Trying to decide which preschool

Hi - 

We've toured many preschools and have been offered spots at Duck's Nest 41st and Rockridge Little School on College. We liked them both, but they are so different and I really can't decide. Location-wise, Little School is probably easier for us. I liked that Duck's Nest basically has smaller class sizes. I worry Little School would get loud/overwhelming all day in one big room, but my daughter is loud herself and probably wouldn't mind? All of the kids there seemed quite happy. Diversity is super important to us and it seemed comparable among the students at both schools, but better among the teachers at Little School. I also got concerned about some negative posts about Duck's Nest - even though they were from a few years ago, it seemed like lack of supervision/taking parent concerns seriously put some kids at risk in the past. We haven't applied to Step One or Aquatic School and who knows if they'd even have spots for the fall (our daughter will be 3), but wondering also how those compare. Thanks for any thoughts. I tend to be on the anxious/indecisive side even though my preschooler is much more easy going than I am, lol. 

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We loved our time at Duck's Nest on 41st--my older child came in just after the issues in the negative reviews (which occurred nearly 10 years ago, before the school moved to its current location) so we were a bit nervous as well, but we found that the leadership had done a great job addressing the concerns, including thoughtful design of the play yard in the new location. Our kids graduated ahead of the pandemic so I know less about about how they have handled COVID, but we know families whose younger kids are still there who continue to be happy with the program and with how things have gone over these crazy couple of years. I also really appreciated how intentional the school was about naming challenges around and attempting to address diversity, although I think like many private preschools, the cost continues to be a huge barrier to true socioeconomic diversity. (Duck's Nest does offer need-based financial aid and works with BANANAS on subsidies, but I don't know that it makes a huge dent in a systemic challenge.) The teaching staff was quite diverse while we were there, though I know there have been some transitions due to retirements and the pandemic, so not sure what it's like today. We also loved that there were a number of male teachers--a rarity at many preschools.

My kids spent a total of five years at Step One and I can't say enough good things. Experienced, caring teachers; beautiful large outdoor space; music in the classrooms; and much more. I credit my kids social skills, deep friendships, and love of music to the foundation built at Step One.

We also really loved our time at Duck's Nest on 41st.  The teachers were absolutely fantastic and we really loved the Reggio (emergent curriculum, where they really take note of what the kids are interested in and design activities and lessons around those, to encourage curiosity and a love of learning).  We had a good level of ethnic diversity in our teachers, less so in the kid population, but I think the class younger than ours was when they really stepped up in prioritizing diversity in the enrollment process.  We graduated the year the pandemic started, so I also can't comment on pandemic stuff.  Overall we were incredibly happy there and would highly recommend it!

My child is in 3rd grade now and they still talk about their deep love of being at Rockridge Little School-College Ave. It's big, and open, but somehow they create a wonderful flow and plenty of space at the school. For us it was the Reggio approach, new things all the time and so creative. I have a sensitive/shy child and she thrived in the setting.