Monday, March 30, 2009

Hot topic: Which preschools are private school feeders?

An SF K Files proposes the following topic:
Since the private/independent school admissions letters have gone out, I am wondering if we can determine how well the preschools matriculated into the privates and independents. I know the private schools all say that they do not have feeder schools, but it would be interesting to know how well the various preschools did in getting their kids into kindergarten to see whether what the private schools are saying about no feeders is really accurate.

222 comments:

  1. Do you really think people are going to admit that their preschools are feeder schools?

    I, for one, believe that my child was admitted to schools because she is a child genius!!!

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  2. THere are preschools where most families choose public... and preschools where most families choose private.

    In that sense, the latter "feed into" the privates.

    But that is just because of the kinds of families that choose those schools. There is no guaranty that a family will have a leg up when it comes to admission to a specific school.

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  3. Hate to burst your bubble, but aside from Nueva, private schools try to avoid admitting gifted kids.

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  4. Gifted kids are hard to keep challenged. Also, their dev't is often lopsided: the math genius might lag in reading, or they might be cognitively advanced all around by lacking in the social/emotional realm. Finally, it is not uncommon for gifted kids to have learning differences.

    Gifted kids can tell that their brains work differently than the brains of others and it can be quite isolating and difficult.

    That's why there are schools like Nueva.

    If your kid really is *that* gifted, don't tell the private schools.

    The smartest girl in our kid's preschool didn't get in anywhere and we think it might be because she is clearly gifted. We encouraged them to apply to Nueva, but they didn't want the commute.

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  5. Honestly, it is a rational question and there are a number of answers, most of which are available on the archives of the Golden Gate Mothers Group.

    The truth is, it depends on what school you are hoping to "feed" to. Some schools feed to the single sex schools, others to the prestigious Catholics, others to MCDS, to Day, to Brandeis, etc.

    Many choose St. Lukes, for example, because they hope to enroll in Hamlin or Convent. Or they choose the Little School if they want MCDS. Peter's Place seems to have a good relationship with Friends. Emanu-El's director is a Brandeis parent, and one of its parents (former parents?) is the AD at Live Oak. The JCC sends tons of kids to Day and Brandeis (among other privates).

    But at the end of the day, it seems to me that you should pick the preschool program that works best for your family, as all the private schools seek at least some balance from the preschools.

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  6. Um, I think the first poster was being facetious...

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  7. It seems that many of the preschools mentioned as possible "feeders" have half day, or shortened day programs. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it does tend to discourage 2 working parent or single parent families from enrolling. It's much easier logistically, and less expensive, to find a full time preschool/daycare then to hire someone to pick your child up from preschool at 1:30 or even 3 p.m. And, there are many quality full time preschool programs out there. My point is that only a select group (typically with one parent at home) will be in a position to choose many of the "feeder" preschools in the first place. Perhaps there is then a ripple effect when it comes time for K.

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  8. BS about the Little School beign a feeder for MCDS. Our son is in a school where there are a few Little School kids, but not in our daughters class. Remember, over half the kids in MCDS are from Marin, not from SF. This notion of the Little School as a 'feeder' to MCDS has been completely made up this particular year by posters on this blog.

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  9. You guys, I was kidding!

    Do you really think I think my daughter is "gifted?"

    My point is that very few people will mention their preschools because preschools are small and people are readily identifiable-- and that to admit your preschool is a feeder school is to admit that this process is not without its advantages for some.

    I agree that short of Pacific Primary, very few preschools that tend to be identified as feeder schools for privates are full day deals. There is a weird throwback quality to the fact that the privates have a huge amount of terribly educated moms who are currently (permanently?) out of the workplace.

    Not that there's anything wrong with it!

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  10. Regarding the rumor of Little School being a feeder for MCDS, you can judge for yourself. They've published a list on their website of where their kids went last year:

    http://www.littleschool.org/Uploads/AboutFacts/FactSheet20082009.doc

    Summary: out of 42 kids last year, 4 each went to Cathedral, Friends, and Sacred Heart. 3 each went to Live Oak, Town, SF Day, and MCDS.

    So it looks to me like the Little School families have a great track record of being accepted to privates all over town, not just MCDS.

    (For the record, I've got no dog in this fight. I'm so ignorant of the preschool scene that I'd never heard of any of the schools on this thread before today.)

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  11. So more than half of Little School kids went on to private school?

    I'm guessing it has more to do with the social class and affluence and connections of those that go to Little School than to the particular influence of the director of the preschool. Or, at least, the two are related. The director in some sense does a pre-screen for the elementary schools by accepting them to Little School in the first place. They have, in effect, the Little School Stamp of Approval of Social Acceptability and Probability of Volunteer Time and Big Donations.

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  12. If you look at the acceptances, there are many schools represented there - that does not constitute a 'feeder'. Those numbers change from year to year. This year there was only one or two kids that are going to MCDS.

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  13. Very few Pacific Primary kids got into private schools this year. Not sure about their past track record, but not this year.

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  14. from pacific primary website
    2006-2007
    Cathedral School for Boys 3
    Convent – Sacred Heart 3
    French-American Int’l 5
    Katherine Delmar Burke 4
    Live Oak 14
    Marin Country Day 14
    Notre Dame des Victoires 4
    Presidio Hill 2
    San Francisco Day 28
    San Francisco Friends 11
    Synergy 3
    Hamlin 10
    Nueva 5
    Town 13

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  15. Pacific primary had a harder time this year simply because they "graduated" twice as many kids as in the past.

    No private school wants a kinder class with a large cohort from a particular preschool. They all brag about the sheer number of preschools represented in their kinder classes.

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  16. We have a friend at a Spanish-immmersion preschool in Noe. Five kids applied to Friends and three got in. Does that make it a feeder, if 60 percent of those who applied were accepted?

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  17. THose Pacific Primary numbers are over a period of several years, not the figure for a partic year.

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  18. I think some preschools must be better equipped than others to help with your private school admissions process. From reading this blog, many people suggested having your preschool director call a private school on your behalf. My daughter is in preschool and I just can't even imagine asking the director to do this. I doubt she's not in touch with anybody at fancy private schools in Pacific Heights.

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  19. Our preschool graduating class all got into where they wanted to go. Burkes, Town, Hamlin, and MCDS.
    By the way- all also tried for the SFUSD and ALL went 0/7. ALL of them. Most would have gone public had they gotten something on their list.

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  20. I think so much about getting into private school is about the director.

    Our director is amazing. She has relationships with all the schools, but she is also known for her honesty. She was brutally honest with us about which schools we were likely to gain admittance! That being said, the schools trust her judgment, and if there is some sort of conflict (a meltdown at the playdates, some sort of problem with the interview), she will go to bat for that family.

    We have attended other preschools and I can see the difference. However, we didn't go to this preschool to get into P school. We went because it is a great place!!

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  21. 9:17, all went 0/7, so did their lists all look the same? How serious were they really about public school?

    My kids went to a relaxed, funky preschool whose director has no relationship with any of these private schools except one or two. Most families went public and almost none went 0/7. I think it is much more about who the families are, in terms of socio-economic status and their related expectations, then about the preschool per se. You pick LS or PP and you probably already have the expectations and status to get in the snooty privates.

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  22. There is a down-side to having a very connected preschool director and lots of families headed to private. You can expect brokering and deal-making you may not want.

    If you're the only one applying to Synergy but there are three other families applying to Live Oak, you might discover dealmaking behind your back to ensure you get Synergy but are out of the running at Live Oak to increase the likelihood one of the other candidates is placed. Even if Live Oak was your first choice.

    Preschool directors will figure out who is most easily placed where and act accordingly.

    REmember, their goal is to find everyone a spot. If it happens to be your first choice, that is great. But they'd rather place *everyone* than get you admitted to your first choice if it is the school everyone else in your class wants as well.

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  23. We suspect something like that happened at our school. Too many families wanted Town. One family was steered toward Cathedral, even though Town was their first choice. Another family was steered to Brandeis, even though they, like many, many others, wanted SF Day.

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  24. 9:23 and 9:17

    Can you share what preschools that you are at?

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  25. For the record, those numbers are correct on the Little School for this coming fall. The LS is sending three not one or two to MCDS. Two are non-sibling (boy and a girl) and one is a sibling. LS sent 6 or 7 to MCDS last year. There is no "feeder" program. I don't know where that idea comes from. High rate of acceptances are more a reflection of LS pedagogy than any "connections". The DA at Cathedral used to be a LS mom. Several founders of Friends including the main benefactor went to LS. Once again, this had to do with teaching style and environment not social connections or affluence. Many of those listed as going to privates got aid; it's not just about the money. The Little School does have a very high rate of volunteering. I think that a lot of us have to get over the idea that it's all about money and social connections. There are a huge number of wealthy families in this town and a great number of them didn't get into a lot of schools.

