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Rockridge Montessori School (Oakland, CA)

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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Preschools & Daycare > Rockridge Montessori School

Manila Ave Site
  • Owner: Diana & Isidro O'Valle
  • Phone: (510) 652-7579
  • Email:
  • Neighborhood: Rockridge
  • Zip: 94618
  • License #: 013417669 (view)
  • Capacity: 59
  • Website:
  • Bilingual:
  • Ages: 2 - 5 years
Broadway Site
  • Owner: Diana & Isidro O'Valle
  • Phone: (510) 652-7021
  • Email:
  • Neighborhood: Rockridge
  • Zip: 94618
  • License #: 010213520 (view)
  • Capacity: 19
  • Website:
  • Bilingual:
  • Ages: 12 - 24 months

Jan 2012

We are looking at Rockridge Montessori and another school and we like both mainly for 1) indoor/outdoor facility 2) proximity to our house(walking distance). We are drawn to Rockridge Montessori for the curriculum but are a little concerned about how our very active and talkative daughter will do in their relatively subdued environment. At the same time, we are concerned that play-based programs like School B will not offer her enough ''intellectual'' stimulation to be able to foster her knack for learning (at 2 1/2 she reads all the letters of the written alphabet and written numbers to 10, etc). Seeking a good fit

I don't know anything about the other school but I can assure you that Rockridge Montessori is not always ''subdued.'' The kids do have a relatively subdued circle time, but they also run around outside and inside at other times of the day. My very active almost-three year old has a great time. M
August 2010

Re: Preschool for 3 year old
I would recommend Rockridge Montessori School. My daughter went through RMS and had a great experience. This preschool really prepared her for kindergarten! It was VERY important to find the right match for my kids. It is also VERY important to check with the state licensing office to make sure the facility you choose hasn't been sited for anything crazy. Adrienne

Feb 2010

Help! I am trying to decide between Rockridge and Oakland Montessori and can't find any current reviews of either. Anyone out there have experience with these schools they would like to share? It's PMS time--Preschool Mental Stress!!!

Our 3 year old son was enrolled at Rockridge Montessori for 18 months before we pulled him out. The school itself is very nice and the administration fairly accommodating but it was not a good fit for him. First of all, there was a fairly high teacher turnover rate when we were there which made for very inconsistent care. Also be aware, the classroom is VERY quiet and the children spend most of the day working independently. My best advice is to do a couple of drop-ins to make sure that this is the right environment for your child. It very well may be a good fit for your particular child, it was not for ours. Good luck. anon
I had a child at RMS in the toddler class and thought that the turnover rate was too high. Another downside to RMS is that it's big, and growing, so the director spends no time in the classrooms. good luck!
We can't recommend this school highly enough. The children are friendly to each other, the parents are great to hang out (we went out for wine tasting on the week of Valentines Day while the school watched the kids, it was great!) and the administration goes out of their way to help and listen every step of the way. The environment is always stimulating and our daughter' social and motor skills are well above the average for her age. We loved the school on our first visit and have had plenty of opportunities to come in to watch our daughter, as well as participate by reading books during circle time, planting the school garden or helping out with the school yearly barbeque. A attractive thing to us was that the school is a academic Montessori and is well aware of the testing pre-kindergarten that some schools require in our area. To my knowledge most kids have easily passed those exams, which means they are aware of my child development speed and continue to stimulate her through the great montessori education as she masters Happy Rockridge Montessori mom
Feb 2008

Re: Looking for PreSchool near Upper Rockridge
Try Rockridge Montessori School. Our second child is there now and we've found the teachers to be wonderful and have met really nice parents, too. The administration is not the best but it's no reason to stay away from the school. When I say that I mean they are a bit disorganized but everyone tries their best and is very nice. RMS Mom

Feb 2008

I'm interested in hearing feedback from current or recently- enrolled parents on the Rockridge Montessori preschool program. I'm thinking of enrolling my daughter, who will be about 32 months old, in the program in the fall. Please provide specifics about why you liked or didn't like the program. Thanks so much! preschool mom

My daughter has been at RMS since she was 1 and in the Infant/Toddler program. I can't say enough about the school. The teachers are fantastic and really love my daughter and she's thriving there. She's now 3.5.

