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Claremont Day Nursery (Kensington, CA)

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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Preschools & Daycare > Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington


See also: Claremont Day Nursery on Woolsey/Claremont and Claremont Day Nursery on College Ave
Feb 2013

Re: Looking for a Kensington preschool
Welcome to Kensington! This is a wonderful community, as small town as you can get around here. I promise you and your children will make lifelong friends. I have there children and have attended Mills college children school, step one on spruce, and Claremont day at the colusa circle.

While nothing can compare to the campus and true Reggio curriculum at Mills, I can enthusiastically recommend Claremont day as a wonderful place to send your kids. My two youngest attended and thrived and in spite of very different personalities were well prepared for kindergarten.

At Claremont they had both the experience of small classes organized by age and lots of social time with the group. Music is huge! They sing like birds everything from teaching songs to traditional holiday songs (it is hard to find a place that celebrates traditional holidays anymore) and teacher Bianca choreographs amazing dance performances. Supplemental classes like gymnastics and Spanish are also offered

On top of all this Claremont day is well priced, has a working parents schedule (never closed for work days or arcane holidays) and serves a hot lunch. Can you imagine not having to pack a lunch?

Feel free to contact me for more details or about life here. Hope to run into you at the Arlington some Friday night. Susannah


April 2011

I read the 10+ years of reviews in the archives for Claremont Day preschool in Kensington, and they are overwhelmingly positive. I also visited the site today and got a good feeling - the staff and kids seem happy. Does anyone have any recent concerns with or other feedback about the school? Just trying to cover all bases


Our child is currently attending Claremont Day in Kensington. He loves going to school there and is thriving- it's a good fit for his easy-going personality and high level of energy. He gets along very well with the teachers and is getting gentle guidance to help him with focus, but also has the opportunity for a lot of play activity which is key for him. He started in the 2's class and transitioned easily from a nanny. He bonded quickly with his class teachers and one of the morning teachers did a great job of helping him through the first couple weeks when he was having difficulty with the change. Some periods of the morning seem a little chaotic, but the teachers make time to give extra attention to the kids who need it at the start of the day. We love it there because their hours allow us a lot of flexibility when something at work flares up on occasion, we don't have to worry about making lunches because it's included, and we're not scrambling to cover a lot of holidays/school vacations because they're open most of the year. Their schedule is great for families with full-time working parents.
March 2010

Re: Preschools in Albany area that potty train students
Try Claremont Day, the one in the Colusa Circle. Your grandchild would start with the kids who are 2-3 while being potty trained but would then likely move to the 3 years old class. satisfied parent


May 2009

Re: Seeking full time preschool for my 2 year old
I didn't see the original post, but our son is at Claremont Day Nursery and we LOVE it. they have several branches, but our son is at the Kensington one. Can't speak highly enough about it as a full-time option. most parents work full time, enriched program goes all day (rather than just 'childcare' in the afternoon. they also provide lunch which is a huge benefit for working parents. it's great. they may be booked for next year, though - it would be worth it to look into it... Amy


Jan 2009

Re: Inexpensive Preschool for 2 yr old in Berk/Oak
My son has been going to Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington since last September, and absolutely loves it. Their rates are pretty reasonable ranging from $620 part-time to $1075 full-time, they serve a hot lunch as well as two snacks during the day, and their hours (7am-6pm) is very conducive to working parents. The teacher turnover rate is very low and even though the children are split up into age-based classrooms, all the teachers and caregivers know every child in the school. They follow a play-based preschool program and we are very happy with our son's progress and development here. Please feel free to contact me if you need more information.


