Cedar Creek Montessori

Berkeley, CA

To see Department of Social Services records on this facility, click on its DSS Facility License # below.

DSS Facility License #
Prima Offril
(510) 525-1377
info [at] cedarcreekmontessorischool.com
Cedar at Sacramento, N. Berkeley
Maximum Capacity:
Language(s) Spoken:
Ages Served:
33 months - 72 months

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi All! We are seriously considering Cedar Creek Montessori for our nearly three year old next fall. We don't have a spot guaranteed yet, but I understand the turnaround for decision-making when a spot becomes available is tight. I would love to hear from current or recent parents about their experiences. Thanks in advance!

    Our two children both attended Cedar Creek and we have so many fond memories of it.  The staff is what makes the school so special.  To a person the teachersl are warm, engaged and focused on the kids.  They come to know each child--their likes, dislikes, fears, etc.  Prima, the owner of Cedar Creek, sets the tone for the school.  I still see her from time to time, and every time I am lucky enough to chat with her, I am struck with what a warm and comforting presence she brings to every situation. While I'm not an expert on Montessori pedagogy, my understanding is that Cedar Creek maintains traditional but not strict Montessori standards.  During their "work time," the kids are able to select from various Montessori projects.  Each project is fun, educational and can be used at a variety of ages.  A 2 year old and a 5 year old can each get a lot out of the same project.  When a kid is finished, they must put the project away in its place.  Each day opens and closes with circles when kids get a chance to share stories.  The evening circle includes "tea time," where kids serve each other tea.  The kids do gardening, art, outside games, and dancing apart from the Montessori activities.  If you have visited the school, you can see that the facilities are not fancy.  I was initially concerned about that, but my kids certainly didn't care.  The classrooms may be a bit old but they are clean which is the most important thing when you are dealing with preschoolers!  All in all, my kids learned a lot about getting along with other children and working independently and loved each day at Cedar Creek. While academics were not pushed whatsoever, kids who were interested were guided in letters and numbers and my kids arrived in kindergarten prepared both academically and socially.   I highly recommend!

  • Hello! We are considering sending our son to Cedar Creek Montessori in Berkeley next fall. He would transition there straight from a nanny share. Wondering if anyone has recent experiences to share? Thanks in advance!

    No responses received.

Parent Reviews

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I highly recommend Cedar Creek montessori, not far from the north Berkeley BART station. Definitely a highlight of my kids' education thus far (one now at Berkeley High, the other in college)


Hi Ann,

My daughter attends Cedar Creek in Berkeley and we couldn’t be happier. We are graduating this August and are sad about leaving, it’s been such a great environment for her. Here are some of the things that made Cedar Creek stand out to me.

  • Dedicated teachers 
  • Location
  • Cost (under $2000/mo)
  • Diversity in teachers/students (This was huge for me)
  • Timely Communication
  • Covid safety and protocols 

Let me know if you want an intro to the PreK owner, Prima. She is a lovely person.



My family and I have loved our experience at Cedar Creek Montessori, right near North Berkeley BART.  The teachers and the programming is the greatest and I am eternally thankful that they've been taking care of and teaching my kids.  :)


I also want to put in a plug for Cedar Creek Montessori School right next to the North Berkeley BART.  It's a diverse, welcoming community.  We were torn between sending our daughters to Cedar  Creek, the New School, and the JCC on Walnut Street because we live nearby and wanted to be able to walk to drop-offs and pick-ups.  Each of three seemed wonderful for different reasons, and it seems like you can't go wrong with many of the options in our area--a fortunate "problem" to have! 


