Dandelion Co-op Nursery School (Berkeley, CA)
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Dandelion Co-op Nursery School (Berkeley, CA)
- Owner: Bonnie Hester
- Phone: (510) 526-1735
- Email: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Neighborhood: N. Berkeley
- Zip: 94707
- License #: 010204387
- Capacity: 24
- Website: http://dandelionschool.blogspot.com/
- Ages: 2 yrs 11 mos - 5 years
We are considering Dandelion Preschool and would love to hear from
any parents whose children attend or attended in recent years.
I'd love to hear the pros and cons you have experienced.
Specifically, I would love to hear about the atmosphere with all 24
children. Is it craziness, do the children get attention and
guidance from the teachers. Is there any bullying and how is
conflict resolved (meaning who handles it). What role does the
parent play in the classroom in resolving issues with the child
conflicts and do they participate in teaching on any level. Also,
do you feel the school prepares the children enough for
kindergarden. Are there any teacher led/directed activities or is
it all just child directed play.
Please feel free to share your thoughts on these or any other things
you feel important to know.
The enriching experience my family had at Dandelion was the very best thing
that could ever have happened for us. It's been said also that Dandelion kids
adjust more easily transitioning into school. The concept of learning through
play is simply the most beneficial environment for children. The play areas
both indoors and outdoors are pleasant, comforting and safe. Participating
parents provide supplies and keep watch over the various activity stations.
During our generation, founders Bonnie & Sandra provided the guidance and kept
the schedule flowing gracefully. And the kids spend time together in
appropriate age groups, so they are steered gently toward the next step of
entering kindergarten. The things I myself learned from Dandelion in terms of
community, friends and family transformed my life and gave me a brilliant
understanding of parenting. I highly recommend Dandelion Cooperative
I noticed that there is only 1 review of Dandelion since 2005, and I
wondered if anyone who recently has had a child attend there could give a
review of how they liked it, pros and cons, how they chose it, or any
other information for an interested mom. Many thanks!
Searching for preschool
Hi, I am a current parent at Dandelion Co-op with my younger child, and
my older child also attended Dandelion. The short answer is that we
love it and will really miss the school and the community when we
leave. I have learned so much as a parent at Dandelion, my older son
was well-prepared to negotiate elementary school, and my younger son is
My older child's teachers were Bonnie Hester and Sandra Easley who
retired recently after 30+ years at Dandelion, leaving some very big
(and wonderful) shoes to fill. My younger child has the new
director/teacher Abby Pletcher and new teacher Sonia Rawal, and we are
extremely happy with them both as teachers and as part of the co-op
community. They continue to provide the play-based, developmental
curriculum, thoughtfully chosen materials and activities, skillful
experience dealing with young children's social/emotional development,
and have also added their own unique perspectives to Dandelion.
My experience at Dandelion is that it is rarely chaotic, but is full of
active and engaged children freely choosing what they'd like to do both
indoors and out. The inside space is open and expansive with plenty of
places for block building, dramatic play, playdough and art, or reading
books in our new loft. The yard is where the children ride bikes, swing
on the tire swing, dig, play at the cool water table, garden, play
house in the little red house, etc. The only down side is that because
we are a small co-op (about 35 families), we generally don't have a lot
of openings each year. Thanks for giving me a chance to rave about
We are a multi-cultural two mom family who would like to see more lgbt and
families of color in our co-op community. One of our teachers is part of a two
mom family and there is a fair amount of cultural, economic and age diversity.
Our experience at Dandelion has been positive - we have felt welcomed and are
enjoying the other parents and we'd love to welcome other lgbt and families of
color. We'd be happy to talk with prospective families with questions about the
We are curently looking at two cooperative preschool
programs for our daughter to begin fall 2005. The two are
Dandelion in Berkeley and Albany Preschool. We would
appreciate hearing from parents who have sent their kids to
either school in the past few years. What have been your
experiences either positive or negative? Any advice would
Hi - we are considering Dandelion co-op in Berkeley for next
fall. Our daughter, generally on the quieter side, will be 3
1/2. There are a few old recs, but I'd love to hear from
anybody who has been there recently. thanks!
We are a current family at Dandelion. We chose it because of the idyllic setting. It's
everything a kid could want. Free time to explore inside or outside, build, paint,
read, dress up. And, the most caring teachers! Bonnie and Sandra really get what
goes on in a kid's head.
Co-ops, in general, I think offer a much more intimate experience. You get a
community of dedicated people who want their kids to have a warm and caring
experience that involves parents, not just a hired staff. You, as an adult, get to
know the other kids and their parents in more than just a ''Hi, good morning'' way.
But, it is a lot of work. Most co-ops have family jobs, clean-up sessions and
meetings. Make sure that you are willing and able to put in the time required to do
your part at the school. It is a lot different than just writing a check for tuition
once-a-month! But, the rewards of the co-op community more than outweigh the
extra time you put into it.
