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Claremont Day Nursery on Woolsey/Claremont (Berkeley, CA)
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I have seen some inquiries regarding Claremont Day so I thought I would add my two cents. My daughter attended Claremont Day Nursery (the Claremont Campus) from the time she was 3 to age 5. We felt the environment to be educational, engaging, loving, playful and supportive. The campus felt like a family and all of the teachers knew and interacted with my child regularly. I loved the events the school held to bring families together. There was a Halloween parade and party, a holiday performance, a pancake breakfast etc. I have fond memories of those events. I watched my daughter not only mature academically, but emotionally and socially.
Here are some other reasons we enjoyed the school: snack and lunch are provided, there's flexible hours for a working parent, and reasonable rates.
Cons? They play area could be updated a bit.
Since my daughter's graduation, we have been back to visit the teachers six times over 2 1/2 years. My daughter loves her current school, St. Paul's, but misses her teachers. Whenever we visit we get the warmest welcome and it makes my daughter's day. She lights up. These teachers helped guide my child into the academic world and for that, I am very grateful. B.
My son was recently admitted to Claremont Day School, the Woolsey/Claremont branch. Does anyone have recent feedback on this school? I looked at a lot of schools and also applied to Heart's Leap, Monteverde, and others. While Claremont Day was the cheapest and the ONLY one to offer meals, they also seemed lacking in literature about the school and philosophy, and the grounds were a little run-down. An older man is running everything there and all questions are directed through him. He seems nice, but I'm wondering if anyone has any recent feedback. All the latest on bpn is 4+ years old. How is the communication and parent participation? Unlike other schools, they don't seem to have a blog or other community involvement, but I'm not sure. Thanks! anon
Pros: loving and warm teachers, long hours, few holidays, great two year old/early threes program Cons: very little parent participation/involvement, rigid director, no clear learning philosophy, poor resources (old, inappropriate in some cases, very of them). In short, it's like day care, with some ABC and 123 learning thrown in. After approaching the director with our concern that there was little creativity/learning going on downstairs, I quote him as saying, ''I'd rather close my school down then change a thing.'' Make what you'd like of that.
After a positive year in the two's program I pulled my child after a few months in the threes program. My active and curious son was bored. There was some bullying on the playground and no adult stepped in to mediate or help the children negotiate. Nothing of interest was coming home with him. The art projects were almost entirely done by the teacher. This childrens' diverse backgrounds weren't celebrated.
I met some wonderful families at this school and miss them dearly. My son made fabulous friends. The teachers loved him and he misses them. But loving teachers isn't enough. Preschool can be so rich and so wonderful - my advice is to look at your other options.
I'm glad to discuss my opinion with anyone privately. And I need to make a plug for Sheffield Preschool. It's been night and day. I wish I could go and play there everyday - which is what we all want for our kids,right - a place so warm, resource rich, fun, and creative, that we wish we could be 4 again.
Good luck! You'll find the right thing! sarah
I feel the school is made for people with full time jobs in that parent participation is not required, but it has always been encouraged. There are events almost monthly that are open to parents (I think the school is aware that most parents work, so I never feel pressure to attend events, but I always feel like the school encourages the parents to attend if they can). I talk with my kids' teachers as much as I can to find out about what they are learning that week, my own child's strengths, and areas we can work on at home. The kids in the oldest class (pre-K kids) are often working at a Kindergarten level (number sequencing, patterns, writing, listening to chapter books, etc.). Unlike most preschools, the small group/classroom sessions are held in both the morning and afternoon, but there is still plenty of time for unstructured play. My older child has made some great friends there, and we will miss them when Kindergarten starts in the fall.
Like most parents, of course I think my kids are very smart and creative, and I feel the school has definitely fostered creativity and learning. While the 3s class may not have focused on art as much as the other classes, the strength of the teacher and the class was in science, which we really value. Because the kids have the option of doing arts and crafts during the unstructured play time, I never felt this was a disadvantage. The children interact with all the teachers throughout the day, and each has strengths and specialties. We also do a lot of arts and crafts, reading and writing, and outside play at home.
