Rockridge Little School on TaftCommunity Subscriber
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Rockridge Little School (RLS) is the place for your preschooler, no matter what her personality. My spouse and I have had our two kids enrolled there, and they could not be more different. Yet, RLS has brought out the best in them.
Older Child’s Happy Transfer to RLS
Our older 4 years old child was wired from infancy to be a vivacious and highly empathetic people-person. With the best of intentions and in the name of bilingualism, we placed him in a Spanish immersion preschool (not RLS) at the age of 2 ½. The teachers at that first preschool were kind. However, they had a very specific agenda they sought to accomplish: teach in Spanish for fluency through structured activities of the teachers’ choice. Our child engaged with the teachers in the 2’s class, but the pet project of the teachers in the 3’s class, i.e., preparing for the Christmas dance, was far from his interests. At that other school, he would say, “don’t forget me” about every morning and per the teachers’ account, he quickly disengaged from all group activities. We were completely devastated.
In comes RLS. RLS focuses on the whole child, not just highlight one aspect like biligualism, which can be achieved in more healthy ways and without compromising who your child is. At RLS, our son immediately reverted to his jovial self. In the “all ages play together” model of RLS, he has been able to play with children of his age and older children, and is able to participate in one any of several activities at any given time. He often spends time playing outside with his friends and teachers, exploring and learning about nature, working with tools, creating elaborate forts, painting murals. Inside, he can be found reading with a teacher solo or in a small group, pretending with costumes. As a four year old, he participates in “bridge-K” while the younger children nap; during that older child time, they mindfully express their emotions through art, and interact with numbers and letters brilliantly through science and geography, learn about environmental and cultural consciousness through books instilling a love of learning,. Once we found a home at RLS, we never looked back. In fact, my older child is usually so excited to be at school that he often runs off without saying goodbye in the morning, and complains that I arrive too early to pick him up in the late afternoon.
Younger Introverted Child Comes Out of Shell at RLS
Our younger child is 2 years old, reserved and can be slow to trust. The teachers at RLS understood his personality from the time he began. They never forced their affection on him and instead earned his affection. He saw that they were there to share in the fine motor activities he enjoys, like chopping fruits and veggies, making gooey “gak,” exploring the “sensory box” filled with a new material/substance every couple of days, and a variety of construction materials like Magna tiles, blocks, sticks, Legos, etc. The teachers encouraged his potty training through excited praise and giving him the space to be who he wants to be -- Mr.Independent. They gently but firmly course correct when he and the other younger kids get into normal scuffles and encourage them to verbally express their perspectives. The best part is, our young wallflower does what he loves to do: observe the more mature behaviors of the older children and mimics. With positive interactions, self-involved tantrums are far fewer, opening up more time for positive peer and adult interactions.
In sum, we are happy to recommend RLS to any parent who wants their child’s strengths highlighted and accomplishments celebrated. Juxtaposing RLS’s teaching philosophy with that of another preschool has given us tremendous insight in how RLS truly nurtures a child and prepares them for kindergarten and a lifetime of learning on multiple levels.
When we were looking for a preschool, the BPN reviews really helped, so it's time for us to pay it back. Our daughter graduated from RLS on Taft a few weeks ago. It's hard to believe that just two years ago, she walked in for the first time, so anxious and worried about what she'd face. We are so thrilled with how much she's grown while there - how much she's learned about the world, about how to interact with other kids, and about who she is and what she needs.
RLS is a gem, especially for kids who crave a small, supportive environment. The kids do tons of amazingly creative things all day long (raining outside? let's build boats out of those fruit pouches and race them in the gutter! etc.), but it's never overwhelming, which was really important to her and us. Some other things we really loved: the kids are welcomed by a teacher at the door, every single day; the teachers post a detailed blog post daily; the kids read books and then cook snacks based on those books (Dragons Love Tacos --> taco time!); the community of parents is absolutely amazing; the teachers are gentle, energetic, and engaged; the school emphasizes empathy; the space is a bright, sweet little schoolhouse with a really fun yard; the kids garden, sew, hammer, meditate, etc. It has been one of the most delightful parts of our lives for the last few years and we're really going to miss it!
We are a very happy family at Rockridge Little School, but they are full for this fall with a long waitlist - you may be able to get a spot for next year if you sign up this winter, however!
