Little Village Preschool
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We have been extremely happy at Little Village Preschool in Albany. Our daughter Elisa started going there almost 2 years ago, and she loves it! She constantly is talking about all the activities they do there, she loves each of the teachers who are extremely involved with the children and their particular needs. Tami, the director, is very kind and warm. Simone, Fang and Aimee are also very loving. I feel very privileged that Elisa has grown in a safe and nurturing space. She has also learned a lot in Little Village. The preschool has a pre-K program that prepares our little ones for school, and I feel that it has helped us a lot to encourage our daughter to start reading, writing and getting to know what math and science is. I work full time and my husband is a full time student and we have felt extremely supported by LV staff. They have also part-time options. The best thing of our experience at Little Village Preschool has been that our daughter has been extremely happy there. We feel so much gratitude for Tami, Simone, Fang, Aimee and all the parents and children that belong to our Little Village community.
Little Village Preschool is the best preschool in the Albany/Berkeley/El Cerrito area and I highly recommend it. Both of my children attended Little Village Preschool (LVP) starting at 2 years old. My husband and I toured numerous preschools in the area and selected LVP for our boys. The staff is loving, caring, and nurturing. The environment is safe and clean. There is a great balance of indoor and outdoor activities. The pre-K class is structured and well balanced to meet the reading and writing needs of all the students. The director, Tami, has a wonderful communication style. Tami brought any concerns about my children immediately and directly to my attention. One of the things that I most appreciated about LVP was that the children, ranging in age of 2-5, played together. All the children could learn from each other and become friends. LVP has full time preschool options or part-time morning or afternoon sessions. During the summer months, LVP has a range of "camp" style activities to keep the children entertained and learning. We were part of the LVP family for 5 straight years and the staff (Tami, Simone, and Fang) have become like family to us. The best part about LVP is that the preschool helped to thoroughly prepare my children for Kindergarten.
I would like to highly recommend Little Village Preschool for all parents looking for a clean, safe, dependable, and loving preschool for their child. Both my sons (ages 3 and 5) have been attending Little Village, and it has definitely been one of the best decisions we have made for both my kids and my family. I love the balance between free play time and structured learning that goes on a daily basis, and the mixture of younger kids with older kids (2.5 to 5.5yrs) means that all the children are able to make friends and learn from each other. I also appreciate the fact that the same group of teachers have worked there for years, so they truly know each child and each parent. Tami, the Albany site director, is extremely organized and communicative with the parents regarding general school activities, monthly calendar, and special events as well as any issues or concerns that may arise along the way. It's been so great to watch my boys maturing with each year. They've gained such important social skills like respect for others, sharing, friendship, manners, self-control, and independence, and I credit the LV teachers for fostering and encouraging these skills within a consistent learning environment. I also love how Tami teaches a "Pre-K" session for an hour every day with the oldest kids in order to facilitate early writing and reading skills. It was one of the favorite aspects of my oldest son's preschool experience! Additionally, I really appreciate how often the teachers go out of their way to accommodate the individual needs of each child (as well as the parents!). They offer part-time/full-time options as well as a variety of pick-up and drop-off times -- so very helpful! And personally, I will always be grateful to Tami and all the teachers for catering to my son's severe peanut allergy and working so closely with me to ensure he had a safe, happy, and "normal" preschool experience while having a lot of fun along the way. For all these reason, we feel extremely fortunate to be a part of the LV community. best, Catherine A.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Re: Pre-K Preschool in or around Albany?
We've been very happy with Little Village in Albany. It's play-based, but they do a special pre-K program for the oldest kids. Many of the kids there are from Albany and go on to attend Albany schools. Good luck with your search. LV parent
Re: Looking for a small preschool for 2-year-old
Check out Little Village in Albany. Both my kids started right around 2, and had great experiences there. I actually appreciate it more now, in retrospect, knowing how well my kids transitioned into their Berkeley public elementary school. Small, cost-friendly, mixed-ages pre-school with flexible, caring and experienced teachers. Doesn't necessarily show well - it's an older facility - but definitely pulls through on the things that count. Happy Little Village alum
Re: Preschools in Albany area that potty train students
Little Village Preschool - my daughter was ''trained'' there. They are very accomodating and do not pressure the child. I am very grateful for that. Karen
Re: Preschool openings this fall?
