Preschools with Good Outdoor Spaces
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Preschools with Good Outdoor Spaces
I am starting to look into preschools for Fall of 2013 for my daughter, who
will be 3 in late September of 2013. She loves to be outside, looking at plants
and flowers so I'd like to find her a preschool that has a garden and includes
gardening in the curriculum. She is a mellow kid who is also a bit slow to
warm, so I'd like to find a school with a small class size. We live in Elmwood
but I'm willing to include schools in Rockridge, Albany and possibly El Cerrito
as well as Berkeley. I'd prefer to send her part-time for the first year, so
schools with a half-day or options for 2 or 3 days a week would be great.
Thank you for any recommendations!
Mom of a Nature Lover
Take a look at Sheffield Preschool.
June Sheffield has been teaching for 30
years, her school is a gem, with a big beautiful yard of garden and play
areas. There are only 12 children at a time in a very nurturing environment,
and a play based curriculum.
Happy Sheffield Mom
has 2 wonderful gardens -- one in the back by the older kids and
one accross the street. The kids play and work in the garden a lot. It's a
large preschool but is very very well run, most of the teachers are
wonderful and the place is full of wonderment and and playtime fun. The
admissions process, at least 4 years ago, was not as pleasant. They do get
many applications. I have found that if you ask at the last minute they
sometimes find they have an unexpected place.
Please consider El Cerrito Preschool Co-op
on Moeser Lane in El Cerrito. We
are certified as a Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat Garden by the National
Wildlife Federation. Here's a little bit more about our garden:
ECPC is a play based preschool for children 3 -5 years old. We offer morning
and afternoon programs in a relaxed, supportive and culturally diverse
environment. We have an experienced, caring and professional staff with a
turnover rate. Our preschool has operated as a parent cooperative since
While our professional teaching staff runs the program, member families own
school and are responsible for administration and maintenance. This helps
tuition low and allows parents to be fully involved in their child's
It also serves to build a strong sense of community among the families in
If you would like more information about enrollment, please email:
You should visit
Berkeley Rose School
in North Berkeley/Gourmet Ghetto
neighborhood. Their website is:http://berkeleywaldorf.org/
We are in the midst of putting in a wonderful garden right outside the
classroom in our new, permanent location on Cedar and Walnut. Berkeley Rose
is a waldorf-inspired (seeking certification) preschool through 2nd grade
school. The school will be growing a grade a year. My 4 1/2 year old twins
attended the preschool last year and will be doing another year of preschool
before kindergarten. I didn't know much about the Waldorf philosophy but
have learned a lot and really believe in all of it! There are 2, 3, 4, and 5
day options for preschoolers and the regular time is half-day (8:30 - 12:30
with an option to attend the afternoon program if desired). I think Waldorf
is a good fit for every child - they learn how to play, use their
imagination, tell stories, sing songs, be outside, work with nature.
Berkeley Rose is also lucky to have a wonderful preschool assistant teacher
who is also the school's garden teacher, Willow Summer. She previously
started and ran City Slicker Farms, an urban farm in Oakland. She is
wonderful with both children and plants. There are several parents who drive
from quite far away (Orinda, Lafayette, El Sobrante) to attend the school!
A happy Berkeley Rose parent
Cedar Creek Montessori School
on Sacramento and Cedar has a lovely little
garden and a strong nature studies program. All around, it's a wonderful
preschool! Check it out (even though I think you might get tired of the
commute from Elmwood). They offer part-time and full-time. Tea ceremony,
weekly bread-making, nature walks...we really love that school!
Mom to 2 Cedar Creek grads
I have seen positive feedback for daycare / pre-school / school settings
that have lots of high-quality outside play, but --which environment has the
*most* outdoor time in grassy, muddy, animal and plant-filled nature?-- We
are looking for a ''kinder forest'' sort of environment
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_kindergarten) for our 2.5 year old. It
seems that Oakland Garden School and Cottage in the Woods are both
candidates, but we would also like immersion in Chinese, Portuguese or other
languages besides English. We're hoping to find a program where true nature
and exposure to culture and language come together. We live in Pinole but
are willing to consider anywhere in the larger Bay Area. Thanks for your
Nature and Language Family
No school can compare with Waldorf schools for quality outdoor time
for kids. If you are looking for pre-k and kindergarten, please
contact Diana Mei at < href=rose.html>Rose Kindergarten, in El Sobrante. She was a long
term teacher at East Bay Waldorf and opened her own school a few years
ago. Our boys have and still attend her school. Much of the time is
spent outdoors, rain or shine, playing and gardening. She has bees,
chickens and I think is planning on alpacas. She is an amazing teacher
and her school is wonderful.
If you are looking for 1st grade and beyond, visit the East Bay
Waldorf School in El Sobrante.
Diana Mei, Rose Kindergarten, (510) 223-8309, email@example.com
You should take a tour of Duck's Nest Preschool in Berkeley [on 4th
St. near Gilman]. It's hard to imagine a more comprehensive,
attractive, and integrated outdoor program.
happy nature/animal lovin' parent
I love our home-based daycare, but it just doesn't have any outside space
and I'd love for my little one to be able to run around outdoors during
the day. Does anyone have recommendations for a 1) full-day preschool,
2) that takes two-year-olds, 3) ideally in the Lake Merritt / Fruitvale /
Glenview / Piedmont area that 4) has some safe space attached where my
child can run around outside?
-Loving the sun
Oakland Garden School
Sequoia Co-op Nursery School
In searching for a preschool for our VERY energetic
soon-to-be-2-year-old son, we've come to feel that the
playground is one of the top considerations. We're looking
specifically for a preschool with a playground that:
- has a LARGE outdoor area
- offers free and total accessibility all day long (kids can wander in and out as they choose)
- has both good shade and good sun -- in other words an all-weather play area (well, except for rain or storms!)
- has solid high fences for security and privacy
- has natural features -- trees, grass, flowers, birds ...
- is in a quiet, peaceful setting -- not right next to a busy road, freeway, train-track, etc.
Can anyone make a recommendation based just on this criteria? We
realize that a place this good may not even exist,
but -- we hope! Thanks!
Albany Preschool (2)
Berkeley Hills Nursery School
Beth El Nursery School
Children's Community Center (CCC)
Claremont Day Nursery (Berkeley)
Duck's Nest preschool (2)
El Cerrito Preschool Cooperative
Sequoia Co-op Nursery School
Via Nova Preschool
this page was last updated: Aug 25, 2012
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