The Good Earth SchoolCommunity Subscriber
To see Department of Social Services records on this facility, click on its DSS Facility License # below.
- Prior to 2018, Gail Pavlosky operated Galoshes Family Day Care
The Good Earth School seeks to nurture the whole child and as such, we believe that children benefit emotionally and physically when spending much of their time outdoors connecting with the natural world. The children take daily nature walks on our property which offers a unique learning experience in the Preschool Learning Foundations as well as developing a routine for physical self-care. The Good Earth School uses The Outdoor Classroom approach to facilitate children learning through play. We value the natural curiosity in children and understand our individual roles in encouraging the children to participate creativly in their learning process. COVID protocols currently necessitate modified hours.
We were in the same boat with our daughter and she started at The Good Earth School up in Kensington in February. Our friends daughter who is her best friend, has started a month before and absolutely loved it. They have an 18 month program as well as a 2's program and up until kindergarten. Its an outdoor play-based school run by a biracial couple and a very diverse staff of teachers: latino, black, etc. We have loved it and our daughter had a very smooth transition from being in a nanny share to full time at TGES. They have had a waiting list and are full but will be expanding and may have space in August. Gail and Alan are amazing and if you call to get more info and schedule a tour, they will answer all of your questions and explain their philosophy.
Wishing you luck!
We have our almost 2 year old son at Good Earth School in El Cerrito and we're loving it! Happy to answer more questions.
Not sure if you are located near North Berkeley/Kensington, but both Pinecrest School and The Good Earth School are on 9 acres in the hills (located next to each other) and the kids are outside everyday. My kiddos went there and always came home with stories of hiking, climbing trees, finding bugs, and covered in dirt. They loved it. Note- both schools are more expensive than the other schools we toured, but we wanted the kids to be in nature.
We knew we needed something different for our toddler when he started seeking out sticks and puddles and standing by the front door to get outside any chance he could. The Good Earth School offers exactly what we had been hoping for: a primarily outdoor program run by loving and experienced teachers who nurture each individual child’s development within a small class of other children. Beyond our expectations have been Alan Pavlovsky’s handling of extraordinarily thorough and competent COVID protocols, the thoughtful and heart-warming essays by Director Gail Pavlovsky in the photo-filled weekly digital newsletter, the friendly and interesting families within the larger school community, the bird-filled campus environment, and, best of all, our child’s palpable excitement at the gate each morning! It was one of our child’s teachers who first pointed out to me that a particular sound I had overlooked was actually a word – one of his very first! I couldn’t have been happier to share that little milestone with someone who clearly loves our child, too. This is the way everything feels at TGES. We consider ourselves very lucky to have discovered this vibrant, diverse, warm and wholesome community – and recommend it highly. Particularly when COVID has upended many of our lives, the Good Earth School is a bright spot in my family’s life every single day.
Right next to PineCrest (literally) is The Good Earth School. It is an outdoor, nature based preschool for kids 18months - 6 (right now with kindergarten closures).
My two year old attends and they take hikes, they have a large outdoor area for play, and their activities are heavily based with items from nature. She's not the most outdoor kid, but she's still loving it as do I to balance out the fact that we have no yard. She comes home dirty (from enjoyment, not due to lack of care) and having had a "happy day" - in her words.
Our son came to Good Earth School during the middle of the pandemic because we needed to put him in a good place where he could start socializing with other children. He adjusted incredibly well and thanks to the great care of the staff at Good Earth, especially its owners and operators Alan and Gail, he has had just a fantastic experience there. They have been incredibly accommodating at making his nap work, and provided a loving, caring and nurturing environment which he loves to go to everyday. After the first week he sprinted into the school gates enthusiastically and never even looked back at us. The school is run incredibly well, with very clear and meticulously followed health and safety procedures during these challenging times. Any issue that we have brought up for making things work better have been immediately addressed, incorporated, and improved. I have not seen a preschool run this well ever, and we can't highly recommend it enough. We also really appreciate the diverse staff as this is not common in many of the preschools in Berkeley, Kensington, or El Cerrito. We wholeheartedly recommend Good Earth School and it has been a great place for our son.