Because both my husband and I have demanding jobs, I recently considered moving my younger child to a preschool closer to the elementary school in the fall to make drop offs and pick-ups easier on us, but after looking at some of the other options, I realize what a great school we have, and I would really feel like my second child would not have the same learning experiences and opportunities at another preschool. CDN mom
Hi! We'd really like to send our child to Claremont Kids on Woolsey. It sounded perfect to us and we recently visited the school as well. We liked the overall program but I noticed stinky toilets on my visit. I'm not sure if this was an unusual occurrence, but I was wondering if anyone could comment on the general cleanliness/hygiene of the place? :( Hopeful Mom
I am planning to send my 2 1/2 year-old child to the Berkeley branch of Claremont Day Nursery (also called Claremont Kids). I was looking through the archives, and the most recent review was from 2007. Does anyone have anyone who is currently sending a child there (or has recently sent one there) have any thoughts about the school? How do you feel about the teachers? Is your child happy there? Do you feel your child gets enough unstructured play time? Thanks! anon
I saw some postings from last Spring but would like to request a little
more detail, if
possible. My older son went to a great Montessori school with a
terrible director. (I
will leave it unnamed.) His experience was wonderful, ours (parents)
unbearable. We stayed three years based on his experience but won't be
second there. Now that it's almost time for our second child to begin
looked at CDN and loved the space, the vibe, the interactions, etc.
How was your experience, especially your interactions with the director
and other staff?
The staff at the school is as superb as it is stable. As a group they are creative and warm. The teachers seem to care about every child in their care, and will willingly give out hugs and affection. They have certainly taken the role of “second mom” to my three in the past. They are also very available to the parents, giving feedback about your child’s day, etc. I was very surprised at other messages which stated that there was a high turn over of the staff. I have been around for many years and I have not seen that at all. Teachers have left here and there for pregnancies or because they moved, but most teachers stay around for years. They are treated very well both by Tom and by the parents. There is also a general sense of joy amongst them when they work together.
The owner, Tom, is always available to the parents (and the
staff). Reading comments that he is hard to work with is
absurd. Tom will do whatever he can to accommodate you, your
child, and/or your request. He runs his schools with great
pride and takes part in everything that goes on in the school.
This is true down to walking up to the market to buy organic
carrots to be sliced into his cook’s fabulous homemade carrot
bread. While it would be a lot easier for him to have parents
bring a sack lunch for their children, I have personally seen
him carry armfuls of supplies into the school that will be used
to make the hot lunches. I feel good as a parent knowing that
not only is my child getting nurtured and loved while I am
away, they are probably getting the best meal of their day!
From what I can tell, people that complain about Tom are the
ones that don’t want to pay their bill. Which brings me to my
final point ...
Just like Tom, the tuition is reasonable and fair.
I have checked around, and so should you. Tom and his wife
know what it means to raise children and don’t believe in
suffocating the parents. He has magically found a way to run
beautiful schools without making the parents take out a second
mortgage on their homes!
one happy customer!
I am looking for feedback on the Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington and in Berkeley. I am considering enrolling my 2 year old and the only reviews on BPN are fairly old. Any pros or cons to share? Thanks for your help, first time preschool mom
There is a mix of teaching styles, with emphasis on a variety of subjects and skills. While non-academic, the pre-school absolutely offers valuable educational learning units/projects. From obvious stuff like ABC's and 123's to geography/cultural explorations (country of the month), science (gardening, catipillar/cocoons...) as well as visits from guest presenters. Of course, you will need a very big refridgerator for all of the art projects.
Our daughter had some transition/adjustment issues (she cried A LOT). This was both when she started as a Ducky, and also when she moved from the upstairs (younger kids) to downstairs (older kids). The teachers and director were all quick to offer her support and a hug and help her settle down. They also were extremely helpful in offering suggestions as to how my wife and I could ease the transitions. When kindergarten started a couple of weeks ago, we were worried, but there was no meltdown, thanks in large part to the great confidence she gained at CDN. The parents, kids, director, teachers and staff seem to naturally form a comfortable, friendly community. There are a number of events (holiday, father's day, mother's day, halloween pankcake breakfast....) scattered throughout the year. All relaxed, low key affairs.
I could go on. I am not usually one to write reviews, but offer this positive recommendation without hesitation. Good luck! Jason
We're looking for a two-three day daycare in the Rockridge neighborhood. Claremont Kids is just around the corner from where we live. I don't have any friends who sent their children to this program. I'd appreciate any comments on experience of this 2-5 year program. Thank you. Kay
My kids love it there. It has been particularly excellent for my son, who was on the aggressive side when he started. Miss Lisa, his teacher, is just excellent - a real professional, tireless in trying new stragegies for him. He has really matured in the program. My daughter will start Kindergarten in the fall and would prefer to stay at CDN! Happy CDN mom
Yes, there was a period of turnover turbulence at the school a few years back, but the current staff is one of the best I have seen since we started there in January 2000. And it hasn't changed in about two years.
