The Model School

Berkeley, CA

To see Department of Social Services records on this facility, click on its DSS Facility License # below.

Childcare Center, Preschool
DSS Facility License #: 
Model School Comprehensive Humanistic Learning Center
(510) 549-2711
info [at]
2330 Prince St. (Elmwood)
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
Chinese, English, Farsi (Persian), Spanish
Ages Served: 
3 months - 72 months
8:00am - 5:30pm
Additional Services & Features: 
Afternoon option, Drop-in available, Part-time available, Pre-K program, Year-round, Sibling discount, Snacks provided, Organic options, Vegetarian options, Special diet support, Cloth diapers accepted, Potty training support, Special needs support
Editors' Notes: 
  • Preschool License # 010211112 (capacity = 50)
  • Infant Ctr. License # 010211122 (capacity = 20)
About Our Program: 

The Model School is an accredited childcare facility with a 30-year history. Led by Dr. Haneefa Shuaibe-Peters, the school's program is based on Montessori principles and focuses on providing a comprehensive development & education program. The excellent, credentialed teachers implement curricula designed to stimulate, encourage, and educate.  Enrichment activities include weekly dance and music classes and lots of outdoor playtime. Older students attend summer field trips.

The school has a vibrant and active parent community. The Model School is located near UC Berkeley campus (around the corner from Whole Foods) and offers care with a flexible fee schedule and sibling discounts.

Pre-K spots available now!

Parent Q&A

Select any title to view the full question and replies.

  • Hello!

    We are looking at Model School in Berkeley as a potential daycare for our daughter.

    The reviews we have seen on BPN and Yelp are generally very positive but not terribly recent. The reviews also seem to indicate the presence of a "very active parents group" and facilities that are potentially in need of some updating. 

    If you have a recent experience or child enrolled there, or have even thought about it carefully as an option recently, we would love to hear your thoughts or experiences. 

    Not sure what age your daughter is, but my child has been attending the Model School infant room since the spring and loves it. The teachers are very caring and attentive, and the classroom is clean and organized. The older kids' classrooms are Montessori-inspired and it seems like they are given ample outdoor time. There is a parent leadership group, which hosts monthly parent meetings with the executive director. It's true that the facilities could use some updating, but that was not a deal-breaker for us. I believe the website lists the dates of when tours are offered.

  • Recent Experiences at Model School

    (1 reply)


    We are looking for a montessori-based preschool with a higher percentage of mixed/black students and teachers. Please let me know your experiences at the Model School, as we are considering enrolling our 3 year old there. Thank you!

    Hi! I'm a parent at the Model School and we love it there, the new administration (run by the really great Dr. Peters) has really been improving a lot about the school, including much needed repairs and focusing on a highly engaged parent group. As for the percentage of mixed/black students, the numbers are on the lower side but the teachers, the percentage is much higher. I'd suggest having them connect you with a current family if you have more in depth questions!

  • 2021 / 2022 Information on the Model School

    (2 replies)


    I would love some insights on the Model School's infant care program including how well the infants liked it, caretakers, parent network etc. The reviews online are a few years old. 

    Thank you! 

    Great preschool.  Our daughters are now in their early 20s and they enjoyed their caregivers and the parents network at the Model School. 

    Over the years, we've met neighbors and colleagues through our different groups - whose children have also attended the Model School within the last 5 years. 

    So from our experience, the school's support from the caregivers to the parents is strong. 

    Sadly, TMS didn't work for us. Lots of conflicts between/ among teachers/ staff that spilled into the classrooms. Licensing violations. The main building (not so much the infant center) and (all) playgrounds needed a lot of repairs/ update, but the school never managed to find the funds to pay for them. They have a new director now, so maybe things have changed. I suggest connecting to a current family, hopefully they can speak to the changes that the new director has been able to implement. They used to have a really great parent community, but I am not sure it still exists. If the parents group still exists, the parents group president should be able to identify a family that has been there for years. 

  • 2019 Info for the Model School

    (1 reply)

    Hi everyone,

    Would love some updated info on the Model School. Many of the posts are a few years old.

    Would love information particularly on the infant/toddler programs and the teachers.

    Thank you!

    Happy Sunday! I can't speak specifically to the infant/ toddler program, just the school overall. My kiddo started with their preschool, but a lot of kids graduate from infant to toddler to preschool - I'd say probably the majority start at a younger age. We think it's a great school. The teachers are very loving, respectful and engaged. Probably a more diverse teacher body than other schools in the area, at least compared to the ones I toured one year ago. Toddlers and preschoolers have dance and music classes once a week, Mr Michael comes for story time too! They have a large playground, fenced off areas for the toddlers, and raised garden beds that the older kids take care of. TMS is Montessori based, there'll be short lessons on a variety of subjects. My kiddo's class just did two months on the solar system - it was amazing how much they picked up and what they can explain about all planets and the solar system in general. One the best things about TMS is their very active parent group that is very engaged within the school and organizes picnics, fundraisers, work days to spruce the school up, parents night out and more fun things. As far as I know there are open spaces for toddlers, but the infant program is full, and the waitlist is pretty long -- there will be an open house next month if you want to talk to teachers and parents! Happy to talk offline too if you have questions! 

  • St. John's or Model School?

    (2 replies)

    My husband and I just toured Model School as a potential daycare center for our first child. We were wondering if any current or recently-graduated parents would be willing to share their candid thoughts and review of the school to help us in our decision making. We like the Montessori philosophy of self-guided and self-directed play, but don't think AIM is quite the right fit for us. We like that Model School emulates a lot of the self-directed play and learning, and are also looking into St. John's as a possibility (though their waitlist seems to be much longer, and we have yet to hear anything back from then). I've read some of the older posts regarding the two different centers, but we were hoping to get some more up-to-date thoughts (particularly because the infant community at Model School moved into a different building set up this year).

    Thank you in advance!


    Our 5yo has been at St John's Childcare Center on College for 2 years now; our infant has been there for a few months, but will be transitioning to a family daycare that's closer to our house (and $400-700/mo cheaper!).  Our child and we have liked St John's a lot.  One thing that's been nice is they have a quarterly or so potluck on a Fri evening, and so you get to meet other parents. We made some friends that way.  We find the care to be quite good- they're a little more on the self-directed play end of the spectrum, we think.  When our son comes back filthy, we know he's had a great day, and that's exactly what we want.  They have a couple three date nights a year, to fund a scholarship program for lower income families, which we think is really nice.  We would recommend it. I don't know anything about the Model school.  Our only other experience is corporate day care (Bright Horizons), one of the years at a purpose-built facility.  I find these to be designed with the parents in mind, more so than the kids.  St John's isn't like that. It's nice community day care, a little run down, but kids won't know the difference.  HTH.

    I can't speak to the Model School, but our son has been at St. John's for a year and a half. He started in the baby room when he was 1 and is now in the toddler room. We chose St. John's because we wanted somewhere that was warm and nurturing and really flexible for parents, and we've been very happy. Our son is thriving and loves his teachers and friends, and as the other respondent noted, the potlucks and parents' night out are great perks. I'm sorry to hear you're not hearing back from the Center Directors - keep trying!

  • Model School or St. John's?

    (2 replies)

    I'm wondering if someone can provide some insight about the sizes and cohesiveness of the daycare and preschool classes at the Model School. I've read wonderful things about it but would like to know if current parents feel that there is a true cohort of students or whether the flexibility of hours/schedules has an impact on this. Our kids attend centers now where the same kids are present each day for the same schedule and I think it contributes to their sense of security and friendships. If anyone has thoughts on their experience, I'd appreciate hearing.