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  26. I know of two MCDS siblings coming from Little School this year, both boys. Check your numbers.

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  27. Admissions is *not* need blind.

    Not at the college level.

    Not at the high school level.

    And certainly not at the elementary school level.

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  28. 10:38, just a nitpick but there are several universities (mostly ivy's) with huge endowments whose admissions are indeed "need-blind"

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  29. In the end, I think us parents are just trying to figure out if going to a certain preschool helps with the process of gaining admissions into the which private schools.

    It is a really difficult process as it is so any help is appreciated.

    The honest feedback from parents going thru the process is very helpful.

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  30. Read yesterday's NYT article about need blind admissions during this economic crisis.

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  31. Sorry 10:37, numbers are correct and match the LS fact sheet they published. Perhaps they are not going into K?

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  32. 10:48 I apologize for the thread getting sidetracked. In the end the answer for you is yes. At the more popular preschools, children seem to be better prepared socially and evaluations by teachers and staff are more specifically tailored to the student which helps the DA's get a better viewpoint of the child. The more popular schools also have directors that advocate strongly for their students.

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  33. Please, choose your child's preschool - before any other consideration - because it is or may be a wonderful place to educate your preschool child. If it feeds into private schools, great, but the top priority should be the experience your child has in school from 2 or 3 years old to 5.

    Our twins have gone to a public preschool -- a wonderful one we've loved -- with no connections to privates. And guess what, though we applied to three private elementary schools, we didn't get in, despite both working in nonprofits, and volunteering extensively, and living in the Western Addition. Initially it felt like a rebuff -- i.e., if you're not honed at LS, then you're not suitable for private elementary.

    But clearly this is ridiculous, and our experience is anecdotal. We got our 6th out of of 7 choices in public, and realize it will be fine! It is a massive relief to be done with the school search process, which is doubly challenging with twins. I expected to feel more rejected (and did at first) but optimism is swooping in, despite budget cutbacks and all...

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  34. Could be a typo.. or you could be looking at last year's numbers. But there are two sibling boys joining MCDS from Little School this year. They are in the MF-PM program. Maybe you are looking at figures for TK only?

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  35. You can't use this year as a guide. This year, all schools were on a hunt for big donor families and those kinds of families tend to go to the same 6-7 preschools.

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  36. I think that a preschool director who provides valuable input on the entire kindergarten process is a more desirable situation than one with "connections" to private schools only. In my view, a good preschool director should help families with a public school search as well as a private school search - whether it's as a backup or because public school might turn out to be a better option than private for a family, which is something they can only learn if they explore the issue.

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  37. Despite a number of imo misinformed comments to the contrary, where the child goes to preschool matters when it comes to getting into the top privates. Its not at all a deciding factor and in some fairly rare instances it can work against you (too many families wanting the same top private and your family doesn't measure out as well as the others) but in general the better the preschool the better your chances of getting in to where you want to go. If I had to do it all over again, the clear first choice in my mind is Little School.

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  38. Agreed but yeah good luck getting in.

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  39. "the better the preschool"

    Better here means Higher Status, not necessarily better in terms of education or fit for your family or child. Many of these preschools are just great, of course, but there are others that status-obsessed parents don't know about that are also just great. Bonus is--the atmosphere will be more relaxed at those places, and you won't feel the social pressure to apply to the similarly "better" private and public schools. Many quite normal, educated, down-to-earth, caring, on-the-ball SF parents educate their kids in a variety of public and parochial schools for a lot less money or angst. Actually, most of us do. :-)

    If it were me, I'd be avoiding those feeder preschools like the plague, for fear of being sucked into the vortex. Everyone here seems so unhappy and stressed, and it doesn't have to be this way.

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  40. If attending the right preschool facilitates entry into the most prestigious private schools, what is the angle for attaining entry into the right preschool?

    Should we have arranged birth for my children in the most prestiguous hospital?

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  41. 11:47

    I agree it does matter some where you go to preschool. The Little School is the hardest school to get into.

    Can you provide any insight if the school below have directors that are helpful.

    This is the list that I have heard of:
    150 Parker
    Calvary
    St Lukes
    Russian Hill
    Cow Hollow
    Pacfic Primary
    JCC
    St James
    MCH

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  42. hey 12:36, too funny

    I think the answer is, if you don't know already, you probably don't belong and shouldn't be asking ;-)

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  43. Ah, 12:38 understands.

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  44. Little School is *not* that hard to get into. Here's how the vast majority of families get in:

    - Apply every year for your eldest child, starting at age 2. Expect to be rejected your first two times.

    - Enroll children in Little School Summer programs every year, so the staff gets to know (and love) your family (be sure to turn in your Summer Program application as soon as you receive it)

    - By the time your kid is 4, you should be able to get a spot in one of their pre-k programs (MF-AM, MF-PM or TK).

    Your younger kids will be able to attend Little School once the eldest has secured a spot.

    This is how most families get in.

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  45. 12:37 pm you are likely not going to get direct feedback and will need to tour the schools to find out (i) if they are a good fit; (ii) if you click with the director and (iii) the directors involvement in the kindergarten process. You will also want to consider the size of the school and the hours it offers for preschool. For example, Pacific Primary is full-time and doubled in size over the last year or the year before (can't remember). The JCC has several campuses so you will need to a bit more specific - full-time, part-time and what area of the city. Preschoolers from all of the schools you mention get acceptances to Private Schools, if that is your goal.

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  46. Little School is indeed the crème de la crème.

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  47. If you decide to go for Little School, make sure you understand their philosophy.

    It is a play-based program. There are no worksheets or structured pre-academics because the founders believe kids learn best when they are allowed to explore and play.

    If you want a more structured, pre-academic program, try St. Luke's. You will not be happy at Little School.

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  48. No punitive time outs at LIttle School.

    Also: It is a full-inclusion program, so you have to be okay with that.

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  49. 12:36 -

    Cal Pacific. Good luck!

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  50. 12:37:

    The Director at Tiny Giants is incredibly helpful as well. She knows the schools (private and parochial) and is frank with you about where she thinks that your child will do well.

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  51. "Should we have arranged birth for my children in the most prestiguous hospital?"

    You don't stand a chance of getting into the best ob-gyn wards if you don't have a reference from a similarly high-end fertility clinic.

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  52. "Many quite normal, educated, down-to-earth, caring, on-the-ball SF parents educate their kids in a variety of public and parochial schools for a lot less money or angst. Actually, most of us do. :-)"

    Quiet! Quiet! Don't listen to him/her!

    Absolutely don't send your kid to a solid local public or parochial school 'cos that'd mean less room for us plebs...errr...I mean your friends will think you're a failure and a negligent parent and cut you out of the best investment syndicates.

    If you can't get your kid into La Petite Ecole de Finis (with its excellent preschooler dressage and showjumping curriculum), then you just might as well give your kid up for adoption to a worthier family.

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  53. 4:15, 4:21--Thank you for a moment of laughing out loud (sorry 'bout that, work colleagues!) before I head home to collect my poor, deprived public school child from his dreary afterschool program and then trudge home to our ratty apartment where he will sit in front of the TV for the rest of the night eating Twinkies.

    You know, it really all fell apart when I failed to get the right minister for our wedding, years before I even got pregnant....our poor child had no shot at the good life after that.

    :-(

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  54. Even more exclusive than the Little School: the preschool at the Getty's.

    I would also add Lone Mountain to the list of "feeder" preschools.

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  55. Lone Mountain is probably harder to get into than Little School. It is first come, first served, but you have to sign up on the way home from CPMC to get a spot.

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  56. Ahhh--so CPMC is the feeder obstetrics department?

    I feel like I am being initiated into the secrets beyond the holy veil.

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  57. Kate/Amy should probably just set up a different thread - Bash Private / Public schools - so that people can go ahead and have at it.

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  58. No, no 6:50, you miss the point. Generic private-bashing can be done anywhere; we're all a little weary of that. It's the whole concept of feeder preschools, and the zeal with which people (as posted here) are trying so desperately to figure it out, that is so so deliciously funny and sad all at once and therefore impossible to resist. I mean, this is up there with the Nanny Diaries. You just can't believe this stuff is real. :-)

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  59. Funny Lone Mountain story:

    We applied at age 2 months along with the other type A folks in San Francisco.

    I called Jacque in January. He told me that he had some good and bad news.

    I was thinking .. ok .. what could he have to say.

    In the lottery, I was 75th. There were 9 boy spots available but atleast I wasn't 110th.

