White Pony Preschool
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White Pony preschool on the Walnut Creek/Lafayette border is amazing. My kids have been there four years and are in kindergarten now. It is not the right fit for everyone -- it is a very kind, compassionate, spiritual, small school with a community and family feel. They have a real emphasis on developing the emotional and spiritual well-being of children. There is a big emphasis on the arts and nature. I can't say enough good things about it.
White Pony on the Lafayette/Walnut Creek border is incredible. It is specifically designed for working parents, so they have limited weeks off, and offer full-time daycare during most of the times they're closed. They also offer before-care (starting at 7am, with a group of kids that cooks and eats breakfast together) and after-care until 6:30pm. The staff is incredibly caring and dedicated. My kids are finishing their third year there, and I can not say enough good things about it.
White Pony preschool on the Lafayette/Walnut Creek border is amazing. Very caring and nature-based. It can be quite hard to get in due to so many interested families, but it is a wonderful place and worth checking out.
A magical, loving place. My childhood friends went there and had great memories. Our older child has been there for 2 years now and we feel so blessed. They helped him so much during his transition to becoming a big brother. They help me so much in guidance as a parent too. Teachers have been there for 30 years so they know their stuff. And they love, love, love above all.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Re: Lamorinda preschool for energetic 2.5 year old boy
I would recommend - highly recommend - the Meher School. It is a private pre-k -5th grade school in Lafayette. The pre- school is called White Pony and my son went there for pre- school and kindergarten . The teachers are experienced, dedicated, and well trained. It is a Sufi community that runs the school, but there is no religious feel about the place. You can meet with the principal and tour the place. Although the classes are large, there are 3-4 teachers in each. Good luck! White Pony alumni mom
Re: Full-day but part-time preschool near Walnut Creek
Check out White Pony Preschool in Lafayette! It's a loving bright positive environment. Located on the WC/Lafayette border. Rates are reasonable and they even have a breakfast program for kids that get dropped off *very* early. They have beautiful gardens and a wonderful sense of connectedness within the school community. They also have a k-5 program there. Its location is a former elementary school in Lafayette so it's a large facility. There are 5 preschool classes of mixed age, where the older ones get a chance to be kind and mentor littler ones, and the little ones get a chance to play with and look up to older kids, too. So glad my kids went there! Christina
At the beginning of the month, we moved our three-year-old son from daycare to the White Pony Preschool (affiliated with the Meher School) in Saranap. Preschool technically only runs from 9 to 12, but our son goes to the aftercare program as well. He stays with the same teacher all day, so it feels like all-day preschool. When he started, he was only going three days a week, but now he is full-time, so I know the school can be flexible with schedules. (Also, there is before-school care as well, and if you drop off by 7:30 a.m., your kid can be part of the breakfast program.)
We have really liked the school so far. The teachers are gentle and soft-spoken, and the rooms are clean, bright and well-organized. There seems to be a nice balance of organized activities and free time for playing, which I think is super important when a kid is really young. Also, we were pleasantly surprised that it wasn't crazy expensive. And, you can opt to send your kid to the Meher School after preschool. (Our five-year-old is in the young kindergarten class, which we have also loved so far.) Happy White Pony Parent
Re: Lamorinda Preschool-Which one?
Might I recommend White Pony Preschool in Lafayette? Our daughter went there from age 2 through 5, and is now in the attached private elementary school (Meher Schools). White Pony is a wonderful, loving preschool where our very shy daughter really blossomed with the help of the amazing teachers there. The school is particularly geared towards working parents (which my husband and I are) and has a before and after care program, enrichment classes in the aftercare program, and a cooperative breakfast program (if you participate, it's free except that you have to bring your assigned food each week, e.g., Cheerios or eggs or milk) where the teachers cook the kids breakfast each day. White Pony does not advertise - it is strictly word-of-mouth, it seems, and there is a waiting list. I recommend you contact them to get a tour. If you like the tour, then you can ask to be put on the waiting list. They are located at 999 Leland Avenue in Lafayette. Good luck! Lori
Re: Preschool in WC/Lafayette/PH
I can wholeheartedly recommend White Pony Preschool in Lafayette. It's at 999 Leland Drive. Our daughter went there for 3 years (from 2-5 years old) and she is continuing in their elementary school now as a kindergartener. This school has the most loving teachers and wonderful program. Music and art play a big part (my daughter loves both). They also have an unbeatable schedule for working parents - they open at 7:00 am and close at 6:30 pm. They have a co-op breakfast program (parents bring food that they are assigned and the teachers cook hot breakfast each day for the children). They almost never close. They are closed the week before Labor Day and a few days after Labor Day. Other than that, they're just closed for the usual holidays that most folks have off from work. They offer before and after care. They are also very reasonably priced. I would call them and arrange a tour and get on their waiting list. They do not advertise - it's all word of mouth. Lori
Re: Elementary Schools with Pre-K Programs
Another option is to do a 3rd year of preschool. We live in Lafayette and our daughter attends White Pony preschool. She started when she was 2 and will have completed 3 years there by the time she starts kindergarten this fall. Perhaps preschools in the area where you're planning on living do a similar thing? Christina
I have a child at White Pony. From what you have described ''i am seeking a half day, play based program whose director is well trained and well spoken in child development and child psychology. and i would like to know that this knowledge is passed on to staff (despite turnover) who will be working with the children. i am seeking a nurturing school that prioritizes socialization and feelings vs. academics'', it seems like you are talking precisely about White Pony!! I don't know how better to word it than you have already. My child got all of that at WP and more. We love it.