We attend The Good Earth School in Kensington, they handle kids 18 months through 6. This year they launched a kindergarten to help parents with the exact things you mention. They are fantastic - you can see reviews of them elsewhere on BPN and we've been nothing but happy. Not sure if they have openings, but they are worth a look. Amazing teacher to student ratio, fantastic teachers, great feedback, and a loving atmosphere.
Our family have been with the Good Earth Preschool for more than 2 years. We loved it before the Covid-19 pandemic and we love it even more now. We were initially hesitant as to how the kids would cope with the many precautions that are necessary, but they are absolutely thriving. The teachers have absolutely normalised mask wearing, made a fun game out of distancing and we have no doubts that our kids are as safe as possible due to the many other protocols that have been implemented. We could not be more impressed with the schools commitment to staying open as much as possible (during wildfires and Covid-19) whilst keeping everybody safe. Our youngest child joined the school when they reopened in July and the bond she has made with her teachers in only a few short months is entirely due to the love and attention she receives.
My family and I could not be happier with The Good Earth Pre-School. I can't stress enough what an outstanding pre-school this is, that continues to exceed our expectations. Every day we feel that we've hit the jackpot with the education, care and fun this pre-school provides our son. A few of the things we love are:
1 - the school is a mix of structured activities (including science projects, circle time, soccer, music) and free play (hikes, a great outdoor space, art)2 - the teachers are carefully hired and work with the kids on both education and social skills such as kindness to all "friends" and treating others respectfully3 - if children are interested in a certain topics, they create activities, experiments and lessons around it. Weekly curricula are in place and follow various seasons and cultural celebrations4 - the school provides healthy lunches5 - each child is treated with care, from daily interactions to feedback during parent-teacher conferences Owners Gail and Alan do an outstanding job of providing a safe place for the kids to learn and grow, and fostering a community for the families. I truly could not recommend this school enough.
They might be full or running a wait list, but if you are North Berkeley you should look at The Good Earth School in Kensington. http://thegoodearthschool.com/ It is extremely diverse, not just in terms of the teachers, director, and students- but as a priority of the curriculum. For example- right now they are doing unit on Women's History, and my daughter comes home and tells me about Mae Jemison (the astronaut), Selena (the Tejano singer), Coretta Scott King, and Malala Yousafzai (among others). It's located on the grounds of the Berkeley Unitarian Universalist Church but is not affiliated with the church. It's outdoor (as much as possible), nature-based- so my kids are out on hikes everyday and learning about their world. Plus, they include a healthy vegetarian lunch everyday, eating stuff like dal, tacos, and pasta and veggies. Most of the families are from Kensington, North Berkeley and El Cerrito.
If you are in North Berkeley, check out The Good Earth School in the Kensington Hills. http://thegoodearthschool.com/ It's on a 9-acre property so the kids take daily hikes and spend most of the time outside playing. My kids (2 and 4) love it there and it's comparable to Duck's Nest. Plus, a healthy vegetarian lunch is included. As of late last week there were a couple spots left.
