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- See also: Saklan School K-8
Saklan Valley School in Moraga is a lovely little nursery - 8 school. Our daughter attended their PreK program the year she was 4-turning-5 and, as you describe, not ready for K but beyond another year of play-based preschool. It was wonderful, fantastic, fun -- just the right amount of learning and structure balanced with plenty of play and hands-on activities. For example, they have a superb pre-reading curriculum that she just loved. Another example -- the music teacher -- she still talks about and imitates her fabulous Saklan Valley music teacher.
Saklan is in Moraga which isn't as far as it might sound from Oakland -- especially going the back way from the Montclair area, it's just a 15-20 min hop over the hill. They've got a perfect little playground, kind and well-trained teachers, a very happy environment. It's an excellent little school in general -- in fact we would have stayed until 8th grade, except that in the end we decided it was a bit too small for our child (one class per grade). That smallness is a real advantage in many ways, however, so I highly recommend having a look. anon
I am considering the Rainbow Kids program at Saklan Valley School, but there isn't much information in the archives. The website is very interesting! I'd love to hear from current parents in the program. anon
Saklan Valley School preschool program was not for us, so we recently moved our child out of it. We had chosen Saklan based upon the program under the previous director. However, under the new director the program was not to up to our level of standards. The specific areas that disturbed us enough to move our child mid-year are:
1) There has been almost a complete turnover of staff - one teacher left on maternity leave and 2 others left. Our child did not adjust well to the staff turnover.
2) The program was advertised to be 16 children and 3 teachers, when in fact it is 20 children, often with 2 teachers present. We did not like the ''bait and switch'' feeling of this as we wanted a program with a low ratio for our child.
3) There is no experienced, credentialed teacher left. The remaining teachers have only ECE units and very little experience. For what we were paying, we felt a more experienced staff was warranted.
4) We thought the schedule was developmentally inappropriate, with 45 minutes or more of circle time a day and several transitions as the French or music ''specialists'' come in to the class to conduct circle. Much of my child's concentration was lost in the transitions and long circle times.
5) I heard the teaching staff making negative comments about my child to other parents and in front of the children, including my child. My child developed a negative feeling about himself and about school. We were very alarmed that this was occurring in preschool and in a school that ''talks the talk'' like Saklan. We concluded that the program was actually damaging our child's self-esteem and moved into a program with better teachers and a more accepting, positive attitude toward children. We concluded that Saklan did not deliver - didn't ''walk the walk''! concerned mom
I am looking for reviews on Saklan preschool and kindergarten from parents who have sent their kids there or know the program well for other reasons. Specifically, were the teachers warm, patient and loving, and were the kids happy there and was there enough play to balance the academics. Thanks so much! anon
My child attended Saklan for pre-K and he enjoyed himself there. The pre-k classes are 12 children with one teacher and one teaching assistant. The days are very structured and there are many ''specialists'' that come through the class on a given day. Science, library, French, music. And the kids learn their alphabet and how to sit for circle time quite nicely. I would say that it is on the opposite end of the spectrum of a free play program, which if I were to do it all again, might reconsider. I now think that 4 and 5 year olds need a bit of unstructured time so they can navigate friendships and boundaries with the rules of school and the classroom in mind-- not only academics. Saklan is very academic and the teachers are very focused on what they want the kids to know in prep for their kindergarten class. There has been quite a bit of turnover in the preschool and prek staff recently so I would certainly sit in on a class to see if you are happy with who your child's teacher would be. Anon
On the topic of Camps and preschools, my kid goes to Saklan Valley School in Moraga and he will attend the Camp Saklan there again this summer. It is a loving, kind, environment with gentle discipline and a great play area, plus field trips, water activities and educational programs all summer long. http://www.saklan.org Kim Carlock runs the Extended Day Program and the Camp Saklan and she is great.
Happy Saklan Parent
Re: Winter opening for Pre-Kindergartener?
Hello, My son is in a pre-k program at Saklan Valley School. There are 2 pre-k classes at Saklan, which is a private school in Moraga that goes all the way to 8th grade. It is a fabulous program. There are 11 kids in my son's class with one opening. There is a lead teacher and an assistant. Enrichment programs include: library, French, music and science. There are families from Oakland and Berkeley at this school, that is why I offer my reply to your question. Good luck
Re: Nurturing Preschool for 3 year olds
I've found the most wonderful, nurturing and warm school. It's called Saklan Valley School and it is in Moraga. I know that sounds far away but if you take the back route (over Skyline and Redwood) it takes just 15-20 minutes and there is never any traffic. For me, even if it were further than that, I'd drive it because the school is so great. The classroom is one age (3 years) because when the kids are 4 they go to Pre-Kindergarten. The 3 year-olds are in Pre-School. The head teacher is so warm, inviting, engaging and energetic without being syrupy. The other teachers are also lovely. They have a French teacher that comes 3 times a week who is also really great at engaging the kids. The projects they work on are really neat and fun. Also, one of the best things is that the school goes through 8th grade. So, if! you like it you can stay for all of grade school. It is expensive (cost depends on which program you choose) and I don't know if there are any openings left for fall '05 but there might be. Take a look at their website at www.saklan.org. Really, don't be discouraged that it is in Moraga - it is not a long drive (and is a beautiful one through the forest) and it so worth the trip. Lynn
We are considering Saklan in Moraga for our preschooler. Does anyone have any experience with this school they can share? I didn't see any reviews for Saklan on the website. Thanks! Mom
The saklan school in moraga is very expensive as compared to other preschools in the area. about 30-40% more depending on your child's schedule. good luck.
Re: Developmental Kindergarten -Lamorinda area
I was in your same position last year with respect to looking for a pre-k academic opportunity in the lamorinda area. Have you looked at Saklan Valley School in Moraga? Very structured, very impressive, more on the academic side. The downside is that pre-k is approx $11,000/year (5 days/week). An academic preschool is VERY hard to find around here(I live in Orinda). Anon