    Insane .. over 200 people applied for 18 spots all by the time their child was 2 months.

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  60. now that we know the preschools what the best ways to bribe a preschool admissions director?

    big bills in a thick white envelope ok or too mafioso?

    is the hundred dollar handshake trite or is it still in play?

    leaning towards flower bouquet with bills wrapped around the stems but not sure how to approach this.

    thoughts?

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  61. It would really be nice if the commentators who can't seem to get that others have chosen/wish to choose a different path than they have taken would simply give it a rest. People genuinely want to know this information. There's nothing wrong with giving it to them.

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  62. Yeah, just like folks on this blog were so NICE about John Muir, right? At least we aren't ranking on poor people, ya know? You guys will be fine, just fine.

    It's important for the elite to remember that it's a great pressure release/safety valve for the proles to be able to make fun of the excesses and foibles of the rich.

    Especially in times like these.

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  63. We went with one of the smaller pre-schools (listed above) and had a wonderful experience. The acceptance rate this year was fantastic with every family getting into solid private schools and with almost every family having 2-3 choices (or more). Spoke to friends at Little school and didn't sound like acceptances matched this. My point isn't that our pre-school is better or worse than Little school... just that you don't know what each year will bring, so don't pay attention to the "private school admissions stats." Find the preschools that the right fit for your kids and your family. Get involved... Be supportive parents... And your director will go for bat for you.

    And don't listen to people who speak in absolutes like "Little School is indeed the crème de la crème." It is indeed a good school. But there might be better schools for your family and your kids.

    Best of luck.

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  64. I'm genuinely curious how a helpful preschool director determines which private school would be best for the child and which schools a particular family has the best chance of getting into? Anyone wish to share their stories? What exactly is it that the privates are looking for? They seem to say they're looking to balance gender, personalities, race and socio-economic factors as much as possible, so what makes one family more likely to get into SFDAY or Town or any of the others?

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  65. "now that we know the preschools what the best ways to bribe a preschool admissions director?

    big bills in a thick white envelope ok or too mafioso?"

    Tsk...amateurs...just bills? Include first class plane tickets to the Caribbean so the DA can stash the money offshore, and a snort of Bolivian Nose Candy.

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  66. "4:15, 4:21--Thank you for a moment of laughing out loud"

    Gotta confess that the idea of a preschool with dressage and showjumping came from the Berkeley-baed theater Company "The Shotgun Players", who did a Macbeth-based play around the preschool search called "Bright Ideas", where a parent waitlisted for an elite preschool starts murdering parents higher up the list to get her kid admitted to the preschool. It was a hilarious play.

    In the foyer of the theater, they had faux-admissions information from schools like "The Royal Preschool for Dressage", and "G.I. Pete's Military Preschool Academy", and "Kellogg-Wharton Business and Accounting Preschool", etc.

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  67. I distinctly remember the day I decided to stop attending the moms' group I had been assigned to by GGMG. All along harboring doubts about the sense of going out of my way to schlep about to see people with whom I didn't have anything in common except our similarly-timed mating habits, I continued to go until the topic turned to preschool, and quickly leap-frogged to the acceptance rates of students from particular high schools applying to the Ivies, and how one really should work backward from there...

    Gives me a good laugh, so I thought I'd share.

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  68. Business Week ran an interesting article entitled:

    NURSERY SCHOOL ADMISSIONS WARS

    The author details the backhanded bribery and hint at perks that applicants need employ for winning a place at the "right" (dare I say creme-de-la-creme?) school, including the case of disgraced Citigroup analyst Jack Grubman, whose employer made a hefty donation to a nursery school the year his twins applied. The article states he is not alone in such checkbook diplomacy:

    http://www.businessweek.com/careers/workingparents/blog/archives/2006/06/nursery_school.html

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  69. http://www.businessweek.com/careers/workingparents/blog/archives/2006/06/nursery_school.html

    Sorry, this is the correct URL above.

    It outlines the absurd strategies that neurotic parents pursue in the ongoing school admission wars.

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  70. I really can't believe that GM is asking for a secondary cash infusion without requiring the bondholders to take a haircut at this point. I realize the bonds are at 20 cents on the dollar but everyone still holding them is just doing a spec play on GM's bankruptcy probability. . . I figure as long as we are all going off topic I might as well too. Thread asked a question, derailing it defeats the purpose of the blog.

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  71. East-coast transplants

    In my view, one reason we have so many children in private schools here in SF is that we have so many transplants from the east coast here.

    The further west you go in the USA, the less anybody gives a shyte about where you went to school.

    We operate on a more egalitarian plain.

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  72. Interesting read. Do all of the blog topics turn into this class warfare private vs public debate/mockery?

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  73. Not to this extent - people are trying to stop the flow of information here. Lots of bitterness going on right now sadly.

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  74. I don't blame anyone for making fun of the preschool thing. It is funny! Totally agree that whatever preschool works for your family is fine.

    Lone Mountain isn't first come, first served. Anyone who applies within the first two months of kid's birth (yeah I know early) is put in a lottery, then admittence is decided by a lottery.

    It is a real lottery - who you know/who you are does not matter.

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  75. "Citigroup analyst Jack Grubman, whose employer made a hefty donation to a nursery school the year his twins applied...The article states he is not alone in such checkbook diplomacy."

    We, the taxpayers, have injected money into Citigroup to keep it afloat.

    Nice to know that some of our taxpayer largesse helped get an analyst's twin sons into a top nursery school.

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  76. 8:15
    not all blog topics get derailed, even because the topic itself is way over the top. most people do not think this way (feeder preschools). especially in the current economic climate, it looks so silly....

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  77. If I understand what 10:03 is saying, I agree. It's the thread topic itself that is over the top, hence the mockery.

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  78. Yes! There is nothing wrong with you folks plying to get into the right preschools.

    But it is really funny to many of us.

    I mean, when does the gamesmanship begin and where does it end?

    Does it really start in the nursery schools, the obstetrics clinics?

    And it apparently continues through high school, getting your kid into the Ivy League. Does it then proceed to the right companies, the right businesses, the right tax brackets?

    What is the right cemetery for burial? (for us, it will have to be a non-restricted one)

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  79. No one's going to tell you which preschool will get your kid into a good private school--you know already from the playground (if your playground isn't full of Type A, mindwracker moms, try Alta Plaza or J Kahn).

    I chose my preschool because it has a constructivist philosophy, and is play based (I hate worksheets, and just want my child to explore and discover).


    Get on a waitlist and get into a school that is good for your family philosophy. Then, decide if public or private is best for your family. Don't go sniffing around a school just because you think you're an "in" at some false holy grail of a private school.

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  80. LOL, 10:30, there ARE reserved and restricted cemeteries back East. Perhaps the best example is Mt. Auburn in Cambridge, MA, a special gated "community" of blue-blood dead people of Boston--you have to have an "in"--a family plot--to be buried there. Seriously, not April Fool's. It's a beautiful cemetery though, with leafy trees and old headstones. I'm sure the dead take a lot of comfort in the carefully tended surroundings. :-)

    There's also a long history there of "Protestant" vs. "Catholic" cemeteries and of course there was for a long time "white" vs. "colored" in many parts of this country. So yeah, this silliness is conception to grave for some people.

    And it is funny. Most of us do not behave or think like this. It's like the Upper East Side has come to San Francisco. Or maybe it's always been here but I was living my life in contented ignorance of this whole game. Think I'll go on being contented though. The whole chase seems like a misery!

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  81. I'm amazed that there are pre-schools with worksheets! I don't really understand the need for 'academic' pre-school, they've got years and years of that in the future.

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  82. Are there any academic preschools? I looked at a ridiculous number and it seemed like they were all some variation of "play-based". I only saw one that seemed to be academic, but when I asked, they were hesitant to use that word. Maybe it is considered a negative.

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  83. yeah its negative (imo)! God, life sucks hard enough--why stuff worksheets down their throats this early?

    let them make sense of the world--touch, and problem solve and cooperate. why have them be academic now? Kids gonna be an alcoholic has been by 12!

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  84. Here's the thing about Lone Mountain: Yes it is a lottery, but it's a lottery of (1) families who were focused on preschool within 2 months of giving birth and (2) b/c it's such very part-time program, families with probably one stay at home parent. That type of family is more likely to be wealthy, more educated and are also going to be the type of parents who volunteer on the boards of various non-profits and other groups like that. All things being equal, these are pretty attractive families for private schools. Toss in a very experienced director and fantastic staff who really help raise wonderful loving children and you get a really impressive acceptance rate. But is it a feeder school? no. Clearly not all families fit this discription, but many do - Sadly, not me, says probably the only lone mountain parent in recent history to send her precious wee-ones to a public school in San Francisco *gasp!