July 2008

Re: Preschool where my son won't be the token black kid
You should consider Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington, just off the Colusa Circle. ''Kensington?'' I hear you saying. But yes, this is a great little gem of a preschool, with a very diverse group of kids. First of all, the head teacher and on-site manager is an African-American woman who has been a teacher there for more than 30 years. My kids absolutely adore her. They give her a hug and tell her they love her every day before leaving. She has an incredible way with kids, and was great with my two wild boys. Her daughter now also teaches there, and I think has developed into a great teacher. Aside from the teaching staff, there are several African-American children. I am not sure how many -- not a lot -- but definitely more than 1 or 2. There are also Latino kids, lots of Asian kids, and lots of European kids (whose parents may be affiliated with UCB, I suppose). I regularly hear French, German, and Italian being spoken by parents during pick-up time. There are also kids with two Mommies, although I am unaware of any kids with two Daddies. There are professional parents, and parents who pick their kids up in the delivery truck they drive for work. Definitely a place of diversity. My son's best friends at the school are a little boy from France, and a little girl who is half Asian and half African-American. Loves Claremont Day


July 2008

Re: Preschool where my son won't be the token black kid
Try Claremont Day in Kensington. It's VERY diverse, both students and staff. It's wonderful. Francesca


April 2008

Re: How to decide among three great preschools
Our son attends Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington and we absolutely love it. We both work full time (he's there 50 hours a week!), and I must say that having lunch provided is a HUGE benefit. It seems petty, but not having to even think about lunches for him during the week (shopping for, preparing, worrying about whether he will eat what I put in there, etc.) is a major advantage in our busy life. The long hours are also a huge benefit - 7am to 6pm - if you're running late from work or need to drop off earlier than usual, etc. The school is great, very loving and committed teachers, great program where he learns a ton. I also love that the vast majority of kids are full-time, so they're all in it together with full-time working parents. Don't know anything about the other schools. Good luck. Amy


Nov 2007

Re: Preschools with Male Teachers
There is one male teacher at Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington. His name is Robert and my daughter was in his class last year. He's been there for a loooooong time, and he's wonderful--warm, calm, fatherly (or grandfatherly). He does creative art projects with the kids every day, which my daughter loved. Go meet him. heidi


Try Claremont Day Nursery at the Circle (off of Colusain Kensington. Robert has been teaching there since his now grown children attended Claremont. My daughter went there from age 2 until she aged-out---I think 6 years old. Simone runs the Kensington Clarement and the kids (and parents) love her. Try Claremont
Step One in the Berkeley Hills. Every classroom has at least 1 male teacher, and they are all fantastic! The co-director is a man,too, as are some of the regular substitutes and administrative staff. It's also just a great school overall! dawn
Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington has Teacher Robert, a very sweet man who would be a great male role model for your daughter. He 'teaches' the 4 year old class, but the whole school is together often enough that all kids get to know all teachers regardless of age. This was certainly an added bonus for me when I enrolled my son. CDN mom
Sept 2007

Info on Claremont Day in Kensington seems scarce. I took a tour a year ago and thought it seemed friendly and the teachers warm and engaging. It's also close to my house and the schedule suits me, so I WANT to love it. I would be so grateful for any opinions on this place. Claremont mom??


Claremont is a great preschool. My daughter went there twelve years ago (from age 3 to 6). A number of the kids at Claremont went through kindergarten,elementary, middle and now high school together. My daughter met her current best friend when they were at Claremont together. Of course there have been staff changes over the past 12 years, but one constant is Simone. Simone is a great preschool teacher, and the kids love her. My daughter has great memories of preschool--and still quotes Simone--what more can I say! hope this helps.
Hello- We have one child at Claremont Day, but at the Claremont/Woolsey location. Our other was there for three years, but is now in kindergarten. We love this school. The teachers are very caring and the kids are always happy at the end of the day (My daughter in kindergarten had a hard time leaving preschool because she loved the teachers so much!) The lunches are great. I have friends who have a child at the Kensington branch and they really like it too. Happy CDN Parent
we love cdn... my oldest went to the school on woolsey. I would always hear how much 'nicer' the kensington school was. sounds like a good fit. cdn mom
I was surprised to see that you hadn't found much info on CDN- Kensington on this list. It seems that I answer a question abotu the school at least once a year. So I went and looked it up on the BPN site. I did have trouble finding it through the links, but when I typed the name of the school into the search tool I came up with this:

http://parents.berkeley.edu/recommend/preschool/claremont_kens.html

There are many posts. I just read through them and despite the fact that they date back to 2001, they are all still very current, except for the few changes in staff.