Archived Q&A and Reviews

March 2013

Re: Preschools with flexible summer programs
My kids went to Cedar Creek Montessori (in north Berkeley) several years ago and their summer schedule was very flexible. You could pay by the week, so it was easy to take a week off, or even the whole summer. Cedar Creek is an excellent preschool and our family was happy to be there for three years. Cedar Creek alum family

Dec 2012

RE: friendly Montessori preschool
Cedar Creek Montessori, on Sacramento and Cedar. Many great reviews on BPN! My children loved it there and still maintain friendships from their preschool days. Prima, the owner, is one of the warmest, friendliest people you will ever meet. Cedar Creek fan

Nov 2012

Re: Seeking "happy medium" between structured and play-based
I guess that my response is from yet another person telling you about how incredible their Montessori school is, but I wanted to address your particular concerns. My daughter has been at Cedar Creek Montessori School for the past year. We too toured a lot of schools with a variety of educational philosophies. We ultimately decided on Cedar Creek having found that it had the right combination of play and structure. As you have no doubt experienced, when you visit a Montessori classroom, it does tend to be on the quieter side. But you should not take that quiet to mean that the children are not having fun. The Montessori ''work'' projects are fun, despite their name. What I have seen is that there is not just one way of using each project. The children still have the ability, and are encouraged to, experiment with different ways of playing and manipulating the projects. This is evident when you watch a brand new 3 year old and a 5 year old play with the same ''work.'' They may use it in different ways and both take something away from it. What I have seen about rigidity in the Montessori classroom goes more to the rules about using one ''work'' project at a time and putting away the old one before starting a new one. For me, that self-control is something valuable for kids to learn.

The Cedar Creek students, however, do not spend all or even a majority of their day in ''formal'' Montessori mode. They have ample free time on the playground with plenty of opportunities to pretend, run around, climb, dig in the sandbox, etc. They also have an art teacher who supervises different art projects each day, with the children rotating in when they desire. There are also weekly music sessions and dance classes.

The teachers are Cedar Creek are the school's best asset. Many of them have worked at the school for a long, long time. To a person, they all understand preschoolers and what makes them tick. My daughter, who was initially shy in her new surroundings, is eager to go to school each morning. I see why since Cedar Creek is a warm, nurturing yet dynamic place. I know that you were looking for Richmond or El Cerrito. Cedar Creek is in North Berkeley, not too far away. It has the added advantage of being blocks from the North Berkeley Bart station. Happy Cedar Creek parent

July 2012

Re: Looking for a Preschool with a Garden
Cedar Creek Montessori School on Sacramento and Cedar has a lovely little garden and a strong nature studies program. All around, it's a wonderful preschool! Check it out (even though I think you might get tired of the commute from Elmwood). They offer part-time and full-time. Tea ceremony, weekly bread-making, nature walks...we really love that school! Mom to 2 Cedar Creek grads

Oct 2011

Re: intimate play-based preschool
Cedar Creek Montessori School meets all of your criteria. You don't specify your location, but the school is in N. Berkeley on Sacramento Street. I have two graduates of Cedar Creek who were very happy there! former Cedar Creek family

Sept 2011

Re: Full day preschool that closes in the summer?
Cedar Creek Montessori's (http://cedarcreekmontessorischool.com/) summer program is week by week. You can participate (and pay for) as much or as little of the programing that works for your family. They also have early start time, which is great for a teaching schedule.

Sept 2010

Re: Preschools for a 2 1/2 year old on special diet
I believe Cedar Creek Montessori in N. Berkeley meets all your criteria. My two children spent a total of three years there and we think it's a terrific preschool! Kids bring their own lunches, but the school provides snacks. However, I know there were some children who brought their own snacks, so the school is definitely open to that. Cedar Creek alum with fond memories

Dec 2008

Hi there. I am trying to find a good quality preschool program that also has the option of extended care in West/North Berkeley. I am a public school teacher, and need to be able to drop my son off between 7:30 - 8:00 am, to be able to get to my school on time. I also prefer a little smaller program, but that's not absolute necessary. Also, am open and like montessori philosophy. Thanks! Sara

I would STRONGLY recommend Cedar Creek Montessori on the corner of Sacramento and Cedar. They are extremely accommodating for working parents and I know they are open at 7:30 (if not earlier...)and close at six. This is our third year at the school (both of our children have attended) and I can't say enough about the director, teachers and the family community. I have a thousand anecdotes of experiences there where I was blown away by their compassion, smarts and their love of children. Our children have thrived there, it is simply an amazing place. anon