Starting in September, they will be offering Spanish as a part of the curriculum, although only once or twice a week. Prior to that we've been paying a company that would come into the school and teach. I like how it's now a part of the school, instead of an extra.

They have received bad reviews in the past, mainly about the administration. I've had no problem with the administration and they are very communicative with us. I highly recommend this school.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me. Jen

Nov 2007

I'm interested in feedback regarding Rockridge Montessori's Preschool. Our child is currently enrolled in the Infant/Toddler program and we have been more than thrilled with the attention, care and learning involved. The teachers are spectacular. I am concerned about the transition from 1:3 ratio (teacher: student) to 1:7/8/9. What was your experience? Thanks! anon

We went through this transition (from the RMS infant-toddler program to the preschool) about two years ago. We wound up withdrawing our child from the preschool. Like you, we had been very happy with the infant-toddler program. The ratio was very low, and the teachers all seemed very caring and engaged. In the preschool, as you know, the ratio is much higher. Also, the class sizes are much larger. Our observation was that while the head teachers were competent and well-meaning, the level of engagement of the assistants was very mixed (and there was a lot of turnover of assistants). This, combined with the ratio and the class size, seemed to make it difficult for the teachers to give individual attention to children or to handle anything out of the ordinary. As a result, we wound up working with the administrators to try to resolve a number of issues. They were interested almost exclusively in defending and maintaining the status quo, and not really interested in addressing our child's needs. A parent
August 2006

I would like to give a positive review about RMS. My daughter has attended the school since she was 12 mos old. We love the I/T program! The teachers are very nurturing and understanding and give my daughter structure and love.

She recently moved to the preschool program in July and after a month I can happily say she loves the new program. The first week or so was difficult to transition (lots of tears), but the teachers all were very helpful in helping her adjust. Not only has her language exploded this past month, but she is working more independently as well.

You can set up as many parent/teacher meetings as you want. Also, you can observe the classroom during the day for as long as you like. You do not have to make an appt. to do this. The only dislikes that I have about the school is the parent involvement hours, it seems ridiculous that I have to pay a fee every year.

The administration is trying hard to work with the parents. They also strive to have weekend activities throughout the year. The school is not perfect, but no school is. I feel my daughter is in a safe and nurturing learning environment. Jen

I am very surprised to see the negative posts about RMS. My daughter has been in the part day program (8:45-2:30 M-F) for over two years now, with one year left to go before Kindergarten. We are very enthusiastic about her opportunities, as she has received an incredible education with loving teachers and classmates - and their parents - who obviously adore her as much as we do. While I feel the infant care is overpriced, we look forward to sending our baby to RMS part time classroom when she turns two. We have all made great friends and are happy to be a part of the community. Oh - and we are thrilled to hear the purple dinosaur play structure is being replaced in the near future!
Happy RMS Parent
We have not paid attention to the BPN school postings for a while because we are really happy with RMS and were not looking for alternatives due to the quality of the school. Now we see quite a few different opinions. We respect that. At the same time we think it’s important to share with you our wonderful experience in RMS. It's been over 1.5 years since we joined RMS. We consider they are a part of our family and they make us feel the same. When our son joined RMS in the Toddler Program at 17 months old, he was one of the smallest kids in size. Because he was a preemie, we wanted to make sure that we chose the right care for him. We brought in a nurse practitioner from Children’s Hospital Oakland who specializes in child development. She had been following up with my son since he left the ICN. She came to RMS once to help make assessment before we made decision in joining RMS. She sat in the toddler classroom for almost 2 hours observing the classroom activities and my son’s participation. She thought this would be a great place for him and he was ready for it. She also had a follow-up visit after we joined RMS and she was very satisfied with the school and my son’s progress. She even recommended RMS to her other little patients. My son just loves here and we did not have much hassle transitioning from a one-on-one nanny care at home to a group environment. The school welcomes parent’s observation or participation in school activities. I personally have done that for several times and have seen other parents in classroom too. The 1:3 teacher child ratio in toddler classroom is one of the best that you could find in a school environment for that age group. What makes RMS a great school is not only the design of the program, but also the wonderful teachers who execute the program on daily basis. The teachers at RMS are so sweet and caring. They meet the needs of each child whether it’s emotional or developmental. As a mother I could tell they are there because they love the kids, not because they have to work there. They also understand the hearts of parents. They communicate their concerns with parents in a timely fashion and also follow parent’s instruction to accommodate child’s special needs as they arise. Especially when my husband was deployed overseas on military duty, we got tremendous support from both the school directors and the teachers. I felt like I was sharing with grandma and aunties about our family situation and the challenges was put to the child. And of course they did extra miles to give special attention to our son and accommodated our special needs. We are also very thankful that they help us start and successfully complete potty training. As a mother I found it very challenging but the teachers have been patiently working with our son 5 days a week for almost 3 months. We have made many friends in RMS and most of the families are very happy with the school. As parents one thing we are very sure is that RMS is a safe, warm and nurturing place where our son enjoys and thrives. He is growing to be a kind, warm-hearted and confident little man. RMS has made the difference
As a parent of a child who attended Rockridge Montessori School, I agree with the criticisms recently presented here. Like others, we were initially thrilled with RMS, but grew less satisfied as we gained experience with the school’s 2- to 5-year-old program. I take exception to assertion made by one recent poster that parents expressing dissatisfaction with the school must be dissatisfied because want something other than what is best for their child.

