Garden Day Small SchoolCommunity Subscriber
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Try reaching out to Jenny at Garden Day Small School on Parker Street near San Pablo Park -- it's a wonderful preschool and covid conscious. This is our 4th year at Garden Day (2 years with the older kid, 2 years with the younger), and while we loved it pre-pandemic, we've been super impressed at how it's been operating over the last 18 months. It's also small -- currently about 8 kids, with a 12 kid max. Lots of families in the neighhorhood, homey vibe, kids are outdoors most of the day, wonderful and enthusiastic teachers. I give it my highest recommendation.
Garden Day on Parker (and Acton) is wonderful. Both our kids have gone through the program, can't speak highly enough about the school. Play-based, supportive and nurturing, excellent outside space, with a wonderful community. It's usually fully enrolled due to word of mouth, but might be worth reaching out to Jenny, the director. Could be a great fit.
My 2.5 year old son started Garden Day this year and we have been beyond happy. It is a wonderful, homey and loving school with the best outdoor play area I've seen in a preschool :) Jenny the director is absolutely wonderful and caring, and all the teachers are fantastic. My son is excited to go to school every day and is always pretty annoyed when I arrive to pick him up (which as a parent is ultimately what we should want in a school.) I am thrilled that we found Garden Day and highly recommend it. They have helped with potty training, and ultimately are a home away from home for my child. I also love that they have flexible hours for working parents. Naomi
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Garden Day on Parker Street is great. My daughter started there this year and we are really happy there. My daughter looks forward to going. The teachers are wonderful, I can't say enough good things about them. It is a really sweet group of kids and many are from the neighborhhod so we see them at the park etc. It is so great being close to school too, walking there together in the mornings is a special part of our day. It is a small personal preschool and I really like that. Call them to make an appointment to take a tour. Happy Parent
Anyone have recent experience with Garden Day Montessori in Berkeley? Would greatly appreciate any detailed comments positive or negative. Thanks! Anonymous
Our older son is in his third year at Garden Day Montessori and our two year-old will be starting there this next fall. We love it. We feel like it is the right halfway step between home/in-home childcare and going to kindergarten. The teachers are just the right mix of fun, kind, and firm. There's plenty of opportunities to learn, but it is not too highly-structured. Director Jenny Miller, who started out as a teacher in the school and eventually became the owner and director, is very warm with the kids and keeps the place humming along smoothly. All the teachers have been there for several years, as has the music teacher who comes in one day a week. The mixed-age setup has worked great for our son, who appreciated getting help, advice, and support from the older kids when he started, and now enjoys being one of the ''big'' kids doing the same for the little ones. We recomm end it highly. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to contact us directly. Jeff & Kim
I can whole heartedly recommend Garden Day Montessorie School. Our son has been there for the past 2 years. The director and staff are loving, sensitive, bright women who know how to make a child feel completely at home. They provide a most loving environment for the children, are great in dealing with the little disputes that arise between kids, have a great music and yoga program and very fun circle time educational curriculum. The staff come from different backgrounds and generations and complement each other beautifully. They have given us great advice on many topics. The physical environment is very sweet, with a large outdoor play area. They are not a strict Montessorie school, but do have the M. tools available. As we are preparing for Kindergarten, I only wish we can find a school as perfect as this one. Feel free to call me with questions. Eva
My son is at Garden Day Montessori now, it's his second year and he will be going there next year as well. One thing I was impressed with when I went to the parent orientation was how many families were returning families with 2 and 3 siblings having attended the school. I thought,wow, they must be doing something right and they do. I looked at a bunch of schools and the physical space at GD is nice and cozy, big enough for the amount of kids and not too big so as to be impersonal or imposing. The teachers are very loving with the kids, they seem to teach and reinforce good social skills among the kids, like you would at home. It was more important for me for my child to learn how to get along with other kids, start learning sharing and quiet time and little teeny responsibilities and be exposed to art projects, etc...I didn't care really about academics at that age, but my now three year old comes home and says Mommy did you know Batman (his obsession) starts with ''buh?''. They also worked with me with potty training and did the bulk of it in a nice relaxed way. It fact, it's a very relaxed but structured place. I think it's really a great place for kids with pretty easy parent responsibilities compared to some of my friends kids preschools. I also am friendly with a lot of the other parents who as a group are pretty friendly and warm. Feel free to email me if you have specific questions and good luck finding a school! Latromb1
Re: Intimate, warm preschool with fewer than 20 kids
Though you shy away from strict Montessori I can highly recommend Garden Day Montessori on Parker in West Berkeley. Small (16-20 kids any given day), flexible (part and full time schedules), nice homey facility with a good back yard and plenty of outdoor time. It is not a strict Montessori program, heavy on the play and social interaction, but benefits from the great Montessori materials and responsiveness to individual kids interests. Great teachers who are very loving and creative. We have two sons there (2.5 yrs and 5 yrs) and and my nephew and they love the teachers. Owner is unconventional and the atmostphere is somewhat ''alternative'': they encourage goofi- ness, don't blink when the little boys turn up in dresses, encourage parents to stay for activities, have excellent yoga and music teachers every week, plus field trips and special visitors from the Vivarium and the symphony. Pretty cool all around. They also offer a 6 week summer session which you can skip all together or change your schedule to save money. I can't say if they take kids JUST for the summer session but maybe. I know they are taking applications for next fall and that they will have a good number of openings because so many of the current kids are leaving for Kindergarten (whereas last Sept they only had one slot due to so many siblings coming in!). Margi