My youngest just started kindergarten so we've only been gone from CDN for a month. My whole family thought it was great. We loved all of the teachers we had, and the ones who joined the staff about a year ago are GREAT too! My sons were happy, well cared for, had a chance to play and learn each day. We never worried about them going to school. I can't recommend it enough. We were very sad that they finally grew out of CDN... former CDN parent


We love Claremont Day in Kensington. Our daughter has been there since July, and we have friends whose kids have been there for 2 years. Our daughter finds it to be a fun, loving environment. She is learning a lot through play and activities, and we feel it will prepare her well socially for Kindergarten. Because of the size and level of commotion at times on the playground she's really learning about boundaries and how to stand up for herself. The teachers are all wonderful in my experience so far. They really seem to care about the kids and always share little bits of information about the day (how they remember something about each child is beyond me!). It's not spotless and brand new, but the kids couldn't care less, and I believe that's largely why tuition is so affordable. Good luck! Happy Claremeont Day Student's Mom
March 2007

I would love to hear some recent comments or thoughts on Claremont Day Nursery in Kennsington. We are considering the school for our son this fall. I'm particularly interested in hearing about their curriculum (if parents have felt their children were prepared well for kindergarden, etc.), the student to teacher ratio (if parents felt there was enough supervision), the play yard (has anyone been hurt), the lunches (were they healthy and did your kids like them), and most importantly, did your kids enjoy it there and have fun! Thanks!! Dona


My youngest is just finishing his tenure at Claremont Day Nursery at Kensingtion. We've been at the school for about 5 years (two kids) and have been very happy with it. Both of my kids were well prepared for kindergarten... meaning they new numbers and capital letters, could hold a pen and write their name, knew how to cut and paste, and had general kindergarten readiness. There is a calendar set out near the beginning of each school year that tells you what themes will be covered each month, all are very child friendly. The teacher student ratio is fine both in the classes and out on the yard. The circle times are of an appropriate length for young children. There is plenty of time for play of all kinds, and projects are done in ways that range from one-on-one to whole group following instructions depending on the age of the class and the type of project. I haven't seen or heard of anyone sustaining a serious injury in all the years we have been at the school. That isn't to say that kids don't fall and skin their knees or crash on trikes or any of the other myriad ways that kids can be injured... kids will fall, but they get up and usually feel better soon. My sons both loved the food... my older son was a picky eater at home, but at school ate it all. They are proponents of the ''try one bite'' method. They also let the kids decide how much will be put on their plates. Is the food healthy... yes, but that depends on your definition. It is basic: carrots or salad with dressing, casserole, soup, spaghetti, etc. It isn't gourmet organic vegan cooking. This is one of the few schools that provides a ''homemade'' hot lunch everyday, and that has been a HUGE benefit for our family. Overall, we are happy at the school and are sad to grow out of it. happy CDN family
Feb 2007

Hi- We have been on BPN and saw a number of positive reviews of the Claremont Day School Woolsey Street location, but wanted to know if others had experiences to share re: the Kensington location. We are (ideally) looking for a program that will be a social/academic mix (nothing too heavy-abc's, 123's etc.) and a nurturing environment for our daughter who will be 2.9 in August. She has been home with Mom for most of her time and we are looking for a flexible school that can ease the transition for both parents and little girl. Thank you for any information you can forward. jmc


I have been a parent at Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington for about 6 years now (two kids). We love it. The teachers are all very caring. My children are quite different, but both were loved, appreciated, and nurtured for who they are. There is a good balance of academic and play time. Two members of the teaching staff were new in this past year, but they are both very strong, and I do not hesitate to recommend them. The school provides two snacks and a hot lunch daily. They are open 7am-6pm to accomodate working parents, and though they do take days off, they are only the standard 3 day weekends and the week between Christmas and New Years. Happy Parent
Sept 2006

