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I'm looking for a preschool for my almost-3-year-old girl for the fall. I have been very inspired by Alfie Kohn (Unconditional Parenting) and would love to find a place where this sort of approach is practiced: no praise/rewards and no punishment. I'd like to see a warm, nurturing environment where teachers actively empathize with the range of children's feelings and are emotionally supportive of them. I want my daughter to have a good deal of freedom of choice, and can imagine her being happy in a place with a developmental/play-based approach as well as a Montessori/Reggio Emilia or Waldorf-inspired school. Home-based would be fine and I'd be happy with a coop, though I can only consider schools that go until at least 3:00.
We live in the Lake Merritt area of Oakland, and would love a school nearby, but I'm already considering schools in Berkeley and El Cerrito, so I'm open. I'm a single mom in transition, so affordability is a factor--or at least there would need to be a generous scholarship program! We're bilingual in Spanish, so I would love to send her to a place where Spanish is spoken, but that's not my first priority.
Am I asking for the moon? Perhaps, but I've been visiting a lot of schools and have felt disappointed by the preponderance of ''good jobs,'' rigid/coercive practices and teachers who are not as gentle/respectful/empathic as I had hoped.
Thanks for any suggestions! Lisa
The school is a big fan of Alfie Kohn. When he spoke in the Bay Area last year the school encouraged parents to go hear him speak.
TRS provides a warm and nurturing environment. The children have a great deal of freedom of choice. At the same time, they are taught to respect their environment and the people around them.
To top it off, TRS has an amazing music and art program, and the most culturally diverse community of families, teachers, and staff that you can imagine. The best part is that the school doesn't seem to need to try to be diverse... it just has naturally grown that way.
Now the downside of this seemingly perfect school... it is expensive. But, the school has a financial aid program, so I encourage you to check it out. Here is a link to their website: http://www.therenaissanceschool.org A Very Happy TRS Parent
The teachers treat the children with respect and affection, without excessive praise. Our Head of School has worked with Alfie Kohn and brought him to speak in the East Bay a few years ago. BMS is also very serious about teacher education, and sends teachers every year to Harvard's Project Zero and last year sent several teachers to Reggio Emilia for a week of study. We can see the direct effect of this emphasis on professional development in the classrooms every day. It's a pretty terrific place. Call the admissions office at 665-8800 x103 to schedule a tour. Very happy BMS parent
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