    We are also looking into St. John's in Berkeley for daycare and preschool -- if anyone has current recommendations/thoughts on this school, I'd appreciate it (those posted on BPN seem to be a couple of years old).

    Thank you!

    Both our boys are currently at the Model School, actually in the same class, PK (though our almost 3 year old started in the toddler class in June).  They are both very happy as are we.  Our kids go 3 days a week for 25 hours and i wondered about cohesiveness too but it seems like most of the kids are there every day and because the school accepts babies 3 months and up many kids have been there since then and there is a real cohesiveness.  Actually the parents are really active too and there is a lot of bonding with the families so its a great place.  The same 4 teachers are in each classroom every day as well so there is stability.  Our 4 year old started right at 3 and is now quite comfortable there and our 2 almost 3 year old had some adapting to do after being in a nanny share since 6 months but is now well adapted. 

    You really cannot go wrong with the Model School. Fantastic community, fantastic committed staff, extremely flexible scheduling.

    In regards to families on different schedules, the core time that the kids are there allows them to get to know each other. We definitely got to know the families who picked up at a similar time that our family did, but many families hang around on the playground to socialize after picking up their children, which gives parents a chance to get to know each other. There are also family events and volunteer activities (it is a co-op that encourages family involvement in work days and parent's meetings and volunteering in the classroom), and these provide opportunities for parents to get to know each other. My daughter is a couple years out of the Model School, but the friendships we made there remain some of our most valued family friendships, and I will always think of the girls my daughter got to know in preschool as "her girls."

    So much gratitude for this wonderful school and wonderful community.

Parent Reviews

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The Model School opens at 7am. Just a block away from the Whole Foods on Telegraph. They have rolling enrollment and likely have openings for 2yo+ (infant-2 has a waitlist usually). My 3yo and 1yo go there and the long hours are great!

The Model School in Berkeley is open 244 days a year. Child care can be provided 7a-6p. Very flexible when it comes to their contract, that is, if your hours change, you can change your child's hrs easily too. They have a few openings in the older toddler (18 months  - 2.9 yrs) and PreK classrooms (2.9-5 yrs). We love the school. Very active parent community, lots of social events, great for making friends and giving back to the community (the school is a non-profit). More diverse than other schools I've visited too. My son (3) started PreK last year and is thriving. They recently did units on the solar system, bugs & insects, the ocean - we got lectured about echolocation and bioluminescence a few days ago ... Totally recommend! 

The Model School has openings for preschool as of beginning of May. Not sure if they filled all of the spots for the 2019-20 school year but it’s worth checking out. Our daughter has been there for a year, and just joined one of the pre-K classes. She loves it!

Best way to get a response is by calling the main number. 

Our daughter has been attending the Model School since she was about 10 months old. (She's now 3.) She absolutely loves it. It follows a play-based, Montessori-inspired approach to early childhood education; we find it strikes just the right balance of structure and flexibility for our child. The teachers are so caring and committed, and do an amazing job of crafting themes and age-appropriate lesson plans that keep the kids engaged and excited to come to school every day. We've seen our child really blossom here. Tuition is very reasonably priced (especially for this area!) and the hours are excellent for working parents: 7 am to 6 pm. We highly recommend it. 

The Model School (in south Berkeley) has openings now. We have our daughter in the Toddler 2 class and she loves it. They are play-based, Montessori-modeled curriculum. The school has outdoor play yards, dance class, music class, and singing story time - all weekly for each class. 

Feel free to reach out out if you have questions. 

We are thrilled with The Model School in south Berkeley. It's not in the immediately neighborhood of San Pablo Park, but a relatively quick drive down Ashby - located near Ashby and Telegraph. We've been at the school for 4 years with our two sons and couldn't be happier with the loving teachers, thoughtful kid-centric approach, and parents community. If your daughter is potty trained she may be able to go to the Pre-K room where I believe there are openings. Otherwise, I'm not sure if the two year old room has openings or not, but you should definitely call to find out and get on the waitlist if not. It is extremely flexible for scheduling and there are great full time hours (and limited vacation days) for working families.

If your 3 year old is potty trained, I believe the Model School in south Berkeley (Telegraph and Prince) has openings in their Pre-K room. There is also a baby room that accepts babies starting at 3 months. I'm not sure if there is an opening now or a waitlist for the baby, but at least you could have the two at the same place once a spot for your baby opens up. We've been at the Model School for 4 years now with my two boys and absolutely love it there. It's a completely kid-centric approach and the teachers truly love the children and get to know them as people and don't stick to a rigid philosophy, but what works best for each child. The parent community is amazing as well. We live in Rockridge and it's really convenient, and has great hours for working families.

The Model School definitely has openings for a potty-trained three-year-old, and there's an infant program, too. It's on Telegraph right at the Berkeley/Oakland border, and we love the teachers.

The Model School is truly a special place and we couldn't be happier that we chose it for our two daughters. Our oldest has been at the school since she was 15 months (she is now in the PreK classroom) and our youngest joined the toddler classroom recently.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about this school. The teaching staff is absolutely wonderful and loving. They do an excellent job following the principle set by the director that each child deserves respect and the individual attention to develop their own interests, skills and individuality. The lessons are Montessori-based but with a heavy focus on play-based learning and fostering individual interests and curiosity. The space is open and bright with everything the children need to express themselves and learn. And they are definitely learning! Our 3 1/2 year old can already write her name!  Most importantly, our girls LOVE this school and we, as parents, love being a part of the incredible community it provides. This is truly a special place. Highly highly recommended.

I highly recommend The Model School in Berkeley. Both of my kids went there (one starting at 21 months, the other starting at 4 months). They take kids from 3 months to 5 years old, separated into age-group classrooms. The teachers are wonderful. There is also a very active and welcoming parents group.

The Model School in south Berkeley (near Whole Foods) takes them that young. He would start in the toddler room, then move to the Pre-K room when he's potty-trained.  The Model School is one of the most reasonably priced preschools around and they offer very flexible scheduling.  The teachers are loving and they take field trips during the summer.  My daughter had a great year there (then went on to kindergarten).

The Model School in south Berkeley (near Whole Foods) has a very flexible schedule, but I would recommend enrolling your daughter for at least two days/week if you want her to feel connected to her school.  Also, having sent 3 kids to kindergarten, I don't think they need academics at all in preschool, other than counting and maybe writing their name.  So I recommend The Model School--should meet all of your needs.

I highly recommend The Model School Comprehensive at 2330 Prince Street in Berkeley, (510) 549 2719. They accept kids, 3 months to 6 years, year-round. My kids have attended Model School at every age level, and we love the school, the teachers, and the community.

The Model School is really special. It's a wonderful school with warm, loving teachers and a diverse school community. The teachers are highly trained and have been there for years. They offer the most flexible hours for working parents, they have fun family activities so we can connect with each other, and they offer a monthly "Kids Night Out" so parents can have a night off. Our daughter can't wait to go to school each day because she truly loves being there. She runs into the arms of her teacher and gives her a huge hug. The school is modest looking, but the most important thing to me is whether there's real heart at a school. Model School has it.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Oct 2015

RE: Feeder Preschools for Peralta?

When my daughter entered kindy at Peralta, she came in with at least 5 other kids from The Model School. Some of those girls continue to be her closest friends. I heartily recommend The Model School anyway, even if there were no Peralta connection! Oakland mom

May 2015

RE: Preschool with room left for 3 year old girl?
The Model School in South Berkeley (near the Whole Foods on Telegraph Ave) has openings in their PK classroom only. No openings in the infant or toddler 1 and toddler 2 rooms. Check them out. My daughter is graduating this June. We've been there for 2.5 years and loved it. Enrollment is on a rolling basis. The school is open year round (no need to find summer camps) and hours are very flexible and conducive for working parents. Every other month a movie PJ party/parent's night out is offered. Model School Parent

April 2015

RE: 4 years old in July - What are my options??

