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Children's Sonnen House (El Cerrito, CA)

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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Preschools & Daycare > Children's Sonnen House



May 2014

Re: Preschool for an energetic, kinetic learner?
Our son is also very active. Have you looked into the Waldorf community? We were delighted with Margrit Haeberlin's class at East Bay Waldorf. She creates a magical, grounded space where children have room to move, play, and explore, but they also learn to manage their own rhythms and follow a structured routine through the day. I cannot recommend her enough. He is also enrolled at Children's Sonnen House; Wiebke Larson has literally decades of experience guiding children who have energy and strength, and she's a beloved community member. Best of luck in your search! Anon.


June 2013

I am looking for some feedback regarding Children's Sonnen House Waldorf Preschool in El Cerrito. I am thinking of enrolling my daughter there in the fall. I love the space and the teacher seems wonderful too. I am trying to decide between this school and another. There seem to be so many wonderful programs out there. It makes it hard to decide. Can anyone recommend why I should choose Sonnen House? Anne


Wiebke Larson has created a magical space for children. My son has just finished 2 years there. I know other families who have had their children do Kindergarten there and it worked out wonderfully and magically. I have never been a true Waldorf person, but her emphasis on making a protected space for his inner self helped me feel better about all the time a cannot be with him since I have to work. I am grateful for that. Another benefit has been the amazing other children that I love that my child knows, and their attentive, amazing families. If she has an opening, I would take it. deb
There are days where I cannot believe our good fortune in finding Wiebke Larson who runs Children's Sonnen House Waldorf Preschool. Wiebke was made to work with children. She is an exquisite nurturing presence. My son took to her immediately. The growth I have seen in him over the last year is tremendous. Wiebke creates a beautifully aesthetic environment, where the children are guided in cooperative play and respect for all living things. Science lessons are weaved effortlessly into season based play. The children bake bread, sing songs, do hand work, and live in their imaginations. Wiebke is not a strict disciplinarian, but she is respected by them and keeps the children safe, emotionally and physically. Nature walks and park play are enjoyed regularly. Along with lovely organic food. Bunnies hop joyfully in the backyard... seriously, it sometimes feels like this school is in another world, soft colors, wood toys, bunnies, birds, flowers it's just lovely. I cannot recommend this school highly enough. Melanie
Hi Anne, I looked at this program for my daughters as well as another Waldorf preschool. You can email me off list if you want further info but I fell in love with Wiebke immediately. My good friend's daughter went to Sonnenhaus as well about 10 years ago, and she also has nothing but wonderful things to say. Wiebke is a veteran teacher (she's been a preschool teacher for many years and was the kindergarten teacher at East Bay Waldorf before that), she's a pro, a loving grandmother figure and I felt absolutely sure that if all the others logistics fell into place for my daughters to go there they would love it. When I visited the children really seemed to love her, and it was obvious she was a natural at allowing children to be children and facilitating their ups and downs. Good luck in your decision. Marnie
In response to Sonnen House- I brought both of my children to Sonnen House and it was more than I could have hoped for. Wiebke is an amazingly talented teacher and she provides a beautiful experience for the children. It is not just a great school, it is a loving, magical environment. Wiebke treats each child as if it were her own. You and your child will benefit from your time there for years to come. The years we spent there we were part of a special community. I would choose Sonnen House over any other, it is a gem. I would be happy to answer any questions if you would like. Hilary
March 2011

Re: Pre-School Recommendations in Oakland/Berkeley
The moment I walked into Wiebke Larson's preschool, Children's Sonnen House, which means Sun House, I felt like I had stepped into an enchanted world. I had visited other preschools. I had even been a preschool teacher for several years. Never had I experienced the joy, the flowing peacefulness, the unbelievable creativity, and the sense of magical presence that I felt as I watched these children play in Wiebke's home. I knew I had found the right preschool for my child.

My daughter was privileged to be with Wiebke for one full school year. She learned to sew, to bake, to find fairies in the garden, and to magically transform chairs into trains. She was guided from circle time to free play to snack in the most gentle, seamless way as Wiebke's song or movement would gently guide the children to the next activity.

The children are held at Wiebke's in the most tender embrace of an atmosphere that truly matches their rhythm, that respects and supports their natural creativity and imagination, and that feeds their souls. Finding like-minded parents who also want this kind of atmosphere for their children was another gift of finding Wiebke's preschool. Our daughter remains best friends with several of the children she met there, and our families have remained close.