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


i would like to give a wholehearted positive review for claremont day nursery in kensington. we have been there for just over a year, and really love it. the teachers are great, enthusiastic, fair, loving, and most have been there quite some time. there is a fairly low turnover rate (i believe the teachers are well paid and get good benefits.) it is definately a play based preschool. there are 2 circle times per day, and then there is plenty of free play indoors and out. the teachers helped my daughter through potty training (probably better than i could have done myself.) she loves it and most days does not want to leave when we show up to get her. they serve a hot lunch and then have nap time daily (i believe there is a small group of kids that don't nap, but they have quiet time away from the sleepers.) ..there is some question as to whether the lunch program will continue, but for now, it is still a go. for our family this is a great place. we needed a full day of school to accomodate work schedules, but wanted less of a day care and more of a preschool, which this is. the only thing i would caution you about is that all the kids go to the playground together, and it can seem a bit chaotic...but there is a strong teacher presence on the play ground, and i have not ever seen anything too crazy. i have seen feedback from other parents that felt the playground was just too overwhelming. this could be true, especially if your child does not do well in that type of setting. my daughter seems to hold her own on the playground, and i have never been worried. they do great arts and crafts too! i hope this helps with your decisions! a happy parent
Sept 2005

Does anyone know if there's a parents email listserv (or Yahoo! group) for the Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington? Thanks! -- Cindy cleung


I am not aware of one, but why don't you ask Fran Morabito, the owner? She is usually there every morning, starting a bit after 9 AM until noon or so. Or you could just call her at the school in the mornings and ask her (526-1010). CDN mom
March 2004

I am looking for information on Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington. My child would be in the older two's class in September, half days five days a week to start and possibly full time later on. Any info positive or negative is greatly appreciated. I have read the comments on the website but would like some more recent input. Thanks!!!


My son attended CDN (Kensington) from the time he was two until he turned three. Here's the good and the bad from my perspective. The teachers are really great, but I don't think there are enough of them. Most of the problems I had with CDN stemmed from their being (in my opinion) understaffed. In the two year old classroom, the kids spent a lot of time ''doing'' craft projects that they couldn't really do themselves, e.g. making jack o' lanterns out of construction paper. My kid would come home with these cute projects that he really had nothing to do with making. So I felt like the kids would have had more fun doing truly age-appropriate projects. I always suspected the reason they didn't do more age-appropriate projects was because they tend to be messier. (Again, would require more supervision.) Also - since there don't seem to be quite enough teachers, the teachers sometimes use candy to get the kids to do things. I wasn't really comfortable with the idea of my kid having candy on a regular basis - even in small amounts. The playground is pretty rough and tumble. There is a separate playground for the little ones, but it is rarely used, and even that seemed a little unsafe to me. For instance, the swings were big-kid swings - no bucket-style swing seats. My kid was pretty solid for a two-year old and never got injured on the playground, but based on what I saw when I came to pick him up, it gets pretty crazy out there. There also seemed to be no mechanism for parent involvement. I personally wasn't comfortable taking on issues of the safety of playground equipment or use of candy, etc with the director, but I often wondered if other parents shared some of my concerns. Had there been an existing forum to present them, I would have. With all that negative stuff said, I know my son really had fun there. He loved his teachers and often didn't want to come home at the end of the day. I loved the fact that they fed him a nutritious hot lunch every day, and snacks, so I didn't have to worry about that. And they did a good job introducing him to the basics of potty training. Also - the price was right, and the location was convenient for us. I don't think I would put another child in there at 24 months of age, but a slightly older child who can hold their own on the playground would probably do just fine. former CDN Mom
Our daughter has been there full-time for about a year and we have all been very happy with the school. The teachers are wonderful. They really care about each child and seem very devoted to what they are doing. Good luck with finding the right preschool.
My older son is at Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington. He will be there until he starts kindergarten in the fall, but then I will be sending my two y.o. I have posted before about how much we like Claremont, so you probably have already read what I have to say in the archives. The teachers have not changed since the last time I posted... they are all still there, and are all still wonderful. My older son didn't start until he was 3.5, so he has only been in Heidi's and Simone's classess, but we/he knows all the teachers, and loves them. The whole school spends a lot of time together so it doesn't really matter how old a child is, they all play and work together.