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  85. curious 12:53, how did the other parents react when they heard you were sending your child to public school?

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  86. I'm assuming you mean me ... I would say if the other parents even noticed, they have all been supportive enough. There is A LOT of misinformation about the process though, so for each of the last three years I've offered to speak with any parents interested in public schools, and some have taken me up on that offer. But, I've yet to see anyone actually go to a public school who I've spoken to and I don't think any families go past round 1. I think one year someone got in to Rooftop in the first round, but I don't know if they went or not. There was some initial concern from the teachers when I said that I was sending my son to public school - after touring the private schools reccomended by our director, we chose not to apply to any private schools - but I hope I've put their concerns to rest over the last 3 years. I still have a little one there. I do believe that the director has a real respect for public school in theory, maybe just not a lot of recent exposure.

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  87. Thanks, Lone Mountain parent (and sorry I mixed up the time stamp.) I appreciate the response.

    My kids' preschool, which was more economically mixed than Lone Mountain, I guess--some receiving public assistance to attend, some partial scholarships from the school, probably a little more than half paying full freight--I believe a clear majority of people went onto public schools. When we applied to preschool for my eldest, I wasn't in the mode of thinking about "feeder" schools or anything--I just liked the arts-based, play-based approach of this one, and the location.

    This has been a very eye-opening discussion! I asked in part because I wonder if I would have been swayed more to look at private school (not that we could have really afforded it for multiple kids--one preschool tuition at a time was plenty!) if we had been at Lone Mountain or Little School or these other places I've barely heard of on the other side of town. As it was, we all gabbed endlessly about the SF public school lottery.

    I guess it goes to show we live very different lives in our various circles. I attended a well-known private university back East, so I probably should have known about all this; I mean, I'm not unfamiliar with upper-class culture. I just don't live there or hang out there or work there and haven't had much contact with it since my college days. So interesting to see it again, in the SF version.

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  88. Hi, my first time posting to this blog. I am a Lone Mountain mom and we are a very lower middle class family in SF. We applied to Lone Mountain a couple months after giving birth (yes, at cpmc which was a $50 copay on my HMO, so glad to hear that you all think it is the feeder to a good preschool as well, ha) even though it seemed silly. I am SO GRATEFUL. Jacque is the ONLY fair private preschool director in SF by going by the list whether people like it or not. Every other school is totally about who you know/how much money you have - don't kid yourself. It is true that it elminiates a lot of families due to the schedule of only half days, but the same can be said of most preschools and especially co-ops. It is a great school and I believe the older class parents when they say they get into the right K because Jacque is so great about advising you in the right direction for your child. He is truly amazing at what he does and the K admissions folks repsect his thoughts. And, I can tell you first hand that he has written articles in our bulletin in which he encourages more looks at public K. We've also heard this week about where the pre-k kids are going in the fall and it is a very impressive list(there are also 4 kids going to SF public). PS - My understanding is that admissions to LM is not a lottery, it is literally the list by date of application and everyone can laugh at the stories of Jacque telling you that your kid is #78 for 3 open spots, but let's give him credit for being a very responsive honest director - again, not the experience that I had during the admission process with other private preschools. Little School has had only a couple open spots for non-sibilings in recent years so it is impossible to get into and I personally didn't apply because I didn't love the school. It is indeed easier to get into their later/pre-K programs. I personally plan to look at public and private kindergarten in a couple years, but I won't apologize if we go private (and find the money somehow) if my only other option is to send my son to some awful school on the other side of town - not because I'm a snob, but because we are a working family that doesn't have the time/ability to trek across town constantly and/or commit the time/money necessary to "flip" a bad school.

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  89. Hey 3:38, thanks. Lone Mt. does seem like a neat place and the app process specifically a lot more fair. Though I never really heard of it until too late....I guess because I am plugged in more on the south/east side of town. Oh well. I'm especially glad to hear the director isn't dissing the public schools the way some do.

    It's great that you intend to look at all your options. I just hope you will find that the issue isn't that you see public schools that are "awful"--I would say there are a few, only a few, in that category, really! You have to see for yourself and ask around to get beyond the hype and/or disparagements. There are some hidden little schools that people on this blog don't talk about that are just fine, including some that are north of Haight Street and north of GG Park.

    Good luck, when the time comes.

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  90. When I applied for pre-schools, I had no idea about the school process and I looked for a program that fit us and that was full-time because we both worked at the time. We ended up at a Marin Day School (Bright Horizons) campus. Our other choice was Mother Goose - which accepts everyone, it's just a matter of when you get in as long as you are willing to pay the $200 deposit. I did not even begin the process for my child until he was 1.5 year old. Yes, there were some schools that flat out told me I was too late in the process. However, that probably would not have been the fit for us. We have had a fabulous experience at MDS and I have friends who sent their kids to Mother Goose and they had a fabulous experience and ended up at a top private school. For us logistics ended up being the deciding factor between the schools. If you are both working parents then I feel that is an important factor. You don't want to spend all day commuting because that definitely impacts your child.

    We just finished the whole KG process and our directors were very helpful through out the process. We did get into some private schools and we did get into our top public school choice. We also received financial aid from one of the private schools. We did not game the process for public or private, we did not kiss ass, and we obviously don't have a large check book or we wouldn't have applied for aid. So for all of the cynics out there, there is hope. My advice is go with the flow and work on what's best for your child and your family not what the rumor mill is dictating. At our pre-school there seems to be a good mix of kids going to public, private, and parochial. Which in the end is what you want is a good mix so you have options.

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  91. Wow, Looks like I won't be the only Lone Mountain parent sending my kids to public school. That's a first! I haven't read the bulletin yet, but will do so as soon as I get home. I really hope that means those parents are happy with their assignments.

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  92. 4:28 -- Which schools offered you aid?

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  93. Does anyone know about decent, less-competitive (non-parochial) pre-schools?

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  94. Can we be serious about Little School. Leslie is so full of it about wanting a balanced class and wanting to take all kinds of kids. Basically, it's lip service and she wants wealthy families to fund their new playground, etc. It can't be a coincidence that every family from a certain investment firm have their kids get in there. She talks a big game about being fair and inclusive, but that is not the case. There are some diverse families there, but plenty of big snobs too. That's how their admission stats are so good - these families are already wealthy and well connected.

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  95. Another consideration about the "feeder preschools" -- you really pay a premium for them. By my calculation, hour for hour my full-time preschool cost 1/3 the price of Little School, Cow Hollow, etc. (lots more hours for comparable or even lower cost).

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  96. Lone Mountain is an incredible school. I totally agree with the previous poster about Jacque being fair and upfront about the process. He doesn't lead you on if there is no chance. Many of these other directors should be shot because they are so dishonest and disingenuous. Stop wasting people's time!!!

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  97. I don't think any part-time preschool can be especially diverse. Even with financial aid, families need to be well-off enough to either have a nonworking parent or a nanny if they're going to send a child to someplace like the Little School.

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  98. "Does anyone know about decent, less-competitive (non-parochial) pre-schools?"

    My kids have both gone to South of Market Child Care (Yerba Buena) www.somacc.org
    Wonderful Emilio-Reggio based program. 4 preschool classrooms. Diverse population, nurturing teachers and cool. We love it!

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  99. Little School is expensive because they treat their teachers so well. They get decent salaries, good benefits, a retirement plan and rarely spend more than 4 hours a day working directly with children (they spend the rest of the day on curriculum development/planning, communications with parents, professional development, administrative jobs, etc.)

    That costs money.

    Other schools often hire staff with only a high school education and some early childhood education credits from community college... then pay them less than most nannies make.

    BTW: The Little School recently received a $50,000 grant to provide full scholarships to low income kids (mostly AFrican American and Latino), so it is more than lip service.

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  100. That's fine, but how are low-income people supposed to pay for child care to cover all of the hours other than the 3-4 that the child is in preschool - and do drop-off and pickup in the middle of the workday?

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  101. "Does anyone know about decent, less-competitive (non-parochial) pre-schools?"

    We (and several other parent readers on this blog - hi friends!) send our daughter to C5 Childrens School. www.c5children.org. It's in the state building (civic center) and gives priority to state employees but we and several other families are not state affiliated. So it's not impossible to get in off the waiting list. It is a full-time, 5d per week program so really geared towards families where both parents work. My daughter is there approximately 9 hours per day and is overall very happy, thriving, normal 4yo. I think the teachers there are outstanding and they also follow a Reggio philosophy. Happy to discuss our experience if anyone wants to learn more. (to connect with this thread, my guess is that at least half of the families go public and we have a decent number of kids who got into very popular private schools.)

