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2008 Editor note: Toddler Family is no longer in business.
The director, Lisa Fitch, now directs Inch by Inch.
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!
My granddaughter and I have been attending Toddler Family since
March 2003, and the program today is as vibrant and valuable as
ever! Our new teacher, Sierra Grace, has a wonderful talent for
relating with the children. During a typical day, she gives each
child a great deal of individual attention and creates close
relationships with them and their caregivers. She knows all the
children very well--their personalities and preferences. My
granddaughter loves her and has bonded closely. At home, she
plays ''school,'' pretending that she is ''Miss Sierra.''
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
I am writing to respond to the question about how is the Toddler Family
program now. I suggest that the poster schedule a visit to see the program
during class time to determine if it is a good fit for her and her child. We have
a new teacher, Sierra, who has a wonderful rapport with the children and who is
liked and respected by the parents. In the 19-year history of Toddler Family,
there have been other changes in teaching staff, and each new teacher brings
his or her unique qualities and strengths to the program. Recently, we are
excited to have purchased new equipment and materials for the classroom
from grant funds we have received. Toddler Family remains a program of
toddler play and parent education. It is located at 397 Euclid Ave in Oakland,
two blocks up from Grand, near Lake Merritt and the Grand Lake Theater. Call
510-251-8000 for more information or go to www.toddlerfamily.com.
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!
I think ''Toddler Family'' in Oakland has what you're looking
for -- semi-structured play from 12:30 - 2:30. I don't have
the number but I imagine that it's easy enough to find.
I want to highly recommend Toddler Family program. They
have both a morning and an afternoon program. I have
taken both my children there and they loved it! The best part
is the teacher, Lisa Finch, who is most wonderful. She
plays the guitar and leads circle time, reads books during
snack and the kids love her. There is arts and crafts, a play
house, just about everything a toddler would want. This is a
parent participation program, so one of the parents
accompanies the child and stays, so that your toddler can
explore with the security of knowing you are there. They are
located near Lake Merritt. For more information, please call:
Mom of happy toddlers
I can highly recommend Toddler Family for an afternoon program
with your Toddler. My daughter and I really enjoyed Toddler
Family and Lisa, the teacher, is incredible with the kids. I
researched a number of programs and found that Toddler Family
offered much more for both my toddler and me, including a
really informative parent education program led by a very
perceptive and experienced educator, Jean Moorhead. My
daughter made many, many good friends that she still talks
about after a year of not attending (sadly, she is too old
now). I, too, made many good friends because the parents are
very involved. If you're looking for a community of like-
minded people who want to become better parents and have a
hands-on learning experience while the children have a great
time then this is a great program for you.
My child goes to Toddler Family in the early afternoon and we both love it!
Toddler Family is a parent participation program for toddlers and their
parents. The activities include art projects, circle time with songs, free
play with toys and manipulatives, snack, and outside play time. They offer
classes from 12:15 until 2:15, and also morning classes from 9:15 until 11:15.
The toddler and a parent attend two days a week and the classes are near Lake
Merritt. Last year we attended the morning program and this year we are in
the afternoon program. A unique feature of Toddler Family is their monthly
parent education class with a facilitator. I have learned how to be a better
mother to a challenging two year old. You can contact Toddler Family directly
at 510-251-8000 or toddlerfamily AT sbcglobal.net for more information. Happy mom of happy toddler
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
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.
Have you checked out Toddler Family in Oakland ? It's a program
that's like a pre-preschool. The director, Lisa, leads a 2 hour
class (2 or 3 times a week) that includes free play, circle
time, snack, trike time and book reading. It's different from
preschool in that you stay with your child the entire time.
There's also parent education classes that meet to discuss
toddler issues. My 27 month old loves it and I have really seen
her grow through this program.
Toddler Family Program, now located on Euclid in Oakland (can't
remember exact address). It used to be located in the rec center
at Live Oak Park in Berkeley. My daughter and I went there from
the time she was 16 months until she was 2+ (you can attend up to
age 3) It's a great program and unusual in that it is
parent-involved. You attend with your child. There are lots of
pre-school type activities. And, I'm certain that my daughter's
transition into pre-school was made that much easier by attending
a program like this. I plan on taking my now 5 month old when
she's old enough.
No Longer Bored MomMy daughter and I are attending a new afternoon (12:15 - 2:15)
program at Toddler Family for older toddlers (2-3yrs). We just
love it! We had attended the fabulous morning program and when
they offered a program for older toddlers I was thrilled because
I felt that my daughter could benefit from more sophisticated,
interactive activities - and that's what we're getting. Lisa
Fitch, the teacher, is incredible with the kids and really knows
how to keep their attention through incredible play acting,
great singing and overall enthusiasm. I highly recommend the
programs (both morning and afternoon) and feel very confident
that my daughter is getting an exceptional introduction to
Toddler Family phone: 510-406-2624
Happy Toddler Mom
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.
My son went to Toddler Family from age 15 months to 30 months and it was
great. The Director Lisa Fitch is a warm, loving teacher and the kids
really love her. Because the parents are there with their children
every day they tend to bond too and become friends. Jean Moorhead, one
of the founders is still involved and is a fabulous child educator. She
leads a parent ed class one day a month that is really good too. If
nothing else is accomplished by your child - it is great for
socialization and pre-school preparation. My son still talks about Lisa
and her guitar.
My daughter, now 3 years old, went to Toddler Family last
year. I highly recommend it. Would be happy to communicate more with you
or answer any questions.
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 posted a recommendation for Toddler Family on the Announce board just
two weeks ago. It is a great program for Toddlers and the only one like
it in the east bay. My son is completing his second year there - he
started at 15 months and is almost 2 1/2 now. There are a number of
children in his class that are already 3 and they are having a great
time. It is a very supportive, nurturing environment and the parent
education aspect is an added bonus. Lisa Fitch, the director is
fabulous and really cares about every child. The program is pretty
flexible in terms of number of days, but most people choose either
Tuesday Thursday or Monday Wednesday.
As I mentioned in my last post, Toddler Family is a cooperative program
for toddlers ages 16 mos-3 years, 2-5 mornings per week from
9:30-11:30. The goal of the program is to provide positive and
informative support to parents of toddlers through parent
participation, education and toddler play. For more information call
Lisa Fitch at (510) 981-1170. Kristi
My son attended toddler family. I found Lisa, the
director, to be wonderful with the kids. I would
recommend the school. It is a fantastic introduction
that will lead to a leave-your-kid-at-school
preschool. You, or another caregiver, must attend this
school with your child. So your child learns to
interact more with others but with the security of an
adult there at all times. Good luck!
oh...p.s. Ask if you can attend a session to get the
feel for it.....Lisa might oblige.... L RH
I can highly recommend for 18 - 36 month olds a co-op pre-school: Toddler
(510 981 1170), run by the most loving, caring, gentle & patient director
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
this page was last updated: Mar 9, 2008
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