HR/Bentley/Redwood Parents: What preschool did you choose?


My husband and I are new to the East Bay, and we currently have a 6 month old daughter. We've heard wonderful things about Head Royce, Bentley School and Redwood Day beginning with Kindergarten. For anyone who has children in any of these schools, I was wondering what preschools you sent your child to, and whether you felt that school prepped them properly for Kindergarten? Does anyone know if there are any preschools in the area that these three schools may prefer a child to attend?

Any input would be much appreciated!


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Our child went to a play-based, cooperative school, that had no academic instruction (meaning, they were not "prepared" for K). In checking back for several years, no child from that preschool had attended RDS, HRS, or Bentley. The overwhelming majority of kids attended public school. In visiting the private schools, many of the admissions staff had never even heard of the preschool. We applied to Redwood Day and two other private schools (not HRS or Bentley) -- one of which is extremely academic-focused and one of which is a little less so. We got into all three. We have friends who went to some of the premier preschools who also got into HRS and/or Redwood Day and some who did not even get on the waitlist. Our child started K at Redwood Day behind academically and very quickly caught up without ever knowing they weren't at the same level as some of the children who had attended more academic preschool. They ended the year very ready to enter first grade.

All of this to say, I wouldn't worry too much about which preschool your child goes to as far as thinking about elementary school. Pick a school your child will thrive in -- for some kids that will be play-based, others Montessori and some can handle/need a more academic or structured environment. A lot of factors go into getting into these schools -- how many siblings they have coming in, gender, ethnic/racial, and age balance, whether you apply for financial aid, etc. 

I would also mention that I just knew which school my child was going to go to when they were a baby. No one would have been able to talk me out of it. I researched it, and visited, and fell in love with it. We initially only looked at other schools as a backup plan in case our child didn't get into our first choice. We applied, and we got in, and my child does not go to that school because it wasn't the right fit for them (even though it remains a lovely school). I also thought we would for sure apply to HRS as a backup, and ended up not applying after the first visit -- we weren't into it, and my child declared they didn't want to go there after that visit. Keep an open mind and pick what's going to work best for your family and your child as they enter each stage. 

Hi. As the mom of a doing-very-well college student, who went to a regular preschool I found in the yellow pages, and then to very mediocre neighborhood public schools, I wanted to say that your post upsets me on so many levels. Your daughter is 6 months old! Please enjoy her how she is - talk and sing to her. Let her guide you to the type of student she will be, support and encourage her. Competitive schools may be great for her, or maybe she will be more laid back and take things as they come rather than you planning her academic carrier from infancy. Good luck to her and you!

Agreed with both of the posters. There are not "feeder" schools in the East Bay the way there are in other parts of the country, except inasmuch as families that live near a particular private school may be more likely to apply and also more likely to send their children to nearby preschools. But no, there's no particular expectation around academic readiness for incoming kindergarteners--admissions at that level is as much about family fit as anything else. Kids come in from a wide range of preschools (and occasionally with no preschool at all). And this is absolutely not a thing to focus on for a six-month-old. Look for a daycare or preschool that is a good match for your family as far as location, hours, and overall philosophy. If you do end up going the private route, you'll know much more about your child at that point and can better assess what kind of school will be a good fit.

I would argue that in preschool, learning social skills and free play is more important than being "prepared academically" for elementary school. Studies have shown that countries such as sweden which emphasize playing together, tolerance and consideration for others in preschool have children who grow up more successful than children who have gone to preschools that have academic rigor.
I went to a daycare/preschool which did not "prepare" me academically for elementary school and where kids just played, went to public schools and turned out just fine. I ended up at an ivy league college and went to one of the best medical schools in the country. My advice to you is to consider saving your well earned money and using it for something more worthwhile