Giggles Preschool (Oakland, CA)
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Giggles Preschool (Oakland, CA)
- Owner: Cynthia Edler-Pilchick
- Phone: (510) 601-6526
- Neighborhood: Rockridge
- Zip: 94618
- License #: 013412010
- Capacity: 24
- Website: http://www.giggles-preschool.com/
- Ages: 2 - 5 years
Re: Preschool in North Oakland or surroundings?
All 3 of my daughters have attended Giggles preschool in Rockridge and have
enjoyed it there. But especially the teachers. Two of them had major separation
anxiety issues but the teachers are so helpful in the departure and are so loving
and warm. I was always reassured by a phone call later that she was distracted
as soon as I left and at pick up there are always smiles and loving goodbyes. The
7 year olds loved their teachers and the youngest who has one more year, is also
enjoying each one of her teachers.
As a parent, I've felt very supported by the teacher.If I had behavior issues going
on at home, they've always offered great advice. It's a small school with only
about 24 kids on any given day. The parents are a close community as well.
I highly recommend you take a look.
I'm just starting to look at preschools and I'm intrigued by
Giggles Preschool. The location and price are appealing, but I've
never heard a parent mention it. Everyone always talks about the
same 3 in Rockridge: Claremont Day, Rainbow and Little Elephant.
Anyone with good or bad experiences with Giggles? Thank you!
We are at Giggles, and have been happy with it. The teachers are
very warm and affectionate and our daughter has been pretty happy
there. They have an absolutely fantastic art teacher, who
introduces the kids to various real artists and styles and then
has them interpret them. And there's other nice enrichment like
yoga, cooking, walking to the library, etc. They have a very
convenient schedule and location - I can walk there - which
matters a lot to us. To be honest, I am never looking for the
''best'' preschool, just one that is supportive and loving and
makes our family life easier (like not driving across town for it
or having to make a really early pick up time or having lots of
long vacations). And so we love Giggles.
My relationship with Giggles dates back to 1999 and I must say
I am amazed by the consistency in care that has been provided
to both my children.
The genuine concern for each childs development and well being;
the love and warmth displayed by the wonderful teaching staff
and Cynthia, the Director; the creative and developmentally
appropriate curriculum; the continued improvements to the
environment and the outreach to make parents feel involved in
their childs experiences are evidence of a true labor of love
being performed by the enitre staff. The lifelong lessons
learned by my children from their experiences at Giggles will
not only help to make them successful students but also
successful and caring individuals. I cannot thank the teachers
and Cynthia enough.
A Thankful Parent
hello! I am inviting input regarding Giggles preschool. Please be
very candid! We
checked it out and liked it but would like to see more recent reviews.
Was it easy
for your child to transition, good for tots who are very sensitive and
''slow to warm?''
anonymous about giggles
My son has been at Giggles for the past year and he told me
yesterday that he wanted to go to school everyday because he
likes it so much. I LOVE the teachers at Giggles they are all
very kind and warm with the kids and I like that fact that they
bring a lot of diversity to the school(one Trinidadian, one
African-American, one Indian and one German (I think)).
All the teachers, including Cynthia, the Director, help the new
kids adjust to school. I've witnessed several kids crying when
their parents leave, but they have always been hugged and loved
and comforted until they feel better. It took a while for my
son to get used to us leaving him there, but I think that's
normal. Especially if your child is slow to warm.
Overall, I like Giggles. The staff is always open to discuss
issues with me and parent input has sparked some changes over
the past few months. It's definitely play-based, so make sure
that's what you're looking for before enrolling. I think there
will always be room for improvement, but I would recommend it.
Giggles is a wonderful preschool. They are great with the
transition - they invite the parent to stay and read a story to
the child if the child (or parent) is not ready to say goodbye.
I've never seen a child upset for even a minute without a
teacher coming to comfort him/her. Whenever I'm there (which is
a lot), the teachers are very involved with the kids, reading to
them, helping them with potty training needs or snacks or
teaching them to resolve conflicts. They have a wonderful art
teacher who has daily creative projects for them to do
individually and collaboratively. The staff is very receptive to
parents' needs, and flexible. I have always felt they do what is
best for the individual child. (Some schools I visited seemed to
try to mold the children according to their philosophy. Giggles
puts the child's needs first.) The teachers and director are
involved, loving, and seem to really enjoy their work - I
totally trust the staff. My daughter was comfortable by the
third day and eight months later, still runs into school every
Happy Giggles Parent
We are thinking of sending our son to Giggles Preschool next
year. There are only three reviews on file and only one is
relatively current. I am wondering if any Giggles parents would
be willing to share their experiences?
Our son attended Giggles last year for 3 months. We chose it
because we missed the spring deadlines most places have, and
were looking in June. They had openings in the afternoon. It was
close to our house, and the afternoon times worked well for our
schedules. From the start, the house, yard and toys didn't
strike me as very clean, and the house in particular was very
echoey and noisy. I thought all preschools were like that!
Anyway, after the novelty of the place wore off (2days) he HATED
going every day. I thought he just needed to settle in, but he
continued to object. The teachers were not particularly
sympathetic--one report about his day was ''he was a little less whiny than usual''. The last straw for us was when we were told
that as an afternoon student he couldn't attend the morning
Halloween party, but they would try to save some goodies for
him. We withdrew the next day.
On the academic side, I didn't see any evidence they were doing
any teaching. Also, he didn't bring home a single art project in
3 months. Unless things have changed dramatically, I would
classify Giggles as more of a daycare than a preschool.
