decor are changed around and there is a good sense of structure to the school. However children also have opportunities for free play and there are toys that are not strictly montessori toys. The school is small, usually about 12 kids at a time. The main thing is that your child will be very well looked after and cared for. When my first child started he was just 2 and he was held for as long as he needed to be. There are also weekly extras including creative movement, yoga, and music/creative movement/expression with Jim Beatty. The hours are flexible but not ideal for someone looking for strict full-time childcare as the usual hours range from 9a.m. - 1:00 to 9 - 4:00. I highly recommend this school. Feel free to email me with any questions. LL
I would like to recommend a wonderful home based preschool
in El Cerrito - Children's Garden Montessori School. My
older son (4.5) has been there for almost three years and my
younger daughter (2) just started. They both adore being
there and have made wonderful friends. The teachers are
amazing, nurturing, patient and great with the kids. Alaina
Benner, who runs the school, is an amazing teacher. They
have a great outdoor space with bunnies and they do lots of
great art projects. The school is the perfect blend of
Montessori and free play, which I really like for my
children. Its a very nurturing environment and my children
seem to come home every day having learned something new. We
feel so lucky to have found a school that our children love
and where we feel totally safe and loved. Please call Alaina
Benner at 510-232-3089 for more information.
Re: Cozy, fun preschool for 2-year-old
Children's Garden Montessori is in El Cerrito and based on my experience from 2001-2008 I recommend it highly. All three of my children went there.
When I first started looking it ended up being the only place I looked! My initial feel of the place just said, ''YES.'' It is not ''state-of-the-art'' and is totally NOT fancy. It is run out of the home of one of the kindest, gentlest people you could ever hope to cross paths with... Alaina Benner.
All of the kids are happy. When we were there the teachers were so loving and nurturing. Whenever someone needed to be held there were open arms ready to hold him or her. It is loosely based on Montessori principles. There is a great outside space for the kids to play and have lunch.. big bunny pen, great play structure, ride-on toys, sand for digging. Lots of fun ''works'' for the kids to experiment with and learn from inside.
Do check it out... worth the drive. We initially were commuting from Point Richmond and then moved. For my third child we were commuting to Children's Garden in El Cerrito from Rockridge! When my fourth is old enough, she will attend as well.
Alaina's number is 510 232-3089. (oh, and I just checked... a few recent good recs on BPN!) Marjorie
I would like to recommend a wonderful preschool in El Cerrito, Children's Garden Montessori School. This is a home based school with wonderful outdoor space. Our son started when he was two and has been there over two years now. The teachers worked with us to transition him gradually. All the teachers are amazing and bring different strengths to the school. It is a very nurturing and loving environment. The children are exposed to new and interesting subjects and art every day. Whenever I drop off my son or pick him up, the children are calm and happy. He is learning so much and bringing home amazing skills, such as putting his toys back in their place, drawing, writing, music, dance. I highly recommend this wonderful school. Natasha
Re: preschool for daughter who isn;t potty trained
I have a preschool recommendation...Children's Garden Montessori in El Cerrito. I am sure they will take a four-year old who is not yet potty-trained if they have space as they had a developmentally disabled child who was not potty-trained and was older. It is such a sweet, gentle, nurturing environment. The director is Alaina Benner. The contact number is 510 232 3089.
Re: Montessori Preschools in Kensington/El Cerrito
Children's Garden Montessori in El Cerrito is a great play based Montessori school, if you are still looking for other options. It's a small school for 2-5 year olds with lots of activities from art to science to dance and music. I would describe it as Montessori based rather than strict. Although the school is small, there are many teachers that bring their own uniqueness and interests to the curriculum. My son loved it there for 3 years. Adria
Children's Garden Montessori in El Cerrito is fantastic. My good friend and I visited more than 10 different preschools before we chose it for our two 2-year-old boys, and being teachers as well as moms, we're both *very* picky. CGM is a beautiful, nurturing, and very safe place, with I think just the right balance between stimulating and comfortably cozy. The flowers, fruit trees, and bunnies top it off. Their number is 510/232-3089. Colleen
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