Some of the best features of this school... the kids get to PLAY. They just installed a new play structure this winter which is wonderful. (There is less shade in the yard now because they had to cut one of the big trees to fit the slide in... but it is nice.) They also do a lot of projects. Most of the teachers work with the kids in one-on-one or small groups to complete the project so they get a lot of quality time. There are lots of different toys/activities... blocks, dress-up, dolls, trucks, legos, etc. Kid can be very creative with their play. This is more of a play based program so academics isn't the focus. In the older classes (Simone's and Robert's) they do prepare kids for kindergarten... abc, 123, write your name, cut in a straight line, color in the lines, days of the week, etc. I spoke with several parents who are sending their children to non-public schools whose children were considered well prepared.

Prices have gone up again... they seem to go up every year. It is still cheaper than the other programs I looked at, and I still think it is the right fit for my family, so I am ok with that. The food is fine... in fact my son eats more variety now than he did before he started. As they get older the kids learn to set and clear their place, pour drinks... all very nice.

Overall, I feel that my son has been in a safe and loving environment that has allowed him to be himself and have fun while learning. Rose


I'm not sure if this qualifies as ''recent,'' but all three of my kids graduated from CDN Kensington and my youngest, now a thriving Kindergartener, often asks if we can go back and visit. The staff there is great and there is relatively little turnover. They really get to know kids' personalities and learning styles and allow kids to blossom at their own speed. I could go on and on about the staff, but the other things I really appreciated about CDN were 1) diverse staff and students, 2) flexible and affordable schedules, 3)play-based curriculum (''we are not a college-prep pre-school'')that still included kindergarten readiness skills, and 4) hot meals served every day. I could easily elaborate about any one of these, so if you want more info, contact me offlist... dmoran
Jan 2004

Hi- I'd like to recommend Claremont Day in Kensington. My 2 year old daughter was not very verbal/ social and had some behavioral issues before she began attending. We noticed positive changes in her instantly. What I love about the school is that the teachers have been there for many years, there is a warm family environment, very diverse staff and kids (very important for me), great outside play area, the kids are seperated by age so the 2's are seperated into two groups (beginning 2's and late two's) and their fees are very reasonable and less than allot of co-ops. I visited at least a handful of local preschools (ones that were recommended on the UCB Newsletter, including McGee farm school and the Snuggery, and did not get the same warm vibe or mixture of what I was seeking (affordable, diverse, loving, play environment). Ask for Simone or Fran for more info or email me for more info. Good luck! lioni


September 2003

I would GREATLY appreciate it if anyone can share their experiences/1st hand impressions about either Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington or Kensington Hilltop Nursery school; we are considering both for our daughter. The posts on the website are from awhile ago. We thought we'd have more time to find a place, but our caregiver just gave notice and we'd like to place her in a pre school program. I usually trust my gut with these types of decisions, but I would so welcome any feedback from parents whose children attended and/or why they chose not to have them attend. Thank you so much. Sophie


My son is at Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington. He has been there for just over a year. We are very happy with it. One of the reasons I selected it is that there is a lot of time in the day for free play. The school does have kids broken into age group classes for some activities each day, but primarily all the kids get to be together. This is great because kids can play with whomever they feel most comfortable, not just kids their same age. I also think this is a great school because it is very diverse. The faculty and families there are a good representation of the area. The kids are exposed to ideas and units of great variety, and are presented in ways that are very age appropriate. We like it so much for our older son that we are considering sending our younger son as soon as he is old enough instead of waiting until he is potty trained. The staff is very friendly and warm with the kids. I feel very confident recommending Claremont Day Nursery. Rose
We can't say enough good things about Claremont day Nursery in Kensington. Our now first grader still remembers it fondly. They have a very caring staff,a nice outdoor play area and a varied curriculum. The children have ample time to learn numbers and letters,to do crafts and to play. They also serve a tasty hot lunch every day. The staff is diverse (as are the students) and welcoming of this lesbian family. Our only regret is that we didn't start our daughter even earlier there. Julie
March 2003