There is very little turnover, infact I haven't seen any in my childs classroom.
She only has lunch there, does not stay for rest/nap in the afternoon, so I do not know about children leaving later, but I know some of her friends do and they're as in love with the school as she is.
There is a wait list to get into WP so apply as soon as you can. Good luck! Lamorinda mom
Re: preschools in Lamorinda, it sounds like you are looking for White Pony, the wonderful preschool our daughter has been going to for 3 years (starting at age 2). There is very little turnover there and they have the most loving teachers you will ever meet. The preschool director is great and the author of a parenting book called, if memory serves, ''Who's in Control?''. Preschoolers can go to school 5 days a week, 3 days a week, or 2 days a week. Our daughter has always gone 5 days a week as we both work full time. There has never been any problem with having some kids there part-time. Our daughter is also in the before and after care program, which is also wonderful. We have been so thrilled with the program and the teachers at White Pony. I highly recommend you check it out. Lori
For what you describe, White Pony sounds like the ideal fit. I had an interview with the Director recently who spent an hour with me and was very well-versed with how they see their program. They do not teach any academics, but concentrate on the arts and play. The feel is kind of Waldorf, but they are actually a Sufi-directed program (but not directly religious). They are good value money-wise, too. The down-side to me was that the classes were large (~18-20) and mixed ages (2-4). Anon
I can highly recommend White Pony preschool in Lafayette. Our daughter, now 4.5 years old, has been going there since she was 2. The school is wonderful! It has the most loving, caring teachers. Very low turnover of teachers. Our daughter has really thrived there and we (and she) like the school so much we're keeping her there for elementary school (they have an attached private elementary school). The school is very reasonably priced and offers absolutely the best hours/schedule I've found for working parents - they only close for one whole week the week before Labor Day. Otherwise, they're open year-round, 7:00am-6:30 pm. They have a cooperative breakfast program where families in the program are assigned something to bring each week. The teachers cook hot breakfast for the kids in breakfast program every day. Really can't beat it for working parents, and a very nurturing place for your child. Call them at 925-938-4826 and set up a tour to check it out. They do have a lottery system as it is so popular (even though they don't advertise - it seems to be all word-of-mouth), so if you are interested, you would want to get on the list right away. Feel free to send me e-mail if you have further questions. Lori
My son, age 4.75 years, attends White Pony (Meher School) in Lafayette and we (wife, son and myself) are all very happy with the school. He has been there since he was 2.5 years old. The teachers seem to be truly caring and interested in the children. Apparently the school is very popular, as we have friends that were not able to enroll their children due to lack of space.
As far as transition time, my son started at Happy Days in Lafayette when he was 2 years old and we transferred him at 2.5 years to White Pony. I do not remember that the transition was too awful. I think the teachers at White Pony were very understanding. David
Our 4.5 year old daughter has been at the White Pony Preschool since August and we love it. She is in Room 1 which has approx 30 kids/4+teachers.(There are 5 classes, some with many fewer kids). What I like about it is that all the kids get consistent, respectful, loving attention from the teachers. I think the teachers really make a committment to leave their personal issues etc outside the school and spend their time at school really loving the kids. They are very informed about the joys, trials and tribulations that go along with different ages and stages of development. Of course, some of these stages are more pleasant than others, but I never get the sense that the teachers deal with these unpleasant stages as a "necessary evil". There is more of a sense of enjoyment of that particular child and quiet appreciation (even amusement) of how we all go through these challenging times ("grabby, tantrum twos"," hyper, should-know-better fours" etc) first as kids ourselves then as parents. They provide a large variety of activities - lots of creative, developmental play, plus lots of guidance on how to be a social human being. The head of the pre-school, Susie Kohl is very available for any concerns that you may have about your child. I met with her once because my child seemed to make an easy adjustment, then 1.5 months into the program started talking babytalk a lot. I had been prepared for this during the initial introduction but not at 1.5 months. I found her to be a good listener, to offer good advice and she was willing to come to our house for a visit if it would make the home/school environment more linked (ie safer feeling for my daughter). I love having her as a resource for behavioral/developmental issues. Another plus for our daughter is the focus on animals in Room 1 (probably other rooms as well). She is such an animal lover and learns a lot about respecting others, empathy, caretaking etc from animals. I found it to be very affordable when compared to what else is around. Other parents have said that they love being involved with/associated with the school. It feels supportive and respectful of parents.
About a transition time: We moved our daughter into a new daycare at age two. I found that I was more upset about her missing her friends and loving adults than she actually experienced. I could anticipate loss and missing someone whereas she didn't have so many past experience about that. We started talking about "new daycare maybe 2-3 weeks before she switched. We visited the new daycare within that time frame so she knew what we were talking about. On the last day at the old day care we said goodbye, next week we are going to new daycare etc. She was looking forward to it. I made the first day at the new daycare a short one. We visited the old daycare once at her request. The White Pony School has a good system worked out for helping your child transition into their school, lots of parent time spent, short days etc. Good luck! Karen