We love Rockridge Little School (the Taft one). We left another preschool to join this one because the first was too large and chaotic for our daughter - this one feels just right. About 31 kids total with 6 highly engaged teachers and she's really thrived. App deadline is coming up very soon. Happy to answer more questions at umbreen [at] gmail.com
Archived Q&A and Reviews
We have had our daughter at the Taft Street location of the Rockridge Little School since she was just over 2 years old and she is close to 4 years old now. We really love RLS. It is such a fun, loving, happy, creative environment. Teachers Ben, Gabby, Jim, Maryam, & Nicole are wonderful, each with their individual styles and gifts from which the kids get to benefit. The director Erika is fantastic and a great listener, and Holly, the owner, has a great learning philosophy, and deserves a medal for the team she has brought on board, a combination of the old Rainbow School staff with new staff. When I was looking for a preschool, my top priority was that my daughter was and felt safe, both physically and emotionally. We get that at RLS, and so much more. The director and teachers have the kids safety and well being top of mind, always. In addition to that, they really care so much for their young students, and they work so hard to make every day fun. The teachers make learning seemless with playing - which is how I feel ''education'' at this young age should be. There are usually 4 different tables going each morning, with 4 different activities a student can choose (or not choose) to engage in. Kids can also choose to do their own thing - read, play blocks, play with plastic animals. One recent activity was about ''emulsification,'' with the kids mixing different ingrediants with water to see what would emulsify and what wouldn't. Another had the kids put two flat boards up on the counter and see what objects rolled down it faster than others. They learned that heavier items tended to go faster. It is just so neat. I am amazing how much my kid is absorbing; from her vocabulary and ability to express herself, to her letters, numbers, love of books and puzzles, her understanding of the world around her and her physical confidence (dancing, singing, etc.) The director and teachers are masters at this. They have the most unique, awesome activities - I mentioned a few above, but I'm sure you can ask to see some of their blog entries (oh, and they have a daily blog that gives you an idea of the sorts of things the kids did that day). The school has a lovely physical space - a converted one-floor bungalow home in the Broadway Terrace neighborhood, with a cheery and sunny indoor space, and a lovely, partially shaded outdoor space with a good mix of a playset, playhouse, picnic tables, trees, plants, etc. The school has all the equipment and toys you expect and want - including books, blocks, plastic animals, soft animals, a tactile table, dress-up station, play kitchen station, and a very active art studio section. They have several types of pets at the moment (lizard, frogs, and fish) and sometimes other crawlies get in the mix, like worms, crickets, and rolly-pollies. The teachers are not only fun, kind, smart, warm and engaging: they are also inately aware of where each child is at and what they are ready for. A few months after I tried unsuccessfully to potty train my daughter at home, the director approached me to say she thought my daughter seemed ready, and that she and the teachers were on board to take her with just underwear for the day and see how she did. The teachers were so great and encouraging through the first few days (and several) accidents, that our daughter quickly got the hang of it (mostly) that first week, with just a few kinks that we all worked on over the next three weeks. To sum up, the directors and teachers have become trusted partners in the raising of our child. We are lucky to be a part of this family! lisamarie
RLS (Taft) is a fabulous school that our daughter has truly enjoyed since she started at age 2 this past year. It offers a stimulating, light-filled playspace (indoors and out); rich, widely-varied and imaginative art projects that often originate from the whatever tickles the kids' fancy that week; a range of enrichment activities such as yoga, story-telling, dance, and circle time in different languages; and activities galore. It's a happy place. We like that the younger and older kids spend the day together, but also have separate age-focused group time during the day. The daily (private) blog gives a valued peek into the kids' lives at school. Best of all are the wonderfully-engaged teachers, who care for the kids with much humor, patience, and imagination. We've picked up from them a number of tools for coping with toddler-isms, not to mention some of our now-favorite songs and sayings. They are a well-rounded and diverse group in interests, ethnicity, and age - and even two male teachers. Our daughter benefits greatly in connecting with each differently, and depending on what kind of toddler-mood strikes her on a given day (hour/minute). She is enamored of them all, and we know she feels much loved there. Plus she has a ton of fun. Recommend it highly. Beth
Re: Spaces left in a nursery school that accepts 24 mo
Rockridge Little School on Taft is a charming pre-school that accepts 24 month old's. My son is 3 and is having a wonderful time at the school. The teachers are gems - they are very warm and diverse. The space is cozy and ample, toys are multi-sensory. There is always art, sports and circle time; they had near daily science projects going a few months ago which i hope continue. You might want to talk to the owner Holly about affording tuition Holly [at] rockridgelittleschool.com. It's worth it if you can swing it. happy mom
Our twin toddlers began attending Rainbow School on Taft Street in 2010. It was a great facility run by an experienced woman who had been there for several years. She had established the program as one if the best in the area. Following her retirement earlier this year, Rockridge Little School assumed control, and my wife and I are thrilled with the new management and their approach to early childhood education. Heather, the new Director, has an enthusiastic, warm, caring and engaging approach that our children have responded to extremely well. There are a multitude of creative and educational activities going on throughout the day, and the teachers (some of whom remained from the former program) are diverse, talented and compassionate. I can't recommend the school highly enough, and by all means shoot me an email if I can provide more information. Thank you.
