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Re: Good preschool for my active 3.5 years old boy?
Please try Ocean View Montessori in El Cerrito. Our athletic active spirited yet sensitive son has thrived there and blossomed academically!!! It helps that it is a small school, it has been around for decades with the founder still very active in the school. There are multiple opportunities for the children to refresh themselves with outdoor activity balanced with academics and the development of social skills. Proud parent
Hi, We are strongly considering Ocean View Montessori in El Cerrito for our 3 yr old son, and all the reviews are at least 3 years old. I was hoping someone with more recent experience could give their opinion? Any thoughts, comments, experiences would be greatly appreciated! Thank you! Anon
Natalie and Aaron (who is Ronna's son, by the way) are fantastic, and so are the other teachers who are involved on a regular or substitute basis: Sarah, the art teacher; Ronna, who is still there frequently despite her retirement a few years back; etc.
I really feel that they genuinely care for my son and all the children in their care. They are exactly the sort of caregivers all of us strive to be: patient, gentle, kind, loving, and even-keeled -- all while remaining consistent and firm. They are really unflappable.
Negatives? Well, the school is very structured, but that's Montessori for you, and honestly, I appreciate that environment and feel it's a good transition from purely play-based daycare as well as being great preparation for kindergarten. Frankly, we don't provide nearly as much structure at home, and I think that our son benefits from his time in a more structured environment, especially when it's provided by adults who are so very nurturing and caring.
Three other things I'll mention:
- The academics are very strong, as you mentioned. I can't believe the things that my son comes home talking about. And his reading and writing progress is impressive (plus he LOVES it -- it's not a chore).
- The art and creative projects are abundant and awesome. He comes home everyday with the coolest art projects that he is soooo excited about.
- There is a good community feel at the school - opportunities for parent and family involvement, etc. But at the same time, I don't feel like we have to turn our entire lives over to the school community. It's a nice balance.
I recommend Ocean View and all its teachers without hesitation. Happy Ocean View Parent
I am a very critical person with very high standards for honesty,
sensitivity, and love. Usually you'd expect me to end that
sentence with emphasis on competitiveness and academic skills.
All the kids at OVM are going to do quite well academically. We
love our daughter very much, and I am so thankful that OVM is
her school, because it is ideal. Yes, ideal. I have no negative
criticism. The staff, as others have said, are phenomenal. I
think it all flows from Ronna. Our son went to two other local
preschools, one of which was deceitful and unsafe, and the other
of which was tolerable but essentially day care. OVM is ideal.
I'd like to post a response to the June 2005 question about Oceanview Montessori:
During my visits to kindergartens, I met a few other parents and I asked if they considered Oceanview. They said they didn't because of the negative post and no other school has a negative post. I wanted to either ask you to consider taking that post down as I had experience with that particular situation and it was very much an aberation due to family/personalities extenuating circumstances. Or i'd like to find a way to post to the historical discussion and talk to directly to prospective parents. My post would be:
"First off, let me say that we have had our son at Oceanview for three
years and love it. Our younger son will go next year as well.
Siblings are totally the norm there. Ronna and her teachers are
unbelievable at reading children and helping them individually grow
into secure young kids. I've talked with a few teachers at k-5
schools for my older son and they all comment on what great kids
Oceanview students are. The other reason I'm posting is that I met a
few prospective parents on my kindergarden visits with my oldest son.
When I asked if they considered Oceanview for their younger children,
they said they did initially, but then read a negative comment here
and decided against it because no other preschool had a negative
comment. I was saddened to hear that this unfortunate experience
stopped people from seeing for themselves and getting a real feel for
the place. So, I'm writing to give my stamp of approval and to
encourage you to visit. Talk about your concerns with Ronna. If my
experience is any indicator (my son is very sensitive and cried
everyday for the first year at drop off but now is very confident and
self reliant) I think the growth potential for your child is huge.
I'm looking to place my child in Ocean View Montessori. Can anyone share their experiences with the head teacher and the two assistant teachers? How does the school's philosophy and environment compare to other Montessori preschools in North Berkeley and El Cerrito? Any advice about how to work with the teachers? The most recent posting on this site was three years ago. Parent of Prospective Student
Some people appreciate the feedback, for others it is very stressful to feel your teacher is judging you as a parent rather than just trying to be a partner in nurturing your kid. It was incredibly eye opening for me to go to another school where they were able to structure the school environment so the child thrives while in their care. Moving to a new school made both my child and I much more relaxed and my child is thriving immeasurably better in the new environment.
My main advice would be, make sure you feel in sync and compatible with the teachers and their approaches - and everything will probably be fine. Anon
The director and teachers have been observant and concerned about our daughter's progress. They've been willing to share their opinions while being respectful of ours. We have! felt like we have been working together for our daughter's benefit. The teachers' experience and Montessori training allow them to provide an amazing environment for the children. Younger kids learn from the older kids, classroom works are changed at the right intervals so the kids stay interested, and the activities (field trips, holiday celebrations, etc.) are just right - enough festivity without overloading the kids. We can't imagine a better place to have been during the last two years, and moving on to kindergarten is bittersweet. Julie
Has anyone had any experience with Oceanview Montessori in El Cerrito?
My daughter is currently attending OceanView Montessori. We really like it. She is thriving in the entire program. Ronna, the director, has 30 years teaching experience. She and the other teachers really strive to work with each child according to their abilities. They also have a policy of keeping the pre-school a safe place where everyone treats each other with respect. Jeanne
To the person who wanted a small place with Mary Poppins running the show:
I had a wonderful experience with a small pre-school with a fantastic teacher named Ronna Brodsley at Ocean View Montessori. She accepts children ages 2-5, and no more than 12-16 students.
My son was there for 3 years and I was very sad when he graduated to kindergarten.
Her phone number at the school is 527-3294.
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