Ask the principal or teachers at Children's School what credentials any of them has for teaching your child. To my knowledge, not a single one of the teachers at this school, other than the director, has even an undergraduate degree in something like early childhood education, let alone a masters. Heck, I don't think most of them graduated from college at all. And these are the people whose values I am supposed to rely on for entrusting my child's own education? A bunch of people who aren't educated themselves? I'm glad some parents were happy at Children's School, but my husband and I emphatically were not, and that is not -- in our case -- because of the school's play-based approach to teaching (although I think that could be implemented far more successfully). It is because the teachers were awful, and because the director has no interest in improving the faculty. A previous poster says that Children's School gradates go on to great academic success. Yeah, right! I know tons of Children's School graduates at Sycamore Elementary, for example, who are still struggling to read at the end of first grade and later. The truth is they're behind.
I hold a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education and sent both of my children to this school. We were thrilled with their experiences there. I would like to address the criticism that there is no "structure." The program progresses year by year adding structure as is age appropriate. The youngest children learn by doing with carefully chosen toys and materials. Older children learn decision making skills by spending some of the day in teacher planned activities and some in free choices. ALL activities and materials are carefully chosen, planned and SUPPORTED by creative and qualified teachers in a rich language-based environment. The American Assoc. of Pediatricians is in the forefront supporting PLAY-BASED learning for children--trust your doctors and your teachers. My children have moved on to other schools now and consistently score in the 90+ percentiles and are in the most rigorous courses available to them. We believe that our children are doing so well because they learned to love learning and school by attending this wonderful Claremont school!
Awful. We're leaving after one year. The school's facilities/grounds are undoubtedly the best of any preschool in or near Claremont, which I'm sure is what attracts many families. But this is not a pre-"school". It's a daycare center where your child will not be exposed to any kind of counting, reading or other learning activities before the age of Kindergarten. If you want your child to be prepared for elementary school on the same level as other preschoolers in Claremont, skip this expensive, glorified babysitting operation which, by the way, is closed about a third of the year.
Our children have been safe, happy, and learning at The Children's School for 5+ years. Both children started in the preschool program, and each one has experienced the Kindergarten and primary cottages as well. This was truly a gift. Their foundation is one built on curiosity, support, and self-directed learning. If one has not had the opportunity to be part of the program long enough, then the reservations and concern for a program that appears unstructured are understandable. The play-based learning in the preschool classes allows children the opportunity to develop language and trusts that the children will learn without being forced to learn. The instinctual drive to learn is developed. This is the gift that these children are given. I suppose the only disadvantage to The Children's School, is that there isn't a program similar to it once the kids leave the third grade.
I felt compelled to share my child's experience at the preschool after reading some of the negative reviews. While it is true that it is not as structured as some in the area, we pulled our child from a more structured setting because he was miserable. Now he looks forward to school every morning. The teachers are highly experienced, kind and enthusiastic. They communicate with me daily about my child. My child is self-confident, shares well with others and is reading! I highly recommend the Children's School Preschool as a nuturing place where children experience a love of learning, I say this not just as a parent but as a fully credentialed kindergarten teacher.
My daughter could not have been happier with her school experience through what was a combined grade 2/3. The children were challenged appropriately, mentored effectively by older peers, and also had an opportunity to mentor others as well. There was a perfect balance of work and play, and all students are exposed to art and music opportunities that are rapidly vanishing in public school settings. We couldn't be more pleased with our child's formative school experience at the Children's School!
My daughter spent three years at The Children's School, starting in the pre-K class. We couldn't have been happier with her experience. One of the goals articulated by the school's director was that she wanted children to leave the school as confident learners and that is most certainly the school's legacy with my daughter. She now attends a highly regarded K-8 school and I find that the math, reading, spelling, study of art, and expository writing were more rigorous at The Children's School than where she is now. Additionally, it is a warm and nurturing environment and the cottage set up for each grade level is what a school should look like. You can't do better than sending your child to school here.
My daughter attended The Children's School for three years and it was an amazing and wonderful environment for learning and growth. There is considerable benefit having additional resouces from the academic community of Claremon McKenna college. The only reason we left was due to a move out of the area. The teachers are phenomenal, caring, and focused on academics. Instruction is custom tailored to each child and their individual needs and development. My child was more than well prepared when starting at a level 10 distinguished school this year. I feel blessed to have found a school that provided such a strong foundation that is both achievement focused while emphasizing the enjoyment of learning. We miss it very much.
**Not For Working Parents.** I'm not as down as the last poster, but I'm also not thrilled. If you're looking for a pre-SCHOOL, this isn't it; keep moving. Kids ain't learnin' here. It's simply the prettiest little daycare in Claremont. Some of the monitors could do a better job, but my biggest beef concerns the schedule and price. The place is closed over two months every year (including this, the entire first week of January), and considering that this is by far the most expensive childcare company in Claremont (except for 5-College faculty and friends of the director...), I find this a huge inconvenience.