Hi -- Please let me know your opinion/thoughts on the Rockridge Little School. I'm interested in hearing about experiences on both campuses. For those of you at the Taft location, has there been any difficulty with the transition? Thanks! Liz
We've had our daughter at the Taft campus of Rockridge Little School for the last two months and have been extremely pleased with our experience there. The teachers are creative, supportive, and just fantastic all around. The kids get a really enriched environment from the art projects they work on to the animals they get in school. The other parents at the school are also really cool and have created a wonderful community. I wholeheartedly recommend RLS. Erik
The transition from Rainbow School to Rockridge Little School was difficult for us. The tuition was raised 30% (from $1,200/mo to $1,575/mo) and the number of days when the school is closed was increased, not honoring the contract that had already been signed. Many changes were made that came out gradually and without warning, causing a lot of anxiety. Writing groups for the older children were eliminated (which my child loved, and was fantastic preparation for Kindergarten), as were field trips and walks around the block and to the nearby park. This was a dramatic change from before, when we enjoyed a loving, stable, clean, and organized school. Parent
i will say this right off the bat - as one of the parents who was part of the transition from Rainbow School on Taft Street to Rockridge Little School, i couldn't be happier. i knew RLS had a good reputation coming in and offered the type of activities, philosophies, values and care that i was looking for in a preschool. My level of commitment to Rainbow was waning and RLS came in right at a perfect time for me and my daughter. I have an excellent rapport with Holly, the owner, who i find open and excited to be doing this career and just today our new director began her position and from what i have seen so far, believe she will be an excellent fit. the children are all very engaged in the multitude of projects offered and the teachers are very loving and creative. Snacks are healthy (a lot less sweets, thank goodness!) and all in all, a wonderful school which i would highly recommend. if you want to speak further, please feel free to contact me directly. Good luck! vanessa
I visited both campuses of Rockridge Little School recently and was extremely impressed. It just feels really good in the classrooms - there is lots of good energy, bright and interesting artwork, a feeling of the outside/nature being incoroporated inside... Both campuses also have wonderful outdoor spaces, especially the new Taft location - it feels magical, like you're in a treehouse.
The kids were all happy in both locations too, no doubt because the teachers are so wonderful. The Taft location also has the wonderful benefit of having a male teacher, who was lively and sweet and clearly adored by all the little ones. There's a good mix of older and younger teachers, too, which provides a well-roundedness. The ratio seems pretty high too - each of the teachers was able to take some time to speak with me, calmly and thoroughly, without their kids being unattended. I was impressed by their thoughtfulness and experience, and an overall feeling of calm - everyone just seemed really happy to be there.
I know there are openings at the Taft location, and I would highly recommend the school. Good luck! RLS fan
Re: Any preschool openings or short wait lists?
Rockridge Little School, a dynamic play-based preschool, has added a second school - also in Rockridge, which has some openings. The original school is on College Avenue (next to Dryers) and the new school (Formerly The Rainbow School) is located on Taft right off Broadway.
Both schools are happy and inspiring places - the kind you don't ever want to leave. They are comfortable and inviting, and the teachers (and kids) are interesting and engaged! There is a great selection of creative art, science and craft projects to choose from. Both schools have wonderful music classes, great dramatic play areas, sand play areas (indoors and outdoors), all sorts of building materials, great libraries, nice play structures with slides and gardens. The teachers love the kids, and they love their work, and their approach is consistently inspired. The kids are never bored. The teachers encourage kids to stand up for themselves and identify their feelings and needs and feel a sense of belonging with their friends at school.