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Karen's Kiddos is a gem of a family daycare/preschool in El Cerrito that has been a major part of our lives for 7 years. Our younger child is ''graduating'' next month (starting K), and we will miss the teachers and families dearly. They accept kids aged 1 year to pre-K and currently have a few full- and part-time openings in September. Hours are 8:00-5:00 or 5:30.
Each of our kids will have gone to Karen's Kiddos for four years starting at age 1. The teachers are loving and nurturing, yet firm and consistent. Every day they serve morning and afternoon snacks and hot (warm) lunch -- and they have been sensitive to food allergies and dietary restrictions (our child has food allergies, another is vegan). Kids have play time, circle time, story time, ''letter of the week,'' afternoon naps and outdoor time in the backyard.
One thing I love about the small, multi-age setting is that the younger kids have role models, and the older ones look out for the younger ones. When they are ready & interested, the older kids learn good old-fashioned phonics -- but it is introduced when each child is emotionally and intellectually ready. Many but not all kids can read by the time they graduate. I realize this may not be a selling point to everyone, but we are pleased that our kids love books and love to read at a young age.
Call us crazy ... even after moving 9 miles from El Cerrito a few years ago, we kept the kids at Karen's Kiddos (and we don't work near EC). We looked at more than a dozen other preschools closer to home and work, and none of them had the right feel as the one we already knew worked well for our family.
Check out their website and call them for more info: http://karenskiddos.com/ or 510.525.6775. We will miss our Karen's Kiddos family! Been a Great 7 Years
I cannot say enough about the level of care, educational stimulation, fun, play
and overall wonderful experiences we have had at Karen's Kiddos. My very
shy daughter has been at Karen's for about a year now and has flourished,
thrived, learned all of her letter sounds, made amazing friends and felt so
safe and happy every day she attends. Karen and her colleague, Christina, are
absolutely incredible. Every child is nurtured and embraced, there are clear
and consistent expectations around conduct and behavior. The children are
so well loved and cared for that I cannot imagine a better environment for
learning and growth. Karen offers the perfect combination of morning
instruction and afternoon play. She feeds the children nutritious, whole meals
often with fresh salmon, chicken or even tofu. Fresh fruit and veggies are
served with every meal, the children brush teeth after lunch and nap time is
always a quiet place for nappers and non-nappers to take a break. My
daughter has built an entire binder full of letters and letter sounds, she
knows her numbers up to 40, she knows her colors, shapes, etc- and did I
mention that she is 3??? If you are lucky enough to get your child in, you will
never regret it.
I have nothing but great things to say about the preschool my 4 year old son attends, Karen's Kiddos in El Cerrito. My son will be graduating this fall and heading to kindergarten. He has been very well prepared for kindergarten, both academically and socially. The teachers, Karen, Christina, and Alexis, are wonderful and warm with all of the kids. The school is located in a converted house in the hills with nice outdoor space that includes space for ride toys, a swing set, play house and more. Lunch is served every day (which I love!) and the school is able to accommodate a wide variety of dietary needs. The school accepts both part-time and full-time students and runs from 8:00am to 5:00 pm. Check out their website: http://karenskiddos.com happy parent
We've had our 3-year-old at Karen's for a year, and just love this place. Our son couldn't be happier.
It's warm and friendly, like going to a good friend's house, thanks to Karen, Christina, and Alexis. They're a stable team and the kids are happy, creative, and have a very firm structure as well. They've helped our son learn social and interpersonal skills with the other kids, as well as early letters and sounds, but their academic approach is just right for us. Not too pushy on the academics, but underneath quite rigorous.
They've been around long enough to have the nice aspects of a school--a generous play yard and equipment, large open plan room, cubbies, and large seasonal displays all give some of the excitement of a ''real'' school, but in the comfort of a home environment.
Our nephew went here years ago (he's now 15), and he loved
it too. I can't say enough about how much we like this
If you are searching for a preschool in the Albany/Kensington/El Cerrito area, we wholeheartedly recommend Karen's Kiddos, a small, inviting treasure of a school that focuses on developing the whole child. Our son attended the school for 4 years, from around his first birthday until he graduated this year and entered kindergarten. We couldn't be happier with our experience and the effect it had on our child. Academically, he is extremely well-prepared for kindergarten, having developed strong reading and math skills and, more importantly, an intellectual inquisitiveness and a true love of learning. The teachers tailor each student's learning program to his or her own pace. To us, however, what makes the school stand out is its emotionally and socially nurturing environment. Teachers Karen, Christina, and Alexis identify and foster the gifts of each individual child while teaching respect and instilling self-confidence. In addition, much focus is placed on the children teaching each other. The younger children watch and emulate the example of the older children, who in turn learn empathy and feel pride in their own abilities as they assist the little ones. We give great credit to the school for our son's ability to play constructively with children of all ages. The parent community is also terrific. The school is housed in a lovely converted home in the El Cerrito Hills (near Fatapple's) and has a yard with swings and other play equipment. Lunch is served every day. Karen accepts both part-time and full-time students, and although the school is fairly small (around 15 children), there are a few openings this year. The cost is reasonable and the school is open from 8:00-5:00 M-F. We miss Karen's Kiddos, but we also know that it's a major reason we have a happy, well-adjusted kindergarten student now. http://karenskiddos.com/ Happy parents of happy Kiddos grad
