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Play-based Co-op Preschool
Hi there, my daughter attended Highlands Preschool in Piedmont (and my son will attend in the Fall). It is a play based co-op morning program and I can't recommend it highly enough. The community is so friendly (there are families from all over Oakland as well as Piedmont) and the teachers are incredible. My daughter loved it and so did I. Highlands has one free spot in the Monday/Wednesday/Friday group (for 4 year olds) so if you are interested please get in touch with carriekmarkowski [at] gmail.com who is charge of admissions! Alessandra
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Re: Co-op in Oakland?
Our kids have attended the coop preschool called Highlands Preschool in Piedmont. We love it! The teachers have a gift with children, the environment is warm and inviting, and the community of families are supportive and close. Highlands accepts children who are 2 years, 9 months by Sept 1 for their Tues/Thurs class (your child is a little young this year but can apply for 2015-16). Highlands Preschool is a wonderful preschool! Their website is http://highlands-preschool.org/. cindy
Re: Preschool in Oakland?
We love Highlands Preschool in Piedmont. I can't say enough wonderful things about this school. It has an incredibly nuturing and warm environment and the teachers are wonderful. My older son attended last year and my daughter is currently in the Tues/Thurs program. It is a cooperative school so parents help in the classroom - it has never felt like too much and it creates a close community of families. We highly recommend! Here is their website: http://highlands-preschool.org/ Cindy
Hello, I have been touring schools for my youngest daughter and was curious if anyone had any feedback on Highlands Preschool in Piedmont? I met with the director there and it seemed wonderful, but we have not seen any recent information here. Does anyone have any recent feedback/ information? Thank you! anon
I cannot say enough wonderful things about Highlands Preschool! We love it and my children love going to school. My daughter is currently in the Tu/Th program and will enroll in the M/W/F program next year. My son attended last year and he thrived (we moved him to Highlands mid-year from a montessori preschool - I wish we had moved him sooner!). The teachers are warm and caring and the environment is nurturing and most of all, fun and alive. Deanna, the director has this way of making each child feel special. Highlands has a play based curriculum and it is a co-op so parents help in the classroom (approx. 1 time per month). It has never felt like too much and has enabled us to get to know the other families better. I highly recommend Highlands! Cindy H.
I absolutely love Highlands Preschool! My son is in his second year and he adores his teachers and friends. The community and spirit that each family brings makes this place that much more special. Everyone seems to be willing to chip in to make it a wonderful place, free of drama. I could not have asked for a better environment for my son to be a part of and looking forward to enrolling my second next year. Highlands mom
We love Highlands! My son is into his second year at Highlands and he has thrived. The teachers are very caring, super fun and patient. They do so many fun things like visits from an animal rescue group, holiday parties and learning about various cultures/traditions, lots of art, singing, story-telling, spanish and movement. If you are looking for a part-time, co-op, play based preschool this is the spot. The younger kids class is Tuesday/Thursday 9-12 and the older kids are MWF 9-12. Can't say enough good things about Highlands. I hope this helps and good luck on your preschool search! Jackie
My daughter went to Highlands and my son is currently enrolled there. Our family loves it! Both of my children thrived there. The space is very nice with a large outdoor play area and two nice sized indoor rooms with tons of toys, games, puzzles and art supplies. It is a play-based preschool...but the teachers incorporate learning of numbers, letters, writing etc. into everyday play and art projects. My daughter was more than prepared when she started Kindergarten this year. The largest draw to Highlands, hands down, is the Director Deanna. She is so warm, loving, funny and imaginative. The kids (and parents) are drawn to her and she makes Highlands the special place that it is. The other teachers Angela and Jackie are wonderful too. It is a co-op but the obligations are totally reasonable...you work every 6 weeks in the classroom, have a couple cleaning days and a project or two. The co-op really helped me to meet a lot of other parents and many of them are still my best friends today. You will not be disappointed! Carrie
Can anyone share recent experience with Highlands and/or Linda Beach preschools in Piedmont? I've recently toured both schools and liked what I saw, but I'd love to get input from parents as well. Would love to hear positives and negatives - thanks! Montclair Mom
My sons have attended both the Highlands (HPS) and the Linda Beach (LBCP) programs and I have served on the Boards of both schools.
My oldest started mid-year at LBCP when I up and quit my job after realizing my pay, less daycare expense, was negligible. He had a wonderful experience there and maintains a positive relationship with both Barbara Ulbrich and Jean Nelson to this day. They run an excellent program that provides the kids with a social and developmental environment where they can thrive.
My youngest was too young for LBCP so he went to HPS and we have found another outstanding environment where we have both been encouraged to grow and explore our potential. Joanna Wood has developed a beautiful cooperative environment with a diverse, and committed group of seven(!) previous parents who are most of the teachers. Last year, Joanna won a very prestigious award for her dedication to education (Rawlings) for which a HPS parent nominated her.
Now my youngest is at the LBCP PreK, which has been another idyllic experience. He certainly would not have been ready for Kindergarten, but he was ready for the additional challenges of that program. In less than 100 days (they're keeping track), Shelley Kelly and Yvonne Loey have instilled a love of learning and a sense of order in their class. Kindergarten isn't what it used to be and there is so much value in allowing them to develop at their own pace. For a certain group of kids, the PreK option is invaluable.
Both schools are true assets to the community. What's more, they cooperate and work well together. The Directors arrange opportunities for the kids to interact with each other and they collaborate on a ''Summer Fun'' program in June and July. When they were each remodeling their playground, the other school generously scheduled time for the remodeling school to use theirs.
You asked for positives and negatives. The biggest drawback is the limited number of hours, but that is more of a problem for the parents than the kids. An appropriate amount of time for most of these tender young people to spend at preschool is hard to fit into our busy lives.
I would be more than happy to be able to send my children to either of these schools all over again. The experience I've had by seeing what each school does, in their own way, has only strengthened my parenting skills that much more. With my preschool days ending, I can only say enjoy these next few years because they sure can be fun! -Elaine