A Dandelion Parent
My daughter is in her second year at Dandelion and I think it is a great
school. Alina was the second youngest kid when she started last year (2.9
years), but the school has so many different things to engage kids of all
levels and interests that it was never an issue. She spent the first
several months just experiencing the materials - painting on a whim, doing
manipulatives, poking at play dough, making art projects, doing cooking
projects, and looking at the science table. She really didn't even venture
outside much or into the block room until later. Those were the areas where
the older, louder, more rambunctious kids played mostly, and the areas where
I tended not to work on my participation days, but now she loves the tire
swing more than anything and builds cool block structures. She started
making connections with other children after a few months, and became part
of a threesome of girls that ruled the dress up area. It was great to be a
part of her learning to interact and play in different ways and with
different people. She still is shy around louder kids and boys, but I like
how the teachers noticed that and are encouraging her to see that she has a
lot in common with them as well.
I have to say that the co-op thing has been a valuable learning experience
for me as a first time parent. I learn a lot from the parent meetings where
we go over childhood development issues, and also from the daily wrap-up
meetings on participation days. I work almost full-time, and I think I am
in the minority there, but we make the time commitment work. The benefits
of a co-op outweigh the challenges for me and for what I think is the best
environment for my daughter. I haven't been as able to participate in the
play dates and larger sense of parent community as I would like to, but I am
on the board now (in my second year) and I really like being part of that
and having the scrip job, which helps raise money for the school.
Other benefits are the teachers, Bonnie and Sandra, and the fact that having
4 parents there every day makes a great adult:kid ratio. There is a premium
placed on not intervening or disrupting play, but in providing materials,
ensuring safety, and helping resolve conflicts when necessary. I am amazed
at the growth I have seen in many of the kids, and at the nurturing and
patience I see time and time again in the culture of the school.
That's my $.02. I can't compare this experience to other schools, co-op or
not, I just know that I think this is a really good school.
Good luck in your search! Dandelion Parent,
I have 2 children who graduated from Dandelion and 1 there
currently -- it is an AMAZING place!!! The teachers (Bonnie and
Sandra) have been there since their own children were
preschoolers and - most importantly - they love and pour
themselves into each child. They recognize and work with every
child's individual strengths and weaknesses, they get to know
the entire family, they are always available to talk or give
their expert advice on parenting. By volunteering, you as a
parent get to know the other children and families and gain a
deep appreciation of your own child and his/her needs and
personality. We've been involved with coop preschooling for
over 10 years and there is no better coop preschool in this area
than Dandelion. Feel free to contact me if you have any
Dandelion Coop nursery school is an amazing and very special
place. The community is lovingly led by a director/teacher
(Bonnie Hester) and a teacher (Sandra Easley), each of whom
have been with the school for at least 25 years, beginning as
parents with children in the school. Together they have created
a program and an environment which nurtures children's
curiosity, sense of wonder, and individual needs. It is a play-
based curriculum allowing children to play indoors or outdoors
with a full range of toys and equipment designed and presented
especially for the 3-5 set. Art materials are available all the
time and a special art project is presented daily. The coop
runs with the two teachers and 4 parents with 24 kids daily. It
is a 9am-12pm program with extended care beginning at 8 and
lasting until 2 daily. Families work in the classroom about 2
days per month if your child goes 2x/week, 3 days per month if
your child goes 3x/week, etc. Also families each have a school
job, such as gardening, maintenance, bunny-care, laundering,
supply-shopping, etc. I have 2 boys, one in kindergarten who
did 2 years at Dandelion and one currently in his first of two
years at Dandelion. They're fairly different and I feel
incredibly lucky to have found this school and think it is the
perfect place for our familiy - indeed that seems to be what
everyone says. I love being involved in my child's first
experience in school and I am continuing to learn so much from
the other parents and the teachers about kids and raising them.
Dandelion is a magical place full of thriving children and
devoted parents all led by experienced, loving and active
teachers. I recommend it highly. It's the greatest!
Our soon-to-be-five-year-old is enjoying his second year at
Dandelion and he and the rest of his family love, love, love it
there! If we had no limits to our family budget, we would still
go there. The Director and Teacher have about half a century of
experience between them of nurturing and facilitating the growth
of young children. Their own children's childhoods were enriched
by going to Dandelion. They have genuine love, care and
presence for the preschoolers. Both of them are intelligent,
articulate, earnest, gentle, patient, creative and fun. The
whole family feels welcome. Parents grow to become better
parents from observing Bonnie's and Sandra's interactions and
relationships with the children. We also learn from them
directly as they share their wisdom, insights and experiences at
monthly meetings. Both are active in professional development.
