The Mulberry School (Berkeley, CA)
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The Mulberry School
Note: there is a preschool in Moraga with a similar name:
Mulberry Tree Preschool
- Owner: Vicki Carlton
- Phone: (510) 540-5778
- Neighborhood: Claremont
- Zip: 94705
- License #: 010211572
- Capacity: 22
The reviews for the Mulberry School in Berkeley are all old. Does
anyone have any recent feedback or experiences?
Our child started with the Mulberry School in September and loves it! We
love the ''coziness'' of the school, the teachers, the teacher child
ratio, the huge gorgeous back yard and the fact that you can choose
anywhere from 2 to 5 days a week.
In addition, they offer Dance, French, Spanish and Music classes to the
One thing I have noticed is that we don't feel as connected to other
families that attend-but that could just be because of our circumstances.
Another thing you should be aware of is the hours are from 9 am-2 pm (no
before or after care is provided).
We love the school and so does our child!
Re: Preschool with lots of part-time students?
Try the Mulberry School. Both my kids went there, though it's
been a few years since they graduated. A wonderful place, with
lots of part time students, and back then at least the school day
was only 9-2, probably still is.
If you are looking for a warm and wonderful play-based pre-
school for your child, I would like to highly recommend The
Mulberry School, on Alvarado Road in Berkeley. My son is just
finishing his first year there and will have one more year
before going to kindergarten. It is a sunny and bright one
room schoolhouse tucked into a residential neighborhood with a
generous shady play yard. The kids have a variety of art
activities, science and gardening projects, exposure to Spanish
and French, free access throughout the day to outside play and
a mixed age group to learn and grow with. I can't speak highly
enough of the caring and loving teachers. The atmosphere is
calm and inviting and most importantly, the kids are happy and
engaged in play of all sorts. All I can say is when I finally
went to visit the Mulberry School, my heart finally felt at
peace with sending my son to preschool and I couldn't have made
a better decision. If interested their number is 510-540-5778.
I've checked the archives and wanted more current opinions about The
School and the Little Elephant Montessori School. I'm considering
these 2 schools
for next Fall and wanted to get people's opinions/experiences with
either of these
schools before I hand them my non-refundable deposit. How caring are
teachers in these schools and how much emphasis is on academics and
young children for elementary school? Thanks for any insight you can
Parent who's looking for a good school in the Oakland Hills area.
My children have attended Mulberry School for four years (one
has since graduated). We have had a great experience there. I
think one of my old postings is archived so I will just address
your immediate questions. The staff is extremely caring, warm
and loving, with the kids. It is a developmental rather than
an academic preschool. The emphasis is on play, as the work of
early childhood. They do prepare the kids for kindergarden,
though not by teaching them the things that they will learn in
kindergarden, but rather skills they will need for
kindergarden. The pre-Ks have their own longer circle time
where they do things that entail following directions, speaking
to the group, working on developing their confidence, and their
ability to be patient, be part of a group. There is lots of
reading, one day a week each there is French, Spanish, Music,
and Dance class. The director and teachers could tell you more
about the K prep part of the program. My eldest daughter was
very well prepared for kindergarden. Many of the kids go on to
private school, and seem to get in to schools of their choice.
We would greatly appreciate your impressions of the Mulberry
School, especially ones from the current school year. Thank you
The Mulberry School is top notch. Our son started this year and
is thriving. The director and teachers and their facility are
outstanding. I was hesitant to start my son in pre-school last
fall at 2.9, fearing he was just too young. The director and
teachers have been wonderful with him, they are gifted with young
children, very experienced and loving. I cannot imagine a better
way for my son to spend three days a week. The only downside are
the hours and scheduling. School closes at 2 p.m. And you must
have set days, you cannot add or take away a day at your own
convenience. Some preschools offer this and some families need
My partner has been teaching dance in pre-schools all over the
Bay Area for over 15 years and can say that in all of her
experience, Mulberry would be the only pre-school she would send
her child to. The only problem with it would be that it tends to
Our daughter has gone to the Mulberry School for 2.5 years and
we have loved it, our youngest will start this fall. The
director, Vicki, is incredibly attuned to how children
experience school. The staff is warm and loving. The new head
teacher has been doing some really creative projects with the
kids. There is a small teacher to student ratio, and they have
extra staff so staff absenses are never a problem. The setting
(a converted small house with a large yard) is homey and
idyllic. I am often stuck at how well the kids play together.
