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I've read the glowing reviews of the Toddler Family Program in the archives, but they all are from the period when Lisa Fitch ran the show. Now that she has left and started her own program, I'm wondering how Toddler Family is faring. Is it still as wonderful as ever? I'm planning on enrolling my two- year-old daughter as an interim step between nanny share and preschool. I'd love to hear thoughts people have about the program -- good and bad. Thanks! Toddler Mom
The sequence of activities on a typical day at Toddler Family flows as always. Our Circle Time has changed a bit, combining singing, dancing, finger play, parachute play, playing musical instruments, and listening to stories. When it is story-based, Sierra brings each child into the story by asking them a simple question in turn. We continue to meet the goal of Circle Time, to bring everyone together and acknowledge them in the group.
Our very valuable parent education program also continues, with a monthly discussion on selected topics led by child-development expert Jean Moorhead. In addition, Jean has contributed much extra time to Toddler Family. Her more frequent presence has given us the opportunity to ask questions on child development as they arise.
Because Sierra also acts as the Toddler Family administrator (and has organizational talent and a great deal of initiative), the underlying operations have improved greatly. As a result, everything works more smoothly.
I would highly recommend Toddler Family, and I'm in awe every day of how the program has helped my granddaughter's development and socialization. Gloria
Re: Afternoon Mom/Toddler Classes
Check out Toddler Family in Oakland! They have afternoon programs Mon-Thurs from 12:30 (I think) til 2:30pm. Most people sign up for 2 days a week. I am pretty sure they have openings. Talk to Lisa Fitch, the director. You can also come in and observe anytime. My toddler loves it.I wish I had the phone number, but I just looked and can't find it. I think if you do a search you can come up with their website. Good Luck! bridget
I just loved Toddler Family! My daughter attended for 2 years and we really miss it now that she's too old for the program. It's an incredible opportunity to spend quality time with your toddler (ages 16mos - 3yrs) in a preschool environment because you get to go to school with them! I especially loved this as I wasn't ready to let her go and this was a fabulous transition for both me and her. We went 2 days a week for two hours and it was the perfect amount of time to learn new songs, do some arts and crafts and just play blocks with her and other children in an environment outside of our home. And the bonus was that I met many other moms and dads with kids the same age and many of them have become dear friends. The teacher, Lisa Fitch, is INCREDIBLE with the kids and my daughter still talks about her all the time. For more information call them directly, but feel free to e-mail me with any questions. Good luck! Toddler Family 510-251-8000 Rosena
Re: Toddler classes/Mills College area
Have you heard of Toddler Family? My daughter attended this program for children16 months to pre-school age. They are currently located off of Grand Ave. As a family we got so much out of it. There's free play, circle time (for singing), stories, outdoor play, etc. Children come with a parent and take on some small responsabilites such as washing toys, bringing snack, etc. There is also a parent education component which I learned so much from - topics ranging from potty training to temperment. Even though your children aren't quite old enough I would urge you to check it out! Their phone number should be in the phone book.
Re: Parent/child programs for 2-year-olds?
I too have been looking for a "pre" preschool type program for my 21 month old and recently found the Co-op Toddler Family program in Oakland by Lake Merritt. It is specifically designed for 18 month to 36 month year olds --truly "pre" preschool. Your post didn't say where you lived, but if you are anywhere near Lake Merritt this is a fabulous program. The director is Lisa Fitch and the phone number is (510) 406-2624. I am currently on the waiting list for their M/W program which runs 9:30 am - 11:30 am. It has the setting and activities of a real preschool environment. There is free play, storytime, snack time, etc. Last week Lisa told me that there is currently room in the Tu/Th program ($150/month tuition). It is a co-op so parent or caregiver is required to stay for the entire time and rotate responsibilities for snacks etc. It seemed like a great group of moms from various locations . . . Piedmont, Oakland, Alameda, etc. They are also just starting a MWF afternoon program for older kids from 12:15 pm - 2:15 pm. I found out about this program through a teacher in my daughter's preschool (The Lake School) who knows the Director well. I also found great postings about it in the archives from this newsletter. You can call Lisa and schedule a free day to visit and see how your child likes it. Good luck and hope that is helpful to you.
Re: Afternoon Mom & Toddler Classes
My son and I really enjoy the Toddler Family program. It's like a play-based preschool environment developed for children between 16 months and 3. Parents attend with their toddlers. Class meets for two hours.
The day starts off with open play in a large room filled with a play house, dolls, dress up clothes, trains, potato heads, cars, puzzles, trucks, play dough, a water play area, a big pool of rice (my son's favorite) and more. There are art projects that change every week (my favorite). After free play, we all clean the room up together and meet for circle time where we sing songs and sometimes dance (Lisa Fitch, the director, is a great guitar player and musician). Then the toddlers sit at a table and share a snack while Lisa reads books. Then we go outside to play and finally come back in for goodbye songs in the circle.
This program has been wonderful for my son. He's ear to ear smiles when we arrive at school (and he always takes a looooooong nap afterwards).
This program has been wonderful for me. It's a very supportive environment. I've found good friends in other parents and toddlers. I'm a better parent for watching and talking to Lisa Fitch and the other parents/ caregivers who attend. Oh! and there's a parent education talk/discussion led by Jean Morehead (a treasuretrove of information) once a month on topics decided by the parents.
There are two morning program's M-W-F and T-Th and starting in January 2003 there will be a new afternoon program M-W-F designed for older toddlers (around 26 months) that will include field trips and tumbling.
I'm considering putting my 18mo. daughter in Toddler Family out of Live Oak Park. Does anybody out there have experiences they would share with me, good or bad? I like what I've read so far but I would love some first-hand reports. Thanks. Sioux.
Anyone have experience with the Toddler Family at Live Oak. I checked past recommendations and only found one (positive) but was looking for more recent feedback - especially for sending an older child (2-1/2). Robert
I can highly recommend for 18 - 36 month olds a co-op pre-school: Toddler Family (510 981 1170), run by the most loving, caring, gentle & patient director Lisa Fitch. Formerly in Montclair, it's now located at the Live Oak Recreation Center 1302 Shattuck Ave and worth the drive! Most kids go either MW or TTh from 9:30 to 11:30, but you can go all 4 days if desired. Tuition is approx $130/month, one parent or caregiver remains in class with the child, and activities include painting, waterplay, reading, circle time, dress-up, play-doh, playground time, snack & more. Songs & music accompany most activities -- we have one graduate & one currently in this wonderful program. Happy to share more if interested. Helena
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