Where do I even start? Let's start at the beginning. While I was pregnant w/ my 1st (son Zane, now 2.5 years old), I started my search for in-home day care. It was important to my husband & I to find a home for my baby, as opposed to a public day care. And we didn't want to go the "nanny" route, as we wanted him to engage with other kids. I scoured the area & came across rave reviews (here on the Berkeley Parents Network) on Gail Pavlosky, owner of Galoshes (in-home) Day Care. I met with her & instantly fell in love. It's just a vibe I got. She's got a magnetic energy. And it's beyond genuine. We both left that conversation feeling like we had been friends for forever. But I asked 1 thing of Gail (and her husband/partner, Alan Pavlosky)...I wasn't looking for someone to babysit my child while I was at work...I needed someone who I'd partner with in raising my child. And Gail has far exceeded my expectations. FAR. You see, I'm a career-driven woman & have always known that I would want to continue working once I had children. And Gail makes that all feel safe to me. Zane spends more time with her everyday than he does with us, so I need to feel safe. Zane joined Galoshes when he was 6 months old. He's not only truly happy...he's well-behaved, funny, kind, well-mannered, creative, & smart. Do my husband and I have something to do with that? I suppose. But alot of credit goes to Gail. She is something special. She oozes genuine kindness. And her love for the earth is magical. We also have a 16 mo old daughter (Kai) at Galoshes. She too is so so very happy, incredibly intelligent, curious, & kind. How can you get that lucky twice? One word: GAIL. From the start, she recommended that we move Zane to pre-school at 30 mos because she felt that her home wasn't a big enough space for older toddlers to run around. So, a responsible parent would have started looking at pre-schools prior to him turning 2. But I didn't. Because I knew deep down that Gail's dream of opening her own pre-school was going to come to life. I had such faith that it was all going to work out. Shame on me. In hindsight, I should have gotten him on a wait-list somewhere. But again, I just believed the stars would align. And low and behold, dreams do come true. I remember the day that Gail told me about the GOOD EARTH SCHOOL. I buckled at the knees and cried my eyes out. We moved Zane over to the Good Earth School when it opened back in March. Perfect timing. He was 30 mos & truly did need the space to run & climb & hike & paint & garden & sing & dance. Boy, is he thriving! They plant their own food to eat...farm-to-table style. Gail provides a vegetarian lunch everyday. The parents provide the AM & PM snacks. But we've got this "Snack Duty" program where we bring snacks for the whole class 1 day/2 wks. Makes it much easier. In any case, Zane has fallen in love w/ nature. Quite literally. We've seen photos of him literally laying in puddles of water swimming along. It's fascinating. Did I mention they play music in the woods?
Gail not only makes you want to be better parents, she makes you want to be better people. You will consider yourself LUCKY...BLESSED, in fact...if you're able to enroll at the Good Earth School & to have her help raise your kids. She's an inspiration. And we not only call her Zane & Kai's caretaker, we're honored to call her our friend.
Long-winded...yes. But y'all deserve to hear it. And quite frankly, Gail deserves to hear it as well.
-Jess (& Walt) Daugherty
Review for Galoshes Daycare and the soon-to-open Good Earth School (Pre-school):
All of these reviews are spot on and the quality of care at Galoshes is still amazing. After hours spent on the internet, visiting an array of places in the East Bay and Marin and having my child attend another daycare for a few months, I worried that I would either find a daycare that was nurturing and loving OR one that focused on child development. It's is surprisingly hard to find both. I want my baby to develop and grow and be a kind, caring, super genius (!) but I also want her to love the people at her daycare and kiss them and hug them and miss them! I find all of this at Galoshes. The quality of the activities is impressive. The littlest babies to the 2.5 year olds participate AND benefit. The outdoor classroom is REALLY a classroom: fun and so thoughtfully designed to enhance what is already beautiful in nature.
SO, I am both excited and relieved that Gail will be applying her decades worth of child development experience, education, legit cooking skills and gut instinct to the Good Earth School. It's Reggio-inspired. The focus is NATURE and being outdoors and using the outdoors as a place to learn. It's a calm, beautiful environment and really, you should just go and visit.
Ok, ok one more thing! Gail has a gift for finding and training other teachers. Talk to her references from years ago or now and they will go on and on about those teachers and Gail. I love Amy and Melissa. My daughter loves them too! And they are in-tuned with the needs of the kids. When one of them is having a rough day, they might spend more time being hugged and held. Or maybe a teacher will spend time with a child in a quiet area, which can be really helpful. When I visited, it really struck me how happy and friendly all of the kids were. I could go on and on, but I won't! Call Gail. Go visit! Daycare or preschool! Did I tell you that my baby loves quinoa and veggies? She's inspiring my husband to eat veggies! Will that convince you?
If you are looking for something for next year, the Good Earth School is opening in late January/early Feb. The owner Gail, has a infant/toddler daycare, Galoshes (https://www.berkeleyparentsnetwork.org/recommend/preschool/galoshes) where my son currently attends. We are moving him to Good Earth when it opens. My older daughter also attended Galoshes with Gail and she is great at dealing with children that sound like your daughter. My daughter is the same way... she's especially boundary-challenging! Outdoor play is the highlight and emphasis of Gail's philosophy. The new school will be in Kensington (on the property of the Unitarian Church).