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Does anyone have experience with the Pixar Child Development Center in Berkeley since the Aquatic Park School took over? Especially for babies and toddlers.
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Our 3 year old is there now and has attended since she was 10 months old, so we had experience with both the old and current ownership by APS. We are really, really pleased with the current leadership by APS. The directors and the teachers themselves are extremely thoughtful about the environment and activities there. APS has really drawn out and upon the parent community, by implementing fun, intentional gatherings, curriculum nights and parent-teacher conferences. The teachers are loving, trustworthy and attentive and I have learned a lot from them at each new stage. APS seems to be giving the teachers a lot of support in implementing a Reggio Emilia approach, and they (the teachers) regularly update the parents about what child-inspired topics they are exploring at any given time. My daughter has thrived there and I feel very lucky. Glad to answer any specific questions.
We currently have our 4 year old daughter and 14 month old son at the Pixar Child Development Center. We've been at the center for over three years, so we have experience with the old and new ownership. We can't say enough wonderful things about the school since APS took the reigns. The owner and director are lovely people and have gone above and beyond to create an amazing environment for our children. It is so much more warm and personal now. It feels like stepping into a friend's home who is going to watch you kiddos for the day. The teachers have always been amazing, but have a lot more ownership and flexibility over the curriculum now that they've switched to a Reggio Emilia approach. There's always something fun and engaging happening for the children, whether it's Cowboy Jared who sings and plays guitar, Spanish classes, water play in the summer, blanket forts in the yard, or wheel day (where they can bring their bikes and scooters). It's a truly wonderful community and we're so happy to be a part of it!
Both our kids are there now-- a preschooler (started before 6 months old) and an infant. It's been a great experience with the new administration, driven by teachers and parents and facilitated by the directors. The focus towards an emergent curriculum and invitation for parent input and participation is a great cultural change. It hasn't always been easy, but I believe the struggles have been pretty typical (periods of difficult dropoffs and clinginess, self-inflicted anxiety about how engaged our kids are, parents adjusting to the systematic needs of having an infant in a classroom with some structure regarding things like feedings and naps). The teachers and staff have been really responsive to questions, feedback, concerns, ideas. We're grateful the school has seemed to have a positive impact on our oldest's social skills, language, and independence. The administration highly value teacher well being and I think that results in healthier, happier environments for the kids.
We’ve had our 2 year old son there since 10 months old as well, and we only have great things to say about the school and staff. We’ve noticed a huge acceleration in our son’s growth, and each classroom has challenged him in a really positive and encouraging way, at a pace they can handle. It feels very much like a community there, and we love things like Parents night out that are timed with Pixar events. The staff is super friendly and very knowledgeable!
Our first started at APS/PCDC when he turned 4 months old and we loved the care and love he received! He learned to crawl, scoot and play in the infant rooms and now is in the toddler rooms! We loved the routine the school implements and could tell he we learning in leaps and bounds. He would hug the teachers and other kids - you can tell he loves PCDC. We toured when it was one management team and joined when it was the other so we can only speak to the management now - they are great at organizing the school, curriculum and parent events. They may be busy sometimes with the kids and not at the front desk or answering phones immediately, but very responsive by email (we think this is fine since they are playing with the kids!)Overall, we don’t regret enrolling!