If you end up in Berkeley or north Oakland, I can recommend The Model School. They enroll year-round, so chances are there will be a spot open when you arrive. They have two pre-K classrooms as well, so there is more of a likelihood of a spot opening up mid-year. If you end up in Walnut Creek, no way should you drive to Berkeley for preschool. Way too far, way too much traffic. I'm sure you could find good preschools in WC, but I can't help you there. Anyway, The Model School has warm, loving teachers, a large outdoor space, very flexible scheduling, and very reasonable tuition, especially by Berkeley standards. In summer they go on field trips. They offer weekly music and Spanish. In short, a lovely preschool experience. Welcome to the Bay Area! Mom of 3

March 2015

RE: Looking for a play-based, diverse preschool for my daughter

I think The Model School in south Berkeley meets most of your criteria. And since they enroll year-round, you don't have to worry about missing the boat for Fall 2015. It might be a little larger than what you're looking for, since they have 5-6 classrooms (ranging in age from infant to Pre-K), but of course, your child will be in one classroom with a known group of students. They do art and music and circle time and have lots of free play. I think they could offer a little more outdoor time, but overall, it is a wonderful school. The hours are amazingly flexible (I don't think you will find a school with more flexible hours) and the cost is low by Berkeley standards (hence the school offers more diversity than many). My daughter is now in first grade and still reminisces about Teacher Alice in Pre-K 2. Model School fan

Jan 2015

Re: Preschool with spot for 3.5 year old NOW?

Check out the Model School.  It's in Berkeley off of Telegraph Ave., but not
terribly far from Rockridge.  It is a gem of a school with a phenomenal
director and wonderful teachers.  The facilities are older, but the people that
make up the school are absolutely the best.
Parent of a Model School Graduate

Jan 2015

Re: Preschool with spot for 3.5 year old NOW?

The Model School in south Berkeley has rolling admissions and it would probably
be easy to enroll your 4-year-old. You're right, the 2-year-old might be more
difficult.  The facility is a little shabby, but the teachers are warm and
loving, and the kids are very happy.  My daughter went there and had a
wonderful preschool experience.
Model School fan

Jan 2015

Re: Playbased preschool for next year?

The Model School in south Berkeley meets your top seven criteria (full 5 day care, accepts almost 3 year olds, near s. berkeley or n. oakland, play based, warm & loving teachers, focus on social emotional/conflict resolution, mixed aged groups) , but not your bottom two (small school size, freedom for child to go from outdoor to indoors as desired).

I highly recommend it!
Model School fan

Jan 2015

My daughter attends The Model School Comprehensive in South Berkeley (near the Whole Foods on Telegraph).

I highly recommend it.

My daughter loves the teachers, everyone knows the kids by their first name.  The
school is montesorri style with teachers and families from diverse backgrounds.  
We've made friends with several families.  The school hours and yearly schedule is
very supportive of working families.  They also offer a monthly parents night out /
kids stay in party night which everyone loves.  Weekly music and spanish classes for the kids with plenty of outdoor play time.  During the summer months the todder
classroom go on field trips. The prek classes rooms go weekly walking trips to the
park in addition to summer field trips (The Farm, Amtrak Train, Steam Train, Bus
ride to the local library and Crab Cove) some examples from previous years.  In the
fall kids also take go on walks and gather leaves and other specimens.  They're a
huge focus on ''doing'' to learn.  It's far more than ''day care''.  Kids are
learning in a play based environment.  The school creates a sense of community where everyone is there to make it a great place for the kids.  The room parents organize Fall and Spring potlucks.  There is one annual fundraise event and lot's of
opportunity to volunteer (one off or regular parent volunteer hours). Organic snacks
are provided.  The classrooms have fridges, microwaves, sinks for hand washing.  They support families who are potty training.  Lot's of individual activities for kids to
choose from in the classrooms as well as group activities.  My daughter loves the
Fridays - kids on stage and kids dance time.  We could not have chosen a better
Looking for an daycare in Oakland for our 2 yplace for our daughter.

Nov 2014

We love being part of the Model School community. My daughter attended this school from the age of 13 months to 5 years (T1 classroom through PK), and my 2 year old is currently enrolled in the T2 classroom. We have loved the Model School and Dr. Mante's excellent mission for many years. We initially chose the school for their location, affordability, and very flexible hours (you buy a set of hours every month and then distribute them as necessary.) Since our schedules were so unpredictable, it was a relief to know that the teachers and school understood and always welcomed our children whenever pickup or drop off happened. We adore the teachers and caretakers--they are invested in the children as little developing humans and imbuing them with a sense of fun, imagination, community and social responsibility. We get thorough reports of our children's social, emotional and educational progress. The school is NAEYC accredited, which is a difficult certification to earn (only two preschools in the east bay have this accreditation), so it speaks to the educational values and high standards of the school. The Model School family also extends beyond graduation from preschool: my daughter's dearest friends are Model School alumni and we still hang out with many of the families we met there. Alumni return every year to participate in the Halloween parade and cheer the graduating students during spring graduation. It truly helped us find a community we love, support and depend on. Aimee

Nov 2014

Re: Preschool for 18 month old?

I highly recommend The Model School in south Berkeley (Prince near Telegraph). Your son could stay there all way until kindergarten! My daughter did one year of pre-K there, but many of her classmates had been there since infancy or early toddlerhood. The teachers are sweet and engaging with the kids. They go on field trips, have music class and Spanish, and lots of outdoor playtime (toddlers are separated from the bigger kids). My daughter and her cohort were very well-prepared for kindergarten, which is of course, a few years off for you, but wouldn't it be nice to have him in the same preschool for the next 3-4 years? Model School fan

Sept 2014

Re: when to apply for preschool

We live in a preschool-dense area. But, affordability is a big deal and this will narrow your search quite a bit. So that leads me to my recommendation for preschool: The Model School in south Berkeley. We spent one lovely year there. It's cheaper than many of schools in the area and the hours/days are more flexible than any of the other schools we looked at. They enroll infants as young as 3 months and go all the way through Pre-K. They also enroll year-round, so your child wouldn't have to wait until next fall to begin. They are Montessori-influenced but not dogmatic about it. The teachers are loving and the families kind. Give them a call! Model School fan

Sept 2014

Re: childcare center for 8 month old

I have been a Model School parent now for 5 years and I wholeheartedly recommend it for your child. The teachers are loving and have long tenures at our school. Teacher turnover is actually very low and many have been with the school for 10 years or more. The infant room teachers are great; the staff in the other 4 classrooms are fantastic as well.

Tuition is reasonable for this area and school is open year round. School is closed for major holidays and the period between Christmas and New Years. There are also one or two teacher work days, but these are generally set around holidays. Many Montessori programs will take a summer break. Also, the hours are very flexible and you are free to increase or decrease your hours month to month or change which days you attend week to week. anon

Sept 2014

Re: childcare center for 8 month old

Hi there, I cannot say enough good things about the model school. It is one of two NAEYC accreditated schools in the area. Dr. Mante has done an amazing job setting the tone of happy children learning. My kiddo is 20 months and comes home singing songs, he can count to 10, and he knows (kind of) the alphabet! But most importantly, he loves it. The model school is a great community and when I walk in the 5 year olds often announce, ''John's mommy!!!''. They have a visiting musician come every monday and teach music class. She's fantastic.

I cannot say enough about the teachers. They are all incredibly loving and invested in the kids. Really. I've never heard a voice raised there. And somehow, they get the kids to behave better than the parents can.