Feb 2008

We are considering Cedar Creek Montessori school for our daughter next fall. I'm wondering if any currently enrolled or recent parents can share their experiences. What do you like or dislike about the school? How would you describe the environment? Are the activities creative and thoughtful? Do the teachers engage each child and understand and nourish strengths? Any other feedback most welcome. thanks! stephanie

My son attended CCMS for two years, and my 3 year old daughter just started her first year. We have found it to be a wonderful fit for our whole family. What we especially like: lots of time outdoors, loving and experienced teachers, well- organized,accessible, and caring administrator, interesting and diverse families and kids. What we don't like: hmmm. Sorry, I really can't think of anything. The school has been running for over 20 years, and the staff turnover is very, very low. It seems like they have figured out most possible glitches, and it all just seems to go very smoothly. The environment is child- friendly, welcoming to parents, well-organized,and feels both safe and warm. The kids have opportunities to choose their own activities during certain periods of the day, as well as participating in group activities (eg. circle times, afternoon tea time, etc). I would say the teachers definitely do come to know each child well and meet them where they are-- this is apparent in their willingness to customize the schedule for new children as they get used to the school, the little handwritten notes they occasionally send home in the lunch box to parents reporting their kids' progress on particular issues, and the obvious delight they take in each child's personality. Also, the parent community is really wonderful and supportive. We feel extremely grateful for having found such a place for our kids to spend their preschool years. Paula

I've posted messages about Cedar Creek before and pretty recently, so I'll first refer you to the many glowing reviews that are already archived on this site. We love Cedar Creek and are very sorry that our daughter will have to leave to enter kindergarten this fall. Things we like: loving, nuturing, smart teachers; interesting activities like nature studies, art projects, dance and music; a true celebration of the school's diversity with attention paid to many different holidays and traditions; tea time at the end of the day; bread-making on Fridays; birthday celebrations; thoughtful evaluations; responsiveness to any concerns; lots of outdoor time. Things we dislike: that our daughter has to leave for kindergarten. Our daughter was shy and reserved when she started Cedar Creek and I was concerned about finding a school that could draw her out. She has really blossomed at Cedar Creek because the environment is both nuturing and challenging. The parents are also wonderful and we have truly enjoyed being a part of the Cedar Creek community. My feedback? Don't miss an opportunity to have your child at this great school. Cedar Creek Fan

As a recent Cedar Creek family, we have great memories of Cedar Creek. It is a thoughtful nurturing place, The staff are very dedicated to the children and are respectful of and warm with the parents, too. The administration was quite well run. If we had a third child, we would send them there, too.

The teachers were able to meet kids' varying abilities and help each kid learn. The staff fostered a sense of respect and caring among the children. Put downs and exclusion were not tolerated.

The learning environment is rich with classic montessori materials. Imaginitive play is also fostered. Outdoor time is great with a huge play area allowing for running (yes, running!), wheeled toys, sand box and garden. The art and science programs are well-loved by the kids.

Instead of Mother's Day and Father's Day there is Family Month, which is so much better for kids from single perent households or form households with parents of the same sex.

Many friendships made at Cedar Creek have lasted into elementary school even 'though kids are at different schools. Most of the teachers are long-term employees (and are very good). The staff gets good healthcare benefits (which is also very good fr the kids!).

It is also near North Berkeley BART which is very convenient for commutes to downtown Oakland or SF. former Cedar Creek Parent

Nov 2007

Re: Centro Vida vs. Cedar Creek Montessori Pre-Schools
I don't have any experience with Centro Vida -- but I can speak to Cedar Creek. I think Cedar Creek is an amazing place. My first child ''graduated'' last year and now our second is there. I could go on and on -- but if I were to distill it -- what makes Cedar Creek so incredible is the teachers. They are warm, conscientious and have a great sense of humor. While their montessori program is serious -- I think they see themselves as ''montessori light'' in the sense that there is ample room for play throughout the day.

The other great thing about Cedar Creek is their ability to communicate. The school recently changed ownership -- amongst teachers within the school. The transfer was communicated incredibly well throughout the process.

And finally, the community is wonderful. We have made many wonderful friends -- as have our kids!