I would highly recommend Little Village Preschool at 918 Talbot Street in Albany (510-528-4401). One of my kids recently graduated and my 3-year old is there now. They have a couple of openings left for this fall. The school has a play-based philosophy with lots of hands-on activities and individual care. The staff provide a very warm and nurturing environment and you can tell that each child feels important and well-cared for. The kids do amazing art projects, baking/cooking, science experiments, language (including sign language, chinese, & spanish), reading, outside play 2x per day, etc. They also have optional enrichment programs where outside teachers come in to do creative movement and music classes. The pre-K kids create a wonderful creative writing book that is a joint project by the director and the child. Our older daughter was reading on her own before she graduated. The families are all wonderful and supportive, as are the owner, director, and staff. It truly is a ''little village'' and we feel very fortunate to be a part of it. (It is not a co-op). Suzi
We are considering these two preschools: Piccoli and Little Village. However, the reviews for the school are from 2007 and 2006--we would love current feedback about the schools. anon
My third child is at Little Village and I still love it. The teachers are warm and caring. The children seem to like each other and are very kind. If I had a fourth, I would send him/her to Little Village also. Joan
We are in the process of choosing a preschool for our daughter, who will be three next fall. We would like to find a place that is close by (we live in Albany) and has both part and full time options. Since both my husband and I work full time, the coop preschools just don't seem to be a workable option for us. I visited Little Village Preschool this week and it seemed to fit what we are looking for. I noticed that most of the postings for Little Village were a few years old, and wondered whether anyone had some feedback for us about the preschool. Many thanks for any information anyone can provide!!
My daughter is at Little Village right now. She goes in the afternoon three days a week. My older daughter also attended Little Village a few years ago. I love it. I feel that the teachers are attentive and affectionate. If I needed a full- time preschool, I would not hesitate to put my kids there. Joan
I am the author of a previous posting about Little Village that's on the website. My son started before turning 3 and was a preschooler for three years. His first year at Little Village went very well, his second year a little less well but still fine, and his third year was a disaster.
It's still something of a sore subject so I don't want to go into a lot of detail. But my reflections on the experience that may be of use to prospective Little Village families are: Mostly, I think, the school is or can be a very good place for the younger preschoolers, and I stand by my earlier positive reviews in that sense. But it does not perform as well as we'd hoped at preparing 4- and 5-year-olds for school. And I don't mean in an academic sense -- their pre-K program is fine -- but more in the sense of keeping them engaged and teaching them good social skills.
For many kids, Little Village is undoubtedly a good fit until they begin kindergarten, but, well, my son was a little more challenging and Little Village did not seem to be up to the challenge. We kicked ourselves for not transferring to a different program, as so many of my son's peers did, for the final year of preschool.
The school has had staffing issues in recent years. The owner- director has been occupied with a pregnancy and with the purchase of another school, and has spent less time at Little Village. Some of the ''extras'' they used to offer by bringing in special teachers, like dance and gymnastics, were cancelled for various reasons (none of them the school's fault) and nothing replaced them. The head teacher has, I think, simply been overwhelmed. I do not know whether or to what extent those issues have been resolved this year.
Bottom line: There's a lot about Little Village to like. But keep in mind that both kids and schools change, and the fit between them should be re-evaluated each year
Would anyone be willing to give me recent general feedback about Little Village preschool on Talbot Street? I am interested in any and all experiences with the children, staff and other parents. Also, how you feel about the daily schedule of activities, enthusiasm, safety, etc. Thank you. anonymous
Tami and Simone are the two head teachers and both have worked together with kids for many, many years. They are experienced, easy-going, and like my son, I find them to be genuinely ''nice'' people. The two other assistants are also very sweet -- both parents themselves. LVP is probably not for everyone. The school itself does not ''show'' well in that it is older and shows the wear and tear that little kids will cause while having fun. I was originally concerned because the backyard seemed small to me (esp. compared with my son's previous daycare) but of course my son's only reaction was that ''WOW, LVP has 2 climbing structures instead of 1.'' There is no particular philosphy of child development that is pushed, instead the teachers seem to use their experience to put together a curriculum that is balanced and fluid to the needs of the kids. For example, when my son and a couple of others first started, the first week of circle time was spent going over the structure and rules at the school -- what does the clean up bell sound like, etc. -- but equal time was spent that week reading and discussing books about friendship, how to be a friend and how to make new friends. They also very cleverly played a number of name games that allowed the kids to get familiar with each other. Parents are quickly involved when behavior issues come up but in an open and level manner -- issues are neither sugarcoated nor overblowned. I've always found the teachers responsive and caring. Over the last year, my son has grown increasingly confident in making new friends and tackling new situations. There's also some Pre-K preparation for the older kids. I can't imagine him being better prepared for Kindergarden. Many of his classmates are younger siblings of former students and likewise for us, my younger daughter starts in September
Re: Part-time affordable non-coop? (Jan 2005)
I didn't experience ''snooty'' when searching for a preschool, but perhaps that's only because I didn't call all that many different places! Anyway, my son started at Little Village in Albany a year and a half ago and we've been generally pleased with it. It's a play-based program with no ''attitude'' about a particular educational philosophy, and the students seem about as diverse as one could expect. They offer a morning-only 2-day- a-week schedule for $285 (3 days is $385). That doesn't include a few per-year fees, it doesn't include extra fees for certain optional ''enrichment'' classes (e.g., kindermusic), and there is an additional charge if your kid is still in diapers -- but it's within your stated budget, and as far as I know it's one of the few local preschools that offers a variety of part time schedules.
