Wildcat Community Freeschool (Richmond, CA)
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Wildcat Community Freeschool
March 2011: This school has closed.
I am interested in Wildcat Community Freeschool in Richmond for my child
and drove by recently and it seems to have turned into a preschool. Did
it move? Close? I would appreciate any information about it. Thanks!
What happened to wildcat? It closed due to under enrollment.
former teacher + parent
Loving the philosophy and idea of Wildcat Community FreeSchool in Richmond and
hoping that there may be some BPN folks that have their kid(s) enrolled now or
in the past that could share what they think of the school.
curious about wildcat
3rd year at Wildcat Community FreeSchool. Started at 5 years old. Great place to
transition from being at home to school. Attend 3 days a week and home school 2
days. We like the music teacher, full-time art teacher, field trips, being next
to all those trees at Alvardo park, eating lunch at his leisure, no homework,
kid initiated learning and activities and the amount of physical activity. The 3
R's are taught in small classes(3-6 students) based on ability. My kid runs to
math and reading classes! The community atmosphere is also a plus. Various
cultures, creating diversity. Been a good school for us. Anything that has been
a concern has been discussed with the owners, teachers or at our monthly
parent's meeting. I've been satisfied with this team approach and the caring
staff and families. Good luck.
Re: Challenging Progressive School?
Wildcat Community Freeschool in the
East Richmond Heights is a
progressive school where children are
taught in small classes
with other kids who are at a similar
level, rather than a similar
age. Your daughter would be able to
learn at her own pace. You
can choose to go 3 - 5 days a week;
some of the families are
part-time home-schoolers. Some parent
participation is expected
which gives the school the feeling of a
Much of the time is unstructured and
the children are free to
choose their own activities such as
art, pottery, cooking, games,
gardening etc. Our son is very happy
there and is always eager
to go to school every day, which is
Their website is
Hello, I would be really happy to hear from current parents of
girls at Wildcat Free School, or anyone willing to address the
gender ratio/balance by age, and just girls' experiences there in
general. I am curious about the school for my 6 year old who is
just finishing public kindergarten, and also for my younger
-freewheeling mom of 2 girls
My two boys (8 and 5) attend Wildcat. There are more and more
girls attending now, although at first it was certainly boy
heavy. Lets see, right now we have about 1/3 girls. There is
a 5 year old girl and about six, 6-8 year old girls as well as
two 11 year old girs. In the fall a 5 year old is starting for
sure and a couple other families are looking for their
kindergarten age girls. Personally (and I do have a girl
child, she is 13 tho) I think it is a wonderful, magical place
with plenty of girl energy and will continue to grow inthat
direction. I would not be at all worried.
Dear freewheeling mom,
My name is Inbar. I have two girls in Wildcat, 6 and 9 years
old (and a 3 year old boy who is not in the school yet).
Although the ratio of girls to boys isn't balanced it has
vastly improved since we enrolled two years ago. keep in mind
that the kids all play together and are not separated to age
groups,g mom, except for math and English class. What I found
most important is ,to give the kids the chance to be who they
are, not only at home but all day long. The school provides
loving and supportive environment ,nurturing them through
conflicts and troubles. The way they solve problems at wildcat
is not by way of top down authority ,but by helping the child
understand what is happening inside her. This is what I believe
All the best
Wildcat Community Freeschool in Richmond is a wonderful middle
school option. It is a mixed age, ungraded private school
based on the free-democratic tradition. Students are 5-14
years old in K-8th grades. It is a fabulous environmont for a
middle school student who desires a creative & compassionate
space for learning free from much of the potentially
overwhelming pressures associated with middle school.
Re: Looking for democratically oriented schools
Wildcat Community Free School is a democratic-style school in the Richmond
area next to Alvarado Park. They have no grades (nor even those lengthy
evaluations that are just grades in hiding), no homework, and no tests.
the kids bring home things they're working on, but that's not the same. Or
themselves to see how fast they can complete something or how many
they can solve in a set amount of time -- but it's all voluntary and fun.
has been ''under construction'' for a long time, but there's some basic
info to be
found at http://www.wildcatcommunityfreeschool.org. They have rolling
admissions, so if you're looking for someplace right away, you might even
to get in now. My daughter's been there for four years; she wouldn't
Hi. I am looking for a school in the spirit of sudbury in
Berkeley area. Namely, the kids are free to do (almost)
whatever they want, with no classes and separation between
different ages. my kids are 7 and 4. there was a sudbury school
in Marin county that was closed last year. does anyone have any
idea where did the kids from that school go?