I'm a parent of a recent graduate from Karen's Kiddos. I couldn't have been happier with the amount of attention and caring that my child received during her time there. The teachers are wonderful and have fully prepared my daughter for kindergarten. Each child receives 1-1 attention each day to work on their individual curriculum (be it learning their letters, reading, or writing). Lunch and snacks are provided, which is another huge plus as it means one less thing to worry about each day when sending your child off to school. Karen, Christina and Alexis make each child and their parents feel like family. It's a great place and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a nurturing environment for their child. Amy
We moved from Norway to Berkeley for a year for my husband to do research at the university, and we were a little bit anxious about how our two-year-old son would take the transition to a new and English-speaking preschool. I can truly say we could not have been more satisfied with the preschool and the staff. Karen's Kiddos has the right balance between play based and educational preschool. The group size with 12 kids is ideal. There are always kids in the same age group to play with, but at the same time they learn to interact with children from early toddlerhood to kindergarten-age. I like the way the kids learn to respect each other, and how they are taught to solve their problems by using words instead of aggressive behaviours. As a foreigner to this country and to Berkeley I can't emphasize enough how much it has meant to me to go to "Ladies Night Out" to connect with other moms and the lovely ladies working at the preschool. I would whole-heartedly recommend Karen's Kiddos. hannesil
I couldn't be happier with the Karen's Kiddos Daycare and
Preschool! My 2 sons (ages 31 mos and 15 mos) have been
at Karen's since they were 11 months old and they love
it. They look forward to going to ''school'' each day and
have made some wonderful friendships. Karen and her staff
are professional, caring, flexible and genuinely
interested in the well being of the children. My sons
have learned so much at a young age, from good manners to
the ABC's. The children have lots of free time to play, as
well as a structured learning environment. There is
plenty of outdoor time to enjoy the large play space and
explore their surroundings. I highly recommend Karen's
My son attended Karen's Kiddos for 2 years. The director,
Karen, was a teacher in the public schools before opening
her daycare. She accepts children between the ages of 1-4.
It is truly a wonderful place! The setting is beautiful
with an inviting outdoor space. Karen and her staff
nurture the younger children while preparing the older ones
for kindergarten. Most of all, she offers an amazing sense
of community by welcoming parents and families to visit as
well as providing plenty of extra functions to bring
families together. In fact, my son is now 15 years old and
the Karen's Kiddo's moms still meet once a month for a
''Mom's Night Out''. I can honestly say that some of my best
current friendships started at Karen's Kiddos. I would
highly recommend it!
Karen's Kiddos Preschool, a home-based preschool, has a lot to offer to preschoolers. It has plenty of toys & manipulatives, a reading corner with chairs, calendar and circle/singing time, letter of the week activities, lunch time, TV time, nap time, snack time, outside play, and help with potty training. My 4.5 year old son attended the preschool for 3 years and my daughter attended for 2 years. I feel my children are well-adjusted and they looked forward to going to preschool everyday!
What I like most about Karen's Kiddos Preschool is 1)the
professional and nurturing teachers, 2) mealtime- lunch is
provided daily and my children like to eat vegetables, 3)
the emphasis on good manners and routines, and 4) the
spacious layout of the school, both indoor and outdoor.
I recommend Karen's Kiddos Preschool for your child's
My daughter attended Karen's Kiddos Preschool from the
time she was three years old until she graduated and began
attending kindergarten. I have to say, Karen's Kiddos was
such a blessing to us as a family. Our daughter had
attended other preschool/daycares before and we had never
felt so comfortable with the curriculum, the cleanliness,
the way the staff deals with behavioral issues and the
communication we received from the people who were caring
for our daughter. I made friends with many of the parents
whose children attended Karen's Kiddos at the same time
and engaged in activities with them outside of the school.
It really feels like a family there. Now that my daughter
is in kindergarten I can really see how the time spent at
Karen's Kiddo has helped her to be prepared academically
as well as behaviorally; she is very helpful and courteous
and she is a very good listener AND she already has the
basics of reading and math. I highly recommend Karen's
Several months ago I enrolled my now 2 year-old daughter at
Karen's Kiddo's based on a friend's recommendation whose 2
kids are KK veterans. Karens Kiddos is a small family
childcare for kids 18 months - 6 years. Can't recommend them
highly enough. They are really dedicated to each child,
taking the time to get to know each one. Karen and staff
have a strong background in early child development and are
enthusiastic, loving and easygoing. They really focus on
helping the kids grow intellectually, socially and
emotionally. This was my (slow-to-warm)daughter's first
daycare experience and she loves it --it provides the right
balance of a gentle environment with just the right amount
of stimulation. And they feed the kids healthy lunches and
afternoon snacks (and it's really nice to not have to pack a
lunch!).And if all that wasn't enough, the parent community
is equally great. I really wish I had found Karen's Kiddos
sooner. Hours are 8:00-5:00pm and they have part and
full-time openings (take advantage of it - they don't often
have many openings!).www.karenskiddos.com or 510-525-6775.
My son (who will be 16 next month)spent the first 5 years of his life at Karen's Kiddo's pre-school in El Cerrito. It was the basis for his upbringing and I could not have been more pleased with Karen and her staff, all of whom I continue to have contact with. The pre-school is the perfect blend of home and school. It is structured yet homey and the perfect environment for learning and play. The children are taught to be polite and respectful and all the skills needed to get along in the real world. Karen and her staff taught me a lot about raising a happy healthy child. Two of my cousins sent each of their two children to Karen's Kiddos also. I would highly recommend Karen's Kiddos to parents of children of all different personalities and interests. Contact: Karen Lee, 510 525-6775
Does anyone have any experience, advice or knowledge regarding Karen's Kiddos home based pre-school in El Cerrito-run by Karen Lee? I have searched the archives but found nothing. Thank you!
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