A number of postings have mentioned the large class sizes and high child-to-teacher ratio, and these turned out to be key issues for us, too. While the numbers were mostly known to us when we enrolled, we didn’t appreciate the implications until later, nor did we realize that these numbers are higher than typical for preschools. In the case of our child, the large number of kids in the class was very daunting. (While there are up to 30 kids in the class at any given time, some kids are part-time, so the total number of kids present during the course of a week is something like 36.) And numerous incidents convinced us that the teachers, despite having the best intentions, could not give sufficient attention to each child. (The NAEYC accreditation guidelines on class size and ratios at were eye-opening for us.)

Our other main source of dissatisfaction was the school administration. While the administrators frequently claimed that they have only the best interests of the children in mind, over time these statements began to ring hollow in light of their actions. When our child went through a difficult period at school, we heard numerous times from the administrators that “this is really difficult for the teachers.” We heard nothing indicating any compassion for our child. We also found it disturbing that on several occasions, when challenged, the administrators made assertions that were clearly false. For example, we learned after enrolling our child that there are plans to significantly expand the school, which will require a major construction project. When we expressed our surprise about this, the administrator’s response was “All families are informed of our expansion plans before enrolling.” Construction in the vicinity of small children is a hot-button for us, and we’re quite certain we had not been informed of the expansion plans earlier. Other families seemed equally surprised. On other occasions when we mentioned that the staff was not adhering to the school’s published policies on certain matters, the administrator’s response was generally of the form “We always adhere to our policies.” We found this extremely frustrating, as it conveyed denial that there was a problem, and disinterest in addressing any problem that might exist. We were also dismayed to learn that the administrators do not provide oversight of the “extracurricular” programs (Spanish, dance, drama, gymnastics) that are offered as a paid option to families during the school day. These programs are conducted on RMS premises by representatives of companies selected by RMS administrators. RMS administration told us that they do not vet the employees of these companies, and no RMS staff are present during these sessions.

I felt compelled to post my very positive experience with RMS after reading a lot of the negative comments. My daughter is 3.5 and is starting her second year at RMS. My primary concern is with her happiness and her development (social and fundamental learning skills) and I can confidently say that RMS is doing a fantastic job making sure both of those needs are met. She loves her teachers. She has made friends. And everyday when she is picked up, she is happy, full of smiles and positive stories of her day there. It is a safe and nurturing environment. And her appetite for learning is tremendous and continues to grow Happy RMS parent
May 2006

I am new to the Rockridge Area, and I have a 14 month old daughter. I am considering Rockridge Montessori School's Infant Toddler Program. Can anyone give me any thoughts or opinions on the Rockridge Montessori School? Catherine

