Preschool - Granada Hills,CA

Updated on September 19, 2007
C.T. asks from Granada Hills, CA
4 answers

Hello everyone....I would appreciate any and all input you can possibly gather. We live in Granada Hills. I am trying to find out what it is exactly that I should "expect" in a preschool?? What makes a preschool considered "good"? How many children per class? What credentials should they have? Are Pinecrest or Montessori good options? What different philosophies of teaching are there and how do I decide? Yes I know its a 10 part question but any suggestions on schools or any answers of any above ??? would be highly appreciated.
I have called about 15 preschools and gone to see about 5. I've had her on the waiting list at Pinecrest since she was 10 months old. She's starting a mommy and me program at Highland Hall Waldorf in March. I'm just very confused....
I've gone to see one that was filthy and the room that they would be in is the size of my office at home (not very large at all)and the outside had a rusty old play yard...but 2 of my husbands friends send their kids there and raved about it...I'm emberrased to tell them how I feel (not really). Now I've heard that Pinecrest does not have accredited teachers. Waldorf I've heard mostly good but they don not push the children at all...not sure how I feel about that. I heard Kidercare is more like Daycare. These are all things I've heard!
Please help if you can at all....thank you.

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answers from Los Angeles on

First of all...listen to yourself- if you are not comfortable or have a bad feeling...don't do it!! The most important thing for a young child is socialization...they will be learning the rest of their lives!! There should be a balance between social and education.when a preschool's main focus is academics-it can cause stress in a child if that child is not ready!!why would you want to turn a child off from learning? There is alot of learning done through play!
I went to private school most of my life and went to public high school in 11th grade-i played sports so i knew many people there already, had no problem fitting in..however i did feel that the curiculum at that high school was alot harder than what i was used to...

My daughters go to a public high school and are doing very oldest will graduate at the top of her class just like her step sisters who are now attending harvard(3rd year) and princeton(1st year)

my son was accepted to a brand new high school,funded by bill gates. When he graduates from this school...he will have already completed his associates degree...i told a friend about this school, her son went to pinecrest his whole life, she didn't have the money to send him to private high school and was afraid to send him to a big public high school. He applied(must have good grades,teacher recomendation, high standard test scores,application essays, along with an interview) and got in but...he along with others have to take a special class after school to catch up in math and english skills that my son has already learned in our public school system. We are very lucky to live in an area where the schools are very good!

The only times that my older childrens grades began to slip is when socially they were having problems...

I hoped this helped!!(and didn't cause more confusion!



answers from Los Angeles on


I know what you are talking about. I must of looked at 25 preschools in the San Fernando Valley. I needed a preschool for my 3 year old. He goes to a home daycare but it was time for him to get into a school atmosphere with a structured day. I personally don't care for Pinecrest, Montessori, or Waldorf school. I heard nothing but negative input plus when I went to visit it seemed cold. I chose for my son who is going 2 days a week to Heart of the Valley Preschool. It was all I was looking for. In his class there are 11 kids and the teacher is very pleasant. Just walking down the halls no matter who you met all the staff was smiling and they looked like they enjoyed being at work and teaching. I have been dealing with them since May 2007 with paperwork and everytime I go in they make me feel glad that I chose them. My second choice was Tot Time on De Soto near the 101 fwy. I also went to preschools that looked like a home but for me personally that is what my son was already at with the Home daycare named "British Day Care"; Julie is a great day care provider and just my luck she is starting a preschool program so my son has best of both worlds. You will know what school is good for your child because when you walk in and the first minute you look around you will know and feel this is the school. Take a tour of the place when all kids are in and the faces on the kids will give you a big hint. Good Luck on your search.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hello C., try Temple Ahavat Shalom. Take a tour with Director: Debi Chesler, Phone: ###-###-####. My daughter, Rhea started a week ago and we are very happy. I see a lot of difference in her in a week. She has a delay speech issue and since last week, she has started repeating all the words after us. It is hard to leave her in the morning, she cries sometimes but then she is laughing in minutes. When my husband dropped her off this morning, Rhea was sobbing, within 15 minutes, her teacher called home and said she is fine. You can judge how they love the kids. Good luck.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C.,

I do not live in the Granada Hills area, but I do know a bit about the different preschool chains as I taught preschool for 8 years.

California law states that you cannot have more than 12 children (aged 2 & up) per teacher in a classroom, plus an additional 6 if there is an aide. A good school will have much less. In the last school I worked in, we had 6 children to each teacher in the 2 year old room, because the 2's were still potty training & 10 to one in the older classrooms. Obviously, the less children in a classroom there are, the more individualized attention your daughter will receive.

The law states that a teacher must have at least 12 units of child development. They do not have to have any credentials in a private school, and so most teachers don't bother to acquire one-it involves filling out an application & paying a fee, but the required courses to qualify are the same as would be required to be hired in a private school. Feel free to ask about the teacher's qualifications because an experienced teacher will be proud to brag about what degrees they may hold and how many years experience they have. (For example, I have an Associates Degree & over 30 units in Child Development).

Pinecrest & Montessori are two extremely different types of school. Pinecrest is a good example of an academic school- they will definitely "push" your daughter, if that's what you're looking for. They do not allow children who are not potty trained & will ask you to leave if your daughter has frequent potty accidents, so make sure that she is fully trained before enrolling her. As far as credentialing goes, their preschool has the same requirements as any other private preschool, but I do think that their elementary teachers do not have the same requirements as public school teachers, which doesn't seem to matter because they have very high academic standards, so the children in the elementary often enter public Jr. High or Highschool ahead of the average public school student. Kindercare is another academic school, but without as high of a reputation as Pinecrest. I know that they enroll infants, so they may allow two-year-olds that are not yet potty trained as well, but I don't know for sure. Almost all preschools are also daycares- meaning that your child could potentially be enrolled for up to 12 hours a day, 5 days a week. This does not mean that they will have only free time all day, but scheduled activities are usually focused between 9am & 5pm when the majority of children are in attendance, with the rest of the day spent having free play, or watching videos.

Montessori schools are very similar to Developmental schools (which I think Waldorf is). They definitely do not "push" children. They believe that children learn best through hands on playing and experimenting, so they do not have a lot of ditto work. For example, if they were to teach matching, rather than having a child sit down & draw a line on a ditto connecting two matching items, they will give a child a bucket of different colored and sized bears and ask them to find two that are alike. Then they would talk about what is alike and what may be different about the child's choice and help the child narrow down an exact match. Also, while children are encouraged to join in a planned activity, they are usually given alternative choices and can move from one "open" activity in the classroom to another freely. These schools tend to believe in promoting creativity, and you will rarely see a craft that resembles something you would recognize sent home as art is usually viewed as an activity that should be child a led process, rather than teacher directed. What sets Montessori apart from other Developmental schools is that they have their own specialized Montessori toys and they limit the number of children that can participate in an activity at one time.

Now personally, I went to Pinecrest (Granada Hills coincidentally) as a child, but after majoring in Child Development in college, I chose to only work in Developmental schools. I believe that children learn best through hands-on activities, and they will have so many years ahead to take tests and do homework, that they deserve a little time to just be kids and explore their world with little to no pressure. As far as what to look for when touring a preschool, I answered that in another member's question a while back & I think you can look it up, but I hope this helps for now!

C. : )

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