We are just now deciding, after a full year, to move our daughter to another preschool. We like CS a lot but there is no structure. They do have lots of fun and get dirty and all that good stuff, but I don't feel there is any focus on learning. There is also a discipline problem - there is none. It's too bad b/c the grounds are beautiful and they have such a boon in the college students who do work study there. But the leadership is lacking in an interest in more focused, albeit play-centered, learning. The kids are coddled too much. They don't seem to want to make the most of the facility and opportunities they have, with such an educated group of parents - a lot of college prof's - choosing CS as their first preschool. Values such as responsibility, empathy, being capable, learning to be patient, etc are not so much emphasized. Instead there seems to be an ethos of, Let's keep the children really happy and play all day. The result has been some bad habits picked up and nothing new being grasped or learned. I can do what they do - and that's what we want to do with our child: have fun! What I can't do is what I think preschool teachers should do - making learning fun!
Our daughter attended this school for 2 years, spending the first year in the 2-to-3 year-old cottage and the second year in the older kids' cottage. We're leaving because of a job change. Our child enjoyed the experience, but several fellow parents, my husband and I consistently had concerns about the teachers. Most of the teachers are much more qualified than the average teacher at a place like Tutor Time, but several of them seem to care a lot less about the kids than others. For instance, the consensus opinion among many parents is that the lead teacher in the 2 year-old classroom is bored with her job and "mailing it in." The director of the school gives teachers in each cottage considerable leeway to run things as they choose, so great teachers soar but bad ones also hang around. Bottom line: philosophy and facilities are excellent, but teacher quality varies.
The Children's School is an amazing school for Child Development. They understand that for the very young child the very first science experiments are with sand and water, the first social contacts are on the playground, and language development requires endless hours of practice. The genius of this school is watching forty 3 and 4 years old rush into the cottage from the playground for storytime and then sit riveted, because all of this incredible learning is disguised as so much fun. It's true that shoes and worksheets are not required. Although my child was not 'reading chapter books' when she enrolled in Kindergarten, she did have a sharp self-disciplined mind that could problem solve. So, the reading came quite quickly at age six.
My children went here separate years. At first I was very impressed with the beautiful grounds, very nice buildings and playground, and the high level of education many of the staff had. As months went by my impression of the school crumbled as I realized their was no structure, few academics, and few rules. Imagine watching children walking around all day without shoes, children doing exactly as they pleased, dressed for summer in the dead-of-winter. My kids rarely came home with artwork, new songs, or new stories to report back to my spouse and I. Now when asked I do not recommend this beautiful looking school. I tell parents to find a school based on their academics.
My daughter attends kindergarten here and truly loves it. It is a fun, hands on, safe, and nurturing environment unlike any you would find elsewhere. Take a tour around their 'kindergarten cottage' and you will find yourself wondering why students everywhere can't have a similar environment. The two teachers are kind and patient, and the students get a lot of one-on-one time. I know that my daughter will exit this class with a love for learning and and understanding of classroom expectations. My only wish is that the academics were a little more competitve compared to other private schools in the same area.
This school appealed to us initially because of its developmental approach to learning. However, after the first month of the school year we transferred our kindergartner to a public school because we were utterly disappointed with the quality of the kindergarten program. There was not a clearly identifiable curriculum nor were there any clear behavioral objectives for learning. There was also no evidence of effective classroom management which created an unsafe learning environment. As a fully credentialed teacher I know that this learning environment would never be tolerated in a public school. Our child is much happier now in our local public school where he feels safe.
My daughter attends preschool here, and loves it! This is one of the few schools that is completely child-centered, and actually makes decisions according to their philosophy of education. May not be a good fit for parents who are looking for a more structured environment for the kids. The students at this school have many choices. It is more of a relaxed environment and the kids are happy here.
This school is developmental and nurturing, making sure that the child feels valued. They encourage children to make their own decisions and teach them to make good choices. Discipline is positive reinforcement,no 'time-outs.' The wait list is years long, so if you are considering this school for ages 2-5, apply early. There is not very much room for Parental Involvement as there are a lot of college students working in the classrooms. Social skills are the main focus at this school, and I agree that at the younger ages (2-4/5), that is more important than academics. Kindergarten was structured and organized. We loved the teachers. Kindergarten has a strong Art Appreciation program. I believe that the 1-3rd class is not as structured as K. There is yoga, but no PE, sports, or extracurriculars. Kids may not be prepped enough for public school if you don't monitor their work closely.
This is a fabulous school. It starts at age 2 and goes up to the third grade. The environment is very focused on hands-on learning. The teachers are extremely involved and will check in with you daily. The most common parental complaint is that children never want to leave. The school offers some before and after school care. There are quite a few holidays, which can be inconvenient for working parents.
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