Re: Part-time preschool in El Cerrito or Richmond

I know you asked for a school in Richmond or El Cerrito, but have you looked into the Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington... it is just off the Colusa Circle. They have offer both full and part time schedules. My son is there full time but I know that there are kids in his class that come a few days a week only. I also know that there are students there who leave early (after lunch) each day. Give them a call and see if they meet your needs. I think it is a great school and am very happy to have my son there. Rose


Sept. 2002

Re: "Traditional" school 2-3 mornings a week
My kids have all attended Claremont Day Nursery part-time over the past 4 years and it seems to fit most of your requirements (except for the French part). My kids go to the Kensington branch, but there is one on Claremont in Berkeley (very near Oakland). I can't speak for the Berkeley site, but the teachers at the Kensington site are really great and they offer a variety of part-time schedules for mornings or afternoons. I think they offer a nice balance between play and ''academics.'' The Montessori schools I visited kind of gave me the creeps and I really appreciate Claremont's emphasis on kids learning how to interact with each other and play together. Which is not to say that they don't ''teach,'' they just don't believe that EVERY activity should be based on literacy and numeracy. They pride themselves in helping get kids ready for Kindergarten and have a curriculum that is age-appropriate as the kids move through the various classes. They do circle time, art projects, basic science (things that live in the ocean, the seasons, etc) and letters and counting. They don't do a lot of field trips but they have gone to LHS and local parks on occasion. They start at 2 years old (my youngest daughter actually started a few weeks before her second birthday)and don't require the kids to be potty trained. It's a fun kind of place where kids eat homemade macaroni and cheese lunch (they provide hot meals!) and pretzels for snacks. It's also pretty reasonably priced compared to most other preschools. Good luck in your search, and be sure to check out Claremont Day Nursery. D. Moran


Jan. 2002

My daughter attended Claremont Day Nursery in Colusa Circle for over one year, until this month, and I would like to recommend it! We have taken her out of school until our work/financial situation improves.

The teachers are caring and considerate and it has a nice family/neighborhood feel. It has been around for 40 years and the staffing is stable, most have been there a long time.

It is slightly more reasonably priced then other schools we looked into- and has longer hours - and the big bonus is the HOT LUNCHES, included in the price! Several times a week the kids bring home art projects - which is really wonderful. THey are exposed to all sorts of things with their monthly themes (safety-the firetruck came, etc.)

I have only witnessed one problem - an incident that I am still not sure was handled the best way. There was some trouble with a bully kid - and they quite promptly requested he leave the school. He was gone by the end of the week. My daughter talked about that kid for a long time, he had made a big impression on her. At the time, I was really happy that the bully was removed. I don't know why they decided to remove him, but suspect that maybe they have just had enough of that type of behaviour and would not tolerate it. Now, in retrospect, I think maybe they should have worked with the kid and his troubled behaviour(?) However, they have more experience with behavioural problems than I do, so I trust their judgement on this one.

It is such a heart-wrenching decision to see your kid go off to pre-school, but I founf that in the end - her first day of school was much more difficult on me than on her! Good luck with the decision.

Amelia


2001

December 2001


I'd like to recommend Claremont Day Nursery located at the Colusa Circle. The school is a wonderful place for children between 2 - 5. My son began at Claremont Day Nursery at 2 and he loved every moment of it. The environment is a loving and diverse environment with wonderful teachers. He learned more than I could ever teach him at home. By the time he left for kindergarten, he was prepared to begin a new journey. They celebrate and learn about all of the different holidays. (Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukkah, Chinese New Year, Black History Month, Martin Luther King's Birthday, Easter, Columbus Day). Their daily activities are very enriching. The children learn so much each day. The summer time at Claremont is like Day Camp. It is filled with special activities and fun.