At first I was nervous about the size of the school -- but this has never been an issue. The teachers are really focused on nurturing friendships and helping children find other kids who they think will get along with each other.

Good luck with your decision. If you choose Cedar Creek you are in for a wonderful experience! Cedar Creek Fan!

Oct 2007

Re: Looking for a small preschool in N. Berkeley
I think Cedar Creek Montessori would be perfect for your daughter. When our daughter started, she was very shy, intensely interested in a lot of things but needed to be in a place where she would be drawn out, or given enough quiet space to express herself. She has really thrived and blossomed at Cedar Creek, where kids like her do very well. In fact, it seems all kids do well there! Cedar Creek is bigger than what you're looking for, but I found it to be much calmer and more organized than other smaller schools we saw. Our daughter comes home every day with an art project (or three), and stories about what she learned in ''nature studies,'' which the older children participate in. The students also have music and dance classes weekly. The teachers are attentive, gentle, warm, and engaging, and they give hugs when the kids need them. Any time we've had a concern about our daughter, her teachers are responsive and helpful. Both the students and the teachers are fairly diverse. There is a lot of clear and organized communication between the school and the parents. It's just a great, safe, nuturing and stimulating environment. I had determined that our daughter would not go to a preschool with more than 10-15 children and I'm so glad we went to see Cedar Creek. The only complaint we have about Cedar Creek is that it will be too hard to leave! We feel spoiled now. We love Cedar Creek

December 2006

Re: Preschool feedback

Cedar Creek Montessori has 2 very dedicated directors who started as teachers (there and elsewhere) and have owned the palce for a while now. There are several long-time staff members, and the employee benefits are very good...which is a good thing for the students and families. The administrator, Kerry, is one of the owners. She is absolutely fabulous and is so organized and communicative and thoughtfull. CCM is a very smooth-sailing ship. The teachng is ggreat for all levels and is not over the top montessori-wise. The afternoons include nature studies (for older kids) and art and tea time. The inside space is big enough and the outside space is fabulous. It is near to North Berkeley BART which means it works well for those who commute to SF. We loved it (and so did our kids). Our firends who have kids there now like it a bunch, too. See a post form earlier this month about CCM - a postive unsolicited blurb.

Our 3-year-old daughter attends Cedar Creek. I feel grateful and lucky every single day that she goes there. I cannot say enough good things about it. I had a list of about 10 schools (including Step One, but not the others you listed) that I intended to visit when we were looking at preschools. The day I visited Cedar Creek, we had visited only one other school. Within 5 minutes of observing the classroom, I knew it was the school I wanted for our daughter and we didn't even visit or apply to any other schools. Foolhardy and stupid, I know! Luckily, it worked out for us. My daughter, who can be pretty cautious and withdrawn, is excited to go to school every day and adores her teachers and friends. She clearly feels very supported, safe and engaged there. Personally, I wasn't very concerned about academic achievement, whether she'd be able to read by kindergarten, or whether she attended a play-based or Montessori school. I just wanted her to feel happy, safe and excited about learning, which she does at Cedar Creek. I also wanted to feel confident that she would be nutured and that her temperament would be respected, which I do. I had resolved to go with my gut instinct when I visited preschools, and I immediately felt the warmth, caring, and enthusiasm of the people who work there. It's also fun to be a Cedar Creek parent! Obviously, we love it.
Cedar Creek Fan

Our daughter, now a kindergartener (loving Rosa Parks in Berkeley!) attended Cedar Creek Montessori 3 days per week for 2.5 years. She, and we as parents, loved every miniute of it. The teachers were wonderful and loving, the setting provided the structure that our child needed, and the activities were creative and varied. Our daughter loved the weekly dance class that is provided by a teacher who comes into the school. She also loved her weekly music class, and as an older child, the Nature Studies program. During admissions, they balance the classes with boys and girls. There are various types of families, including lesbian and gay parents, blended families, and the different types of families are discussed during Family Month, which is focused on between Mother's and Father's Day (in place of those traditional holidays.) Some people speak of Montessori being overly structured, yet our child seemed to have plenty of choice in activities and art projects. We were sad to leave, and couldn't quite imagine kindergarten being so nice. Luckily, we are now very happy in the new ''big'' school, and have happy memories of preschool.
~Glad to be done with those preschool & kinder searches and decisions!

