Conexiones Play School/ Aventuras

El Sobrante, CA

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Type: 
Home-Based Daycare/Preschool
License: 
Owner: 
Kimberly (Kimba) Newton-Klootwyk
415.367.3696
kimberly [at] conexionesinstitute.org
Location: 
El Sobrante
El Sobrante Hills
Maximum Capacity: 
8
Language(s) Spoken: 
English, Spanish
Ages Served: 
6 months - 72 months

Parent Reviews

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My daughter has been attending Aventuras since Sept 2014. She goes 1x/ week as an adjunct to her bilingual preschool. It is awesome! The immersion Spanish is wonderful; my daughter’s Spanish has really improved over the last year. The emphasis on art, nature, and creativity is fabulous. My daughter loves the cool field trips and has become really good at climbing trees. I love that my daughter gets a chance to go to some places which would be tough for me to take her (Palace of Fine Art, Muir Beach), since I have another younger child. I very much like the small number (6-8) of kids. The small size is what makes the field trips, flexibility, and the individualized attention possible. It also creates the feeling of a little family. That there is a range of ages (from 2 to 6) is also really nice, and I think my daughter’s patience with and empathy for her little brother have increased since she started the program. The structure of the day is generally an AM field trip, and PM at the studio. There are regular studio days as well. My daughter loves both. Although the day is long, I don’t think it’s overstimulating or exhausting – there are enough different activities so that kids have a chance to chill out or do whatever they want to do. I think that the small number of kids probably also helps. Kimba often texts me pictures of the kids during the day. We’ve been able to schedule makeup days when we miss a day due to holidays or illness. I have tagged along on field trips a few times and I can say Kimba is an inspiring teacher. She encourages free play and exploration, while effectively communicating limits to ensure safety. She grabs lots of opportunities to teach, but if the kids aren’t into hearing about tree roots just at the moment, she follows their lead and simply picks things up later. She also teaches peaceful dispute resolution and democracy in ways that even 2 year olds get – I’ve seen her quickly resolve squabbles about whose turn it is to hold the binoculars and field guides with a turn-taking system that the kids understand; and I’ve seen her let the kids decide what they want to do (stay at the park or go to the Oakland Museum; stay on last week’s letter of the day or move on) by letting them vote. And she does all this in Spanish, but the kids (of varying comprehension levels) understand! I am less familiar with her assistants but my daughter seems to like them too. My only concern would be if you didn’t think your kid could make it through a whole day and you might have to go pick him or her up early at times. Kimba’s studio is beautiful, but it is up in the El Sobrante hills so it’s not like driving a couple miles to do a pickup. The shuttle stop at Sea Breeze has worked fine for us, though. Also, although Kimba is very communicative, and she encourages parents to participate and to provide feedback, it’s taken me a bit longer for me to get to know some of the other parents and kids since you’re not necessarily running into them regularly. But that’s due to the fact that this isn’t a traditional classroom setting, and because we only do Aventuras once a week (and it could be remedied by chaperoning, which didn’t work for me because of my son’s nap). It’s such an exceptional program, though, I think the tradeoff is definitely worth it!
Archived Reviews: 


Dec 2014

I would like to endorse Conexiones Instituto - a Spanish immersion preschool program. My daughter has been attending one day per week for 1.5 years. She had a little Spanish coming in but I have seen her comprehension increase by leaps and bounds. The other 4 days per week, she attends an English only preschool.

The kids are exposed to art and the outdoors all in Spanish! They are taken on an adventure every week (to a park, museum, the beach). Other days, they spend at the director (Kimba)'s house doing art projects or exploring the oak woodland on her property.

Kimba picks up and drops kids off at a few points between Berkeley and El Sobrante. So transportation is not an issue.

Kimba is warm and loving, a native Spanish speaker, and has an outdoor education background. Highly recommend this Spanish immersion program!!!

http://www.conexionesinstitute.com/aventuras/about/ 
MariaElena


Dec 2014

My 4 yo daughter attends a weekly adventure (aka Aventura) with Conexiones Institute: Spanish Arts & Adventure program. She loves it!. It's been a great opportunity to enrich her other 4 days a week at preschool. Kimba the Director of Conexiones runs a Spanish immersion program, art based with adventures. It's a small group. They also spend time at her Art Studio in the El Sobrante Hills in the afternoons and go to an eco park. My daughter is speaking so much more Spanish. She talks about the eco park all the time. The kids eat lunch as a community. Organic lunch is provided and each kid brings a side to share. The kids have a journal and each week the theme is around a letter of the week. The art studio is amazing. The kids sing, dance and are exposed to different art media. They work on a community art project as well as individual arts and keep a journal. My daughter loves it so much, she asked to go twice starting in the Spring. My only regret, I wish I signed her up at age 3! It's a mixed age kids which creates a supportive, learning environment for all ages. Kids in K-2 or 3 also join the studio art or after play time after school. It's an excellent option for enrichment. Chaperone parents can also join the adventure fields trips.

http://www.conexionesinstitute.com/aventuras/about/

Instead of Transitional Kinder, we decided to stay with Kimba's program, twice a week and our Montesorri preschool the other days. This allows our daughter another year of exploratory learning and mastering Spanish before classroom test driving learning focus starts.