The teachers will tell you that it is because of the emphasis on
social and emotional development. This is definitely a
developmental preschool, not an academic one. They also have
weekly music, dance, French, and Spanish classes.
The downsides are it is expensive and they take lots of
vacations (5-6 weeks in late summer, 2 weeks in Dec, 1 week in
Feb & April, plus several 3+ day weekends). Given that and the
short day, (9-2), it doesn't work for families that with parents
working full-time. This leads to the only other downside, which
is a lack of diversity in the student body. For us, the pluses
have far far outweighed the minuses.
We had a good experience with Mulberry school from 1998-2001 with
my first child. I always thought my second child would go there too, and
visited periodically, keeping my relationship with the director alive. I had
nothing but good things to say, except that there is very little economic,
cultural, or racial diversity.
However, in the process of enrolling my second child (for this coming
year) there was a series of errors on their part (sending the application
to the wrong address, not returning a phone call following up on where
my application was, because she ''thought ithe message was old'' ) and
then my application was nearly too late because of these errors. She did
get us two days a week, and we were waiting for confirmation on the
other two, but once she informed us there were two more days, there
was a misunderstanding on our part, as to exactly when we needed to
tell her which of the five days my son would have OFF during the week.
Apparently, because two weeks went by while i was trying to figure out
next year's schedule, she thought that we were not interested anymore.
(our check for $500 was already paid 3 months prior, and the paperwork
done!) Without warning the director gave away our spot, without so
much as a phone call.
In terms of the actual care, it seemed that for a girl it might be more
nurturing than for an active boy, however i was always happy with the
physical and emotional environment. As far as I know, they do not do
any outreach in order to diversify, so it is somewhat sheltered socially.
They have a strict policy of timely pickup ($2/minute if you're late) and
there is no care before 9am or after 2pm.
While I was very disappointed at the turn of events, I'm looking forward
to dealing with a more efficient and reliable infrastructure in the
preschool my second child will attend.
I agree with some of the comments on the earlier posting about
Mulberry. My child is also in his third year there. I especially
agree with the comment that Vicki, the director, is extremely
attuned to the children. Vicki also has opinions and is willing
to share them, which I very much appreciate. My sense, however,
is that Vicki is trying to make her involvement with the school
more purely administrative and less hands-on, so I wouldn't base
my decision to attend on her presence. At the beginning of the
year, she announced that she wouldn't be teaching anymore (which
changed partway through the year when another teacher had to
leave). She went on ''sabbatical'' at the beginning of April
through June this year (which was announced with, I believe, one
week's notice). Other things at the school change too; for
example, when I signed up 3 years ago I was given information
that the school had before and after-care; after I paid my
deposit, I was told that had been discontinued and the materials
I'd been given were out of date. (I didn't pursue another school
at that point because I had my heart set on Mulberry by then and
I also didn't have the energy -- my husband was having treatment
for cancer; I feel sure if I had wanted to I would have been
released from my contract because they had a waiting list.) I
also agree with the other poster that the school is not geared
towards working parents (and I sense a bias in the teachers
towards the SAH moms) but, you can make it work if you want to.
Overall, I have to say to the extent my child is happy, nice to
be around, and can play well with other kids, it is due more to
Mulberry than anything, so the rest of it is probably just petty
on my part. To the extent I'm happy and easy to be around, well,
that's another story!
I have requested information about The Mulberry School in the past but
got no response. Nonetheless, I checked with Community Care Licensing for
any complaints about the school, and the records are clean. I also
visited several school in the area. I found The Mulberry School to be the
best school for my son -- the teachers are loving, knowledgable, and
active and the facility is great. My overall impresion is that it is a
place were children can be children!
this page was last updated: Feb 11, 2012
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