They help youngsters and their parents celebrate growth and
achievement as well as encourage us through challenges. There's
a beautiful new playgound and the rooms of the school are big,
clean, well-lit and airy. Art supplies, musical instruments,
large motor toys, building implements, small motor activities,
dramatic play items, writing center materials, science table
experiments, etc. are abundant, attractive and accessible. A
snake, rabbit, group of fish, collection of walking stick insects
and silkworms are some of the permanent classroom residents.
Children are able to go about their business of enjoying their
childhoods. Through PLAY, the Dandelion children develop their
talents in and exposures to social skills, problem-solving,
pre-reading, pre-writing, pre-math, science, social studies,
music, art and more. The community of families there is a warm,
helpful and dedicated one. Again, we love it there! It's
complete--the only thing missing is your child and your family!
(We almost want to have more children just so that we can extend
our tenure there)!
This is our second year at Dandelion and we could not be
happier. My son was also very shy starting pre-school. The
teachers are pros at helping the new kids feel comfortable. I
still feel so lucky every morning that i drop him off at
a Dandelion mom
I recently told a friend that our family has two magical gifts
right now: our financial advisor and Dandelion Nursery School.
Our daughter, also 3 1/2 and on the quieter side, started this
fall, and we LOVE Dandelion! Bonnie and Sandra are so grounded,
knowledgeable, experienced, calm, and generous. They give the
kids time, and space, and then at just the right moments, they
just sort of appear and with this amazing grace and ease, they
nudge children forward, and help kids learn to navigate through
their own individual challenges. Dandelion's kids aren't
being ''taught'' and instructed from the outside. (As an
educator, I can tell you, there will be more than enough of
that to come.) I believe our children are being given what all
kids need more of: the space to discover and develop their own
sense of self, and their own interests.
I\222m also better parent thanks to Bonnie and Sandra. Through
their amazing modeling, participation day wrap-up sessions,
monthly parent meetings, and impromptu help, they guide the
parents with just as much wisdom and grace as they do our
kids. Other wonderful things about Dandelion: the other
families, the other kids, the genuine community, and the
opportunity to participate with and learn from one another.
Dandelion is one of Berkeley's best kept secrets. I didn\222t
know it from the brief walk-through. It was really a leap of
faith\227 one of the best I\222ve ever taken.
Re: Co-ops with more hours
Dandelion Nursery School is a co-op that allows up to 5 days a week
from 9 to 12 with the option of starting at 8:30 and extended care until 2 for an extra charge. My daughter is in her second year there, and it's
Regarding Preschool for child with developmental delays
A friend with a daughter who has down syndrome looked very extensively
found that Dandelion Coop were very good dealing with delays and warmly
welcoming to her.
RE: Montclair Schools
The other pre-school that I was impressed by is a co-operative in Berkeley
Dandelion (I realize that this is quite a commute for a Montclair parent,
The teachers have been there for a long long time and they are so wonderful
knowledgeable! I chose this school for my daughter and she is thriving.
participate daily, and there is a wonderful feeling of community with all
families. The telephone number is 526-1735. When you walk into this old
will find very happy and busy kids!
My son's preschool, Dandelion Coop, has openings for Fall 1997
for kids who will be 3.5 and older by September. Dandelion is
located near Solano and The Alameda in Berkeley. David has been
there for two years, and it is a wonderful school. The two
teachers there have been teaching together at Dandelion for more
than 15 years, and are really caring and intelligent women. The
head teacher is doing graduate work in Early Childhood Education.
Usually, Dandelion is full by now (for the following year), but
this year due to an accident of demographics (lots of kids are
going to Kindergarten), there are some spaces for older kids.
Just wanted to agree with Lindsay and put in a word of support for Dandelion
Coop. Both my kids went there and loved it. (I was involved there for 5
years in a row.) It won't work for families with two full-time working
parents (unless there is a care-taker in the afternoon) because their
regular program ends at 12:00 (12:30?) and "extended hours" end at 2:00.
BUT - if you are a parent who works part-time and you would like to be
involved in your child's pre-school world, this place is GREAT. (I'll bet
the teachers have been there more than 15 years since I remember hearing
that years ago.)
Dandelion was not only a good school - for our family it became a community
of friends that has lasted...going on 10 years since we started there. My
daughter was fortunate to have five of her Dandelion friends move on with
her to Jefferson School and she is still BEST friends with all of them. (And
as a result I am still close to their moms.) My son still wanted to "be at
Dandelion" until the end of 1st grade.
This is a great opportunity for anyone with a 4 yr. old needing a part-time
preschool. Most preschools (such as the Child Study Center) primarily
accept children between about 2.9 - 3.9 and then they attend 2 years. So
"almost 4 year olds" are often only accepted if one of those children leaves
before the second year. As a result, it is often hard to find a preschool
spot for children who are 4, or almost 4 yrs.
this page was last updated: Jul 14, 2012
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