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Re: Great Montessori Preschool Sought
We LOVE The Child Unique in Alameda. Our son (3.5 yrs old) goes to the Pacific site, but they also have another location on Encinal. E-mail me if you have specific questions and/or contact them to schedule a visit. http://www.thechildunique.org/ Good luck in your search. There are many great options out here and I'm sure you'll find one that's a good fit for your family. acg
Re: Preschool for very bright 2 year old in Alameda?
If you're considering Montessori, you may want to check out The Child Unique in Alameda. Our son (3.5 yrs old) has been attending the Pacific site since he was 2 and we LOVE it. I am amazed by how much he has learned there, and they have really helped him develop socially. Also, I like that he has always been able to access the materials that might be more appropriate for the ''older'' kids, so that learning opportunities are really ''self-paced''. They do offer part-time but I don't know what they have available for this fall. E-mail me if you have specific questions and/or contact them to schedule a visit to see if it would be a good fit for your family. www.thechildunique.org Good luck in your search. acg
Re: Rising Star Montessori and Child Unique in Alameda
My son was also at a play based preschool, which we both really loved, but I decided to give Child Unique a try. I'm definitely glad I did - he was running wild with a pack of boys at the play based pre-school, and now Child Unique helps him focus, and he finally plays with the girls! I like that it's really multi-ethnic (my son's first girlfriend is French), and the staff are very attentive and keep the kids doing their ''works''. The only bummer is that at the Encinal campus, the play structure is broken - so the kids have to run around it. I hope they get it fixed soon, that will make it perfect. My son laments the rule against playing superheroes. I secretly cheer it - at least there are a few days a week he's not Batman. He does miss the anarchy of the play based preschool, but I know that true anarchists need to learn discipline to be effective agents of change :-) and I'm a montessori kid too! Jennifer
We are considering sending our almost 3 year old to Child Unique Montessori in Alameda. Does anybody have experience with this Pre-School? or children that currently attend? Thanks! Anon
The greatest differences I noticed were as follows.... The atmosphere at Child Unique is extremely formal and low-key. Teachers greet the kids by shaking their hands and by formal introduction. Parents are not allowed to linger in the classroom - on my child's first day, I was made to sit on a chair just outside the classroom door, and could not enter the room. There is little emphasis on social interaction, except for play outside, where the children roam and play freely with teachers acting as observers. There are no dress-up clothes, no art station/easel, no water play, no sand play, and no plastic toys (except for a bucket of legos and a toy kitchen outside). I like many of the Montessori materials, however they leave no room for creative freedom, they are result-driven and there is only one right answer. They are very strict on formalities and customs - this dictates everything from how the teachers sit on the floor, to the way they roll their carpets or mats, to the way the children are expected to sit (extremely important to sit cross- legged at circle time, do NOT walk across the circle, walk AROUND, walk with your hands behind your back when you are going outside, etc.) Even with the two year olds, these rules are expected - the teachers' response is ''You would be surprised what can be expected from your children''. happy I looked elsewhere
At Child Unique, I believe they have several very good teachers (we loved my son's teacher) and the program is also very good, well thought out. I also know from parents at the Encinal site, that when the older kids go off to Kindergarten they are extremely well prepared. All good things. Unfortunately I don't believe the school is run well (this is a huge understatement on my part!). There are bound to be problems and inconsistencies, miscommunications, etc. at any school but having been through a few different preschool environments with my children, this was by far the most problematic. It even reached a point, with so much staff turn-around and general havoc last year, that I felt my son was unsafe (none of the teachers present when I picked him up one day even knew his name!). I met directly with his teacher and she agreed to stay until pick up when he was there which worked for us personally so we stayed the remaider of the year but it was not a systemic solution which was obviously needed.
But like I said, there are many positives so even with all the above, the biggest reason we did not stay at Child Unique was because we ''did not feel the love''. By that I mean, there was no greeting and obvious pleasure at seeing your child when arriving, no sweet loving relationships among the children, no general feeling of happiness and well-being. I missed that from our other preschool experiences and since he was still quite young (2-3) it seemed much more important to me than learning letter sounds at that stage of his little life. Good luck in your search... Former CU Mom
My son started at Child Unique in the Fall when he was 2 1/2 and we have been very happy with it. The staff is very well trained and many of the teachers have been there for a long time, which is a good sign. They are also good at communicating ... the director even asks for contacts and holds regular parent meetings that offer helpful and interesting parenting advice. My son had a hard time adjusting at first (and the staff was very supportive and patient) but since then has done really well. He is very verbal and his language skills and vocabulary have continued to expand. His curiosity has also been challenged. The other parents and children are also interested and interesting. I looked at a lot of preschools and essentially my final choice was based on a ''gut'' feeling. So far, I couldn't be happier.
Does anyone have any experience with The Child Unique Montessori School in Alameda? There is no mention of them in the archives, even though they've been around for a while. I'm considering them for my soon-to-be 2 year old. Thanks! maya
Our daughter attends Child Unique and we could not be happier. The teachers are talented, loving, experienced, and supported by the administratrion (as best I can tell). The school just had a grandparent tea for which the students happily prepared for weeks (made invitations, walked to mailbox to mail them, practiced greeting guests). It was a big deal and my mom said it was a lovely event! The communication between the school are families is wonderful-- done through multiple modes including notes on sign in board, in parent folders, informally during drop off and pickup time, at parent conferences every quarter. I'm happy to share other details. Feel free to email or call at 769-8769. I know many other happy Child Unique families... they just don't appear to be part of this network. Jen
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