Thank you very much
I have a wonderful recommendation for you! Its called Wildcat
Community Freeschool. Its a relatively new school and had a few
growing pains in the beginning years, but is truly blossoming
into a wonderfully creative rich environment for learning and
growing. Its K-8th, multi-aged learning, wonderfully diverse,
community minded, and my kid absolutely loves it (and is
thriving). www.wildcatcommunityfreeschool.org is the web address
and I would be happy to talk to you further if you have
questions. We are having several open houses soon, so you might
come and experience a bit of it for yourself. Open house dates:
Sunday, October 7, 2007 10am q 1pm and Saturday, November 3, 2007
10am - 1pm
The link to the listing of Alternative Schools is shown here:
There are quite a few in our area it seems.
My son goes to Wildcat Community Free School in Richmond near
Alverado Park. He's 5 and has been attending since March. He
loves it there! He's learning at his own pace, doing lots of art,
spends time in nature at the regional park across the street, and
has a great community of friends. There's an open house on
Sunday, October 7, 2007, from 10am q 1pm. Hope to see you there.
My son attends Wildcat Community FreeSchool, which might be
exactly what you are looking for and I can actually give you two
points of view, as a parent and as staff.
Parent: I love that my son can be himself without any expectation
of conformity. He is technically of Kindergarten age, but feels
equally comfortable interacting with the adults as well as the
older kids because everyone at the school has a voice. With the
exception of health and safety rules, which the kids know about
up front, most rules and decisions are made in a weekly school
meeting where student and staff have equal voice. There are
regular lessons in the language arts (reading, writing,
literature) and mathematics, which are technically non-compulsory
although I rarely see kids opting out. I like how the kids can
pursue the passion of their choosing, whether for an hour, a
week, or a month, and they are supported through their journey,
and that journey is honored, as they are. For example, not long
ago my son got into the pond equipment and wanted to collect
water for the microscope. One of the teachers dropped what he was
doing (just a chore of some kind) and off they went to collect
Still water and fast moving water to analyze the difference under
the scope. Some other kids were interested as well when they got
back and it turned into a big lesson on what grows in the creek
and where and why. It was cool to watch, even though...no,
because it is exactly as it should be. A lot of changes have
happened this year, giving the school a new dynamic that parents
are very satisfied with. There is close-knit community feeling.
Many homeschooling/unschooling families like to have a part-time
option that is consistent, provides great resources, and adds a
new dimension to their routine. Many kids go full time. When I
asked my son what he likes about this school, he said that he
likes making things in the wood shop and how the older boys are
teaching him how to ride his bike without training wheels and
working on the pottery wheel and having math class with his
friends. Staff:One of the big changes that happened this year was
the addition of two teachers, myself included. This allowed much
more time to be spent with each group (by ability not age) in
each subject, expanding the possibilities for different kinds of
learning and projects. I came from a museum education background,
and have always preferred informal learning. Yes, I love that I
do not have to work around a standardized curriculum (esp since I
do not believe in them) but it is more than that. I am able to
follow the students interests and weave a solid foundation into
games and crafts and storytelling, etc. I enjoy my interactions
with them throughout the day because they are interesting and
individual and teach me things too. But mostly I love that they
love to learn and I get to assist them in achieving whatever
goals they have set for themselves, as well as introducing new
You can start at the school's website
www.wildcatcommunityfreeschool.org and we are having an open
house the first weekend in October. I will be there, as will many
parents to give tours and talk about the school.
Teacher and Mama Sam
The only free/democratic-style school in the Berkeley area
is Wildcat Community Free School. Wildcat is not specifically
Sudbury, but of course what you find with free schools is
that, because they're free schools, they can more easily
reflect all the lovely nuances and needs and preferences
of their specific community of children and families.
No two are exactly alike.
At Wildcat, yes, the kids are free to choose their paths,
academic and social. Children of all ages work and play
together. There is a wonderful curriculum unfolding this
year in the language arts, sciences, culture and history.
The children are roughly grouped by ability/comprehension/
interest, but of course there are no hard and fast rules,
restrictions, requirements, etc.