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  102. 5:45 is basically clueless (or slanderous). The Little School including its director are true believers. The school is quite diverse and financial aid is available for many. Its really sad re many of the posts on this topic. The mocking haters have destroyed it.

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  103. Lone Mountain - Sure Jacque is "fair" but there is only an 8% chance that you will get into the program.

    Those are pretty bad odds.

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  104. Actually, the Little School is less expensive then SF School, Russian Hill School, Pacific Primary and about the same price as 150 Parker, MCH, Lone Mountain, St. Lukes.

    Russian Hill is 13,000 for 5 days a week 1/2 day only.

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  105. 7:30

    To be more specific, there seem to be two very different groups here: The mockers and the haters. They are not the same thing.

    The haters apparently know a lot about these schools--the directors' names, the fund drives, the families that attend. They do seem bitter or angry, for reasons that are unclear to me.

    Whereas the mockers (I'll cop to it, I'm one) find the whole thread theme to be supremely silly and removed from the reality of most families. And frankly a bit unseemly in the context of the present economy and unemployment that is rising rapidly.

    Sheesh, I had barely heard of some of these preschools until this thread came along and exposed all. I mean, $13,000 for a half-time slot? For preschool? Are you freakin' kidding? Really?

    Although I do take the point about paying the teachers well--we worked hard at our preschool to raise additional funds for health benefits for ours. And btw, our head teachers did have child development training and bachelor's degrees and some of them had been at the school for years, even decades. But this is something that portable national health care and national pensions should be helping with. Perhaps also state reimbursements for teacher development, and subsides for low-income and middle-income families, in order to make quality preschool universally available.

    The thing is, good jobs for the teachers should not be something that prices most families out of the market, which $13,000 (can this be true?) for a half-a-day slot most assuredly does. By a LOT. I so wish we could raise taxes all of you who seem to be able to afford this cost so easily and put that money toward universal pre-K and improved schools for all our children.

    Wow, the air is rare indeed up there on Pac Heights. I had no idea.

    It really is possible to do this a different way, for a lot less money and anxiety, and still produce bright, happy, well-rounded children. [Shakes head....$13,000? Half-time?].

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  106. Just because its removed from your reality doesn't mean its not quite real for others. Your politics aside, why can't you simply allow others to discuss what is important to them without you trying to mess it up. I don't think you are doing yourself any favors; you simply sound completely ignorant. Isn't it more egalitarian (if that is really your concern - and I doubt that frankly) to share information rather than to try and shout the discussion down?

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  107. Why do people keep interrupting and mocking this thread? Because it is offensive.

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  108. Oh, 9:26. No one is trying to shout the discussion down. No filibuster here, no.

    Some of the naysayers can, gulp!, afford to send their kids to private school. Yes, money does not come from one place and does not engender one reality.

    Now, back to that discussion about bribery and pre-k dressage...

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  109. My politics are exactly why I can't put a discussion like this aside.

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  110. Yes, some preschools do get most or all of their children into the school of their choice. I don't belive that it is only because they are "feeder schools". The schools that place well are schools with dedicated and well educated teachers, well-rounded programs and committed families. There are preschools that have a play based programl, preschools with an academic profile and everything in between that place well.

    This year was a very hard year for many preschools. Some schools that usually are able to help get a placement for each child, was not able to do so this year.

    Schools that you would think of as feederschools because they place well did not place well this year. I think we all have to remember that this year is one of the baby boom years, so getting into private school was especially hard this year.

    I also find it interesting that the schools that are considered feeders all have very different profiles.

    I have personal experience from a couple of schools that are considerd "feeders", 150 Parker and The Little School. Absolutely wonderful programs with dedicated teachers, directors and families. both programs are play based, but different, and both schools have placed well this year and last. It is not only families with a lot of money that goes to those schools, you have a range of different backgrouns just like any school.

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  111. 9:09

    Sorry if the costs were a surprised to you. Most of them are published on their website. Most part time programs for 5 days run between $7500 - $13000.

    This is just reality.

    SF School
    Preschool & Kindergarten (3 - 6 yr. olds)
    $19,950

    150 Parker
    $9500
    5 days part time

    MCH -
    $8800
    5 days part time
    11,900 -
    5 days part time including lunch and play ground
    St Luke's
    $9000
    Part time

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  112. This is way old but:

    "We have a friend at a Spanish-immmersion preschool in Noe. Five kids applied to Friends and three got in. Does that make it a feeder, if 60 percent of those who applied were accepted?

    March 31, 2009 6:58 AM"

    I think that was Buen Dia? Buen Dia is known as a feeder and places kids in all the most popular private schools, from Town and Hamlin to MCDS, Nueva and Brandeis. It's a very well regarded program.

    Finally, to people who think that programs are feeders because they are "better" -- that's hogwash. Programs feed more generally because the parent population at the school is made up of wealthier, better connected, private-school leaning parents. Those families would get into private school no matter where they enroll, and of course, they will only enroll at one of about 12 preschools, if even that many.

    Did people list them? Little School, Lone Mountain, Calvary, St. Luke's, Emanu-El, JCC, 150 Parker, Buen Dia, Peter's Place, Pacific Primary, Russian School, Little Gators, Alta Plaza, maybe a few more.

    Many of those programs are part time only, which does bug me. I remember talking to the Little School about whether they had after care, and the woman on the phone went on to tell me that after care is a horrible way to treat children. Whatever. My husband and I work part time.

    We ended up enrolling our children in a great preschool that does offer aftercare and pre-care, and some kids go part time, and many kids go full time. It places children in all private schools, including MCDS, Town, Hamlin, Burkes, etc etc etc but about half of the families opt for public school. (We are at a private school now ourselves.)

    I agree with the posters who wrote that a family should pick a school based on what provides the best program for their kids, including location, aftercare hours, enrichments, religion if desired, etc., as most of the popular preschools in the City, and many of the lesser-known ones, place just fine when the child is happy and thriving and the family is not overly stressed about their lives. Remember, Amy/Kate's daughter went to a completely unknown preschool (Sweet Peas, I think - it was linked from the blog last year) and her daughter was admitted to both of the private schools to which they applied.

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  113. Its about what you want and what you have--its that simple.

    You have money and want private school? you go to certain preschools. Nearly every child in my kid's school got a private school place. Were the kids all geniuses? No! but they have had a great time at a school, and they have had a great preschool education and they "playdate" well, they are all socially and financially connected and the Preschool director is great.

    I wish the school were a little more open to public school (hardly any parents even bothered to fill out the application for Public), but thats not coming from the school itself; the teachers and head are great and egalitarian.

    But a great education ain't cheap, and to give things that are utopian and should be the right of every child--compassion and attention and a bright clean cheery space--you need cash for paid leave for teachers and health care costs and breaks, etc.

    hence, you have a 3 hour daily program that is mind blowingly expensive. Of course, your child will do fine in life without this education (anybody reading this KNOWS they will be able to give their child a good education/life). But will your child get into private without this? maybe, but they are competing against families that can provide this advantage. Besides, these people skew east coast and for them, this private school process is a cake walk!

    The "usual suspect" schools (with the notable exception of the Russian Hill school--IMO way too mean, too waspy and I'm not sure the unhappy kids even get to do their own art) are all play based, tend to produce happy and well balanced kids, and are really sucessful in getting their kids into privates.

    The up and comers--little gators, Tiny Giants, Circle of Friends seem to do just fine in getting a plurality of their kids in too.

    That leaves a lot of kids from other preschools who still have a shot, albeit a less certain one. Hey, maybe you can be the cinderella story of preschools--though it seems things are getting tougher every year.

    my advice?
    Go to the preschool thats right for your family. If you really want private (and god help you if you can't pay for it), you know what you have to do.

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  114. 10:26 - Buen Dia is *not* Spanish immersion.

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  115. Only Spanish-immersion preschool I know of is Centro Las Olas. I hear only 5 of their kids applied to privates and 3 of those got into Friends.

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  116. The new preschool at the Daniel Webster site (Potrero Hill) is Spanish Immersion.

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  117. Families should keep in mind that the preschool really has to fit the child. We've attended 2 different ones and 1 was a bit of a disaster where our child seemed to go back into a shell a lot and the other she absoloutely blossomed and in the space of a year is now an outgoing bubbly one. Before she cried everytime she had to go to school and now she runs to the car. I won't say the old school but the current one is the Little School and she is heading to SF Day next year. It's not cheap but lots of people in her class are on Aid and the diversity is very high. I suggest 5:45 take one look at her class to see for herself. LGBT/Latino/African American/Single Mom are ALL represented. I'd gladly pay triple the price (I'm on aid too) and sell my car before I went anywhere else and am forever grateful for my experience there.