Probably the best part, though, for a busy, working parent is that they are very chill. I've only been called in for illness twice which means less work missed. My friends at other schools are constantly being denied childcare bec. of a runny nose!

The infant room is great. They are loving and patient. Every baby has their own crib and blanket. THey know how to handle breastmilk, are easy with special requests, and have no problem with cloth diapers. I'm happy to answer any specific questions you have. susy

June 2014

Re: Part-time small daycare in Berkeley
I'm always happy to recommend The Model School, although I don't think you would consider it small, nor is it a daycare per se. But it is a sweet, happy place with loving teachers. My daughter only spent her pre-K year there, but most families enroll their children as infants or toddlers and stay all the way until kindergarten. The outdoor space is large (though not necessarily all that attractive), the hours are very, very flexible, and the cost is reasonable, compared to many Berkeley/Rockridge preschools. The Model School is on Prince near Telegraph, close to Whole Foods. Model School fan

April 2014

Re: Duck's Nest or The Model School for 2-year old?
Both my children have been through the Model School, from the infant room through PreK, and I recommend it highly. The curriculum is Montessori-influenced (so not play-based, as you were seeking), but the kids have lots of time to play freely outside and explore their interests in the classroom. The PreK classes in particular are filled with opportunities to engage with science, art, writing, math, and music. My kids learned so much and were well-prepared for kindergarten academically and socially, and they made great friends along the way.

While the school is not pretty, I've learned to see it through the eyes of my children - filled with loving teachers, engaging activities, diverse families, and the remarkable leadership of Dr. Mante. The parent community is terrific. I am always amazed to see busy, tired parents offering their skills, time, and energy to make the school a better place for all the kids.

My kids loved being at the Model School. At the end of each day, it was hard to tear them away! Model School Fan

April 2014

Re: Looking for preschool in (or near) the Temescal
You should definitely check out The Model School, on Prince just off of Telegraph. We only spent one year of pre-K there before my daughter was off to kindy, but it was a happy and sweet year. She loved her teachers and made several friends. We know many families who started off in the infant or toddler rooms and continued on through pre-K. It's not the most glamorous of preschools, but in terms of cost, flexibility, and sheer sweetness, you can't beat it. I wasn't necessarily looking for an academic preschool for my daughter, but a couple weeks ago I was helping out in my daughter's kindy class and I noticed that the Model School grads rotating through my station were the better readers and were ahead in their workbooks. Probably just coincidence, but I think it speaks to the fact that The Model School is preparing kids well for big-kid school, even in the midst of all that playing. Model School fan

Jan 2014

Re: Preschool for 2 yr old in Oakland/Alameda/Emeryville

My daughter goes to the Model school ( which is right on the South Berkeley/Oakland Boarder near the Whole Foods at Ashby and Telegraph. While it isn't the most glamorous of looking schools, the tuition and the flexibility of hours can't be beat. You pay monthly based on the number of hours you will need per week (from 15 hours to 55 hours) and the school is open from 7am - 6pm. The program runs all year round - all the rates are listed on the website. The school accepts babies as young as 6 weeks to kids up to 6 years of age. There is a baby room, a 1 year old room, 2 year old room and two 3 - 6 year old preK rooms. As long as their is availability in you age group, you can enroll your child at any time throughout the year. The teachers obviously love and care for the kids deeply, which I think is most important thing anyways (I don't need to send my child to the Harvard of all preschools!) and the flexibility/cost really can't be found anywhere else. I'd check it out for sure. Happy Model School mom

Aug 2013

Re: Montclair Area Preschools for 18-month Old
I think The Model School meets all of your criteria, although it is slightly closer to Ashby BART than Rockridge. It's in south Berkeley, very near Whole Foods. The benefit of TMS is that your son would not have to transition from day-care to preschool because TMS goes right up until Kindergarten! The teachers are loving, the activities fun, and the kids very happy. My daughter is graduating this month and has had a great tenure at TMS. The cost is reasonable and the hours very flexible. We highly recommend TMS. Model School mom

July 2013

Yes, it is probably too late to enroll in many preschools, but I suggest you look into The Model School in south Berkeley. They accept applications and enroll year-round, and because of this, can be very flexible with families who intend to stay only a short time. There is, in fact, another German family enrolled there, and I'm pretty sure they will stay less than a year. The hours are flexible, the tuition is very reasonable by Berkeley standards, and my daughter is very happy there! It's not the most beautiful school unfortunately, but the teachers are loving, the ''curriculum'' is engaging and the children are happy. They also do accept infants but I wasn't sure if you intended to find a placement for your baby as well. Model School mom

May 2013

Re: Preschools in Southeast Berkeley
You should definitely check out The Model School for both of your children. One caveat though: I wish they spent a little more time outdoors. But having said that, my daughter is very happy there. The teachers are loving and the PreK curriculum includes everything you mentioned (circle time, art, stories, letters and numbers, music, etc.). My daughter loves it so much that we had to add an extra day to her weekly schedule, because she wants every day to be a school day. The hours are VERY flexible and the tuition is surprisingly affordable for south Berkeley/north Oakland. The other great thing is that both of your kids could be at the same preschool and your younger could continue on through PreK. Check out all of the positive reviews on BPN. Model School mom

March 2013

Re: Full day preschools with openings?
I can't say for sure that The Model School has an opening right now, but they do enroll year-round, so it's definitely worth a call. They are located in South Berkeley, very near Whole Foods. My kid is in PreK there and LOVES it. They offer full-time and part-time options, and in fact, are very flexible that way (one reason we chose this wonderful school). Many of our neighbors attend, or formerly attended, and gave us rave reviews (that's the main reason we chose it). Model School Mom

I would recommend the Model school ( My daughter started there in last spring and we really like it. The school itself may appear at first glance to be run down (it IS located in the basement of a Church) and the woman who runs the school may seem a bit off-putting, but the the teachers are very caring and hard working, the woman who runs the school is an amazing educator - she clicks with all the kids and all the empathy that may be lacking in with her parent interactions, come out 110% with the kids. The space itself while not the newest is keep clean and covered with kids art and photos. The parent body is very involved and plays a huge role in supporting the school, we've gotten to know some amazing families. Additionally, this school is one of the only ones we have seen with flexible hours. They are open from 7am - 6pm Mon - Fri and each month you can choose the number of hours that your child will attend during the week. It starts at 15 hours a week and runs to 55 hours a week and the tuition rates shift based on the number of hours you need each month. They are also very competitively priced. The school runs all year long. which is also great. As a parent with a constantly changing work schedule, this flexibility is huge. Some days I can drop her off from 7am - 2pm and other days I can drop her from noon - 6pm. Check it out! Happy Model School Family

Feb 2013

Re: Daycare/Preschool options for 18-month-old
The Model School is excellent. It is not in Rockridge exactly, but very close, near Whole Foods. My daughter is in PreK there and LOVES going to school. They accept infants and toddlers as well. It is not fancy, but everyone (kids, teachers, and parents) seem very happy there. We enrolled our daughter after hearing very rave reviews from neighbors and work colleagues. We also know older children (middle schoolers) who attended The Model School and they have nothing but positive things to say about the school. So that's a lot of years of thriving, happy kids. Oh, it's also more affordable than many Rockridge preschools, and the hours are very flexible. They enroll year-round, depending on space. Like I said, the facility is not fancy, but we didn't require that--we were satisfied by happy kids! Model School mom