I've heard great things about all the preschools you mention, so you probably can't go wrong, but since my child attends Cedar Creek, I'll rave about that one. My son is in his second year there and we love it. It is a warm, nurturing environment, well-run and organized, and our son is happy there. When the kids are playing outside (they get lots of outside time!), I see that each teacher has a group of children clustered around him or her, which indicates that the kids love the teachers and the teachers love the kids! My child participates in Nature Studies and comes home talking about what's a mammal and what's not. The kids make bread on Fridays and have Tea Time every day at 5. They have music and dance. People talk about how Montessori can be so rigorous, but at Cedar Creek the philosophy seems to be ''let kids be kids.'' We whole-heartedly agree. In short, we love Cedar Creek and would recommend it to anyone!
Happy Cedar Creek parent

Nov 2006

This is an unsolicited positive review of the Cedar Creek Montessori School in Berkeley. One aspect of preschool selection which I hadn't initially given much thought to is how important a skillful preschool director can be. Their longtime director (and co-owner) Kerry is ideal in my opinion-- she is fair, enthusiastic, a great communicator, accessible, caring, and extremely well-organized. Over the course of our time at the school (this is our second year), it has become clear to me how much thought and experience has gone into every aspect of how the school functions (eg.celebrating all birthdays in a month on a particular day), which ensures apparently seamless operation. This makes it really easy to be a parent at Cedar Creek, which isn't something I had thought much about, since I was initially so focused on the best interests of my son. I am happy to say that not only he is thriving with wonderful and caring teachers, but our whole family is greatly enjoying our Cedar Creek experience! I just feel so grateful that we found it.
happy CCMS parent

Feb 2006

We're considering Cedar Creek Montessori in Berkeley for our son who will be two years and nine months in September when he would start. He would be there relatively full-time. This is the only school we've applied to that's in walking distance of our home (a big plus). There are no recent posts on the school on the BPN, so thought I'd solicit some comments from parents with recent experience at Cedar Creek. In particular, any comments on the quality of the morning or afternoon teaching staff in either room? We're also still weighing the pros and cons of Cedar Creek-style Monessori v. an entirely play-based approach at a s chool like Step One. Our son is a bit of a Type A personality and we're wondering if play- based might be a bit less likely to reinforce some of his more perseverative tendencies. Any thoughts?
Pre-School Parent to Be

My son is in his second year at Cedar Creek and he and we are all happy with the school. I call it Montessori Lite, as it is not nearly as rigid as very traditional Montessori schools can be. The staff is great. There has been some turnover among the junior staff, but not a lot. The two main teachers have been there for a very long time and they are wonderful. My older son went to a play-based preschool and that would have been my first choice for my younger son as well. But we also chose Cedar Creek because of location and my concerns about the Montessori program turned out to be unfounded. Good luck. Happy with Cedar Creek

Our whole family (kids and parents included) LOVE Cedar Creek. Can't imagine a better school - the teachers, the directors, the love, the t eaching - I consider us lucky to be a part of the Cedar Creek community. anon