I have heard from others that yes, Tom can be a bit difficult to work with, but I never had an issue with him in the nearly six years I was there. My children were happy, well-cared for and came away with a good start for kindergarten. The kids loved the teachers and got the affection and encouragement that I had hoped. Their confidence and characters flourished there. Dyanna is a dedicated professional who truly cares about children. And she works out of the College Avenue branch most of the time anyway...
CDN may or may not be for everyone. Perhaps it does not have the strongest academic program, but children who come out of there seem to do very well in kindergarten so the challenge with them may be more a matter of keeping a child interested and motivated rather than simply brought up to academics. That said, however, my daughter was nearly six when she left and was totally thrilled to be there and is thriving now in kindergarten.
If you are interested in a preschool, it is always best to go with your own standards, gut feelings and by talking with parents of current and past students. You should be able to get references from the director, and you can always hang out by the front gate or at Semifreddy's around peak drop off times and catch a parent that way. Most will be happy to share their experiences. CDN Alumni parent
I am deciding between Model School and Claremont Day on Woolsey for Fall of 2006. Any feedback positive or negative on those two schools is greatly apprecited!
I am looking for comments from current parents of children at Claremont Day Nursery on Claremont. (Recommendations on the website site date from 2002 and earlier and I'd like to hear some more up-to-date reflections.) Specifically, I'd like to hear about the staff interact with the children and how the children seem to get along with one another. Thanks!
My daughter is 4 and was three at the time. She is extremely tall for her age. Everyone comments on that. She was continuously teased for acting like a baby and talking, as well. Well she was three! It seemed like every day her father and I came in and told the teacher the latest incident. Mostly, what we got was, ''...boys will be boys'' or ''Well, those boys are almost 5 and they play rough''. One time they just said that she is tall and most of the older children do not understand that her physical appearance is not aligned with her age. I said well how should this be my daughter's problem. The other children should not tease or be aggressive, period.
Later we talk to an assistant who inform us that, things were not going to change. And that it is a common occurrence that there is absolute no discipline - what the children do to each other or say/do to teachers. I was floored. My daughter came from a preschool with zero tolerance for name-calling, aggressive behavior, etc. I love that kind of environment. In most cases the child was told what this behavior does to X (makes them sad, etc.) or the child took a breather if the behavior continued. Lastly, after having five incidents in a two week period - we took her out. Note: We were only there for two and half weeks and in the summer. BB
We did look at alot of other preschools but the things that really attracted us to Claremont was its proximity to our house - it's just down the street from us, and the cooked lunches. We also liked the building, the program director, the head of school, the fact that it's been around for awhile and the reasonable tuition.
As for the programs, the kids have focused lessons on a range of topics throughout the year and seem to learn quite a bit from those. They also parade around the neighborhood on Halloween and Fourth of July, visit the local library and host guest speakers - like for Chinese New Years or if someone has been on an exotic trip.
I love the cook, a New Orleans woman, and although there are sweets for dessert from time to time, there's mostly fruit. Selfishly speaking, since I know I've got box lunches in my future, it's nice to not have to start that yet and I love coming into the school in the morning to the pleasant odor of lunch cooking.
As for the kids, they are quite good and seem to care about one another. Yeah they pair off and make friends and have fits and play your-my-best-friend/your-not-my-best-friend, but that's hardly unique to this school. The playground could definetly use an upgrade.
We highly recommend Claremont Day (on Claremont at Woolsey). Located in big house but separated into classrooms by age, the environment is supportive and almost storybook like. Our two kids went there from ages 3 to 6 and even today (they are in junior high now) still speak fondly of the home cooked food, holiday parties, and the like. Our 6 grader keeps in contact with his pre-school friends. A very sweet place. Check out their Halloween party later this month. GF
Does anyone have any experience, positive or negative, with Claremont Day Nursery on College in Rockridge? My son will be 4 when he attends preschool. The website only has comments about Claremont Day in Kensington and Berkeley. Thanks much.