Our child attended RMS Infant/Toddler until recently, when he ''graduated'' to the pre-school program. I felt the school, and the women who work there, are wonderful. For my husband and me, we were looking for a class situation that was structured but wasn't rigid. My child became obsessed with art, so they allowed him to do double art time when they divided the class up to take turns; that sort of flexibility. I really felt that the women running the class were genuinely invested in the kids - they were all wonderful and willing to talk with you about concerns. The administration is a little wacky at times. Emails that don't get returned as promptly as you might like, paperwork mixups - but I think that's fairly standard, talking to friends with kids in other preschools. And the parent participation groups are somewhat awkward - one meeting at the begining of the year to determine which parents belong to that group, so if you sign-up mid year it becomes hard to understand that you need to actively ask for the contacts for each group and attempt to join yourself. In any case, my child LOVED his time there. I still miss seeing everyone over there every day anon
My child was in the full day program and though the teachers were wonderful, the administration was not. The rules for parents are tough to take and there are extra fees like pizza day, and group photos. Given that they are by and far the most expensive preschool we've seen, the extra fees are unwelcome. For example, the father who is one of the administrators serves as the class photographer. They take pictures and have crazy fees to get a school photo--$25 for an 8X10. They give you a proof from which you can order, which is a color copy on regular paper. Then they send out a notice saying they are going to charge you $50 if you don't return that copy. They will not provide willing parents with a class roster. Why not? If you ask, they will site 'privacy' reasons.
disillusioned parent
My daughter has attended RMS since she was 12 months old. She was at home with me the first year. She loved RMS from the start. The teachers are caring and attentive. They always keep me well informed of her day and activities she enjoys. The facilities are clean and well-maintained. We have been very happy with her progress and she always enjoys going to ''school''. She has learned much more than I ever expected a one year old to know. She is now 21 months old and will soon be moving to the preschool. I know she'll miss the Infant/Toddler room and her teachers Myla
Our child attended the RMS infant/toddler program and we were very pleased with the care there. The senior teachers, Ms. Sora and Ms. Melly, are really excellent. On the downside, we had some frustrations around communication with the administrators, and there was a lot of turnover among the junior teachers -- seemed like a new face every month. Also, it's important to know that the main preschool program, for 2-5 year-olds, is dramatically different from the infant/toddler program. For example, the child:teacher ratio is 10:1 in the main preschool, vs. something like 3:1 in the infant-toddler program RMS Parent
Hi- We're sending our 15 month old daughter to RMS's toddler program and are feeling really good about the decision.

I read the responses in the 5/30 newsletter and would like to add a few points: Many people who are great with babies/toddlers are not great with adults. We're transitioning our daughter from a nanny and though she's a terrific nanny when it comes to our daughter, she wasn't as great with us. I learned to adjust my expectations. I never had any doubts about the care she gave, she just wasn't good at communicating with adults. The people who run this RMS were preschool teachers before they were administrators. They're not traditional business people and don't have a traditional business background. That doesn't mean the school won't be great for the kids.

The two programs sound very different. The toddler program 3:1 kid/teacher ratio is vastly different than the older program. a 10:1 ratio seems really high to me.

I am concerned to hear about the lack of a parent roster and am going to ask about that. From what I have already asked them, they encourage parental interaction, etc. They have very strict security which I actually think is great. I don't want anyone walking off with my daughter!

I'd suggest you go and observe for yourself. You could even go a few times. One thing that helped me - I caught a parent as she was leaving with her daughter and got a lot of info from her. She LOVED the toddler program.

Good luck - maybe our kids will be together this year! New RMS mom Valerie

I have been an RMS parent for almost two years, and have nothing but good things to say about them. They have a family run administration, with teachers that have been there as long as 7 years. My experience has always been a pleasant one, the teachers are very caring and are always motivating my child in unique ways. In the time I have been there, there has never been a cancelled event. In fact, there have been so many events that we have to pick which ones we can attend! When I hear that a parent questions the 'fees', I always tell them that this is one of the few schools that I have visited that puts their fees right out there - there's nothing hidden when you visit. Besides, the pizza and the extracurricular fees are all optional. You don't have to sign up if you don't want to. So, why did I choose RMS? They have a wonderful academic program. I have seen huge strides in my child's development since he's been there. My child loves going to school, his day is filled with activities, cooking projects, and always comes home with something new he has learned. I have met quite a few parents, and established many great relationships all through events that I was involved in or attended. Would I have chosen any other place? No way! Signed: A Pleased RMS Parent
If the overall social, emotional, psychological, physical, and academic development of your child is not your primary concern, then Rockridge Montessori School is definitely not the pre- school for you. RMS is a family-owned and operated pre-school. RMS admin and its teaching staff have one concern: the children in their care. Every policy (“rule”) is solely designed for the direct benefit of the children for whom RMS and its staff are responsible.