I wanted to respond to your posting because a comment you made in it struck a chord. I am not necessarily posting this as a positive or negative on Cedar Creek, but just some insight to 2 comments you made: that it was within walking distance to your house and that your child would be 2.9 when entering that school. We too thought the idea of being able to have our kids go to Cedar Creek would be ideal (i.e. stroll/walk them there then hop in the casual carpool off to our respective jobs in SF). Our twins would also have been 2.9 upon entering that preschool - this was a few years ago. When we went to bring them to the observation the school requested (at that time they were somewhere about 2.2 or 2.3) it was clear that they were quite young in trying to take/follow the lead/direction of the teach er in the manner she was wanting. I'm not sure what was to be expected at that age in this kind of setting. It became evident that after watching the experience we sensed two things: that the preschool prefers the children to be over 3.x when starting despite their marketing material indicating they are open to kids 2.9 AND that in fact the montessori approach turned out not to be as comfortable for us/our kids as we thought - even though it all seemed 'perfect' on paper. In the end we were not offered any slots (they were very polite and professional but the message that came across was they opted to select those kids who were 3.x - maybe they had a larger pool the year we applied?. Anyway, I don't think we were that surprised after that obeservation day once we received the news). In the end we were offered slots in 2 other preschoosls that actually provided us with a more comfortable feel. Because we are big c yclists it turned out that the others (still in walking distance but the wrong direction) -- were in biking distance so we reworked our approach and couldn't be happier with the one our kids are in. And there are days when we use the car too. I guess I wanted to be sure you kept some thoughts on realizing that in the end you'll know by your visit experiences what feels right. Also I would recommend not being shy about making two visits to a preschool if you need a final data point to confirm your feelings if you need to get to one side of the fence or the other. I wish you the best but felt the need to throw out some caution as well so that you are prepared to be happy with the alternate choices in case you are not offered a slot. Feel free to e-mail me if you have the need. Best of Luck

Our 4-yo son is in his first year at Cedar Creek and we love it! We have re-enrolled him for next year also. It is a Montessori school, but it seems to me they get plenty of time to play, which is great. We like all of the teachers (not so at our son's previous preschool!) and it is the teachers that make a great school. In short, you would not regret sending your child to Cedar Creek. We can't wait until our daughter is old enough to attend! anon

Nov 2003

Re: Seeking smaller preschool for shy 3 1/2 year old
If you're open to a Montessori school, I'd recommend Cedar Creek Montessori at Cedar and Sacramento. My daughter attended the school when she was a shy 3.5-year-old, and that's probably the best thing ever happened to our family. We chose Cedar Creek because I saw a previous recommendation about a shy boy who thrived under the attentive care of the school. The teachers were quite relaxed about working with shy kids, giving them lots of warm attention and space, making them feel safe, and waiting for them to become ready for participation in activities. When we suggested a ''positive re-enforcement'' approach which some child psychologists had recommended for encouraging shy kids to engage with teachers (yes, parents rather than teachers are often the pushy ones), they gently turned it down, but in their explanation to us why they didn't think it's a good idea, they also showed experience and confidence that made us trust their judgement and decision.

It took almost 6 months for our shy daughter to warm up to the teachers and students, although she liked the school and everyone there since day one. During that time, we got small handwritten notes (progress reports!) from the teachers, telling us little bits of improvement our daughter had made in becoming more engaged and less shy. And then one day we got a call from a teacher, who told us that she, for the first time, had to tell our daughter to stop talking because it was time to listen! It was one of the best days in our lives.

Our daughter just started kindergarten at a K-8 school with more- than-expected confidence and maturity and a lot less shiness, thanks to a successful, blossoming 2nd year at Cedar Creek. Now she says good-bye and waves to all her teachers everyday when we pick her up, and she's already made some good friends at school. She is still shy in nature, but compared with the time when she was 3.5 years old, she is now a totally different person, and I credit most of it to Cedar Creek Montessori. Chris



Re: urgently seeking preschool opening (Sept 2002)
Cedar Creek Montessori on Sacramento and Cedar in Berkeley has a couple of openings. The school and everyone who works there are absolutely wonderful and this is a rare opportunity as the school is normally filled months in advance. They do not require that the children be potty trained. Kerry Woodward is the director and her number is 525-1377. Theresa


Cedar Creek is great. It is a Montessori school located at Cedar and Sacramento. The teachers are great and several have been there a long time. The administrator, Kerry, is caring and organized. She and one of the teachers, Mary Ann, own the place. The staff seem to work well as a team and get good medical benefits. The children (about 40? in two classrooms) love their teachers. The children have lots of fun and, if they want to, learn to read and work with numbers quite well. Other stuff they do includes music, gymsters, art, nature studies (for older kids), and tea time. The play ground is large and diverse. We love it and plan to send our younger child there, too (siblings generally have priority). They accept children as young as 2 years and 9 months. You can go on a tour and submit an application no earlier than the October which falls 11 months before you intend to start your child (I think this is quite sane - to not allow earlier applications). If you plan to start your child later in the school year than September, you may still be able to tour during that prior October. I know it can be confusing. Call Kerry (510-525-1377). She'd be glad to speak with you or anyone else who has questions, and let you know when she takes appointments for those tour dates. If anyone has more specific questions for parents regarding Cedar Creek, I will be glad to answer them. I prefer that you post them here so others may benefit form the discussion - and so that other Cedar Creek parents can toss in their two cents, too! Suzanne



Regarding child with food allergies ...


