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My son attended MCPC (Montclair Community Play Center) Bridge K the Fall of 2011. He turned 5 in August so he was eligible to go to Kindergarten but we decided he was really at the cusp and why not give him another year?? Kindergarten is tough these days, not like K when we were growing up. My husband is also European and in many European cultures, academics at 5 is not the norm. My experience is that children all catch up academically but social/emotional catch up is difficult. Why push them? Anthea Peck is the Head Bridge K teacher and is wonderful. The transformation from the beginning of the year to the end and confidence going into Kindergarten is priceless. Jennifer
My 7 year old attended the MCPC Bridge K program and my little guy is all enrolled for this coming year. Teacher Anthea is amazing. This program gives them an emotional, social and academic year of preparation, growth and fun! It is getting increasingly popular with the Sept 1 cut off. Bridge K to me is much better than a 3rd year of preschool. Also, for summer etc. bdays that are just not ready yet for the kindergarten curriculum (very different than when we were kids) or they are just not socially/emotionally ready and they need another year to build confidence. Jennifer Jennifer
If your pre schooler is young or not quite ready for kindergarten, I highly recommend MCPC Bridge K School in Montclair. My son could not be happier & loves going to school...even wants to go on weekends! It is the perfect transition from pre school to kinder. Teacher Anthea is very killed & the kids are respected & listened to...it is amazing to watch the thoughtful redirection & positive response from the kids in return. My son's time at MCPC will, no doubt, be some of his fondest early school memories. leah
MCPC has a curriculum rooted in play and hands-on experience. Pre-literacy
and pre-math are taught through art projects, science experiments, drama,
music, cooking, and carpentry. This program emphasizes social skills,
emotional literacy, and helping children learn to solve conflicts.
[I think there are here are spaces available now in the Bridge kindergarten
For more information on The Bridge K go to:
If you are on the fence about whether or not to send your fall birthday child to Kindergarten or a ''Bridge K'' preschool class, I have a great school for you to consider. MCPC (Montclair Community Play Center) is a non-profit play-based co-op nursery school that is amazingly supportive and creative. Your child needs to turn 5 by December 31 of this year to be eligible and enrollment is limited to 12 children. Two teachers and 1 parent work with the Bridge K kids each day, and if you know anything about public schools, this ratio is unbelievable! My first son (birthday 11/20) went to a private school for 3 years before starting Kindergarten at our local Oakland public school. His Kinder year it was 24 students to 1 teacher, no aides. My youngest son, who will graduate as a Bridge K ''Bobcat'' this year, was at a family daycare for 1 1/2 years before MCPC and I have to say that between the daycare and MCPC, he is better prepared for Kindergarten than my $40,000-worth-of-private-school son was. My Bobcat is thrilled to go to school each day, and between trips to the library, sewing, painting, gardening, cooking: academically he is already writing and reading at a beginning 1st grade level. That could just be due to his own readiness, but whatever level the child is at, Teachers Therese and Anthea are able to bring out the best in him/her. The teachers are warm, loving but firm and able to work with the kids on the social skills and habits that will be needed for Kindergarten. The only bummer about this program is the time- it is offered from 1-4 pm M-F. I have had to change my habits to take advantage of the afternoon time when he is in class, but I have come to really appreciate the mornings that we spend together. I feel like this year has been a gift to both of us- this 1 amazing year before the demands of Kindergarten has enabled him to build confidence and self-esteem and ''play'' while learning. I think that will have life long benefits; he sees himself as a child who is capable and successful at school. For instance, 2 of the children that my older son started Kinder with that were very bright but 2 of the youngest in the class, have now had to repeat 1st grade- not because of academics, but because of lagging behind emotionally. You are welcome to contact me for more info about our experience there, or call Jennie Votel at 510-316-3529 to schedule a ''playdate'' with the Bobcats while class is still in session. Or, you can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are still spots for fall. I don't think that many parents have heard about this newer Bridge K class at MCPC, and our experience there this year has been so great that I just needed to share it with other like-minded parents! Lou
I wanted to make a plug for the MCPC Bridge-K Program. I know they still have open slots, and I cannot say enough good things about it. All of the teachers at the facility are fantastic - but I have a special place in my heart for the Bridge-K teachers. Anthea and Terese take the time to know each child on an independant level and always have time to chat with a mom over what went on during the day, questions, or concerns.
I opted for the Bridge-K vs Preschool because there's just that little bit ''more'' that they can gain. I feel like he's much more ready for Kindergarten than he would have been without the program.