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  118. Just looked at Centro Las Olas's website. Interesting. First of all, that school is in NOE VALLEY, not the Mission (there's a difference). Second, I think it's new -- I don't think this school was around when we applied for preschool 7 years ago. Is this located in the former Debra King school location? It's so close to me that I definitely would have checked it out had it been around back then. The only problem is the lack of pre-care and after-care. So many programs miss an extremely important demographic (dual working households who can't afford nannies) by doing that. That often results in a much wealthier parent base, which of course correlates directly with private school admissions.

    With regards to Friends, my understanding is that they have been actively looking for more Spanish speakers to enhance their Spanish program. Not to be a skeptic here, but I have to imagine that they probably found the middle-to-upper-class kids from the Noe Valley Centro Las Olas school a bit more attractive than the Spanish speaking kids in the Valencia Gardens next door.

    Does anyone know if friends did follow through on its promise to recruit kids from the neighborhood projects? Maybe they did. Just curious.

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  119. Buen Dia on Guerrero near 18th has been around a long time, more than 30 years. It does not market itself as Spanish immersion, not at all, though several long-time teachers speak Spanish fluently and there is a small component of language and a larger component of Latino cultures (holidays, foods) and there are families that represent and come from those cultures.

    It has historically reached out to the neighborhood and offered scholarships and helped finesse lines of public assistance to attend the school, so it has always been much more diverse (socio-economically and racially) than the Pacific Heights schools. It is also not as expensive as those schools and offers full-day care, so is just much less about wealthy and much more about a range that probably centers on middle to professional class--I'd say learning more professional in recent years as the economies of paying teachers has forced them to find more full-paying families than in the idealistic days of old. In the past probably half the families were on significant scholarship, but this is probably not true now--but they do still make an effort to include a signficant number of those families.

    Many of its graduates do go on to attend private but many, many also go on to public as well, even ones that can afford private, because this is somewhat the culture/inclination of the place.

    The curriculum is play-based with lots of art, and teacher turnover is very low. It's a wonderful option for those who want high-quality preschool but do not want to do with the insane social status issues of Pacific Heights. Just much more down-to-earth. Many artistic and non-profit and progressive politico movers of the Mission area send their kids there.

    Centro de las Olas is a new school (3 years or so?) located in a house on 26th Street between Guerrero and Dolores. I've heard wonderful things about it but there is the issue of no full-day care and there are very few spots. It does market itself as Spanish immersion, though I'm not sure what this means.

    In general any non-public preschool is going to too pricey for large numbers of San Franciscans. I wish we had univeral, high-quality preschool/daycare as some European countries do. However, there are options further up the spectrum from Head Start that are not super-elite. Some others that have been mentioned here too, that serve state college and civic center workers, for example. Of course these are still relatively privileged kids, not mainly low-income, but not the super-wealthy either. This mania for "feeder" schools and elite private schools is so crazy--if you really want one of these for its own sake, great, and good luck paying for it, but there are other options, including less expensive and more diverse preschools--and eventually public and parochial school--that are full of well-adjusted and bright kids. Fellow parents, we don't need to kill ourselves with anxiety or empty our bank accounts to raise our kids well! There is another way.

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  120. The new preschool at Daniel Webster is not spanish immersion. It's a bilingual program. But even the latino kids speak english on the playground. Don't expect your kid to speak spanish if you send him/her there.

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  121. 11:46 AM, Thank you, all-knowing seer of how to raise wonderful children.

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  122. Oh, whatever, 11:58, it's really okay if you want to focus on feeder preschools as YOUR path to raising a child who is....what? I'm not even sure. The whole topic (as framed by the original post) is so ridiculous because it's all about finding the elite preschool that feeds into the elite kindergartens that lead....where? That part's not clear. It's all instrumental. And laden with shifting meanings related to status--the "creme de la creme"--but not a whole lot to do with what is good for the broader quality of life of the child or the child's family.

    So hooray and bravo for any poster like 11:46 that reassures anxious up-and-coming parents that there are other preschool options in the middle, options that are good quality but not over-the-top. Options that are much more affordable. You resent someone providing that perspective .... why? Does it bring the mirage of PH feeder schools into focus?

    I think the biggest problem with this conversation is that whole theme of this thread is so narrowly focused on a few turbowealthy places--the elite "private school feeders." Given current realities of so many being laid off, losing health care, families not being able to afford even in-state college tuition at state schools that costs less than these places charged, and yeah, even middle-class people who read this blog are dealing with these issues or their broader families are, well, the thread topic of which preschools are the "creme de la creme" IS offensive when it comes down to it, which is why it has sparked a sharper than usual response, much more than the usual jousting.

    Maybe we should all move on from this thread and ask Kate to post a "hot topic" question that frames the preschool issue more broadly and asks for a range of recommendations for preschools, ones that are affordable, good quality, and can serve a wider mix of folks. Now that would be great information and serve a heck of lot more people who read this blog.

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  123. I didn't see that at all and that kind of snide sarcastic comment is unwelcome. Author just said there are other options.

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  124. ^^ YES, YES!! Well said, Anon 12:27PM!

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  125. 12:27 you're just as bad but from the other side and with more words. Suggest Kate make a new thread on ideologies and save the name calling and generalizing for that thread.

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  126. Oh great, now we also have to have an egalitarian blog that "supports the commons"?

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  127. Question - from reading the posts it appears there were 6 non-sibling spots at MCDS for folks in SF. From what I gather,at least one of those non-sibling spots went to a child from the Little School. How about the other 5, which preschools?

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  128. Well, yeah, 12:40, whatever you want to call it, a thread that addressed the preschool needs of a wider mix of people than the wealthy Pac Heights crowd would be, well, useful to a lot more parents than the current thread could ever be. What would be wrong with that, exactly?

    Also, can't quite figure out why egalitarian and commons are such nasty words to you. I'm not aiming for utopia or anything, but a little more focus on community and even Obama's infamous "spreading the wealth around" does strike me as a good corrective to the excesses of the last 30 years or so.

    Amazing, these snide responses to a few people who dare to mention preschools besides the Little School and its cohort. I guess the rest of us really are the unwanted hoi polloi on this thread, and we're not even the low-income families from the PROJECTS who go to JOHN MUIR. :-)

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  129. Sorry, but that kind of thread would go over like a fart in an elevator around here. Just take a look at the other PC threads. And you would have no forum for whining.

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  130. Actually, I would love to see a thread that encouraged sharing information on preschool options in this city. S'okay with me if these include the ones already being talked about here, but I need to hear about other neighborhoods and income groups (middle class) and extended care options. Also, anyone here have experience with the CDC system that isn't low income? I understand there are some spots held for paying customers.

    Thanks!

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  131. With the private schools having to turn away so many this year, the percentage of SF's private/public school population will shift from 30%/70% to -- I don't know -- 20%/80%? I'm sure the SFUSD can spin that as some sort of achievement.

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  132. anything on non-co-op preschools w/full-time care option in the sunnyside-glen park area? i know about the co-ops and wind in the willows. tx

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  133. 2:54 pm... what about Glen Park Montessori or a Child's Garden. Also, there is the San Francisco School, a little farther away but worth looking at. There is also Sweet Peas in Miraloma Park. Good luck!

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  134. 1:03 I don't know about the other four but two went to the little school. 1 boy and 1 girl.

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  135. Crayon Box in the Excelsior is Spanish immersion. My little one's starting there in the fall!

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  136. Crayon Box kids didn't pass their SFUSD Spanish fluency test this year.

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  137. "Does it bring the mirage of PH feeder schools into focus?"

    Its not a mirage. Only someone truly clueless would think otherwise.

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  138. I, too, would love to hear more about the array of pre-k options that are available in SF.

    I honestly don't understand why anyone would be offended by such a request.

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  139. I've heard nice things about that school in the Presidio, Serra School. Head used to be 150 Parker's head.

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  140. Isn't Serra a Christian preschool?

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  141. I've seen some Las Olas kids at Duboce playground and yes, the kids all speak Spanish among themselves, even the ones with English-speaking parents. Pretty cool to watch.

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  142. thanks, 3:34. guess i'm out of the loop, but all i hear about is miraloma co-op, which i know is awesome, but won't work. i'll check out sweet peas and the glen park montessori. i think sf school is too expensive, unfortunately. anyway, really, thanks for the leads.

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  143. "Does it bring the mirage of PH feeder schools into focus?"

    Its not a mirage. Only someone truly clueless would think otherwise.