My child attends Cedar Creek Montessori in Berkeley. One of her classmates has some allergies; I don't think a peanut allergy is one of them. The child with allergies has her own container for snacks and everyone has their own lunches from home. She knows to only eat out of her own lunch and her own snack container. Her snack container is put out on the snack table with its cover on. Other kids know that they don't open or eat out of her container. The kids also know that they are not to eat food from anyone else's lunch. As far as i know, this system works for the child with allergies, for the other children, and for the school. Good luck!



We have been very happy with Cedar Creek. Our oldest just "graduated" after spending three years there and our youngest just began there this fall. The teaching staff is what makes CC so special. Our daughter had the same core teachers for her entire time there, which created the opportunity for very close, individual relationships between her and the teachers. The teachers are all very sensitive, caring and supportive of the children, very attuned to individual needs and learn styles. The school uses the "best" of the Montessori approach, excluding some of the rigidity that can accompany a very traditional Montessori program.. The program is geared to working families; kids that attend the full day program have the opportunity to participate in nature and art in the afternoon, as opposed to some school that we initially visited which offered great programming in the morning, but little more than free play in the afternoon. The co-directors create an environment that supports the entire school community, teachers, parents and, of course, the kids. We think Cedar Creek is a great school!! Seth


I can recommend Cedar Creek Montessori in North Berkeley. My older daughter attended there and my younger daughter is starting next month. I can't recommend it highly enough. The owners (one is a head teacher, the other the director) are terrific and really understand how to run a school. The teachers are lovely and warm. It feels like family. Another incredible thing about the school is that they have had the same teaching staff for several years now, truly an accomplishment given the troubles other pre-schools and day cares have encountered with teacher turnover.

For Cedar Creek, the child need not be potty trained. I know of more than one family whose pre-school placement feel through because their kid wasn't potty trained by the start date of school. It seems that most people are starting their pre-school search about a year before they expect their kids to start. Cedar Creek kids need to be 2 years, 9 months, which I believe is somewhat standard. Some schools do start at age 2. Since Cedar Creek is very popular, most children start in September after they've turned 2.9.

Cedar Creek is a Montessori based education, which I love, having gone through it myself as a pre-schooler. I know some people think this system is rigid. I believe that the choice and control kids get over their activities in this environment shows enormous respect for them as individuals and creates a lot more flexibility. The daily schedule is consistent, which offers a reassuring and predictable structure to the day. Meghan

My daughter will be ending her three year stint at Cedar Creek this Summer, and I could not say enough wonderful things about it. It makes me sad thinking of her leaving the nuturing, creative, fun atmosphere there. The teachers are what make the school. My daughter was in Prima and Melissa's class but Maryanne is wonderful as well. They all know there stuff, and are terrrific and enthusiastic teachers. Cary, the director is also great, organized, very responsive and comforting, and really concerned about her teachers, in terms of salaries and schedules. I also think their schedule there is exemplary. The afternoon is staffed by a whole set of fresh teachers. Paula and Sarah are great, and the kids don't have to deal with teachers who are tired at the end of the day. In the afternoon the children can pretty much choose to play or be involved in art or other afternoon activities. Teatime is also really soothing just before they go home. We just couldn't have been happier with a shcool. Sophie my daughter has already said how much she miss it when she starts kindergarten. Elizabeth

Hi: I wanted to leave a recommendation for Cedar Creek Montesorri Preschool. It is great. My little girl is 4.5 years old and has been there since 2 years,10 months. She really enjoys going to school and that is what I think is most important. If the kids get the idea that school is fun from t he get-go they will hopefully like it better in the long run. Also, they are very flexible and helpful with the differenent developmental needs of different children. My child just would not use a potty and still wore diapers at naptime and bedtime until she was at least 4 years old. She is pretty well potty trained now, but they don't push the kids to be potty trained at 18 months. On the other hand they encourage each child's strengths. My little girl is well on her way to reading and doing basic math skills. Most of all we love the teachers.!!!!I also have a wonderful home care person to reccomned for babies from 6 months to 3 years old.