Wildcat is located in the Richmond View area, all the
way at the north end of Arlington Blvd., where it meets
McBryde Avenue (5801 McBryde) . Lovely spot! Right
across from the entrance to Alvarado Park/Wildcat
Regional Park. It's about a 15-20 minute drive from
Berkeley. Arlington Blvd. is fairly convenient, but so
is 80 (closest exit: Solano Avenue).
The school is having an open house on Saturday,
October 6, I think from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
If you don't want to wait until then, you can call
the school at: 510-237-6673.
You should check out Wildcat Community FreeSchool. It's in
Richmond across from Alvarado Park.
The school is ungraded, but serves kids roughly k-8th. The kids
play and learn together. The school offers classes, but they are
free to choose whether to participate. The school also has a
part time option for homeschoolers. My oldest son (6) attends 3
days per week. He loves his school and so do I. It's been a
great community for my whole family.
The school has a website:
and an openhouse coming up Sunday October 7th 10-1pm.
I recently heard about a very small school with a name like
Freedom School, it's either a charter or a private elementary
(maybe 15 kids total). The person who told me about it said she
thought it was near Wildcat Canyon in Berkeley. So far I
haven't been able to find any information about it. Has anybody
heard of such a school (or any other small school like this)? I
would appreciate any leads. I am the mother of 1st grader at
Cragmont, unfortunately it has been a bad match for him and we
are looking for a small school where he would receive more one-
on-one attention. Thanks
I think that you are thinking of Wildcat Community Freeschool.
It's located at the intersection of McBryde and Park across from
Alvarado Park in Richmond. Sara and Kent Fries are the
proprietors & instructors. The phone number is 510-237-6673.
My five year old son started last fall. He loves it. I love it.
My husband loves it. (My 20 month old loves it too). It's a
wonderful school and community. The school is k-8, but it's
ungraded. The kids are free to play, work and create together.
They take their lessons in small groups according to their
abilities. Kids have a lot of power and responsibility to make
choices about their schooling. Kent and Sara are great. Feel
free to email me if you have more questions or call Sara and Kent.
I think the school you may be thinking of is located near the
northern end of the Arlington right near Alvarado Park and near
the entrance to the East Bay Regional Park District's Wildcat
Canyon Trail (near Wildcat Creek). I think it is actually in
Richmond or unincorporated Contra Costa County (but not sure)
and that is why you may be having trouble searching for it in
Berkeley. If you don't get any other leads here on BPN, or
can't find it on line or in the phone book for West Contra Costa,
I recommend that you drive over to that area and just
look around for it.
I hope your son can find the one-on-one support that you say he
needs, but small schools (with smaller staffs) may not be able
to give him that individual attention either, as the other kids
at the school need support, too. Have you had your son's needs
assessed? If you are looking for a better fit in a school it
would be important for you and them to know what exactly your
son needs. Do you know what qualifications a classroom teacher
or aide should have in order to meet your son's specific needs?
Does he have needs that could be met through working with
professionals after school or on weekends? Perhaps you can find
a way to have him in a school setting of your choice AND you can
bring in additional one-on-one skilled help in the classroom.
You can talk with folks at your son's current public school
about how IEPs work in the public school setting, and how they
work if your kid goes to a non-public school (I imagine if you
ask the question on BPN someone could give you an answer). Best
of luck in meeting the specific needs of your son. He is
fortunate to have a person like you that is actively searching
for the best fit for him, and to get him the other support that
he needs to be happy.
freedom school is across from the entrance to alvarado park
where mcbride meets park st. wildcat canyon is just up the
street. the sign on the school says that it does not give
grades. the curriculum might be wonderful--i wouldn't know--
but building itself is small and the outside play area looks
pretty ratty. it used to be a really neat daycare then changed
over a year or two ago. too bad that one went under.
I think it is called Wildcat Community Free School. It is
definitely across from the entrance to Alvarado Park/ wildcat
canyon where McBryde goes to Arlington Blvd. My daughter went to
preschool with the founding family's son and they seem to be
lovely, inspired teachers. I believe the kids at the school all
helped build and paint the play structures.