Kimba (as the kids call her) is an amazing educator. I was concerned about my daughter getting used to another place and teacher and the transition was quick -- within a week. So happy we discovered the program on a BPN posting.

Kimba's website includes a list of adventure/field trips. As a parent, I am happy my daughter goes to all these places and I am not trying to squeeze them in on the weekend. Field trip is part of school week. Bella


June 2013

Re: Summer Camp/Program for 4 year old
I highly recommend AVENTURAS (www.aventurasprogram.com) to which my 3-year old daughter has the privilege of being a part of. It is a bilingual (Spanish-English) outdoor day camp that offers children a unique hands-on experience of their environment that further enhance their natural curiosity and vivid imagination whilst building self-confidence, camaraderie and sportsmanship. My daughter has been in the program since April 2013 (once a week) and in this short period of time, I see her blossom with such confidence, joy and enthusiasm. From day 1, she took home with her some Spanish words like pato and gracias, and as she becomes familiar with the language, I observe that she is more receptive to learning it and other languages too. Most of all, I love that she is simply having fun and enjoying the freedom of exploring and learning about the world around her at her own pace with the appropriate educational input. She loves every single day camp and always look forward to the next one. Every week there is a different venue for the day camp (which they get to vote on on the day itself) and this brings about further excitement and motivation for the kids. I previously enrolled my daughter to a conventional pre-school for a summer program and in comparison to AVENTURAS, I can absolutely see the better advantages of this program - children in general are happier, inspired and adapted. Although I actually think that an amalgam of AVENTURAS and pre-school is also worth considering esp. at a later time nearing school age. Having said that, the AVENTURAS program is very flexible with choices between 1 to 5 days of day camps with extended hours plus the bonus option of being a chaperon parent which allows you to get involve with your child's adventure whilst learning Spanish too!!! As a chaperon parent myself, I can only say that this is truly a unique and rewarding experience for me and my daughter as we form lifetime of wonderful memories together which I know we will never cease to cherish. I appreciate that chaperoning may not be feasible to all parents but not to fret as AVENTURAS would welcome your participation at any time. Tia Kimba, the founder and administrator of the program, is a mother herself and always helpful and accommodating with the children's welfare first in mind. It is definitely worth looking into this unconventional type of pre-school program if you wish for your children to be more well-rounded, confident and candidly delightful about the simple pleasures of life that we tend to forget. CHF



April 2013

My daughter comes home announcing she is an ''eco-hero'' (in Spanish of course). We love this program because it has:
* excellent bilingual instruction-and she started with zero Spanish
* a teacher that is highly educated (and not burnt out)
* transportation provided toand from El Sobrante/Pinole/Berkeley/Oakland/Orinda!!!
* great inspiration like ecology, diverse cultures, agriculture, democracy
* accommodation for preschoolers, home schoolers or work at home moms (like me) who need a break
* only 6 kids in this small group- tons of attention, flexible schedule
* Before and Aftercare available
* Great summer camp, few restrictions about how few/many days you can attend Plus, parents who chaperone trips get price reduction (and learn Spanish) www.ConexionesInstitute.org/AVENTURAS Happy Aventuras family!



Jan 2013

New, Exceptional Preschool option in El Sobrante (El Sobrante/Pinole surrounding areas)

Parent Suggesting Preschool: FINALLY, we have found an amazing teacher and preschool learning environment for our daughter in El Sobrante.

***PROS: Kimba, the teacher, is educated and really engaged
Field-trips in nature, museums and libraries (all included)
She's learning Spanish
Tiny class size
Gorgeous learning studio in the hills
Food is communal, and mostly provided
Safety, Politeness and Leadership are taught with kindness
Earth-friendly, Peaceful and Cross-cultural values are center-stage
Work-trade and Sliding scale available, flexible options
My daughter is excited about learning again
***plus:
The teacher picks her up and drops her off at our house! (if you live near El Sobrante)

***CONS:
Limited hours (best for SAHM/WAHM/Homeschoolers or to supplement other care)

***Kimba had a thriving program in SF, and (lucky us) she has moved to El Sobrante this year. She is licensed and can take a few new students in January. Please email her now, so she can take your needs into account when she makes the new schedule.