Yes, RMS’s classroom environment is structured. The School has a schedule. At any time of the day, parent(s)/child(ren) know when it’s circle time, Montessori time, Montessori “free choice” time, nap time (if desired), cooking time, art time, play- outside time, etc. Children find comfort in knowing what to expect and when to expect it.

RMS admin make every effort to make themselves available to the parents for communication about their enrolled child(ren). All communication is encouraged via telephone, email, suggestion box, “sign-in/out” folder, individual appointments, etc. Admin makes every effort to respond as quickly as possible to all communications/requests for appointments.

With regard to the “school roster” issue, because in the past RMS Adminstration received some expression of concern from parents concerned about their privacy, it has been the School’s policy for a number of years now not to publish a roster. Instead, communication between parents is encouraged via the “sign-in/out” binders in the School’s entry area. Parents wishing to contact other parents are able to exchange contact information in this way. The end result is that those who want their information disseminated or don’t mind making their information available to others have complete control over this area…and, conversely, those that take issue with their private information being made available to “strangers” have some control, as well. Additionally, RMS plans many school functions that are held in the late afternoon or evenings and on Saturdays. The purpose of these functions is to help the parents form bonds and friendships with other families at RMS.

I’m a long-time parent at RMS. I have one child that was graduated and another due to graduate this year. Were I to have another child, I’d enroll that child at RMS, too…without looking anywhere else. As with any feedback on any school you may be looking at as a possibility for your child, visit that school… don’t just rely on the testimony of others. What’s right for one may not be right for another. If what’s best for YOUR child (not someone else’s) is your primary focus, you owe it to yourself and your child to check out RMS. Who knows? It may be the right fit for your child....your family
6 more-than-satisfied years with RMS

March 2006

We're considering Rockridge Montessori for our son, and are interested in hearing reviews on the school from the perspective of parents of ''spirited'' children. Some previous BPN reviews have suggested that highly-active children would not do as well at Rockridge Montessori, as RM's philosophy is more to contain than to foster that energy. Our son has a spirited disposition, is highly-active, and very emotional. I love many things I've learned about Rockridge Montessori, but am concerned when I hear that children with spirited dispositions do not do as well there. Any feedback, positive or negative, would be very helpful to me. lin

I would characterize my son as spirited much of the time, though he is perfectly capable of ''reading'' alone for long stretches, or playing at some task quietly while I'm in the same room cooking or cleaning. But mostly spirited (or, as we like to refer to it as, willful and wily).

He's been at RMS since he was 15 months old (he is almost 2 and about to go across the street). My husband and I both feel he has blossomed there. They play outside twice a day and he needs this time - when I arrive during outside time he is always one of the louder, spastic runners in the yard. He desperately needs this time and I feel they let him burn off energy and I never see them chastising him for anything except potentially dangerous behavior. But despite a slow adjustment (he threw tantrums for a while because the teachers didn't automatically know what he was grunting or gesturing about; he was cautious about joining in and often stood on the edges of activities) he is now the always in the center of things. He loves art, and often they will indulge him and allow him to do an ''extra'' art session with a second group of kids. For a while he was shrieking when we came in to pick him up, and that was definitely frowned upon, but I didn't mind - they simply explained that there were other, quieter ways to express one's joy at Mommy and Daddy showing up. They certainly didn't make it out to be a negative, more like a, ''Put that energy into a hug instead of a scream.'' The only ways I see them ''discouraging'' my son's energy are the same ways I would as well: no throwing things, no hitting, tantrums don't get you what you want, no taking toys away from other kids... And in general, they don't say NO; they deflect the energy to a more positive activity.

They genuinely seem to love him there, and I KNOW he isn't always the easiest, quietest, or calmest kid on the block. Plus, my son loves it as well. So I wouldn't be too concerned about RMS not allowing your child to be ''spirited.'' If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me.

March 2006

I am writing to highly recommend the Infant/Toddler Program at The Rockridge Montessori School. Even though the preschool has a long and successful history, the toddler program is in its second year and not very well known. Not for long. RMS is a family run school and clearly is extremely involved with the children, parents and community. My 17 month old son has been attending the program for 6 months and thrives in the environment. The instructors are first rate and provide a loving, fun and creative environment for the little ones. They respond to the individual needs of the children and make them feel comfortable and confident in their actions. When I went back to work after a year of being at home with my son, I stressed over the different choices to consider. I couldn't be happier with the choice we made in going with RMS. My expectations have been surpassed and my son's excitement in going to school every day only reinforces that sentiment. He will be continuing with the preschool program when he reaches two.

