El Cerrito Preschool Cooperative (El Cerrito, CA)
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El Cerrito Preschool Cooperative
- Owner: non-profit parent cooperative
- Phone: 510-526-1916
- Email: email@example.com
- Neighborhood: across from EC Community Ctr.
- Zip: 94530
- License #: 070200235
- Capacity: 10
- Website: www.ecpckids.com
- Ages: 3 years to kindergarten
Reviews of El Cerrito Preschool Co-op?
does anyone have any recent experience with el cerrito co-op?
wer are looking for a really wholesome place for our 3.5 y.o. son and they have an
opening. we are really interested in psycho-emotional well-being above cognitive
we are into waldorf and hand-in-hand parenting philosphies as well as non-violent
hoping it will be a good fit! we are all more than ready for preschool
thanks in advance... J.
We are a current ECPC family who would love to tell you more about the school.
Our older daughter attended ECPC for two years and our son is currently
We are part of the afternoon program, and have nothing but praise for the PM
teachers. Nga, Jenny and Sally are wonderful and have so much experience and
wisdom in working with children this age. The AM program as a new director
(Kathy) with a TON of experience, working along-side Par another wonderful
teacher who has been at the school for 26 years.
The ECPC play based philosophy is entirely focused on allowing children to
develop their social and emotional skills while learning through exploration
and play. There is no academic focus at ECPC. The teachers do a really great
job of teaching the children about personal boundaries by facilitating
child-led negotiation. We have a home-made (often organic) snack made by the
parents every day. And the best part is that by being a parent participator
one day per week (unless you buy out of that requirement) you get to see
exactly what goes on every day and bring your own
skills/interests/philosophies to the school and our students.
If you haven't already, you really should take a tour and meet the staff and
parents. There is an Open House coming up on October 6th, but you can also
firstname.lastname@example.org in order to come see the school earlier than next
month. I would also be happy to answer any other specific questions you have
about the school or our experience with it for the last 5 years.
We LOVED, LOVED, LOVED El Cerrito Preschool Co-op (attended 2009-2011 and
still keep in touch with *many* families from the community). It was an
amazing, warm, nurturing, free place for our daughter to grow and learn, and
to come into herself. I can't say enough good things about the school, the
teachers, and the amazing, diverse, and welcoming community of families there.
Also, some people might be concerned about the fact that it is not an
''academic'' program (kids don't sit in a classroom and learn facts, or how to
read, etc.). We found that the learning she experienced at ECPC, which was
hands-on and experiential, prepared her extremely well for Kindergarten and
beyond (incidentally, there is a lot of research to support this). She's now
thriving socially, academically, and emotionally in first grade.
Wish we could stay at ECPC forever!
Re: Looking for a Preschool with a Garden
Please consider El Cerrito Preschool Co-op on Moeser Lane in El Cerrito. We
are certified as a Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat Garden by the National
Wildlife Federation. Here's a little bit more about our garden:
ECPC is a play based preschool for children 3 -5 years old. We offer morning
and afternoon programs in a relaxed, supportive and culturally diverse
environment. We have an experienced, caring and professional staff with a
turnover rate. Our preschool has operated as a parent cooperative since
While our professional teaching staff runs the program, member families own
school and are responsible for administration and maintenance. This helps
tuition low and allows parents to be fully involved in their child's
It also serves to build a strong sense of community among the families in
If you would like more information about enrollment, please email:
My son just turned two and I'm at a loss as to which preschools
in the El Cerrito/Albany/N. Berkeley area are good. I like the
idea (and cost) of a preschool coop and have heard nice things
about El Cerrito Preschool Coop but not sure about the time
commitment. I would like to get more recommendations about any
preschools in the area. Any suggestions or feedback about ECPC?
ECPC is a great school & I wanted to address your time concerns.
Yes, a co-op does require time/effort (minimally: 3+ hrs weekly
participation, 30 hrs yearly family job, 12 hrs yearly
maintenance, & 4 hrs yearly publicity). Co-ops seem to be more
difficult for families with inflexible work schedules or that
have sibling childcare concerns. Basically, it all depends on
your life situation as to whether it will work for you.
Honestly, the more time/energy you can put into a co-op, the
more fulfilling you and your child's pre-school experience will
be. Co-op participation is a fantastic way of initiating
parents into being involved in their child's education. (It's
my understanding that one of the biggest factors as to how well
a child will do in school, is parent participation or lack
thereof.) ECPC allows parents to jump right into being
involved in their child's formal education in an environment
that helps them learn to work with the school, teachers, other
parents and kids. So yes, co-op involvement takes up a lot of
time, but it's well worth it. In fact, a priceless experience
as far as I'm concerned. We love ECPC.