The teachers are what really made the school. The Kittens begin with Harriet. Everyone loves Harriet. They progress to Rosalinda, on to Heidi and then end with either Robert or Simone. These teachers really had an impact on my son's young life. They are all loving and open minded individuals but there is structure the children know they must follow. He often talks about his teachers and his days at Claremont. He loves to go back and visit his old friends at school. We loved the school so much that our 2 year old daughter will start in January. I think you should stop by and see the school. They are very flexible with their school schedules. They accept children either part time or full time. If you have any questions, please contact me my e-mail address. Debbie


October 2001

My 2 and 4 year old boys have been enrolled in the Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington since May 2001 and we love it. All of the teachers are patient and caring and most have been there for several years, 10+ for some of them. I feel they really get to know the children and they always provide me with a lot of feedback about how my kids are doing, what their preferences are, and how well they interacted throughout the day. The classrooms are divided into several age groups and each week the lessons are centered around a different theme (such as seasons, fire safety, animals, the ocean, etc.). The teachers have a wide variey of very creative projects they do with the kids, in addition to lessons about the alphabet, numbers, colors, etc. and they have parades, pot-luck parties, and other activities to celebrate holidays and cultural events. The outdoor play area is spacious and well maintained and the teachers spend a lot of time actually playing with the kids instead of just watching them. We like the fact that all the kids (2-6 years) share the same play time outside since our boys like to be with each other. Our previous experience at Keystone Montessori in El Cerrito was not as good for us since the boys were in separate classes and were not allowed to interact with each other during the day. One of the best features at Claremont is that they provide a hot lunch and snacks for the kids! This saves me a great deal of time not having to prepare lunch the night before and in my experience, the kids eat a greater variety of foods since they see their peers eating the same things. I have dropped in at the school several different times during the day and the kids are always happy and well behaved and I often have difficulty getting them to leave. The tuition is very reasonable and additional classes in music, spanish, and gymnastics are available. Overall we have been extremely pleased with the quality of care. Allison


My daughter has been going to Claremont for 6 months and has been really enjoying it - she is always very happy to go there. I have found the teachers to be very helpful and responsive to my daughters needs. I agree that it can be chaotic and at times noisy but I have never seen this as an issue. Every month there is a different theme with the day to day activities scheduled around this. Last month they had the mobile bus from Oakland Zoo which all the kids including my daughter evidently really enjoyed. I would certainly recommend this school. Sarah
A couple of years ago my twin daughters attended Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington (CDNK) for a few months. It turned out not to be a good place for them. CDNK was very noisy and chaotic, especially in the afternoon. The play yard dynamic was difficult. The bigger, more assertive kids ruled the play yard, and my daughters got pushed around--toys taken, turns taken, etc. The teachers stood in a huddle talking, seemingly oblivious to what was going on with the children. Often the adult:child ratio was substandard. The facility had a separate play yard for the little children, but it was not used in the afternoon. Because children weren't nurtured much there and safety was a concern, I would not recommend CDNK.
Donna
From: Melinda

My daughter, now 7, went there full-time for two years & half time for 1 year and we both loved it. She had Simone from age 3-4, Robert from age 4-5 (pre-kindergarten), and Margaret after kindergarten. All were warm, patient, loving and enthusiastic. The facility is a little shabby, but what can you expect in a place where a lot of little kids have fun all day? Sometimes the atmosphere was a little frantic at 5:00 when I came to pick her up, but all the kids seemed happy and seemed to get one-on-one attention when they needed it. You can tell the staff genuinely love spending their days with small children. I highly recommend it.


From: Judi

I had my son in the Claremont Day at the Kensington Circle and found that the outdoor program had too wide an age range of kids in the yard (Ages 2 - 5) without enough adult supervision. We changed programs because we found the staff unwilling to work with us on discipline issues such as hitting, biting.

On the other hand, my niece had her twin girls in the College Ave. program and had a great experience. They were there from age 2 until they started kindergarden this fall. The College Ave. program is much smaller and the parents and staff worked better together. If you would like to contact her I am sure that she would be happy to discuss her thoughts with you.


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