I give a big thank you to the teachers for making this transition in his life so happy, and for helping him prepare for the big move to Kindergarten. I would recommend this program to anyone. Amy
Re: Looking for a preK or Bridge K in Oakland
Look into the Bridge K program at MCPC (Montclair Community Play Center). My child is in the preschool program there and I've seen first-hand the quality of the curriculum and the amazing, skillful teachers involved in this little gem of a Bridge K. The kids are nurtured and challenged, with plenty of art, science, literacy building, and lots of fun, imaginative play. The group is small and the student/teacher ratio can't be beat. From my observations, the teachers never miss a moment to enrich and support the kids emotionally and intellectually, and there is an emphasis on social skills and conflict resolution. MCPC is a parent co-operative, so you get to be directly involved, but the participation requirement at the Bridge K seems manageable for working parents. www.mcpckids.org mcpc parent
I'd like to make a plug for the pre-school my son attends. He attended two other pre-schools prior to Montclair Community Play Center and it's wasn't until MCPC that I realized just how dissatisfying the other two schools were.
MCPC has been a wonderful school for our son (who is in the Bridge-K program), and a great community of people. The two Bridge-K teachers are terrific. They are knowledgeable about the developmental milestones of preschool children and are continually developing that knowledge further. Before our son even began at MCPC, one of the teachers came to our house and spent an hour with him, focusing completely on him and what he wanted to do. That attentiveness has continued throughout his time in the Bridge-K program.
At his previous pre-schools, our son cried nearly every day at drop off and when asked at the end of the time there about how the day went, he'd respond, ''fine'' in a heartbreakingly apathetic way. At MCPC, however, he has come out of his shell so much. Drop-off is no longer a traumatic experience. He has friendships that he talks about and projects/themes that he is enthusiastic about. When asked about his day, a common response is that it was ''super great.''
Hard to beat that. Check it out. Happy MCPC Dad
Re: Looking for pre-school for visiting five year old
Have you looked into the Bridge K program at MCPC?
I have been at MCPC for two years with my son in the preschool program. The teachers are fantastic and the community is the ''village'' I've been looking for to help me raise my son. We've had such a wonderful time and both my son and I have grown in so many ways. I cannot say enough great things about MCPC!
The Bridge K Program is an extension of the co-op Preschool Program located in the Oakland hills. The BK class runs from 1-4pm Monday through Friday with Parent Participation once every 2-3 weeks. It's a play-based program with a very rich curriculum.
For more info, check out the website, mcpckids.org Good luck! Tristan
Re: Seeking excellent Pre K program with 2011 openings
Hi! I have 2 sons, both with late fall birthdays. We had my older son continue with a Pre-K year at his local private school and he entered public Kindergarten at age 5 and turned 6 y.o. two months after the school year started. We don't regret waiting, at all. Kindergarten is no joke these days! What we do regret is spending over $38,000 for 3 years of playdough, snacks and napping when he could have been just as prepared and had just as much learning as at MCPC (Montclair Community Play Center). My 4 year old will be going starting there this fall, and it is amazing! There will be 2 incredibly overqualified teachers to about 10 children, and I love Teacher Therese already. Our private school had some great teachers, and some not-so-great teachers, and there was quite a bit of turnover and lots of drama. MCPC has been around a long time, they get it, I have done their Toddler programs and summer camps and it is always more organized than the private school was. Check it out, I have looked at many schools around the East Bay for over 7 years, and MCPC is still at the top of my list. lou
Re: Recommendations for preschools in Montclair area?
I want to invite you to visit our fantastic co-op school, Montclair Community Play Center (www.mcpckids.org). My son started there in the fall, and we have been thrilled with the school and the community. MCPC is a close-knit community of 25 families. The curriculum is incredibly rich, the professional teachers are devoted and experienced, and the opportunity to be involved in your child's education is just wonderful. Plus, it's incredibly affordable, for such a high-quality program.
We're leading tours every day in February. You can check out the web site to learn more about the school, or ask the moderator for my email address and contact me directly if you want more first-hand information. Mom of a happy MCPC kid
Re: Program for 4 yr-old not quite ready for K?
My 4 year old is in a similar situation. He is currently at MCPC (which we love!) and they are starting a new bridge-k program this year. It sounds amazing. The parent info night is Thursday, February 4th at 7:00. Good Luck! lori
Hello, I'm exploring different pre-schools in Oakland that are parent cooperatives or have highly engaged parent programs. So far, I'm aware of Peter Pan (Maxwell Park), Sequoia (Montclair), and Inch-By-Inch (Mountain Blvd). Do parents have any others to suggest? Thanks--much appreciated! Laura
Re: play-based schools?