Wiebke Larson is the most loving, caring teacher a parent could ever find to entrust their precious preschoolers to. If you recognize the importance of preserving early childhood as a time of play, imagination, and creativity, and understand that this is the most solid foundation one can provide for all later learning, then this is the preschool for you and your child. You can call her at 510/204-9346. Check out their website at www.childrenssonnenhouse.com

This is what my daughter, Rachel, has to say about her experiences at Children's Sonnen House:

It was fun, playful, kind, and beautiful. I really liked how the kids treated each other and me. Wiebke was a very funny, imaginative, and kind pre-school teacher. My favorite things to do there were celebrate birthdays and baking real things. I liked the birthdays because we got to sit on a throne and wear a crown and a cape.

Linda


March 2011

I looked at many preschools for my daughter, but when I visited The Sonnen House, I knew I had found something very special. I wasn't looking for a waldorf preschool, but I loved what I saw. Wiebke Larson, a very experienced waldorf preschool teacher, runs the most magical and loving preschool from her home in El Cerrito. It is a small preschool, 6 children usually, and she creates a wonderful family environment that supports and celebrates each individual child's growth and creativity. With songs, magical stories, baking, friendships, animals and a warmth that is beyond description, my daughter was happy there for several years. Wiebke is a true treasure, and I found the small intimate size of her school to be perfect for my little girl. happy parent


Feb 2011

Re: Preschool for anxious kid
Have you considered a Waldorf approach? If it interests you at all, I suggest you visit Children's Sonnen house in El Cerrito. Wiebke Larson runs a beautiful preschool out of her home. It is very small and holds a shy or anxious child well. Wieble has a wealth of experience and heart, really knows and loves each child. My daughter went there for 3 years and thrived. Childrens Sonnen House 510-204-9346 Katie


Feb 2011

My 4 year old daughter has attended Children's Sonnen House since she was 2 1/2. Wiebke Larsen is a gifted young child educator who supports and loves each child uniquely. She has created a nurturing environment in her home in which children can truly imagine, trust, and grow into confident, caring and creative individuals. Each week for 1 1/2 years we have felt so grateful to have found Wiebke, and cannot imagine a better way for our daughter to enter the world of school and play. Sonnen House is Waldorf-based, but not exclusively so; Wiebke has had many students go on to other schools in the area. We were not that familiar with Waldorf education (based on Rudolph Steiner's writings, Waldorf for young children puts a strong emphasis on imagination and play) but it has been a true pleasure and inspiration to have Wiebke in our lives. Happy Parent


April 2010

Looking for a wonderful loving, gentle, caring preschool for your little one? Children's Sonnen house (510-204-9346)is your answer. It is a Waldorf preschool in El Cerrito. It is ran by Wiebke (over 20yrs experience as a Waldorf teacher). My 4 yr old boy goes 3 days a week (9am to 1pm) She is open M-TH 9am to 1pm. We love it there. She tends to the children without interfering with their creativity. She guides them in their play and holds a caring loving place for them to grow and be nurtured. There are only 6 children each day so the children get to form good bonds with their friends. If your looking for a small Waldorf community this is it. Happy Waldorf Parent


Nov 2007

Re: Waldorf Preschool in East Bay
The Waldorf-inspired preschool, Children's Sonnen House, is excellent. Wiebke Larsen taught kindergarten at the East Bay Waldorf School for many years before opening her own program. She is located in El Cerrito and can be reached at 510-204-9346. If her program is full, contact me by email or 510-223-3570, ext. 2105 to receive a list of other Waldorf-inspired programs. Judy


January 2003

I would like to know if anyone else has sent their child to the Waldorf preschool in Berkeley called Children's Sonnen House. I've toured the school and really like what I saw, and I especially liked the woman who runs it.There are very few spaces left and I need to decide soon. I would like to get other peoples feedback who have had experience with the school. I'm at a delimma because there are a couple of other schools that I haven't yet toured, but I'm afraid that I will loose my spot at Sonnen House. Is it worth jumping at the chance? Was your child happy there? Laurey


My son has attended Childrens sonnen house for the past year and a half and will be there again next year (he was 2 1/2 when he started). It is a very small school, which for me is a big plus. Wiebke is 100% focused on the children during the time they are there and makes their experience quite magical. It si a true Waldorf school, which while it may not work for everyone, I think is really wonderful for young children. There is a lot of effort put into allowing the children to engage in imaginative play and creating a sense of wonder in the world rather than pushing academics during the young ages, which is a nice alternative to much of what they are exposed to elsewhere. (Being somewhat ''intellectual'' myself, this has been a hard but important lesson for me!) Because of the tiny size, all of the children interact and my son has his ''big sisters'' from last year, who he sees at Waldorf school events and still feels very close to. I love to see him developing this sense of community. I would be happy to talk more off the network about the school and any questions you might have. Tara
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