February 2006

In preparing to move to the Bay Area from Chicago, we did an intensive assessment of preschools in Oakland/ Berkeley and on the Peninsula for our 1 year old son, making several trips out west to tour schools. Since my husband and I would be commuting to Palo Alto and Menlo Park, we had a vari ety of options, but we are absolutely grateful to have found Rockridge Montessori School. Our goal was to find a warm, clean, secure and friendly environment that would provide both academic and non-academic learning essentials, and we have found that and then some at RMS. The backbone RMS- the teachers are absolutely first rate. My son began in the infant/toddler classroom in September 2004. The teachers were warm and loving and he transitioned very quickly and seamlessly (2 days!) despite having been home with me for his first year. The superior quality of RMS was particularly important for our peace of mind given the distance of our jobs.RMS is composed of two campuses, the Broadway campus which houses the infant/toddler (12-24 months) classroom and the half- day preschool classroom. The Manila campus holds the two full day preschool classrooms. Each bright and sunny classroom is filled with wonderful learning materials and each campus has more than adequate outdoor space.

In September 2005, our son transitioned from the infant toddler/classroom to the Manila Campus Preschool and absolutely loves it! At RMS our son has been exposed to a wide range of concepts and activities in a warm and loving environment and has really thrived.

In addition to great teachers, the RMS Administration is the secret. Diana, Sid, and Sandi are themselves a great family providing quality care for the larger RMS family- a family we feel very luck to be a part of! Su

September 2005

I have both my daughters in RMS. They had two levels -- 12-24 months, and 2 years to kindergarten. I had one child in each class. It is a great school. It is run by a family. The mother and daughter, Diana and Sandi, are very caring people. They opened last year a 2nd building for the older kids and it is a great space with a big play ground. My daughters love going to school and ask on the weekend when they can go back. My youngest also had some medical problems and the administrators bent over backwards to accomodate her needs. I strongly recommend you take a look at them. Working Mother

May 2004

Having recently completed a year-long assessment of preschools, our family is grateful to have found Rockridge Montessori. Our goal was to find a loving, clean, safe and gentle environment that would provide exposure to a wide range of concepts and behaviors, both academic and non-academic. After interviewing almost twenty directors and visiting almost a dozen schools, I feared that our goals were unrealistic until we discovered Rockridge Montessori. The high quality of instruction, staff, learning materials and physical environment produce a very successful set of students--in 2004, every student who applied to a private school was accepted at the school of choice. More importantly, the children are happy, calm, engaged and are filled with a love of learning.

Logistically, the staff offers a range of day and time options to suit a variety of family needs (we found only three schools willing to take our child for an initial period of 2 mornings a week, which we felt would provide a smoother transition; neither of the other two came close to the same level of professionalism). Moreover, the directors are committed, working hard to ensure that students are productive and happy (and devoting the time to communicate with parents).

Some of the Montessori schools we visited felt rigid and almost controlling; the Rockridge classroom is filled with children purposely and calmly engaging in their own pursuits and group activities. Other Montessori schools allow students to select their own activities to the point that they only engage in outside play or playing house. Rockridge ensures that students are exposed to a wide range of concepts and activities through guided modeling by the teachers; in this way, academics are taught through concrete play (one 5-year-old recently transferred here for a six-month catch-up period before entering private school, having been allowed to only play for three years at another Montessori school).

I?m not sure how valid the concerns about high-energy kids are. Rockridge emphasizes a calm environment to provide students an environment conducive to focusing on tasks, but music and play time look just like every other school (fun, loud, energetic). Given that students have to be able to focus and control impulses (in order to learn) in kindergarten, providing students with an environment that allows them to learn that skill beforehand just seems prudent, not constraining.