Our daughter went to Giggles for about six months. She hated
it. we ignored obvious signs - staff which mainly cared
that children not give them trouble, an owner that drove an
expensive car and often talked about financial concerns, a small
play area supplied with plastic toys, teachers that called it a
music lesson when they simply played cassettes to the kids.
Additionally, when two children were bullying our daughter, the
lead teacher kept telling us that it wasn't a problem ... even
though my daughter was in tears when we'd pick her up.
A week after we left, our daughter thanked us for stopping and
told us how she didn't ever want to go there again. Since that
experience, we have listened to her much more.
My 3 year old son began at Giggles this summer. I admit I
didn't shop around. The school is within walking distance of
my house, and that is very important to me. I didn't want to
drive all over town with two kids in car seats to get to and
from any school. Plus, I wanted my son to make friendships
that he will hopefully take with him to the neighborhood
elementary school. We really like it. The teachers have been
very supportive and helpful and seem to be genuinely interested
in my son. I will admit it's not the preschool with the
frills, but then I'm a firm believer in you get out of things
what you put into them. I don't throw a ton of money at
Giggles, so I don't expect them to have shiny new toys all of
the time. My son seems happy there, he enjoys going to school,
and he talks about the projects they do and the walks they
My daughter recently attended Giggles (for over two years) and
had a great experience. Giggles was recommended to us by a
friend, and we chose it after visiting several other
preschools. Most importantly, my daughter loved her teachers.
I found the Giggles teachers to be warm, caring and responsive
to my daughter's needs. While Giggles is a play-based program
and not for someone who wants mainly structured activities,
there were engaging activities each day (my experience was that
most of the structured activities take place in the morning).
My daughter loved music days, art projects, (she had something
to bring home almost every day), cooking and circle time. I
was also happy to be part of a terrific community of involved
Good luck in your preschool search!
A happy Giggles parent
I was surprised to read some of the negative comments regarding
Giggles preschool in last week's newsletter. My daughter
attended Giggles for over a year and our experience was nothing
like those described last week. To address some of the specific
concerns mentioned: with one exception (see below), we found the
staff to be patient, loving, energetic, and inventive. Never did
I feel that they were primarily concerned that children ''not give
them trouble'' -- my daughter, I'm sorry to say, gave them plenty,
but they remained positive and loving in their interactions with
her, both those I witnessed first-hand and those she reported to
me. Nor did I witness any bullying, and the staff worked with my
daughter consistently and compassionately when she had issues
with aggression. (There was one teacher who was clearly burned
out and in the habit of! saying impertinent things to parents, but
she has left the school.) Concerning the curriculum, I disagree
with the implication that preschools teach and daycares don't,
but regardless, students at Giggles are ''taught'' and read to
throughout the day, weekly themes are carefully developed, art
projects are plentiful (and stored in two separate art files,
which one parent who wrote last week may have not realized), and
students sing songs and play musical instruments during music
time each friday. Concerning the facilities and financial
matters, yes, the facilities are a little small and run-down, and
there are more plastic toys than expensive wooden ones. But,
despite the fact that the tuition is on the low end for the East
Bay, there is an outstanding teacher/student ratio of almost 5:1.
My daughter still talks about the director, Cynthia, and several
of her teachers with great affection. I find this a far more
important consideration than the price of Cynthia's car (which,
of course, she may have paid for in any number of ways). To the
writer of the original question, let me add that what I most
appreciated about Giggles was the school's awareness that all
children are different, and different in innumerable ways. While
many schools pay lip service to this idea, Giggles was the only
one I found that truly let kids be who they were, develop at
their own pace, and follow their own interests without pressure
to fulfill someone else's idea of developmental appropriateness.
There was a striking absence of cliquishness among both girls
and boys and many friendships across the genders. Kids go on
nature walks and ''field trips'' to the park and library, they make
big collaborative art and individual projects, and they also
learn to sit and sing, listen and share at circle time. I don't
think Giggles is perfect -- no prechool ! is -- but it's a good fit
for a lot of kids, including mine, and it may be for yours, too.
a former Giggles parent
Re: Seeking Current Opening in Preschool
You might check out Giggles Preschool, 601-6526. My daughter
has been there for over 2 years and they have a lot of what you
are looking for- play based, unstructured, very warm and loving
teachers, incredibly diverse staff and kids. The price is also
pretty good: $185.00 per week for full time 7:30-6pm.
I have had mixed feelings about the school over the years. I
don't like the food they serve for lunch (processed, lots of
pasta, some sugar snacks, though they forbid the kids from
bringing sugar to school), there has been quite a bit of staff
turnover over the years, the setting isn't super clean, though
not too grungy. However, the director is great and is always
making improvements. There is a new assistant director who has
brought new life to the school. She works with the 4-5 years
olds and is providing a bit more structure, which I persoanlly
like for my daughter who turned 5 in January. I would be happy
to talk with you more if you are interested, just email me.
Re: Preschools with Afternoon Programs
Two years ago I looked at Giggles preschool (on Colby near
Claremont in Rockridge), and I remember they had an afternoon
program that ran from 12 to 5:30 or thereabouts. At the time,
the director said they generally had fewer kids in the
afternoon. You might give them a call to see if their schedule
is still set up this way.
My 3 yr old currently attends Giggles and it is the right place for him and
us. My child started full time as a 2-1/2 yr old and I liked its home-y feel.
I did not want him to feel like he was in a school. Nice structure,
activities, weekly themes. The Music Lady comes once a week. The
teacher/caregivers are very loving, give lots of feedback and are very
responsive to any question or concern. I encourage you to go visit to see if
it is right for you.
this page was last updated: Apr 5, 2011
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