Jan 2013

Re: Childcare for ages *0-6 YEARS* in/near Oakland?
I can recommend The Model School which is technically in Berkeley, but very close to the Oakland border. It is located on Prince St near Telegraph which is reasonably close to the Rockridge area. They take children starting at 3 months until graduation for kindergarten. The school is Montessori based and teachers are wonderful with long tenures. The director has decades of experience in education and has created a great place for kids. I recommend you pay us a visit. Happy Model School parent amy

While technically in south Berkeley, The Model School is a stone's throw from Rockridge. They take infants, toddlers and preschoolers. My daughter is in preK there and loves it. The tuition is far more reasonable than most preschools and the hours are long and flexible. I think it may be difficult to get a spot in the infant room, but it is definitely worth a phone call. We highly recommend The Model School (see many favorable reviews on this website)! Happy Model School Mama

I would highly recommend the model school - They allow for an extremely flexible schedule, and 8-5 M-F would be no problem. Its right on the Oakland / South Berkeley border. We've had nothing but wonderful experiences with the teachers there.The wait list is often non-existent for younger children. It'll definitely be cheaper then $20 hour if you put both kids in full time. James

Dec 2012

RE: friendly Montessori preschool
My children go to the Model School -- it's in South Berkeley but has all the elements you are looking for: Montessori-based, diverse kids/families, amazing teachers and a highly engaged parent group. They currently have a couple of pre-school spots open (a rarity). We've been at the school for four years (since my oldest was a baby), and we absolutely love it...I cant imagine my kids going anywhere else. Mel

Feb 2012

Re: Montessori for active, high energy boy?
I have a high-energy boy who goes to the Model School, a montessory-based school in South Berkeley, and loves it. He asks to go to school on weekends. The teachers GET that he is physcially unable to sit still and must run instead of walk. The teachers teach my son ways to harness his energy and focus more. It's a big preschool with an excellent teacher/student ratios. There is a big yard and lots of outside time. There is music every week and a lot of art. My son is also learning to write and can read a few words already. He is kindergarten ready. happy model school parent

Sept 2011

Re: Relocating to the Bay Area, looking for a walkable neighborhood
We were in a similar situation last year at this time, when we moved to Berkeley too late to apply to preschools. We were lucky enough to find a very good preschool, The Model School, that does not have a college-like application process. They operate on a first-come, first-serve basis and new kids can enter when space becomes available. It is on Prince at Telegraph, in a very walkable neighborhood close to Elmwood, Whole Foods, Berkeley Bowl, Ashby BART. Happy Model School Parent

Jan 2011

I am looking for a preschool for my son, age 3.5. I would like a developmentally-based program. I like Waldorf, Montessori, Reggio-Emilia, etc approaches, but I'd really like to see my son at a school that incorporates the best of these philosophies and really gears material to the specific age of the children. No ditto art. No pre-k workbooks cramming alphabet and math and other ''skills'' down kids throats. BUT something with some structure, some circle time, some introduction of new and exciting topics which a 3-year-old would crave to explore. Does this sound like Model School? Another school you suggest? The BPN feedback on Model School is historically great, so why is there an opening in their program? I'm on waiting lists miles long at other schools. What's the skinny? How is their teacher retention? Berkeley Mom

The model school is an excellent school. My son loves it there! Most teachers have been there more than 5 years, some as many as 10 years. The teachers are fabulous: patient, loving, and very experienced. The Director, Dr. Mante, is always available for questions. The teacher/child ratio is excellent. The school strives to have more teachers than the state requires. The Model School has a montessori-based curriculum and approach. There is circle every day and a curriculum for each Pre-K class (there are two 24 PreK classes with 24 children in each). Kids go out 2 or 3 times a day. My son is very active and he gets all the running around time he needs. He also does excellent art projects.

What stands out the most for me is how much the teachers care about each child, and accomodating the school is to parent's schedules, needs. The teachers give excellent advice if you ask them, and are very supportive of parents.

Consider yourself lucky to get in! I was on a waiting list for a year. - happy model school parent

August 2010

Re: Preschool in North Oakland or surroundings?
It's not North Berkeley, but the Model School in South Berkeley has what you are describing.

There are two pre-kindergarden classrooms with structured activities (dance, yoga, music) and outdoor time. You can change your contracted hours every month. The kids go out to the play yar 2 or 3 times a day.

The Model School is a great school for active boys. There are a lot of interesting ''jobs'' (activity trays in Montessory speak) and the set up really works for kids. The jobs/toys are well chosen and everything is set up to be kid level.

The director and teachers are kind, and will work with parents to make sure your child is happy. Most of the teachers have been there many years. Anon

Oct 2009

Re: Please share experiences of the Model School
My son went to Model School from T1 to Pre-K1 and he is now in first grade. I highly recommend it. The Director, Dr. Mante, is wonderful. Even to this day, I chat with her about specific issues regarding my son's development, The teachers are nurturing and engaging. The parents are very involved.

While the facility isn't the most glamorous, I have learned that looks are extremely deceiving, when it comes to selecting a daycare or preschool facility. My son initially went to a beautiful and extremely high-priced daycare in SF, and to say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Behind the glitter were some serious licensing violations that I didn't learn of until AFTER I took my son out of the facility. On the other hand, The Model School is dowdy and reasonably priced and I was not at all disappointed in the care and instruction my son received. Plus, the licensing history is really good.

Most telling is that my son is always begging to go back to visit. Mom to a Model kid

Sept 2009

We are very close to enrolling our young daughter part-time at the Model School, and are seeking any current experiences there. We initially had our hearts set on a more intimate family care situation, but haven't found a good fit and have been excited by what we've seen at the Model School. Specific feedback on the staff, general enthusiasm & morale, individualized attention to each child, curriculum, diversity of the parent community, safety, building & grounds, are all welcome. Thank you all so much, in advance, for your reflections! -oh, decisions, decisions

My son loves the Model School. He is a very active boy and there is room for all the running he needs to do, as well as stories, crafts, songs, books, and lessons about safety. He loves his teachers and the other kids. On weekends, my son asks to go to school.

The best part about the school is the parent involvement. You can come and sit as long as you like. The teachers are welcoming and the kids love it when you stay. Many preschools want you to drop off your child and leave, which can be hard on both the parent and the child. There are also monthly parent meetings.

The Model School is also very flexible with pick-up and drop-off times. You can change also your the number of hour in your contract month-to-month.

Once when my son was sick with a high fever, they called me right away and had a teacher one-on-one with him until I could pick him up. It's nice to be able to leave your child in such a loving place.

The one downside is the play yard's main gate to the street. From 4:00 PM on the main gate to the play yard is opened. I think that is dangerous. There is a second gate to the building, but if a parent leaves that gate open a child can run out right into the street (it's a long playground, though). Keep an eye on your child when you pick them up! happy model school parent

Dec 2007

Re: Preschool with Montessori Work and Lots of Play
It is not in Alameda, but in Berkeley at Prince and Telegraph...The Model School is exactly how you describe. Montessori, but lots of art, pretend play, time outside, enrichment (yoga, mandarin, spanish, sign language). It is the best preschool and we feel so blessed to have the wonderful staff there caring for our son while we work. Check it out. Happy Model School Parent

Nov 2007

Re: Seeking preschool with working mom's hours!
We have a similar situation and my son has thrived at The Model School in Berkeley. It is located at Prince and Telegraph. The director is amazing, the staff are friendly and loving and creative, the parents group is a fun community, and it is just all around a great preschool. Their tuition is reasonable and is structured for working parents: you make your own schedule for anything between 15-50 hours per week! They are open from (I think) 7:30am-6pm. There may be a wait list, but it is well worth it. Hope you find the right place. The Model School is worth checking out. Laura

April 2006

Would anyone be willing to give me recent general feedback about the Model School preschool on Prince Street? I am interested in any and all experiences with the children, staff and other parents. How you feel about the daily schedule of activities, enthusiasm, safety, etc. Thank you. anon

My older son (now 7.5) went to the Model School from age three and my younger son (now 3.5) has attended since he was four- months-old. We are extremely happy with the school and its staff. They have been supportive of our family's needs and very loving and attentive with both kids. My younger son loves the activities in his class, especially music day on Monday and Studio Naga day on Wednesday. One on his favorite teachers is currently out on maternity leave, but she will be back in a few months. We have never had a problem with safety and it seems the school is always trying to add another layer of safety with signs and new gates.

