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Rockridge Montessori School (Oakland, CA)
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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
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
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!!!
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
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
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
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
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
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 http://www.naeyc.org/accreditation/criteria/teacher_child_ratios.html 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
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
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
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
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
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.
I am writing to highly recommend the Infant/Toddler Program at The
Montessori School. Even though the preschool has a long and successful
the toddler program is in its second year and not very well known. Not
RMS is a family run school and clearly is extremely involved with the
parents and community. My 17 month old son has been attending the
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
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
excitement in going to school every day only reinforces that sentiment.
He will be
continuing with the preschool program when he reaches two.
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
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
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
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
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
My son has been attending Rockridge Montessori School (RMS) (http://www.rockridgemontessorischool.com) since June 2000. My son (especially my husband and I) absolutely love it!...so 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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