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  • Our family did not have a positive experience.
    The school year started out with one teacher, but before Thanksgiving, she was out and a less-qualified one replaced her.
    Before the replacement, my child was being taught nature; made art projects such as beaded necklaces and beeswax model airplanes; there were puppet shows; there was structured play as well as free play.  The children were learning how to make their own snacks and how to clear their place settings.  My child looked forward to going to school each week.  The children appeared happy and the teacher always gave me a progress report when I came to pick up my child.
    Parents were required to volunteer in the class room and when it was my turn, I saw things that proved the replacement teacher was not qualified and the class room was unsafe.  There were glaring fire hazards (there was a bathroom door that opened from the inside of the school and there was an exit to the outside, but that was blocked by a large round wooden table and chairs.  The inside was blocked by a vacuum cleaner and cots.  The teacher burned candles as she read a script to the puppet show.  The class room had very long cotton curtains that pool on the floor and having a candle burning and placed no more than four feet off the floor presented a major fire hazard should the candle have been left unattended.  As it was, she placed it on top of the children's play kitchen.
    Furthermore, there was a paring knife that was within reach of children.  The replacement teacher neglected children who had separation anxiety in favor of talking with other adults.  I no longer received progress reports.  She barely said two words.  I felt she was not experienced enough to run a class room by herself.  She just did not seem to have that "eyes in the back of your head" instinct that comes with parenthood and with being around small children.  And I know they were required to dress a certain way, but the teacher before her wore jeans and an apron and this one wore a floor-length skirt that wrapped around her legs.  You could not see her feet and it looked as she could stumble over at any time. 
    The porch was always cluttered with extra chairs and this wooden boat toy that the children did not play with.
    Additionally the playground which is utilized by the kindergarteners as well as the preschoolers was too rustic for my tastes.  It appeared unsafe.  Wood surfaces were not sanded and there was no padding at the bottom of the fireman's pole, just hard dirt.  There is a large sand pit that is surrounded by large rocks that become slick when sand is on them.  There is no sun protection and not enough shade.  If children are on the swings, they get sun directly in their eyes.
    As much as this school talks about a sense of community, I failed to see it.  Parents congregate around the entrance after dropping their children off in the morning and they will not move when you try to pass by to exit.  This was a paved exit in front of a class room and the only place to walk unless you walked in the landscaping.  It seems common courtesy to step aside, especially when young children are being led, but not here.  You would be forced to walk around them.  There were also large tree stumps that were part of the "natural look," but oftentimes they would be right in the walkway.  Around the holidays as I was hurrying to get home, I was solicited by another parent who was not very friendly and did not care who I was just as long as I could give them more money.  The school wanted money for some nonsense - a decorative fountain or something else whereas the money should have been put into getting the preschool a thermostat ... or some heat.  When it was cold, my child had to wear his winter coat.  It had the feel of an old, one-room school house.
    There is a parking lot but no one is allowed to park there except the administrator, Andrew.  Otherwise the parking lot was used for older children to play.
    I have been told that significant changes have been made since our departure and I am thankful that my words were heard for the children's sakes, but I am so glad that I got my child out before something horrible could happen.  I also noticed tonight before writing this review that the replacement teacher has been replaced.  This does not surprise me because I cannot believe she was given this position to begin with.
    I hesitated leaving this review because I find that the fault lies within The City School and its employees and not the parents, though they would like me to believe that it is not their fault.  This is the first year of the parent cooperative preschool so I understand there are kinks to be worked out.  However, during open house and enrollment I was told each time that there would be chickens and the children would bake.  After my child started, I was told there would be no chickens because there was a coyote problem in the past and the teacher at the beginning of the school year said they were not zoned to bake in the class room.  However, the literature for the school still states the children bake.  I just see this as another example of poor communication between The City School and the liaison between The City School and the preschool co-op.  If that is not the case, then there was blatant lying about chickens and baking to appear more Waldorf than they knew they would be.
    Being a first-time mother, I did not understand that it was MY responsibility to ask questions about the preschool's functioning.  I thought things would be explained to me, but they were not.  Even the due date for the rent money was not clear.  The so-called contract contained very little information.  It was not until we were late with the payment that Andrew explained when it was due.  This may seem obvious to other parents, but I am used to organizations that have better communication and contracts clearly state pertinent information.  I also fail to see how it is the fault of the parents that there were fire hazards which were probably there ever since the City School decided to rent space as a co-op. 
    I think there is more potential as the preschool comes together, but when they lost a qualified teacher and replaced her with a non-qualified one, it became nothing more than a home daycare atmosphere, but a very unsafe one.  The majority of the day was free play and for two half-days at $350 a month my child can get that at home for nothing.
    - Christine C.
  • It is amazing! They are Waldorf-inspired, which means they learn through classes like music, art, science, Spanish, sign language and even yoga. They are reasonably priced. The teachers are so loving and really work with each child individually. It's a beautiful family-like setting. I could go on and on about how great they are!
    - Mercedes C.
  • The first two years at Kindercare were wonderful. My child started out in the toddler room, where the ratio is 6 to 1. The program was wonderful, the teacher at the time was warm and caring and my child was happy. He was moved up to the preschool room, where the ratio changed to 12 to 1. This is the legal limit in California, but most other preschools offer a better ratio (9 to 1 or 8 to 1) for a comparable price. But my child was still very happy so we kept him in the program. The preschool teacher at the time was very warm and happy, and this showed in the way she interacted with the children. They had lots of outside time, for socializing as well as really fun circle times and arts and crafts. But then my child was moved in the pre-k room and everything changed. The teacher seemed miserable most of the time. Some of the parents told me their children were suddenly considered disruptive. My child was also considered disruptive. These were all children that had previously had no problems in the preschool room. So I observed for a few days. Even though the pre-k class has access to an amazing outdoor space, the teacher never utilized it. In the entire morning the children went outside a total of 15-20 minutes. This is on beautiful days with perfect weather. I asked them to take the children outside much more throughout the day. My requests were ignored. My child would come home with clean sneakers with no sand in them. So I knew they weren't taking the children outside. I pulled my child out of the program and he goes somewhere else now. The sneakers come home full of sand and the clothes are dirty with paint. This is how I know my child had a wonderful, full and active day! My child is never "in trouble" at the new school, he's just considered a very normal, active child. I would recommend Kindercare for the toddler room only. As far what I spent above, this was the monthly fee.
    - Heather R.
  • this preschool/daycare is one of the bests of it's kind, the staff are well educated and caring, literally it's like a kids heaven
    - Azin E.
  • She raised my son. She is very professional and offers a family environment. I highly recommend her services. I am very happy with her.
    - GAYLE S.
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Daycare Centers in Van Nuys

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