Very Happy ECPC Mommy of 6 & 4 yr old
Re: Preschool w/ an ''Unconditional Parenting'' approach
In my experience at El Cerrito Preschool Co-op with two of my
children they encourage the use of language like you describe
which is nonjudgmental and they talk with parents about
the ''harm'' done by praise. It was new information for me as a
parent but many of the phrases have stayed with us over the
years like ''it looks like you worked hard on that.'' It's a
great school, it requires some commitment of time though.
I am looking into El Cerrito Preschool Co-op. Anybody with current or more
recent experiences to share? Thanks.
Hi, My son went to El Cerrito preschool Cooperative for four
years. he received a PhD in preschool, actually. I can't say
enough good things about this very creative, free-play preschool:
the experienced teachers, large play areas, well supplied indoor
activities, redone kitchen, supportive membership, etc are great!
Good flexible hours and cooperative environment, or buy out if
you need. Email me and we can talk in person..fresoc8
ECPC is a fabulous place for children to thrive. The school has two
play areas, literally each one is bigger than many other preschools'
properties, and the indoor is also large and offer many varied
activities. The art
philosophy is to provide supplies and some guidance, not models, and
kids their own way of working with the materials. It's fun to watch
how each child
does completely different things with the same materials.
The afternoon program teachers, Nga and Sally (whom I have experience
loving, kind and completely respectful of each child and the parents.
of the school fosters creativity, and allows each child to find and
individuality in a way I only dreamt that I would find for my children.
Both of my children attended ECPC's afternoon program and we very
in March '07 after returning to Oakland, although we commuted for 1
how special the school is. If you are interested in your child
uniqueness in a group setting and want loving, kind, respectful
teachers this is the
place for you.
There is alot of co-op work, but less than comparable co-ops as the
school has lots
of families because of the AM and PM programs. I cannot recommend it
enough. Feel free to email me with any questions.
ECPC is a fantastic pre-school. My 4-yr old is finishing her
1st yr & my 2.5-yr old son will start in the fall. (However, I
suppose most parents believe that their pre-school is
fantastic, otherwise why would they attend?) At any rate, ECPC
is a big school - 30 kids & is obviously a co-op. Those are 2
of its advantages, but for some they can be disadvantages. Do
you think your child will thrive in a big pre-school setting?
While it seems we have every type of kid personality
imaginable, (shy, outgoing, slight learning difficulties,...),
they all seem to find their place at ECPC & I think that's
because of parental involvment, as well as the abilities of our
outstanding teachers who have design a fabulous play-based
progam, not to mention the school itself is a great facility.
Also, does your family have the time/energy to put into a co-
op? They're simply not for everyone. When we began it seemed
overwhelming, but living up to our family obligations wasn't
difficult at all, granted I'm a SAHM & my husband works a job
with flexible hours so we really share in the co-op duties.
While you can ''buy out'' of your weekly participation, I'd
encourage you not too because a benefit unique to a co-op is
that you can witness first hand your child's progress. As
first time parents, we learned what's ''normal'' & where our
child fell within that spectrum. Plus, in working with the
teachers, other parents & kids, we learned so much about how
our per-schooler's mind works. I think the whole co-op
experience has simply made us better parents. Please anyone
feel free to contact me, if you'd like to discuss further
whether ECPC or a co-op in general might be good fit for your
family. Good Luck
I did not like the school. It's a nice idea, (the coop part) and
affordable, but they are pure play based-no academics at all. It
would have been so easy to ''sneak in'' a little writing or
counting or basic ABCs but they are against that (at least from
my experience.) I didn't understand that at all. A lot of kids
were coming close to Kindergarten age and they didn't want to
give anyone a little head start. WHY?
The monthly meetings dragged on for hours (like until
midnight!!!). They were poorly monitored and just gave some
parents an excuse to brag about their awesome parenting skills.
My child is now in a fantastic private school and is excelling.
Not one of her classmates in both Kindergarten classes (a total
of 44) attended ECPC-I think that speaks volumes.
I am looking for a preschool for my almost 2 year old son. I
was curious to hear about people's experience at El Cerrito
El Cerrito Preschool Co-op is a great school! The outdoor play area is
art area is wonderful and the teachers and parents are very committed.
And I was
so disappointed when it didn't work out for my kid. My child is very
loves communicating with adults and older children. She is also very
takes a long time to warm up to people. The co-op is good for kids who
independent and emotionally pretty sturdy. My child had a hard time
the adults change each day and most did not have the time to give to
her to make
her comfortable. So we ended up switching to a more traditional
the same group of teachers are there each day and there is no parent
So it really depends a lot on your child's personality, where will they
After our co-op experience I looked at four other schools with my child
listened to her comments. I also looked at how comfortable the other
seemed. We found a great school and there is none of the stress that
she showed at
The ECPC requires weekly participation by the parent/s as it is
a co-op. The program is great but if you cannot participate
and have to ''buy out'', it's not worth it. It is difficult to
feel like you are a part of the school/program/parent groups
when you are not there other than to pick up/drop off your
child. Aside from that, the staff is great, supportive and
loving and the ECPC has one of the best play areas in the East
If you are referring to ECPC on the corner of Moeser and Ashbury,
I can say that our experience there was wonderful. The teachers
have many years of experience, the director has been there for
over 25 years, and the community of parents was a joy to be a
part of. It is a coop so of course requires a fair amount of
participation, but this is a great plus, since it means you know
all the kids and their families and can really make connections.
