The Good Earth SchoolCommunity Subscriber
To see Department of Social Services records on this facility, click on its DSS Facility License # below.
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. Recognizing that children learn best through play, The Good Earth School is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. We value the natural curiosity in children and understand our individual roles in encouraging the child's active participation and creativity in their own learning process. We provide a nutritious vegetarian lunch which is included in the monthly fee.
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).