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Looking for Preschools for 2 Year Old in SF

I am looking for a a good preschool for my son next year in San Francisco. I wanted to see if anybody had any recommendations. My husband and I are looking a both private and public. Any recommendations or feedback would be great!

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Hi S.,
We have loved the JCC at Brotherhood Way (one of three SFJCC preschools). I have to disagree with Sandra re: her depiction of the JCC preschools and agree with the other poster who mentioned them. It sounds like the JCC preschools must have been quite different back when her son was there. Our son started in the young two year old class and will be "graduating" this year. The school uses the Reggio Emilia approach (worth googling to learn more -- my MIL has a Ph.D. in education and was very excited about Reggio) and is guided by Jewish principles, such as friendship and repairing the world. Reggio is somewhat similar to Montessori, but they are not the same. The children learn everything they need to to be ready for kindergarten, but the environment is much more play-based than academic, especially in the younger classes. For example, in the four year-old class, kids can (but do not have to) sign themselves in at drop off (parents sign the real sheet) and practice writing their names. They work on letters by doing something fun and feel like big kids in the process. While the kids are taught how to behave in various situations (staying quiet at nap time and during story time, respecting others, using kind words, not hitting, etc.), the environment does not feel strict. It feels loving and nurturing. It's a place where kids feel safe to grow and develop in all facets of their lives. In the early classes, the teachers focus heavily on social and emotional development, along with fine and gross motor skill development and cognitive development. As the kids get older, the teachers emphasize different developmental areas, but all classes focus on all areas. By cognitive development I do not mean they are teaching the kids some sort of academic curriculum. It's much more of a developmental one. Again, the kids learn letters, numbers, science concepts, and more, but in a play-based context, which recent studies have shown to be the most effective ones for preschoolers. It's important to note that your family does not have to be Jewish to attend one of the JCC preschools. If you are not Jewish, rest assured that your family would be welcomed and that Jews do not try to convert people to Judaism. In fact, it's quite a process to convert! Here is a link for more info if you're interested: http://www.jccsf.org/ece/ece.aspx?catid=14 . My husband and I could not be more thrilled with the loving, nurturing environment at the Brotherhood Way JCC, and our son has learned everything he needed to for kindergarten. For what it's worth, plenty of JCC preschool kids get into the most difficult to get into private schools. Many also go to public schools -- point is that the play-based, Reggio environment certainly does not hinder the kids in any way academically. I actually believe it helps them become more creative thinkers.

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My son went to JCC on brotherhood way. They have 2 other locations in the city as well. The school is based on Reggio Emilia approach and we absolutely loved it. They are really very nurturing and the kids come out learning a lot.
We love that school. My daughter will be starting there soon as well.

Its good to tour as many schools as you can before you decide. Every school has a different feel and a different approach. A lot of schools have a ton of waiting period, so its definitely worth it to start looking early!

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I am also looking for a good preschool for my son and what I found to be a helpful resource was www.savvysource.com. I ran across this website while doing some internet research and the website provides parent reviews and complete information for a lot of the preschools in the SF area.

Good luck!

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I was very happy with my son's pre-school He attended Forest Hill Christian Pre-School. It is a Co-op. For them, it meant assisting the teachers a few times per month and helping with one semi-annual cleanup day.

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S., hi:

when my boys were little they went to the jcc in laurel village, they also went to the tiny tots program @ our local sunset rec center.... then i took them to do art @ the young and legion museums, they have a great program for children.... either sat morning or some afternoon... now that they are big they sometimes volunteer at the museums, run soccer clinics, one is a ref in the summer and the other tutors math...

my best friend's son went to the montesori pre k , and now he is a grad from brown university , working for shwab @ 22 years old... my older son is 17 and going to usf... so starting with the right learning environment where they love to explore and reach their potential that is limitless... is key... i chose the jcc because of my heritage.... structure and learning self-discipline are the main characteristics of jcc.. montesori schools work in a much more laize faire kind of approach ... so you have plenty of choices.... @ the tiny tots they used to do art, read stories.. plenty of arts and i used to do ceramics with them...

look your options according to what your children needs are... you do not want to give them an experience that will turn them off from learning...

The Crayon Box on 65 Ocean Avenue has been great for my daughter! She started when she was 2 1/2 y/o and will be graduating in July, then off to Kindergarten! They take kids who are not potty trained yet and it's a year round school so it's helpful to families who have to work. The teachers have been amazing! It's a Spanish immersion school and it's great for little developing minds to be able to develop an understanding for another language and learn it as well! Try it out, ###-###-#### is their #. Principal's name is Adriana Razo. Set up a walk through and talk w/ some of the parents from that school - there's always one to be found. They serve breakfast and lunch, followed by nap time. They wake up from that @ 3, then they get nutritious snacks. They're also good about kids w/ allergies, as long as the parents provide them w/ the info. They don't like for kids to bring their own meals, unless you plan on bringing enough for everybody.:) Good Luck!

Kudos to you for starting early. We scrambled to get our 3 year old into preschool for this fall. (We were behind due to extenuating circumstances.)

This is a very personal choice; however, I think that any play-based preschool would be appropriate. You need to tour several different schools and see what you like and don't like. This will become apparent after you see a few places.

We really loved cooperative nursery schools because we wanted to be involved with the school and our daughter's education(play:). There are several in the city. Be warned; they are ALOT of work!

You can also check out a book at the library. It lists all of the preschools in San Francisco and Marin (and groups them into categories.) I don't have the name, but I'm sure a quick search would bring it up.

Go with your instinct and definitely start early. Be organized and apply to several schools. It's a tough process, but not impossible. (That's coming from a mom who was completely stressed out about the process just 3 weeks ago. We were on the waitlist at our #1 school for 3 weeks and then got a call that we were accepted. Thankfully, it was sooner rather than later!)

Good luck!

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