The Model SchoolCommunity Subscriber
To view the State's license info—inspections, citations, and complaints—click the License number below. Also see About Childcare & Preschool Reviews.
The Model School is a NAEYC-accredited childcare facility that has been in operation for nearly 50 years. Led by Dr. Daisy L. Mante, (PhD in Child Development & Psychology), 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 Spanish 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 and offers care from 7am to 6pm with a flexible fee schedule and sibling discounts.
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
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
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
My daughter attends The Model School Comprehensive in South Berkeley (near the Whole Foods on Telegraph). http://themodelschool.org/
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Re: Preschool for 2 yr old in Oakland/Alameda/Emeryville
My daughter goes to the Model school (http://themodelschool.org) 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
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
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
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
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 (http://www.themodelschool.org/). 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
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
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 - http://www.themodelschool.org/. 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
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
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
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. themodelschool.org Happy Model School Parent
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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