My daughter adapted well and loves her school. For children who are upset, the staff is loving and supportive, quickly dealing with the problem. Nina

Feb. 2004

Hi, Can anyone provide some information on Rockridge Montessori school? I see only one reco on them from Aug 2003 and was wondering if others have any experiences that they can share as well? What is the environment like, How are the teachers, what do the children learn etc.. Anxious parent of a pre-schooler

Rockridge Montessori is good at preparation for admission to the most competitive private kindergartens. I think they strive for this. The kids are really over prepared for any kindergarten curriculum I have seen, but that and the behaviors that RMS stresses likely help get them admitted. The directors of the school have varied in their direct involvement, and there has been some turnover in the teachers. The kids there are happy, particularly the girls, but I think some of the more energetic boys are less happy. I think many boys should have diferent expecations in terms of using that energy, but not everybody agrees on this point. This can apply to girls too, but it's usually boys. RMS will work more on containing rather than fostering that energy. I do believe that everybody at RMS cares for the children and their environment. anon
I believe that Rockridge Montessori's greatest strength is it's academic program - both for content and for preparation. I evaluated many of their students as the Director of Admission of a school with very high academic expectations of its students. Again and again, the applicants from RMS were equipped to perform well on our assessment - academically and socially. It is a pre-school program that will instill disciplined learning, classroom skills and academic confidence in your child...particularly if you anticipate desiring a more traditional academic setting for the elementary school years.

The diversity among the families and teachers is another strong feature of the school. A visit there is much like a visit to the United Nations. It is always refreshing to see children and adults of all persuasions playing and learning together. Exposure to the full spectrum of the real world is the most valuable experience that you can offer your child!

Always, I am amazed at the quality of the physical environment at RMS when I visit (frequently). It is almost quiet and subdued - Zen like. An ideal setting for the more reserved and/or sensitive child, the children in the school are calm, content and always on task. (That's a really good thing!) The sunny classrooms are orderly and brightly decorated, mirroring the classic Montessori approach. The mood in the play yard is one that illustrates cooperative play at its best.

Sid, Diana and Sandi Zeidan-O'Valle are a real family working hard together to provide an exceptional preschool experience for the children at Rockridge Montessori. I'd suggest going to meet them so that you can feel the school for yourself. Wanda

August 2003

My son has been attending Rockridge Montessori School (RMS) ( since June 2000. My son (especially my husband and I) absolutely love it! much so, that we feel extremely fortunate to be able to enroll our 2.5 yr. old daughter for the 2003-04 academic year. My son was also 2.5 when he started at RMS, which takes children as early/young as 2 years old and nurtures and educates them up until they're ready for 1st grade. Children need not be potty trained at the time of enrollment.

RMS' dedicated staff of teachers, which includes its administrative staff--who actually wear two hats!--are committed to the enrichment, nurturing, physical, emotional, and academic well-being of the child. They create, promote and provide a rich learning environment that teaches the kids to do things for themselves, encourages self-esteem and exploration. I cannot stress enough how dedicated all of the teachers are. They seem to be really committed to the children in their care.

At 2.5, our son entered RMS knowing his alphabet. By 3 years old, he was reading. Today, at 5 years old, he reads the scrolling text on CNN! and has just finished reading ''The 3 Musketeers''. Presently, he's reading Shakespeare's ''Julius Caesar'' with his father. Our son can do 3-digit addition and subtraction, can ''carry'' numbers, spout his multiplication/division tables through 12, and a myriad of other mental gymnastics that I know I didn't learn until at least 3rd grade...and, in some respects, 5th grade. In September '03, our son will attend Bentley. We are well aware that we owe a great deal of the credit to RMS.

For those of you looking toward private schools for your child's future education, you should know that RMS' reputation with the private schools' admissions offices is a sound one. RMS children are known for having good social skills and testing well during the assessments. These are comments my husband and I heard over and over in relation to our son's assessment scores.

From what I've experienced in talking to other parents, one of the biggest misconceptions regarding the Montessori approach to education is that children are not allowed to be children in the classroom. At RMS this is definitely not true. Initially, when looking for a pre-school for our son, we were primarily searching for a clean and safe environment for our child. RMS is certainly that. What we began to realize after the first few weeks was that not only was our child safe, but he was learning, too! I can safely say that my son's time at RMS has afforded him a firm foundation on which to build his academic future.

In looking for schools on the Parents Network, I did not see anything on Rockridge Montessori. As I am a grateful member of the RMS community, I want to share this with other parents out there who are looking for the best pre-school education environment for their child(ren). The recommendation list is incomplete without information on my son's soon-to-be-former and now my daughter's future school. I am happy to answer any questions anyone might have about Rockridge Montessori. Please feel free to e-mail me at any time. Anne

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