Our son attends Little Village Preschool on Talbot (across from Cornell elementary school). We have been pleased with it. You didn't ask any specific questions, so it's hard to know what to say, though! It is a play-based school with a pretty ''laid-back'' philosophy, which appealed to us particularly for younger children. I believe they accept children as young as just-turned-two; not potty trained is okay; they offer a large variety of part-time and full-time schedules; in addition to the usual assortment of arts-and- crafts, pretend play, blocks, books and outdoor play activities, they bring in teachers to give classes in music, gymnastics, and other ''special'' areas; there are around 20 kids in the school (which is a converted house) and they are not separated into age-based classes (although older kids do have some pre-K activities while the younger ones nap).
The atmosphere is a bit more chaotic than at some other schools, which you may consider good or bad. But it's definitely not a free-for-all, either; they seem to get the kids to accept the daily routine of circle time, ''work'' time, clean-up time, nap time, etc. without fuss. (As opposed to another school I visited where the teacher seemed to be engaged in a constant, major struggle to get active kids to be quiet and still and/or reticent kids to participate in the songs/activities.)
anon LVP mom
I'm considering sending my child to the Little Village Preschool in Albany. Anyone have any experience with it good or bad? I was underwhelmed by the inside activities, but the teachers were sweet and seemed to really care about the kids. anon
My 4 year-old just started at Little Village in September. It is her first school experience and she loves it. I think that it is a very friendly, down-to-earth place. I really like that they are very flexible and they seem to know the children really well. Joan
My 2.5-year-old son recently started at Little Village and we are pleased with it. I also have neighbors whose children attend or have attended, and they all had good things to say when I was investigating it.
The program is play-based and relatively unstructured, and the school's atmosphere can be a little chaotic. This might be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your preferences and your child's age and temperament. One neighbor says her daughter did very well there at first, but by the time she was 4 years old was ready for a more academic environment and was bored at Little Village. But the school's guiding philosophy that young kids should have time to just be kids is right for us, at least for now.
I think the school offers quite a good range of indoor (and outdoor) activities, so I'm not sure what you meant by 'underwhelmed'. My son can have the time of his life playing with a pebble, so he's far from underwhelmed by the range of toys and materials he can mess with at Little Village. And we really like the special classes in gymnastics, music, etc.
We also really like the flexible scheduling, and we needed a school that would accept a non-potty-trained 2-year-old. The teachers are sweet and caring as you noted, and their disciplinary methods mesh well with ours. Somehow they even manage to get our sleep-resistant kid to take a nap! Our son is already making new friends and is having fun learning new things. He's happy; we're happy. anon
We sent both our boys to Little Village Preschool, and they really enjoyed it. It has a very home-like environment, which was great for my kids when they were 3 and 4. By the time my kids were turning 5, they needed somewhat more stimulating activities, and the Director, Beth, was responsive to parent requests and developed some nice pre-K activities. You are right that the teachers are very caring. Susanna
Re: 3 days a week play-based preschool
You don't say what location you're looking for, but Little Village in Albany is a developmental/play-based school and it offers all sorts of different part-time options, including 3 full days per week. (We're planning to enroll our son there this fall and have a few neighbors who have been satisfied with their kids' experiences there.) anon
We're thinking of enrolling our 3yo son at Little Village preschool in Albany. I checked the UCB website but didn't find any comments. If you have any experience with this preschool (good or bad), I'd be very interested in hearing your comments...Thanks... Mike
My daughter was enrolled at Little Village full time for a year, until she started Kindergarten last fall. She started there just a few weeks after moving here from another state, and loved it from the first day. She is outgoing and independent, which contributed to her success there. I know other parents who have had mixed experiences in dealing with the teachers, but left their children enrolled because the kids loved it so much. My daughter still requests play dates with her friends from there, even though she hasn't seen them regularly for over a year! I know a few of the teachers have moved on since our experience, but I believe the owner and director are still the same. Feel free to contact me if you would like more information or discussion. Kristen
Our child was enrolled at Little Village last year, but we decided not to re-enroll this year. There are things we liked about the school: a good balance of play-based & academic activities & the outside teachers that come in (gymnastics, dance, etc.) were excellent. However, we found that the main teacher was not around very much, and too much of the time the only ones left with the children were the teachers' assistants (who had minimal training & experience & some of whom seem bored & unengaged much of the time). There was an excellent teacher that left during the year & one assistant also left & I understand there have been problems with turn-over in previous years. We also thought that security was pretty lax. We were also disappointed with the school's nutrition practices. Although their written policy was that it avoids sugar & processed food, the policy wasn't carried out in practice. Anon
Our triplets attended the Little Village Preschool in Albany. We have nothing but wonderful things to say about the school, director and teachers. It is a hands on school where the staff is very involved. This is an enthusiastic group of teachers who genuinely care about the children. Please feel free to e-mail us directly for further details. Cinda