    I do believe the original comment, tho' snarky, was made in a context of saying that there are good options beyond those few schools in the one neighborhood, just as there are good options beyond the elementary schools that they [do seem to] feed into. The focus on those schools as the be-all isn't helpful to the larger group of parents here. I think we all get it--the dead horse is beat--we can stipulate there are certain elite preschools that correlate with certain elite elementaries. That's nice. Now, onto to other schools, other neighborhoods, other options, please. Thanks.

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  144. I would like to add another plug for Buen Dia on Guerrero Street. It is child-centered and all about play, imagination, and art.

    The hours offered were the bomb for me as a part-time working mom--9am to 3pm for the basic day--with naps for the younger ones after lunch and story time for the ones who didn't nap. I used to drop off my kid at 9am, work four hours, and get back with no stress as to time. Then when I transitioned back to full-time work in the second year of preschool, it was easy to add extended hours. In other words, this school serves working families who want a high-quality, creative program.

    In terms of where kids go from there, it will have changed since our time as some schools got so popular and others have come up, but I seem to recall Buena Vista, Alvarado, SF Community, Yick Wo, Monroe, Harvey Milk, Rooftop, Miraloma, CACS, New Traditions. I also remember a bunch going to Synergy and a few to Live Oak. And some parochial--St. Brendan's? I'm no doubt missing some in all categories.

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  145. "Crayon Box kids didn't pass their SFUSD Spanish fluency test this year."

    A few actually did pass; but (according to the SFUSD testers) kids from other Spanish Immersion schools (Good Shepherd, Buen Dia, a couple others I've forgotten) also had few kids assessed as Spanish-proficient; the level of proficiency required is fairly high (spontaneous use of full Spanish sentences). In addition, several of the SFUSD testers are not native speakers, and the kids are less likely to use Spanish with testers that they know are not native speakers.

    Las Olas was the only preschool where kids from Anglophone families were mostly being assessed as Spanish-proficient, and Las Olas limits the number of Anglophone families to 2-3 per year, so the odds are pretty slim for Anglophone families.

    About a third of Crayon Box kids are going on to SFUSD Spanish immersion schools, which seems better than chance. Don't know how they did for gaining entry to the more popular privates, but several kids had parochial school options. Also, this year the Spanish component in the pre-K class was only 50% of the time, as opposed to 100% in the younger classes, because of concerns re. private school interviews, to make sure the kids knew the required academic material in English as well as Spanish.

    Their program is ideal for working parents - dropoff/pickup between 8 am and 6 pm, core program between 9:30 and 1:30 pm, and its $1,000/month. Very caring teachers, and the academic component is great. I'd send my kid there again without hesitation.

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  146. "Interesting read. Do all of the blog topics turn into this class warfare private vs public debate/mockery?"

    Well, I think there is an East Coast/West Coast tension here (in fairness, maybe some old-money SF families and Silly-con valley new money in with the East Coasters).

    But overall the frickin' thing seems ridiculous. You have some control over how your kid turns out, but not absolute control.

    There's been a lot of work on the level of contentment between "optimizers" and "sufficers". An optimizer in a situation goes "what is the best I can get" and a sufficers say "what is sufficient for my needs". An optimizer is made more unhappy by too many options; they're worried about not getting the best, wheras a sufficier would say "great, I have lots of choices of things that will meet my needs/gain me happiness/etc."

    We have 70 SFUSD schools, and about the same number of parochials and privates, and I imagine an even larger number of preschools. I think a lot of optimizers here base their choice of preschools and elementarys on what the "buzz" is, rather than thinking "is this a good enough environment for my child, and for me?".

    Our family got options from an excellent public school in the lottery, Creative Arts Charter, and two solid parochials. My kid would do fine in any of them. This incessant hyper-optimization shown by some parents is a road to misery.

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  147. 9:30 on Crayon Box, thanks for the info. How long has CB been around? I don't think it existed when we went through preschool, but I have friends who will be looking in the next year and I'd like to pass on the info.

    Quick clarification--Buen Dia is not Spanish immersion and does not claim to be. They usually have Spanish-speaking or bilingual families though, which may be how some of their kids tested proficient at SFUSD. Also, several teachers are native Spanish speakers and there is a small language component and lots of celebration of various Latino cultures and other ones as well, especially ones the current families bring to the mix. Lunar New Year, St. Patrick's Day, Day of the Dead. The kids do lots of art, cooking, games that are frequently, though not always, tied into cultural themes and celebrations throughout the year. But NOT Spanish immersion. I wouldn't want anyone to be misled about that!

    Also, further clarification of the Buen Dia hours, taking off from 11:10 last night. It sounds similar to Crayon Box in that there is a core program (9-3, including nap/rest time), with extended hours starting at 7:30 and running until 6pm if needed.

    Since I'm keeping my eye out for my friends, I'd love to hear more about some of the others that have been mentioned here--Sweet Pea? The one at Yerba Buena? Others? Can people talk about hours? My friends work, so part-time or co-op is not an option. They would love Las Olas but I think it is not full-time? It also seems like a huge long-shot with so few English-speaker spots.

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  148. 9:50

    Interesting concept, well-explained, thanks.

    Happy Sufficer

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  149. Does anyone know anything about the CDCs if you do not qualify as low-income? I have heard it is possible to pay to attend. Anyone here done that? How does it work to apply? What was the experience like for your kid? Differences between the CDCs and some that would be especially recommended (or not)? And, sorry if this is a dumb question, but is the new Montessori program at Cobb part of this system, and are there spots there for middle class kids? Also, anything about Daniel Webster?

    Thanks!

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  150. "9:30 on Crayon Box, thanks for the info. How long has CB been around? I don't think it existed when we went through preschool, but I have friends who will be looking in the next year and I'd like to pass on the info."

    It's been around for about 5 years; we got in when it was still in the growth stage. A lot more applications now, so tell your friends to get applications in early.

    The Director (Adrianna) initially thought she'd have a little 20-odd child preschool business; there are now 80-odd kids at the Balboa site and more at a Daly City site that opened this year. It's co-located with Little Bear on the former site of the Discovery School, although it got the less-high quality buildings compared to Little Bear.

    Has a good playground, but no green space. No field trips. Play-based curriculum. PA recently created. Caters mainly to families from the Excelsior, Glen Park, Noe, and Bernal.

    HTH.

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  151. "They would love Las Olas but I think it is not full-time?"

    Las Olas is co-op, so wouldn't suit your friends. I don't know whether it's full time or not.

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  152. Lots of targeted censorship going on in this topic. Quite unfortunate and misleading.

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  153. The foregoing post was a mistake. My apologies.

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  154. To the person who asked about attending the CDCs. Yes! You don't have to be low income. My kids go to the Presidio CDC, which is a Reggion Emilia program. The teachers even go to train in Italy every year. It also has a fantastic inclusion program with really top knotch trained teachers who work in the classroom along with the head teacher and other teachers. (So you end up having a lot of good adults in the class.)

    There are 35 or so around the city. And it's so simple and democratic. You get on a list, and pay a $25 application fee. You can apply to one or to several at once. I can't remember if you pay $25 per school or if you can apply to several for $25.

    SFUSD would have info about all the schools. Anyway, you pay on a sliding scale based on your income. I think there are 3 levels for those who pay. At our school, it seems like about half pay. I think more have been low income in the past. For full day care all year long, it comes to about half the cost of private preschool. And you pay based upon the number of school days in the month. So in December when there's a week off for Christmas, you pay less than in other months. Also -- the program is part of First Five, which means you get a nice discount the year your child is 4. Hope that helps. We've been very happy with the care and teaching at the Presidio CDC, though it is not in any way a feeder into the private schools

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  155. Wow--i never knew i was an over optimizer!

    makes a whole lot of sense though.
    that being said, i think that San Francisco is deceptive in that everyone acts like a sufficer, but most of optimizers (to the extreme).

    I'll try to check myself!

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  156. ^^^
    Thank you so much for responding! So helpful.

    Do you know anything about Cobb's Montessori program by any chance?

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  157. 2:43 again, sorry, that was meant as a response to the parent from Presidio CDC.

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  158. Presidio CDC may not be a feeder to the privates, but it is an excellent school. My child went there for 2 years and was accepted to a highly sought-after private. I would compare favorably my child's experience there to the experience of any of our friends at the higher profile pre-schools.

    The teachers are great. The outdoor space is unmatched in the City and the curriculum is terrific. Add to that a diverse student body and an enormously practical and convenient schedule (all day if you want it and all year, too), and you have a first-rate pre-school.

    I am torn between wanting it to be better known and keeping the secret for those of us who go there.

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  159. 1) All the Las Olas kids who took the SFUSD proficiency test scored 90-100 percent fluency. Several are off to Spanish immersion programs (Alvarado, Buena Vista and Fairmount). The rest are off to Friends.