It is play-based and allows for a lot of free choice by the
kids. We were particularly enamored of the large play areas in
the front and back yards of the school (much larger than any
other school we toured) and the free access to lots of art
materials (our daughter was particularly enamored of lots of
opportunity for water play). The adult to child ratio is low
since there are parents there in addition to the teachers, so
kids get lots of attention and supervision. The teachers are
wonderful--culturally aware, warm, experienced, and very
encouraging of socialization and development of self-confidence.
Our daughter blossomed there. It is a culturally diverse
community as well, with families from around the world.
Re: Is the number of adults a problem at a co-op?
Hi-Our not really shy daughter started El Cerrito Preschool Co-
op (ECPC) at age 3.5. It took her about 2 weeks (going MWF,
8:30-noon) to adjust to ''school.'' During that time I would
stay for the day & then less & less each day. For the first
few weeks or so, ECPC encourages this practice to give children
(& parents) time to ease into the new routine. We have shy
kids at the school & they seem to adjust just fine, even tho
the school is big, 30 kids. From what I've experienced, shy
kids tend to seek out a parent (whether they know them or not)
to hang around with each day (& that parent then assists in
helping the child integrate with other kids.) At ECPC, there
are always 6 parents & 2 teachers. Having different parents
each day was never an issue with our child. Meeting them was
simply part of adjusting to preschool. What was more important
was the interaction with the teachers who are the constant that
the kids get comfortable with & who initially reassure them
that they are in a safe, fun environment. As the school year
progresses, kids naturally bring parents into the mix. We love
ECPC & the co-op experience. Our son (age 3 in Nov) will
attend this fall along with his big sister. Feel free to
contact me if you want further info.
I am looking to buy a house in the Richmond/Annex/El Cerrito
area and am curious about the preschools and elementary schools
for my son who is now two. I've heard good things about Harding
as well as a coop preschool in El Cerrito. I'm planning on
visiting some of the schools and talking w/ the teachers, but
any feedback I can get from parents living in the area would be
SO greatly appreciated.
I can speak to both El Cerrito Preschool Coop and Harding
as my children have attended both. ECPC was a wonderful,
nurturing start for our kids where we made lasting family
friends. The Coop spirit there made for a wonderful
community and since many of the families live nearby those
relationships have lasted and we now have a ''walking
school bus'' of ECPC grads (K-3rd grade) who all go to
Harding. On any given morning 5-9 kids and a few parents
walk to school together. There is a good-sized contingent of
ECPC grads at Harding which makes for a nice transition
for the kids and a small but active ''coop-trained'' corps of
(See also: Harding School reviews
Re: Preschools with good playgrounds
The El Cerrito Co-op Preschool on Moeser has two LARGE playards. The front one has both a huge sand area where the kids do waterplay all spring until fall and also a large paved ring around a large jungle gym area that allows for cycling, wagon-pulling, etc... Children also enjoy the trampoline with large padded mats around. In the backyard, the parents have built a native garden and we're also getting a new play structure this year and maybe a fort. The school is playbased, and the teachers are wonderfully well-read and experienced about positive disciplining and child-development issues. I'm very pleased with the kind and amazingly consistent responses of parents in working with the children in this co-op. It's also earthquate retrofitted. I've been to 25+ schools and interviewed over 50 by phone! The school's phone # is 526-1916. There are only two pm spots for this Fall still open. Susan
From: Anne-Marie and Tim (3/98)
We'd like to put in a word for our wonderful preschool, El Cerrito Co-op.
Our daughter has been there for over a year and the whole family loves
it. There are two large outdoor areas with sand, play structures, a
garden, and lots of open space. Inside kids can make art and cooking
projects, dance, read, dress up, or build with giant blocks. The basic
parent participation is one morning a week, but there are different
participation/cost options depending on your family's ability to
participate. Lots of dads participate which makes for a well-balanced
atmosphere. There is a morning (8:45-12) as well as an afternoon program
for preschoolers. The afternoon is slower paced and has fewer
transitions, but just as many neat things going on. This works well for
young children in their first "school" environment or any child who is
slow to adapt to changes, and also for the kids who are there all day and
need a quieter afternoon. The school is open from 7:30-6 for extended
care. The directors have about 30 years combined experience at this
school and the whole staff is great. This is just a cheerful, playful,
this page was last updated: Oct 14, 2012
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