A while back there was an open house listing for a school along Wildcat
Richmond/El Sobrante. The school is run by a couple, mixed-age, and
to attend part-time, and most, if not all are homeschoolers. I can't
remember the exact
name of the school and haven't been able to relocate the website. If
information about this school, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank
The school is Wildcat Community Freeschool. Here is the posting from
Their website does not seem to be working at the moment, but it is
5801 McBryde Ave, Richmond, CA 94805
510-237-6673 or info[at]wildcatfreeschool.org
Wildcat Community Freeschool is a mixed age, ungraded private school
the free-democratic tradition. Wildcat is an alternative school serving
ranging in age from 5 to 14 years old, K-8th grades. Children at
Wildcat shape their
own learning experiences, and their choices are respected and
sailing and hiking trips to pottery and construction projects, the
solid resources for motivated and meaningful learning in the arts,
reading and writing. At Wildcat, the flow between academics and the
real world is
obvious and natural. The school is located in the Richmond View
perched on the edge of Wildcat Regional Park, just off the Arlington
Does anyone have any information or experience with Wildcat School in Richmond?
I wanted to respond to the post regarding Wildcat Community
FreeSchool in Richmond View.
I have 2 children attending the school, age 5 and 6, and we are
all extremeley happy. While the school is not for everyone if
you are looking for an alternative schooling method I would
highly recommend WCFS.
It is a one-room school with approximately 20 students ages 5-
10. It is taught by a husband and wife team, one who has been a
public school teacher for 15(?) years and the other who is a
The school does not adhere to one philosophy, rather I think it
takes the best of many. It is democratic, the learning is child-
led, the kids are free to choose how to spend their time, there
is lots of time for playing and art and exploring the FANTASTIC
Alvarado Park and Wildcat Canyon area right outside the front
door. On the other hand, time is set aside every day for math,
reading and writing - the kids sign up ahead of time for what
they want to do and when.
Some of the things I appreciate about this school are the many
different age children interacting with each other, the loving
attention of the teachers, the fact that I can drop in whenever
I want and stay as long as I want, the great location, the fact
that my kids LOVE it and the idea that they are in charge of
their own learning.
For those parents who are looking into schools for next year I
would highly encourage you to check out Wildcat Community
FreeSchool. (It's very reasonably priced too!)
Teachers Sara and Kent Fries can be reached at the school at
I'd like to recommend Wildcat Community Freeschool as a great
alternative to current private schools. It is community based,
child-interest led, and multi-aged. The curriculum is a nice
balance of project-based academics and art where projects are
both tailored for the group and for smaller age-appropriate
groups. Learning also utilizes, cooking, the garden, animals and
insects , access to Alvardo Park across the street (riparian
habitat), and field trips to various locations. Recent trips
(often using public transportation)include: the Maritime museum,
adventure playground, tidal pools in the Marin headlands, and a
sailing trip to Angel island.
The school has a part time option for those that are drawn to
homeschooling but don't want to do so full time. Sara, and Kent,
the married duo, add a wonderful gender balance as well as a wide
range of teaching experience.
The school is located at the end of Arlington in richmond. Come
by and say hi! Wildcat Community Freeschool :237-6673
I have my 5 1/2 year old in Wildcat Free school and he loves
it. He's been
attending for a year and our experience just keeps getting better.
The school is child-interest led with a great balance of
artistic projects. The teachers are a husband wife team that
bring a nice
female-male balance and the children have a voice and choice.
The teacher to
child ratio is about 1:6 or 1:7 and all ages ( K+) learn
together or in
smaller age appropriate groups. There is a strong emphasis in
there is a part time option that works well for families that
the usual 5 days a week. If you have any more question I would
be happy to
My son went to Wildcat the first year it was open. I had
thought about homeschooling but wasn't completely committed to
the idea. In Wildcat I found what I considered my dream
school - full of things that other schools have had to
eliminate. I liked the multiple ages in one class, no ''busy
work'' homework or standardized tests, lots of art, music,
physical activity, studying nature, reading. Wonderful
activities such as a Halloween carnival, or a scavenger hunt in
nearby Alvarado Park. I loved being welcomed in whenever I
showed up and getting to be a part of this new community of
children and parents as everyone was getting to know each
other. Sara and Kent are creative, warm and patient with the
Unfortunately, my son started showing signs of some learning
disabilities that made it difficult for him to fully
participate. Although they were very willing to work with him
on this, through further assessments I felt he could best
benefit from the speech/language and occupational therapy he
qualified for. We hope to return to Wildcat School someday,
if not with my oldest son, then perhaps with one of my younger
Obviously Wildcat isn't for everyone, but if you are interested
in an alternative approach to education, in a supportive
environment, it is well worth looking into.
this page was last updated: May 7, 2011
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