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My son has been attending El Nuevo Mundo for the past year and I couldn't be happier. I am a teacher as well as a parent with expertise in The Project Approach Curriculum, a component of Reggio Emilia. I have been working with the director and the teachers to help them transition over to Project Approach, and the results have been exciting and motivating for the children and teachers, as well as the parents who now voluteer as ''Experts'' in their children's classrooms. When the three year old class was engrossed in a Shadows and Light Project, one parent came and showed the children how to make candles, another parent preformed a shadow puppet story, while still another demonstrated how to rig a lamp. I feel so lucky to be included in my son's education and he is actually learning spanish! The cost is way below market rate and they include warm meals that are cooked on site. I live in Berkeley and I'm able to be in Downtown Richmond in 10 minutes when I take the 580. It takes me more time to get to the Berkeley Hills. I strongly recomend this program to any parent who is looking for a progressive, culturally and language rich school. Dana
RE: Thoughts about bilingual (Spanish) preschools
My daughter is in her second year at El Nuevo Mundo and she really loves it. She's picked up an amazing amount of Spanish and she seems to understand much more. She is looking forward to kindergarten next year in Washington's dual-immersion program. where her brother is. We do not speak Spanish at home much.
El Nuevo Mundo is not play based from what I gather though they do have several free play times during the daily routine. I also like that they treat their staff well and seem to have a very low turnover. The school itself is not in the best neighborhood but it is set back from the street and we've never had a problem. it is within walking distance to BART (2 blocks) and the Richmond public library (6 blocks) and the Richmond farmers market (4 blocks, I forget which day). I highly recommend them. anon
Re: Full-time preschools for less than $1000/month?
My daughter goes to El Nuevo Mundo in Richmond. It costs $35 a day which comes to about $700 a month - it ranges from $565 to $770 depending on how weekends and holidays land.
It is bilingual and they have an extensive list of activities including art, science projects, field trips, circle time, organized and free play and performances for special occasions. The teachers seem well treated and content there and all really like working with the kids.
The neighborhood is pretty dodgey but I've never had a problem picking up and dropping off. The school itself is set back from the street and behind solid gates. I urge you to go in a ask around. Spend a couple hours following one of the teachers around and talk with the director, Sylvana. They do not start kids mid-year so you will probably have to wait until fall, but I think this place is well worth it. ilona
Re: Spanish-Immersion Pre School
I would recommend you look into El Nuevo Mundo Children's Center in Richmond. They are the sister school of Centro Vida in Berkeley. Although the school is technically bi-lingual, almost everything happens in Spanish. My daugher went there for a year before starting kindergarten and was the only student from a non- Spanish speaking home. Almost all of the students and teachers are native Spanish speakers. She learned a ton of Spanish and had several non-English speaking friends with whom she managed to comminicate quite well. She also had a perfect accent as a result of being with so many native speakers.
In addition to the great language-learning aspect of the school, it is just a really great place on top of that. I would have liked so send her there even if I hadn't been intent on a Spanish speaking pre-school for her. The teachers are warm, friendly and well trained. The program has a good balance between structure and freedom of choice which prepares kids for kindergarten in an age appropriate and fun way.
They do fantastic productions for holidays and even feed your child! Not having to worry about breakfast or lunch was really a bonus for me. Their wonderful cook Maria Elena makes all sorts of yummy things everday and all of the kids eat together in a little cafeteria. They have a nice playground space outside. They also plan field trips from time to time that included a picnic at a park and a trip to the movies, if you can believe it.
The other good thing about this school is that it is relatively unknown outside of the immediate neighborhood so there is no crazy situation of needing to be on the waiting list before you child is even born.
Their phone number is (510)233-2329. Heather
El Nuevo Mundo in Richmond is a culturally enriched Spanish speaking program. My daughter, two nephews, two nieces, and many friends attended. The program has been around for about 25 years. Their number is 233-2329. Aleta
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