Experience with Pine Crest School, formerly Willow St. Schoolhouse

Hello fellow parents. We are considering enrolling our son in Pine Crest Preschool in Kensington for next Fall. Pine Crest is the new incarnation of Willow Street Schoolhouse that has operated for a long time in El Cerrito. I'm wondering if anyone has any experiences to share? It feels like a big decision and since this is Pine Crest's first official year of operation there is not a lot of history/reviews to go off of. I'm assuming that Pine Crest will be similar to Willow Street, but I'm not even 100% sure of that. I'm like to know positives and negatives if anyone cares to share! Thanks!!

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We are just starting Pinecrest this summer. Our boys love, love, love it! Danielle is a wonderful person who connects well with the kids and parents. We are very lucky to have a friend who has a doctorate in education and is a professor. We asked her for recommendations and she said Willow Street. She sent both of her kids there and became so enamored with tthe program she put  a chapter about it in a textbook she wrote! 

We were also fortunate that Pinecrest, its sister program, opened just this year. Having twins (boys, no less) makes it harder to find places with two openings. We got very lucky and got in as the program opened!

Pinecrest is located on the grounds of the Unitarian Church up at the top of Moeser and Terrace up in the hills. Breathtaking views and plenty of space to hike, garden and run around. It's a Reggio Emilia inspired program that balances freedom of choice and exlploration with kind, supportive boundaries and just enough structure to keep the routine and rhythms of the day consistent. 

Two sets of thumbs up !

We started our 4-year old son a few weeks ago and we are so so happy with the school.  He didn't talk for the whole first month at his prior preschool.  They thought he was nonverbal but it's just that he can be a little reserved at first.  And he was really not himself for the whole year that he was there -- the volume on his personality always seemed turned down there vs. how he is at home.  So we were thrilled when he took to Pine Crest immediately.  Within a day he was completely comfortable and just gave me a hug and a see you later at drop-off, happily jumping on the couch to join the other kids for morning stories.  He has been generating so much art and has been getting to lead the small summer class on daily nature walks.  Danielle has a very calm and grounding demeanor and the kids all love her.  It's my understanding that the Willow Street kids and teachers will be joining Pine Crest in September so prior reviews for Willow Street should be a good indicator of what Pine Crest will be like.  The only negative I can think of is that it's a bit of a drive up the hill but I think it's worth it to get that much space for the kids.