Re: Part-time affordable non-coop? (Jan 2005)
You should check out The Model School in Berkeley (Prince St. and Telegraph). My kindergartner attended from the time he was 3 yr, and my daughter since she was a 3 months old baby (she's still there). They also have a wonderful infant room, where you may be able to drop off your baby on as-needed basis, if they have the room for him/her on a particular day. The care is fantastic. The learning is great. Kids have lots of fun. And the school is incredibly flexible. They work with every child to meet individual needs in a way that I have not seen in any other preschool. And in all these years we have been attending, we are happy to see the same old faces (very low teacher turn over). We are full time now (40 hours/week) and it comes up to about $5.2 an hour. They offer flexible hours, which at the beginning was incredibly helpful to my family (now we do full time, so it does not matter to us as much). And your work and participation will be welcome on ocassional weekends, to help improve the school facilities, but you are not required to participate in the classroom. Maria

Jan 2005

I'm looking for updated information, praise, complaints about the Emeryville Child Development Center and the Model School. Everything in the archives seems quite old. We are looking at these two places for our eighteen-month-old son. Thanks. Holly

My 2.5-year-old has been at Model School since he was four months old, and my older son was there for two years -- I think the school and its director, Dr. Mante, are fantastic. The teachers are the school encourage the children to explore and learn both through the Montessori ''jobs'' in the classrooms and through lots of one-on-one interaction.

Several of my friends have enrolled children there and have also had great experiences -- often coming from schools were they were running into problems with their child not fitting into a fairly rigid structure.

The main drawback of the school is the building. While this site has housed several different schools over the years, it has never been all that nice. The school and the parent's group keep working on improving things, but there is only so much that can be done.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions, Sarah

Our child went to Model school October 2003 to September 2004. She started when she was 15 months old in the Toddler 1 room, and transitioned at age 2 into the Toddler 2 room. We left because of one very particular reason, which may or may not be taken better care of by now - more details below. Other than that I belief it's one of the best daycare centers/preschools in town.

They provide a stable and predictable environment for the children, and the teachers are as nurturing as they can in a daycare center. As a consequence of their professional and patient approach, daily routines such as hand washing, eating, diapering, pottying, and napping usually go very smoothly. They are very patient and effective in encouraging the children to handle conflicts without violence, I have rarely seen such a pieceful crowd of 1 or 2 year olds. Our child had a hard time with separation anxiety in the first couple of weeks. They assigned one teacher that is always there to take special care of her. However, she choose a different favorite person... That teacher was only part-time in this room, and supposed to help out in the baby room at other times, but they still tried to accommodate her preference as much as possible. I noticed with other families, that the teachers are not always honest in what they report to the parents about their children's missing them (and crying). I don't know if that's different in other daycare centers.

The toys and the material in the Toddler 2 room and in the Pre-K rooms are very well choosen. They are educational and fun. They are thoughtfully arranged in the classroom, accessible, systematically ordered. They are accessible and encourage individual explorative play. There's an art project almost every day in T1, and every day in T2, letting them explore lots of different techniques and materials. A thoughtful pedagogical concept, not just a room crowded with stuff to keep kids quiet. I'm mainly comparing to St. John's busy bees room, which was different (many toys and even books out of children's reach, not self-service crayons, tape recorder playing a story with loud sound effects).

You bring your own lunch, snacks are provided by the school. The snacks on the weekly schedule are okay, but a few month before we left they started deviating more and more from this. I've seen them serving nothing but goldfish and grape juice one day. Most children eat about everything when they are surrounded by a bunch of kids being offered the same thing, so a school may as well chose to give them something that is both healthy and simply to provide (fruit, pees, cheese, flat bread etc.). St. John's has their own cook, but the day we visited all the cook brought for snack was a bag with crackers.

The building and schoolyard have an obvious lack in esthetics. There's been a lot of effort to improve this, mainly by the parents. It's not the best school for kids that need lots of outdoor time and free physical play.

Here's why we left. One morning, our daughter ran out the building, and they didn't notice. It was pure lack she didn't end up in the street by herself. Their reaction was blame, the teacher blamed the child (''did you tell her she's not supposed to do that?''), the director blamed the teacher. It needed my initiative to make the re-install a gate that apparently used to be in the door to the T2 room a long while before. I tried to work on parents and the director to have the schoolyard door closed at all times, but I didn't get very far. The option for parents to drive into the schoolyard seems to have a high priority. (A parent from this list who has a child at the Model school, actually responded to my posting about the incident, encouraging me to stay and work on the problem with what she considered a great community at the school, but she signed anonomously.)

I brought her for one more week, only during the hours the schoolyard gate was closed. Then I realized it was too late. More than because of the incident itself, it was their reaction that prevented me from regaining the confidence I used to have in them. No one ever took responsibility, each one pointed at others. While this an understandable reaction, it doesn't help convincing parents that things are under control. We quit. I had a very open, long and friendly discussion with the director in the end. It was sad to leave an otherwise good school, and it was very tough for me to suddenly be with no childcare, because I work full-time. It wasn't until we quit that they apologized for the first time. Julia

Dec 2003

I just heard from another parent that our school, The Model School, has spaces in the 3-5 age group. Since this is the age that my older son moved to there, I want to recommend the school. Prior to the Model School, my son had been at a center in Rockridge that wasn't meeting the mental/physical needs of a bright & energetic boy. We decided that he needed a change at age three, looked around a lot, and decided on the Model School for the Montessori curriculum and the large play area outside. He had two great years there before graduating and moving to kindergarten this fall. In the end, the stable and loving staff was what really won our hearts. My older boy still loves to go back and visit and his 16-month-old brother is in the infant room now and couldn't be happier. The school is supportive of working parents -- they are open from 7AM to 6PM. The school closes for holidays and a 2 wk holiday break, but not for a long summer/spring break. Sarah

September 2003

Re: preschool for 3 yo w/no naps
Model School on Prince near Telegraph in Berkeley did very well by 3yo kids who did not nap as well as by those who did, but used to ask a minimum of 20 hours per week, I believe--anytime between 7am and 6pm. We loved the director, Dr. Mante, the community of families, & the supportive learning/ play environment! happy family of a Model School graduate

May 2003

Re: Summer opening for almost 4 year old
You might want to call the Model School (549-2711, located at Prince and Telegraph, not far from Whole Foods). I know a bunch of PreK kids are ''graduating'' this summer and moving on to kindergarden. The Model School is VERY ethnically and otherwise (e.g., queer, single, and grandparent-headed families) diverse. Their motto is, ''Children can't wait,'' and their teachers are humanistic/Montessori trained. I've been connected to the school for about 5 years (through friends), and my daughter (3) and I are very happy. You should check this (parents network) website for more info. Jenne, Model School Pre

K mom

Nov 2002

Re: Preschools with Afternoon Programs
The Model School on Prince and Telegraph (549-2711) in Berkeley offers parents very flexible hours. They're an easy-going Montessori-based school for kids 3 months to six years old. I'm sure they would accept your daughter on a part-time basis (from 12-6). The only thing is that the two year olds take a nap at noon, so that may be a weird transition for your child and awkward for the class (i.e., you might want to get her there at 11 for play and lunch). If you're interested, visit soon--there's a waiting list! Jenne, Model School mom of a 2 year old