May 2000

Re: Culturally Diverse Preschools 
I recommend Cedar Creek Montessori School on Sacramento Street at Cedar. The staff, parents, and children are warm, caring, and diverse. My son attended from 2.5 years through kindergarten, and my daughter is now there. Diversity at Cedar Creek is not lip service, nor trucked out three days per year; on the other hand, their affirmation of diversity is pretty low-key; they do arts and crafts, sing songs and learn stories from other cultures and languages, and basically present different cultures, but it is not particularly trumped up or called attention to; rather, it's presented as something normal that different people have different experiences. You may be looking for something a little more involved, but you should probably take a look at Cedar Creek. 


I can second that recommendation of Cedar Creek Montessori School, with one reservation. The morning teachers are fabulous. My son was 2.8 when he started, and it was an extremely difficult transition for him. The head teacher pretty much held his hand all day for the first six weeks. He is now happy and doing quite well. All of the teachers are well- educated, experienced, and open-minded. For me, the quality of the staff was more important than the philosophy, but CCMS seems to be somewhat more liberal and definately more relaxed than the other Montessori schools I visited. And the kids always look so happy!

I'm somewhat less enthusiastic about the afternoon teachers. (It's not an issue for us, because I pick up my son after nap-time.) Two of them are fine, but the other two seem to be totally stressed all the time, and not able to interact individually with the children. If you want to hear more about this, please email me directly. All of the Cedar Creek parents I've talked to are very happy with the program. Lee

Our daughter has been going to Cedar Creek Montessori for 6 months, kids can start there at 2 and a half. We love it and think she has thrived there, and all of the teachers and staff are great. The school is located at Cedar and Sacramento and the phone number is 510 525-1377.

I've already replied personally to the person who was asking for comments about Cedar Creek Montessori School, but thought I'd also share my perspective to the whole group.

I like Cedar Creek very much, and my children are very happy there. The school has two classrooms, each with about 20 kids. The kids stay in their classrooms for circle time, but play and work together during other times. I have found the teachers to be very gentle and patient with the children, and have sometimes taken my cues from them for guiding my own children's activities and behavior. I feel they are genuinely concerned about each child's needs, interests, and concerns. I especially like the art teacher, who is always coming up with new and inventive things for the kids to create, including "bread day" on Fridays when the kids make bread and then eat it at tea-time around 5:00 p.m. (I don't know if all Montessori schools have "bread day"). There is one teacher my husband and I agree that we don't care for, but one out of eight isn't bad.

For the first several weeks after a child first enrolls, the teachers make a special effort to communicate with the parents about how the child is adapting to the new environment, ups and downs the child has had during the day, and we frequently get notes in our kids' lunch boxes about what activities our children are showing a special interest in. My older daughter has been there for about 1 1/2 years; my younger just started this month. The younger just had her first "gymsters" day at Cedar Creek and we got a note back in the lunch box that she had a great time (of course, she throws herself into all activities with great gusto). Earlier this week they had a dental student in to talk to both classes about tooth care, and each child got a tube of kid toothpaste and a toothbrush -- the kids loved it. A few months ago the kids went on a field trip to visit a fire station -- and you can imagine how they felt about that! Kimberly


I can recommend my daughter's preschool. It is a great place. Both my daughters have gone there and we've been happy with it the whole time. It is open 5 days/week, 7:30-6:00. I'm not sure they would take someone for just the summer, but I think they most likely would. They also have part-time options. It's called Cedar Creek Montessori, located at the corner of Cedar and Sacramento, and the phone number is 525-1377. They take kids starting at 2 1/2. Christina