From your post, it sounds like you're concerned that the program lacks structure or doesn't focus enough on the arts. But our experience has been that it's a good balance of structure and free play time (the describe themselves as having a ''traditional nursery school'' format.) The kids do lots of art activities (which is what my daughter lives for), have circle time (with songs, dances, show-and-tell, and some work on colors, numbers, etc.) story time, a variety of structured play activities, and occasional field trips (my daughter's class goes to MOCHA tomorrow) or in-school presentations (like the zoo animals who were brought in for a visit over the summer.) There's also a separate dance class ($45 / month, happens on Mondays) that my daughter's crazy about. I'm also grateful for the hot lunches, the big play yards, the relatively reasonable cost, and-- don't underestimate the importance of this in keeping your general working-mom stress level down--the ease of parking there any time of day. Elise
Our son attends the Claremont Day Nursery preschool on Claremont Avenue and we all love it. While the physical plant is a tad run down, it is still safe. The teachers and staff are terrific. Our son is 3 and with the "upstairs" class, which is 2 - 3 year olds. He is a very happy child and has only blossomed more since he's been there. He loves it. He gets tremendous loving attention from the teachers, who are always happy to report on his day and the funny things he says and all those things that are important to me. He is also not a napper, but they have been able to accommodate him well without compromising the rest of the children's sleep time. The staff has also been very good at the potty-training drill, as well. They've been through it hundreds of times, so they are a positive support to the parents as well. The other children there seem very happy and adjusted, and I see the teachers comforting the ones who have a tough time some mornings (they're good with the parents in that regard, too ;-)). It's very convenient for working parents. The hours are 7 - 6, and they serve a hot lunch as well offer as several snack breaks. Parking is easy and it's a 5 minute drive from Chabot school. C Wilson
We have a 3 yr old who has been going to Claremont Day Nursery on Woolsey and Claremont since last september for 2 full days a week. (There are 2 other locations, in Kensington and on College which I don't know about). Our son has been very content there and we generally have to drag him out. The kids do not seem like they are falling apart at the end of the day. Two of the three teachers for the 2/3 yr olds are very good; the third is brand new and I don't know her at all. It is a well run program with a balance of structured activities and free play. Price-wise, it is very reasonable, lunch and snacks are provided, the hours are from 7 - 6 pm., which is good for working parents, there are relatively few closed days and the parking is easy.
I can *highly* recommend my son's school, (Julian is 2 & 5 months). He attends Claremont Day Nursery, it is on Claremont at Woolsey Ave, about 3 minutes from UC Berkeley. Send me mail if you want more info.. The teachers are very creative and patient and he has such a good time that it takes me 20 minutes each evening to tear him away!
Re: Preschools with good playgrounds
Claremont Day Nursery on Woolsey and Claremont has, from what I've seen, quite large, nice, outdoor play areas with sun and shade, trees, plants etc. One side borders Claremont, but there is a large, secure fence and you don't feel like you are on a busy street at all once you are inside the school. You can't go in and out all day long whenever you want, but there is a lot of outside time, and the school in general provides a good mix of free time and structured time. My son has been there for three years (both up and down stairs -- up is the liitle kids, down for the bigger kids) and has been very happy there, has gotten a lot of stimulation, and has flourished under the care of some excellent teachers. As someone else recently mentioned in responding to another post, it has other good pluses too: (1) very reasonably priced (2) racially diverse teaching and student population (3) provides good, hot lunches, (4) closed VERY few days, which is a huge plus, (5) open great hours for working parents (7am - 6 pm), (6) parking is easy. satisfied mom
While I've missed a few posts, I gather that someone has asked about Claremont Day Nursery. My child has been at CDN on Woolsey for about 6 months, and overall we have been very happy there. The program is great and seems to be getting better. There is lots of structure in the day, but plenty of room within the structure for creativity. The program director, who is newly in that position but who has been w/ CDN for many years, is very accessible, gentle, and has a lot of great ideas. The facility, while a bit worn, has everything you would need. The hot lunches are GREAT. They are rarely closed (mostly just federal holidays and the week between Christmas & New Years). So it is really convenient for working parents. The one thing I would mention is that there has been a lot of turnover in the staff. When we started in September, 2 of the 3 upstairs teachers (for the younger kids) were very new, and 1 had been there 5 years. Over the last 6 months, 1 of the new teachers and the experienced teacher quit, neither with any warning to the parents. It is not clear to me why they left. However, the 2 teachers that were hired are both really wonderful, and we are very happy with the current staff. My hope is that they will stay around for a while. anonymous
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