I'm so surprised to see negative comments about Beacon. We were fortunate to get offered spots here and in the toddler room at Trinity Playgroup, but chose Beacon because the toddler room space and bathroom access was much better than at Trinity (esp for potty training). My daughter attached easily to teachers and got to know people from different rooms because there are opportunities for age group interaction. I like that we pack our own lunches, and they're definitely good with allergies. The toddler room has a no nut it seed rule to protect a child, but nobody knows who, and the director sent info about lunch substitutes. The other rooms have two lunch tables and I think handle most allergies by having lunch zones, but I'm not positive. They have the lowest ratio I could find, and the same refund policy as other nearby places. It is pricey. I think if you go full time it's over 20k per year. But we're part time and they have wonderfully flexible and personalized schedules. Gillian, the director is awesome. They have their own outside yard too, and my very active kid doesn't seem bored there in the least. I do think kids who are less social have a harder time with all the mixing of teachers -- there's room teachers that are stable, but then the nap group moves to a different room with some new teachers, and the later afternoon has other teachers. My daughter likes all the teachers in all the rooms ad rehearses their names at home.
I would not recommend this school to anyone . It was recommended to me when we did not get in to our first choice Trinity playgroup. At first it was ok, until the woman Linda who runs the school came back from medical leave. Honestly I think she had a problem with me, she would call me at work and claim my son tried to bite someone or hit someone. Then she told me if he wanted to stay in their extremely overpriced preschool he would need to go to therapy. So I found a child therapist who cost $120 a hour and he started going. Then about a month later she told me he was so much of a problem that in order to stay in school, I would need to hire someone to come to school with him. Obviously this was insane, even the therapist agreed. So I took him out and found him a new place to go. The real kicker is they kept my $1100 deposit for the following school year and would not refund my money, Linda claimed he was still allowed to attend he just needed a chaperon. My son has never had a problem outside of this, he is a honors student, tests off the charts and no one besides Linda has ever though he had a behavior problem. She really made my life difficult for a few months. KARMA
I had 2 kids go through here. The first loved it. The second was BORED out of his MIND and getting into trouble by the end of his PK year there. The teachers are very loving, but the small environment is not suitable for an active child. I found the school to be less than proactive or helpful as we struggled to find ways for my son to be happy there again. I would brainstorm ideas with the administrators, we would come up with some solutions, and they would be tried a handful of times and then back to the situation that I felt made him feel bored and getting into trouble in the first place. It is sad that after 3 great years with my first child, I was counting off the days to leave it for the second one. I do not recommend this school.
This is one of the highest rated schools in the area but quite frankly, we had a few issues too lengthy to enter into here. While 2 teachers here have been with the school for several years and seem to care deeply about the children, there is a very high staff turnover rate. For almost 1/2 the rate I paid for my son's attendance, he is now attending a facility with a much more academically sound program and more stability. Not to mention, the new school gives him snacks of fresh fruit instead of off-brand cheez-its. My son has an IEP and a severe food allergy. This school was not the most welcoming atmosphere for someone with these issues. The teachers asked (for 2 years) repeatedly, 'what is he allergic to again?' and were quick to label him and blame everything on my son's condition once diagnosed.
Pros: longtime school with established curriculum and loving teachers. attached to a small play area. Cons: they do not welcome or encourage parent participation. they serve the cheapest snacks they can find (i.e. offbrand apple juice and graham crackers) old toys with incomplete parts, grungy carpets, administration is sneaky re fees and how enrollment works, very very high teacher turnover says more about director's treatment of staff than of the staff and their qualifications.