My child is currently enrolled at MCPC. We have been very happy with the program, the curriculum, and the director. I can't speak to the issue of kindergarten readiness, but I did want to address your situation as the parent of twins. At MCPC, we try to divide parent duties so that each family is responsible for roughly 1/25th of the aggregate workload. Each family has one workday, one ''job,'' specific fundraising obligations, etc. In order to keep this equitable, parents of twins (who reduce the community from 25 to 24 families) are asked to perform the full range of duties for each enrolled child. In other words, parents of enrolled twins would have two workdays each week, two jobs, twice the usual amount of fundraising obligations, etc. I believe the only exception to this is attendance at the monthly parent education meetings. I don't mean to warn you off MCPC -- it's a great school, and we have had twins enrolled in the past and have an alumni set due to begin in 2008 -- but if you think the increased workload might be an issue for your family, it might be worthwhile for you to inquire about the policies for families with twins at each of the schools you're considering before you get very far along in your search. Best of luck to you. MCPC Parent
Re: Desperate for a Summer Preschool Program
MCPC (Montclair Community Play Center) on Thornhill in Oakland offers an excellent morning summer camp program for that age group that runs for about 6 weeks, broken into two sessions. My daughter attended for the last three summers, but now she will no longer be eligible as she is moving on to first grade. She keeps asking me if she can go again! The camp gives priority to incoming or continuing students, but they usually have some open spots for those just interested in summer camp. Unlike their regular preschool co-op program, there is no obligation for you to work It's just drop off. For more information, go to www.mcpckids.org. Good luck! tiffany
Looking for inpute re Montclair's Community Play Center's Preschool program. Can anyone share their experience with sending their child there in the last 2-3 years? Is the space big enough? Does anyone feel it is too ''play based'' and not enough structured activities or ''learning''? All input appreciated. looking for insights into MCPC
Is the space small? Yes it is. It works though. The kids can run and jump. Some play their own version of football with goals and everything.
There are alot of great pre-schools out there. MCPC is one of them. You need to figure out what kind of philosophy that you want your child's preschool to have whether it be play-based, montessori, or what not. The information night for MCPC is next week, so you can check it out yourself. (check the website for the information www.mcpckids.org )There is also a school tour scheduled at the info night for a school day, so you can actually see the school on a typical day. It's a great place. I hope you consider it in your search. (I hope I wasn't too preachy. I'm just passionate about the place.)
A Fan of MCPC
Re: Afternoon Mom/Toddler Classes
Hi - The Montclair Community Play Center has classes most afternoons 3:30-5 and may also have some early afternoon classes beginning at 1 or 1:30. These classes have everything you are looking for - free play, circle time, snack time. Go to http://www.mcpckids.org/ and follow links to toddler classes. Enjoy! Ioana
Does anyone have any recent experience with Montclair Community Play Center preschool? I'd like some more recent feedback than what is on the website. Also, if there are any other preschools in the Montclair area that you might recommend. Thanks. Cecile
Re: Afternoon Mom & Toddler Classes
I recommend the toddler program at MCPC (Montclair Community Play Center). It is located on Thornhill in Montclair. THere are two afternoon classes - I think at 1:00 and 3:30 - most days of the week. It is just like preschool only shorter and a parent (or caregiver) must attend with the toddler. There is lots of indoor/outdoor freeplay, a snack and story time, and a circle/music time. My daughter and I started when she was 18 mo. and it was a great way to get her ready for school. Lisa
Has anyone attended the toddler program at the Monclair Community Play Center? There is an old posting recommending the preschool, but I'm wondering if anyone has had recent experiences with the toddler program. Thanks! Christine
I wanted to let everyone know that MCPC is NOT going to build a new building any time soon. We may do some minor renovations that will not affect Toddler or the preschool program. The rebuild idea has been around for quite a while, but the membership has elected not to go forward on rebuilding any time in the forseeable future. Therese
Re: summer camp for 3 year old
Montclair Community Play Center on Thornhill Drive in Oakland has a great summer camp for 3 year olds. There are two 3-week sessions that run from 9 AM to 12:30 PM. Their number is 510 339 7213. Frances
I wanted to recommend an excellent preschool, called Montclair Community Play Center. It is located on Thornhill Drive in Oakland and is a wonderful, nurturing place for children. Both my daughters have gone there. It's a cooperative, which means that parents work in the classroom one day a week and do an outside job for the school. The parental involvement is time-consuming, but all that interaction creates a cohesive and loving community. The school also has a toddler program for children 18 months to 3 years where kids go with one of their parents or a caregiver. The school also has a great annual auction where parents can pick up great deals on children's classes, clothes, toys, etc. This cooperative preschool is 67 years old and is a wonderful place for children. If you want a great school and a sense of community, look into it. Call 339-7213 for information. Franny
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