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Preschools That Prepare Children for Private School

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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Preschools & Daycare > Preschools That Prepare Children for Private School

Preparing a preschooler for Head Royce and Bentley

February 2008

We'd love for our child to go to Head Royce or Bentley from KG onwards. I'd like to hear from parents who have young children at either of these schools, and what types of characteristics or skills they look for when admitting children for KG. Any advice? We are looking to put our daughter into a preschool and would like to prepare her (as much as one can prepare a preschooler without being ridiculous, overbearing and obnoxious!) thanks

My response won't necessarily help prepare your child for one of these schools you mention, but I do hope you consider my thoughts. I strongly encourage you to flip your thinking. Instead of trying to find the preschool that will help prepare (form) your child to the criteria of a prestigious school, why not ask, Which school would be best for MY child? Why not look at the natural traits, strengths and weaknesses of your child and look for the preschool where she will grow and learn within her comfort zone and be happy? Helping your child to thrive in an environment where she is safe, nurtured and encouraged will give her the skills to be confident and curious as she goes forward in her school career. Only then will she be able to expand her knowledge and take those calculated risks that provide true learning. Having navigated both private and public systems with our children, we have come to learn that even the greatest school (or the one with the greatest reputation) is only as good as the individual teacher/s that is/are working with MY child at any given time. And even a school that started out as a perfect fit, as years went on, no longer was. The person your child is at preschool age is no precursor to who they will be in KG, nor any grade after that. Children are wonderful evolving beings and I encourage you to keep an open mind. Be willing to advocate for your child and what she needs to thrive as opposed to trying to help her fit what you perceive is the mold the school will recognize. She will thank you for that much more than the chance at a prestigious education if she is not happy and successful in your school of choice. -Leslie
To the parent asking about Bentley or Head Royce admissions, Our daughter is in Kindergarten at Bentley, she was accepted there and wait listed at HR. She attended Rockridge Montessori School, which has a good track record at both schools. Honestly, we thought she flunked her Bentley admissions when she told us that they asked her to write the alphabet and she got up to ''e'' and said, ''I'm bored, can I go play?'' Thankfully they viewed her as being way past that rather than unable to do it (which was the case - we've been blown away by what she's learned at RMS). She's really blossomed since starting Kindergarten and we couldn't be happier. Happy mom of Bentley Kindergartener (with a little one at RMS)

Is a less-known preschool a liability when applying to private school?

February 2004

We are looking for a Montesorri preschool for the fall for our daughter who will be 3. We've seen quite a few and have liked many of them. One we're particularly excited about is Garden Day Montessori ... One of our concerns in that we're considering private elementary schools for our kids and wonder if the fact that our kids will have gone to a less known pre-school will be a problem.

While I am not do know much about Garden Day Pre-school, I want to reassure you about preschool selections relative to private school admissions. I was the Director of Admission at the Bentley School...where people often assume that the preschool you are applying from matters. It doesn't! (We once fielded a phone call from the dad of a six WEEK old girl wanting to know which preschool he should enroll her in to best insure her acceptance to Bentley! After a long conversation, the punchline was, ''Sir, can your daughter hold her head up yet?'')

Please know that the private schools do not care about which preschool your child attends. The most important aspect of the admission process is whether our school is a good match for your child and family. Certainly there are preschools whose programs are similar in philosophy and environment to particular elementary schools...and therefore are obviously good matches...but I promise you that how well known a preschool is, does not affect admission to schools later on.

The best way to optimize chances for admission to private schools is to choose a preschool experience that is ideal to your child's interests and play/learning style and your family's needs. A child who has loved their preschool and had positive school/social exposures there, is predestined to do well (and be admitted) at other schools after they've grown up a bit.

Wanda Stewart

July 2001

For those parents who's children attend either Head-Royce, Bentley or Redwood Day (and have attended from an early age, preferably kindergarten, but possibly 1st grade)... what preschools/kindergartens did your child/children go to (assuming you were in the area)? Did you feel they were prepared for this particular private school? Are there areas where you felt they could have been better prepared? We're finding the preschool decision a difficult one to make, especially since there are so many to choose from - and looking ahead, fairly certain that we want our children to attend private school(K-12), those options seem to narrow considerably. We hope to make the best possible decisions regarding education from the very start. Any advice/feedback is greatly appreciated!

Our daughter goes to Head Royce and the most important thing I can tell you about preschool is don't sweat it. It's really irrelevant. The schools aren't looking for children who are "prepared" in any way. Just pick a preschool where the staff is loving and competent and the kids look like they are having fun Ayelet
My son Jesse is going into 2d grade at Redwood. He was admitted as a K'r. His preschool was a small family day care known as Small Change, in Oakland. Unfortunately, it has closed. Jesse was plenty prepared, as the preschool had a good academic component. Jesse, as fate would have it, is a highly focused little kid who loved to work on art projects or letters, so preparation really wasn't an issue. What was key, I think, is that he learned social skills and group dynamics (he's an only child), learned to like learning, and had early training in numbers and letters and shapes and colors and such. Honestly, I don't think the choice of pre-school is going to make much difference. There's such an oversupply of kids relative to the seats in schools that it's a seller's market. One headmaster told us candidly that after deleting the one third of the applicants they didn't want (not ready, too young, too active, too passive), accepting the few they obviously did (multi-lingual and doing calculus at age four) they really didn't have much basis for selecting amongst the rest. Criteria such as how many from which community, diversity (besides race and gender), parents' backgrounds and other non-academic factors were used. If you think it matters, tho, just call the admissions folks at the schools and ask them. At Redwood, BTW, they have had a pre-K class that is the feeder for the K class (there were only 3 slots for boys when we applied). But I believe that is being phased out this year or next. You might want to check. --wheaton
I'd focus far more on where my child would be happy and successful than where might possibly be a feeder for a private school. A happy and successful child will much more likely be successful in the admissions process than one who is in a place simply because their parents believe that it will assist them in gaining admittance into a prestigous private school.
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