September 2002

I just enrolled my 5 and a half month old son in the Model School. He's starting in October. I saw that the school had excellent reviews on the web site up to 2001. My visit seemed to confirm these reviews. Could I get some updated comments? Are people still happy with the infant room? I chose the Model School over some seemingly excellent smaller home settings that are closer to our house, and I'm wondering if I made the right choice. Hilari

We have been at the Model School since my daughter was 4 months old (she is now 2 yrs 7 mos.). The caregivers in the infant room, and the toddler rooms, have been wonderful. Because the place is larger than I'm used to (my 10 yr old never went to a large preschool) and it's a little dumpy, I too wasn't sure at first. By my gut instinct was right -- it's the people that make the place. It sounds like your gut instinct led you to the Model School too. If you want to get to know some of the parents, or have any other questions, we have parents group meetings every month or you could e-mail me. Rachel

My daughter is currently in the toddler room at The Model School and we really love it. She has been there since she was three months old and felt right at home in the infant room from the first day. All the caregivers are really warm and loving and she stops to say ''hello'' and ''goodbye'' to all the teachers (not just her own) every day. She also likes to pop in and visit the ''babies'' periodically, now that she's a ''big girl'' (almost two). Feel free to e-mail if you'd like more information or just drop a note in our cubby. Kim

The Model School is a great place! My daughter, who is now almost 3, started there at 9 months and my son, who is 10 months is now in the ''baby room,'' so we've had 2 years of experience there.

We like the school for many reasons: 1) The teachers are warm and caring--it's great to see the babies being hugged and held, kissed and cuddled. 2) The teachers are trained in child development so they know what is age-appropriate behavior and play, and how to direct children's behavior in appropriate, positive ways (especially important as the kids move on to ''upper'' classes). 3) There are many interesting activities for the children--outside play time and music even for the babies, and art, music, play, reading, outside time for the older kids. 4) The staff is stable--the same head teachers have been there for years. 5) The director of the school, Dr. Mante, is a very hands-on administrator (in fact, you can usually find her holding a baby). She knows what her teachers are doing and what's going on with the kids and parents.

Feel free to email me if you'd like more info. Hope to see you in October in the baby room at the Model School! Eleanor and Andrew's mom

I can't recommend the Model School highly enough! My daughter went through the infant room from 4.5 months old - 1 year. The teachers there are just wonderful, incredibly loving, patient, and truly understand each child's signals and needs. My daugher was very difficult because she was a stubborn bottle refuser, which also interfered with her ability to sleep and greatly increased separation anxiety. Well, they just very patiently worked with her trying different things (she eventually learned to drink from a sippy cup) until she adjusted to being at school. Very quickly, she began to LOVE to go! They really do respond to the babies as individuals-- when they want to be active, they are presented with many activites and challenges, when they are more needy, they get held, cuddled and kissed . The child/teacher ratio is wonderful, although it is technically 3:1, it is usually much better. They encourage bonding with the teachers, so my daughter had a ''second mama'', which made me feel so secure in bringing her there. Turnover there is very low, and the teachers are very conciencious about following parents' instructions/ wishes, so care is very consistent. Dr. Mante, the director, is wonderful also, she knows every child at her school personally and is very involved. She has a Ph.D. and is active in teaching early childhood ed, so many of the teachers there take formal coursework. The other teachers are also wonderful, and they know all the children, irrespective of classes or ages. My baby would beam every morning as we entered the school's playyard and got a warm welcome from the other teachers (''hi Raine! Good Morning!''). I'm convinced it helped her to learn her name. It was just the best place for my child! We very unfortunately moved to far to continue attending, but I give the Model School my unreserved and highest recommendation. Marguerite


Re: 2-day-a-week play day for 2-year-old

For mom looking for a supervised playgroup situation: A friend of mine takes her 1year old twins to The Model School. It's a drop-in situation and I don't think there is a minimum stay. It sounds like the same kids go for a few hours a day; some everyday and some just a few days a week. It would definitely give your son a chance to interact with other children while enjoying all the activities. They are located at 2330 Prince Street in Berkeley. Phone number is 549-2711. 


My daughter is going to Kindergarten next year and has been at the Model School since she was a year old. I have been extremely happy with the how the teachers care about and nuture each child, and the educational materials seem so clever and developmentally appropriate. In response to the condition of the facilities, I have been told by another parent that a previous incarnation of the earthquake commitee commissioned a structural inspection of the building and found it to be sound. I think the outside play areas have all the basic things - monkey bars, good quality trikes, slide & play houses. The director is really wonderful and the teachers she has hired there (many of whom are long term) tend to ascribe to her philosophy. Overall, I've been very pleased with the school. Elizabeth

I've posted in the past, but I just wanted to reiterate that we continue to love our experience at The Model School. The director and teachers are wonderful! My 3 year-old daughter has been attending for just over a year so I can't comment on the infant room from personal experience, but the kids all seem to thrive in the care of the school's loving teachers. BergaHoo

RE: Drop in Childcare
I think my child's school might do occasional drop-in care; they publish an hourly rate for non-school students. Model School, 510/549-2711, located on Prince and Telegraph in Berkeley. They take care of children ages 3 months to kindergarten. Jenne

Dr. Daisy Mante, director of the Model School is as good as they get. I did an internship with her while working on my Master's in early childhood ed. and I was very impressed with her school, it 's philosophy etc. Teresa

I have my daughter in the infant room at the Model School right now and love it. I was worried before we got there that she wanted to be held too much and that this would be a problem, but just the opposite. Everybody from the Director on down is dying to hold the babies and she always receives tons of attention. I couldn't recommend it highly enough--the teachers are very loving and consistent and people there really understand babies. Neo

My daughter is 13 months old and has been going to The Model School since she was 4.5 months old. She's been in the Infant class the whole time and is transitioning to the Toddler One class now. I choose the Model School for several reasons. My best friend sent her daughters there and the kids LOVED it (one's a "graduate" and one is in PreKK). I like the ethnic diversity of students and the variety of family situations (lesbian, single parent, and multi-racial families, adopted kids, kids being raised by grandparents, etc). The location is good for me (I work on campus) and they don't have a lot of "extra" holidays or vacation weeks I also like that it's a big school. There are a lot of loving arms and I haven't worried about abuse issues because there so many eyes. Also, there are classes for kids up to kindergarten, so I don't have look for daycare, again. My big negative about the school is the facility; it's dingy and the playground has no landscaping (the kids don't seem to mind however!). My daughter has done great in the Infant class! For the first month, my daughter went to school 20 hours/ week, but now we're up to 45/week. She loves the teachers and has learned so much from the other kids. Dr Mante (the director) spends part of her morning with the infants, so she gets to know all the children. She makes sure each baby does some developmental "work" (e.g. practicing sitting up or reaching for toys). They treat each child as an individual with his or her own special needs. hen my daughter was getting her legs caught in the crib bars when she moved in her sleep (despite the crib bumpers) they purchased a special pink sleeping sack. They also bought a rocking crib for a baby with colic. The babies are not on a schedule: they eat, sleep, play and get cuddled when they want. The teachers usually rock each baby to sleep (crying wakes up the other babies). I am using cloth diapers with wraps and when I was breast feeding, they knew how to deal with defrosting breast milk. For her first two days at school I tried to breast feed her during my lunch hour, but she was asleep when I got there so I stopped. If you wanted to do that, the teachers are very welcoming. Since my daughter was about 10 months old, she started spending time in the Toddler One class, like maybe a half hour in the afternoon. I liked this because that was a more challenging situation for her (older kids to emulate and more exciting toys), and many of her friends had already moved on. Now she's in there until she needs her morning nap (the Toddler classes only take one nap a day, after lunch) and then she goes back to the Infant Class until after her afternoon nap. The teachers are FANTASTIC and they really love the children and the children love them. They are also good about letting parents know what their babies have been up to. One thing I remember when we first started is that I felt a little disoriented and unsure of protocol (e.g., there were lots of adults in the Infant Room, but who was in charge?) --if you feel this way about anything, just talk to Dr. Mante! Jenne

