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I am super happy parent writing to tell you more about Montessori Children's House of Pinole. This year they are celebrating their 30th year!!! Alumni who are now grown people with children of their own routinely stop by to see how Ms. Kathy and the class are doing.
I was a very nervous first time mom who interviewed at least 10 pre-schools (all of them Montessori or Waldorf inspired). I wanted the best of everything, and couldn't fathom just a ''babysitter'' for my very curious and ready-to-learn 2 year old.
* Clean, Bright, Dedicated classroom that is attached, but very separated from the house.
* Huge backyard and playground
* Literally tons of Montessori and educational toys that rotate every 1-2 months with the theme. No commercial figures like Disney or even Sesame Street.
* Multi-generational teachers 2 older, and 2 younger. So the kids benefit from both experience and youthful energy.
* Male and female teachers (great for boys)
* Kids and teachers of all hues and cultures. They celebrate any and all holidays.
* Teacher:student ratio is usually amazing with 2-3 teachers with the group, sometimes only 2-6 kids (14 is max)
* Children don't need to be potty-trained (they encourage whatever stage the child is in)
* Just off Pinole Valley Road exit on I-80, easy commute, easy parking, safe cul-de-sac
* Schedule is flexible with days and times, afternoons are not very full. Part-time or Full time, breaks on tuition for paying in advance.
* We must bring our own food- which could be a plus if your child needs something specific.
* They follow something like a public school schedule, so there are lots of ''days off'' during the year. But there is always a great change to the classroom when we come back after break.
After visiting so many very expensive Montessori and Waldorf options (which turned out to be almost entirely Caucasian- I'm guessing because of the price), we felt this one was the best value. The least expensive, least snobby, best preparation for ''real'' life, with the best parts of a Montessori education built in. Sarah C
We are starting to look at preschools for our daughter and am interested to find any current reviews on Children's House Montessori in Pinole. We live in Hercules and are looking for a preschool in the local area for our soon to be 2 year old for part-time. Thank you.
This program embodies the Montessori philosophy that a child is a willing learner and will learn if given proper support and a facilitating environment, including supportive teachers.
The two teachers, Kathy and June are incredible. Educated up to their eyeballs, both holding Master's degrees relating to education and children (June is British and I don't recall the exact title of her Masters), plus full Montessori training and certification. On top of this they have each taught for between 20 and 30 years and have worked together for fifteen years, so there is an incredible rapport and sophisticated teamwork that keeps things flowing smoothly and warmly.
The space itself is great. It is in a converted home on a quiet cul de sac. The classroom is colorful, text rich, bright, sunny and full of great diagnostic toys and art. The playarea is large and there are grassy areas and woodchipped play structure area. There is nothing for them to get in trouble for trampling and nowhere for them to go that is not in view and supervised.
The teachers are very proactive so there are few behavioral issues,when they do come up they are handled well. I've seen the program be successful for kids who are gifted and those with developmental disabilties. The school draws people from various cities in the east bay and feeds into both local and private schools, including many to Windrush and Prospect Sierra. It is a nice parent/family community of lawyers, poets, teachers, business owners, stay-at-home moms, mechanics- basically very ecclectic middle class.
True to the idea of kids first, the program has a range of times and days you can attend, from two days a week for three hours up to all day, 9-5, five days a week.
You will not find snottiness, hype, marketing, fundraising, staff turnover, coldness or profit-first thinking. This place is the real deal. The kids are always happy to be at school (as the are the younger sibs whose parents must daily pry them from the schools doorjamb while the kids protest having to leave. It is ALL about the kids and their learning and playing and having a sweeter childhood for the addition of these brilliant women and their great program.
Happy to talk to anyone about my experience with MCHP! E
Re: Preschools and coops in Hercules, Pinole, San Pablo?
Hi, I didn't see the original post, but I can highly recommend Montessori Children's House of Pinole. The director, Kathy Maloney, has run the school for 23 or so years (out of her home), and her co-teacher has been with her for 12 years. I have spent many hours in their classroom, and they function wonderfully as a team--the way they work with 10-12 kids (including some high-energy boys) is just masterful! They have all the great Montessori materials and use Montessori methods, and yet the classroom is not overly structured or too ''quiet.'' They take kids from 2.5 to 6 years, and it is a richly diverse bunch of kids and parents. Go for a visit and see! Cheri
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