I probably don't qualify as a new opinion since I've posted about the Model School before, but I felt compelled to respond. My 3 year-old daughter has been at the Model School for a full year now and we continue to be extremely happy with the level of care and attention that she gets at the school. My daughter loves the school and her teachers. The director, Dr. Mante, is an attentive and active educator of the teachers at the school. She is also active in working with the children also. The teachers are wonderful, supportive and loving. The teachers always seem to welcome discussions about my child's progress at school. I am especially impressed with the way they allow the children to grow at their own pace. One example is how children transition into new classrooms. My daughter's transition from the Toddler-2 room to the Pre-K class was completely a non-event. There was no trauma or tears!! It happened when she was ready. (This was very unlike her old daycare/preschool which was very rigid around age-based classroom changes.) I also like the fact that she is involved in mixed-age activities and play. Just before her third birthday my daughter started to write her name and the alphabet not at the prompting of her teachers or parents, but from observing the older kids. She thought it looked fun so she decided that it was something that she wanted to learn. There were learning tools provided that allowed her to explore her new interest. Finally, the teachers really seem to care about the children. Over the last week there has been a rapid deterioration in my daughter's eyesight. Not only did her primary teacher called me at work to discuss her observation, but several of the other teachers from other classes pulled me aside and recounted their observations as well. Yes it's true the facilities aren't the best, but I think the teachers are!!! That's my two cents worth. Good luck in your search for a school. Eva


My daughter is 28 months old and has been attending the Model School since March. And we unequivocably love it. She was in another daycare in Alameda since she was four months old. We loved the infant care but were less than impressed with the toddler teachers so we moved her to the Model School. The director of the Model School, Dr. Mante, is a very interesting women. She has very strong interest and ideas about how children develop and learn and thrive. She uses this knowledge to run a daycare that is very child and developmentally oriented. She teaches a class for her caretakers on Wednesday evenings. She is active with the parents' group and provided a course on Positive Discipline for interested parents just last Monday evening. She is active in running the school and caring for the kids. Many of the kids will go running to her when they see her.

There is no yelling (by the teachers - the kids are allowed to have fun and yell), very little use of time outs but a lot of redirecting and hugging and negotiating. The care takers are wonderfully loving people. My daughter adores her care takers and in her words "Angela (one of her caretakers) is my best friend".

This is a very diverse school. It really seems to reflect "Berkeley". It's a real mix of socio-economic, cultural, lifestyle, etc. people. Definitely a lot more so that some of the other schools that I visited and definitely more so than the daycare we were at in Alameda.

The facilities aren't the best. The parents' group is working on it... it's an ongoing project. But the trade-off of great teachers versus a fancy facility is worth it to me. Frank, Eva & Teya


Our five-year-old little girl just "graduated" from The Model School last week. She has attended there since she was 15 months old, and we have been very happy with the care and teaching there. I presume you've seen the facility, so you know the basic structure: a large center, with 5 separate "classrooms" -- infants, 1-year-olds, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds and 4-to-5-year-olds. I liked this style, but not everyone does. The kids transition from one class to the next as they get older. The director of the school, Dr. Daisy Mante, is the key to the center's success, in my opinion. She is a well-respected expert in the area of child development, and she encourages the teachers who work for her to take teaching/child development classes, which keeps them motivated. There is a good mix of kids (and teaching staff) in terms of ethnic diversity, which was important to me. The school uses some Montessori teaching methods, but is not strictly a Montessori school. We were very involved with the school (which is encouraged) and thoroughly enjoyed our 3+ years there. Colleen


I warmly recommend The Model School at 2301 Prince St in Berkeley (1/2 block below Telegraph, a block from Whole Foods). Telephone 510-549-2711. Not quite Rockridge/Temescal, but close! My three-year-old has been there for almost two years. Classes have daily schedules and group activities. It's "Montessori-style," meaning projects are on shelves around the rooms and kids can choose what to do, and are taught starting/finishing/sharing skills along with other developmental skills. About 75 kids in all, divided into 5 classrooms by age (infant through Pre-K). Very multi-cultural/ethnic all around (both staff and students are mixed racially, native language-wise, "non-standard" family model-wise), with Spanish spoken in most rooms, and Spanish lessons in higher age classes. Lots of sibling groups, adopted children, nice family involvement. Not too much staff turnover. Recently improved outdoor space (swings, play structures on asphalt with playground padded tiles, trikes, separated outdoor areas for babies and toddlers). Inside rooms are bright and cheery, with windows up high -- the sun still makes it in! Rates average, pro-rated by # hours/week, part-time kids welcome. One drawback is it's in the basement of a church, and the building has drainage problems in winter (repairs are planned). Nicole


In response to the parent looking for a school for her 2-1/2 year old: I am still very happy with my daughter's enrollment in The Model School at the Berkeley/Oakland border of Telegraph. She just moved to the two-year-old class. It has a fairly stable student and very stable teacher population, active parents, and a fine director. It's a big center, which is not for everyone, but it means that the teachers rotate their vacaions, so the center doesn't close down for weeks at a time (except in late December). It's Montessori-style but not strictly Montessori. Not much Spanish in the two-year-old class, but more in the next year. Very multi-cultural/racial staff and students, very long hours, and fairly high rates :(. Nicole


The Model School is having an Open House on Monday, Nov. 2, from 7:00 to 8:15 pm, for parents and prospective parents. (This is one event where parents are asked to leave children at home, as all of the staff is working and so no childcare is provided.)

The school has about 75 kids, divided into five rooms (infant, toddler 1, toddler 2, pre-K and K). It was founded 10 years ago by Dr. Daisy Mante, and it's a "Montessori-style" school, but not at all strictly Montessori. Dr. Mante says they use much of the Montessori philosophy of a "prepared environment," within which kids can learn various skills at their own rate and according to their own interests, but the curriculum also includes art and play. The teachers are multicultural and several speak Spanish and other languages. They are very loving and patient with the children. There is an active parent group which organizes both fundraising activities and educational parent/teacher events. They have long hours and children can have varied schedules according to family needs. In addition to the tuition (which may be on the high end of the local average?), parents need to volunteer 12 hours a year (or 6 hours for single parents).

The school is housed in the back of the pink Lutheran church (but unaffiliated with it) onTelegraph and Prince Street, near Whole Foods on the Berkeley/Oakland border (the entrance is on Prince Street, below Telegraph). The inside is in the basement of the church, so it can be a bit dark in the winter time, but the space is large and the rooms are cheerful. There is a kitchen and a separate diaper/changing area.Outside, there is a large yard with spaces divided for the various age groups, and they spent a lot of time outside.

My 18-month-old daughter has been there for three months and so far, I am very satisfied. She moved from the infant room to toddler 1, and I have liked the care and the people in both rooms. Even at 1-1/2 years old, the children are being read to, painting and scribbling, singng and dancing, playing with play-do, etc. Many of the kids who start at the school stay all five years, so there is a sense of community as the kids move on through the classrooms.

For more information, please call the school at 549-2711. Nicole