    2) All the SFUSD tester's are native speakers. The main assesser *looks* Asian, and is in fact, part Chinese, but she was born and raised in Peru! Do not be fooled by appearances. Spanish is her first language.

    3) Las Olas is a co-op, but you can pay an extra fee ($300/month) if you can't work in the classroom.

    4) Most of the children do have some exposure to Spanish outside of school, either through a parent or a nanny. But having a Spanish-speaking parent or caregiver is no guaranty of fluency. (Most children of immigrants understand but do not speak their parents' language).

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  160. We visited Crayon Box but decided not to sign up.

    The program was way too structured for us. We are much more interested in play-based, child-centered programs where the curriculum is built to take advantage of children's interests.

    We also did not hear any of the kids speaking Spanish with each other and were disappointed to hear so little Spanish in the 4-year old's class.

    Finally, we saw a kid crying outside a classroom, pretty much unattended. I so wanted to comfort the kid myself.

    Granted, this was a few years ago.

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  161. We applied to Las Olas but did not get in. We *loved* the director, who we were told is thought of as a "child whisperer" by the parents. She has a Master's degree from Mills College, where she was a head teacher at the Lab School, mentored student teachers and taught courses on a broad range of Early Childhood Education topics, including brain development. We were really impressed by the program and were really sad we did not get a spot. We met a family that left the Little School in order to attend Las Olas and they felt the teaching was at the same level!

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  162. Question regarding Presidio CDC - do they allow part-time schedules? I've also been told by friends that the CDC at Argonne Elementary is terrific, though when I called and spoke with the director she advised it is 100% f/t care (M-F 7:30am-5:30pm), no exceptions. Has anyone worked with Presidio CDC p/t?

    We've been with a terrific preschool now for several years but it is very much a private feeder school -- love the director and teachers, but the cost is not something we can continue to afford for our second child.

    Thanks for any insight.

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  163. Hi again,

    please disregard my post regarding whether Presidio CDC offers p/t preschool -- just called them, and they do not. Very nice lady advised me they have a very long wait list and unless one is an employee of the Presidio, getting a p/t schedule is not an option (M-F all day is their requirement).

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  164. You can use Presidio CDC part-time (we do). However, you still have to pay full time. Full time tuition for 1 child is about $850 per month (x 12 months). So the cost for 12 months is a little less than many pre-schools charge for 9 months. Having the added flexibility of additional days/hours when you need them at no additional cost is nice.

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  165. I can put in a plug for Sweet Peas preschool in the Glen Park/Miraloma neighborhoods. It's a small preschool (12 kids per day) in the bottom floor of a home. The director and teachers are wonderful. They do a lot of art projects, field trips, drama, and other enrichment (they have outside music, yoga, and Acrosports instructors come in to work with the kids, for example). It's a lovely little neighborhood preschool that is warm and nurturing for the kids.

    Kate's daughter went to Sweet Peas and was admitted (though she didn't go) to MCDS and Live Oak. Two other Sweet Peas kids are now in the FAIS pre-k program. Our daughter went to public school for K this past year, but was just admitted to Friends (though I'm not sure how much Sweet Peas helped us in that regard).

    In any case, if you live in Noe, Bernal, Glen Park, or Miraloma, Sweet Peas is a great preschool to check out.

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  166. Thanks, 3:58. Helpful.

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  167. My son is in his second year at Glen Park Montessori (GPM) (he will be heading to Kindergarten in the fall) so I can provide some info on that preschool.

    We toured a few preschools and fell in love with GPM because of the bright, airy classrooms, the strong arts- and ecology- based curriculum, and the provided organic snacks and lunches. They also have extended care and reasonable tuition.

    My son goes 4 full days/week but there is a 5 days/week option and, if I remember correctly, a 3 days/week option.

    Other plusses:
    Field trips, fantastic teachers, and extras like yoga, dance, and Spanish. The kids are all very friendly with each other and treat each other with respect. The parents are friendly - we've made some great friends.

    Their website is:
    http://www.glenpark-montessori.com/Home.html
    (It looks like it hasn't been updated in a while but will give you the general gist as well as how to contact the director.)

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  168. 9:11. Thanks for the information. I appreciate details about the building and extracurriculars.

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  169. Last time I looked up Glen Park Montessori on www.savvysource.com they had pretty mediocre reviews.

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  170. Savvy Source is a good resource for getting the skinny on preschools.

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  171. 9:11 pm here.

    I just checked savvysource and noticed that some of the information is not up-to-date. The school is open from 8:30 to 5:30. (Before-care runs until 9:30; after-care starts at 3:30.)

    I've noticed that some of the parent reviews are also old and outdated and no longer apply. There has been very little, if any, teacher turnover in the 2 years we've been there. This has been very important for us, as my son has a hard time with transition.

    I should also mention that many younger siblings attend the school, whether or not the older sibling is still attending. I think this says a lot about the school.

    I have no idea if this is a "feeder" to private schools. Some of the parents, myself included, are committed to public schools. Others applied and were accepted at popular and sought-after private schools while others have children that will be attending parochial schools.

    All said, the school could use some improvement. I don't know how this compares to other preschools but there is 4 weeks of closure (2 weeks for winter break, 1 week for spring break, and 1 week for summer break) and at least one early day per month for teacher meetings.
    There also does not seem to be a formal method of communications between director and parents. Most commications happen on the school's Yahoo group but it is not always timely.

    Regardless, I urge anyone considering a Montessori education for their child to check out the preschool. We've been very happy there.

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  172. Sounds like you are very happy at Glen Park Montessori. You should get the school's parents to post new reviews on savvy source.

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  173. I ended up falling in love with a preschool that had lukewarm reviews on Savvy Source. You definitely need to go see for yourself.

    I used to scoff at type-A parents who signed their kids up for preschool three years in advance. Then I did my own preschool search, and it was brutal. The open houses are jammed, the wait lists are long, and it isn't just the elite preschools that are like that. Starting early is a good idea! (Maybe not in uetero, but early).

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  174. No matter how much your friends laugh at you, start the preschool search early! You will be happy to have choices when your little one is ready to go and you actually know what kind of school will suit him.

    Many great preschools offer pre-k or young 5 programs (A few of the co-ops and some of the schools mentioned above). If your child will need pre-k, you can switch to one of these schools when the time comes (spots open up at this stage) and then you will have two preschools to choose from for your subsequent children, if you have more.

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  175. None of the preschools we liked took applications before the year prior to enrollment.

    You get a lot less diversity if you have an admissions system that rewards early applications...

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  176. 7:12 am - No offense but I don't understand the comment that you get more diversity where applications are not taken early. Don't all of the preschools have an application process - whether it is a year before or 2 years before. What is the impact on diversity if the application process is longer? CDCs have long wait lists and require you to sign up far in advance.

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  177. I was referring to private preschools.

    Those that "select" applicant the year before enrollment tend to pick a more diverse class.

    Those that take applications practically in utero tend to skew richer and whiter. Practically no diversity at Lone Mountain, for example, compared to Little School.

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  178. Isn't that comparing 2 very different application processes - one is strict lottery (Lone Mountain) as the other is based on some unknown slection criteria (Little School) which seems based on the above posts to be very skewed by sibiling admissions. Also, it would seem that folks appied for 3 years before they ever got a spot at the little school in TK.

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  179. Generally yes that is true because there are so few spots available. That being said, there are some new families every year at LS.

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  180. Regarding CDC's, Tule Elk in Cow Hollow is an excellent choice. A few of the preschool teachers have children in private schools and know admins at those schools. Several have gone to the local Catholic schools directly from Tule Elk. Also, if you happen to get into Sherman, they have an afterschool program for kinder kids.

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  181. Yes, most spots at the Little School are taken by siblings. But the school really does value diversity in admitting new families.

    There are several problems with preschools where you have to submit applications within a few weeks of your child's birth:

    1) The applicant pool is really skewed towards over-achieving, white, anglo, affluent families who worry about their kid's preschool on the drive home from the hospital. It isn't a "diverse" group, so while a lottery seems fair, you just aren't going to get much diversity.

    2) The parents don't know the kid very well yet. How could they? The kid is just a few weeks old. And yet, the process presumes that the parents know their child well enough to know what kind of program is best for their kid.

    3) The preschool has no way of balancing for temperament. At schools where admissions is done the year before, they can try to balance the kids in terms of extroverts and introverts, for example.

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  182. Other than Lone Mountain are there any other schools which require that you submit years in advance? As I understand it a number of the other schools take applications in advance but that they continue to take them up until they create the incoming class. I also believe that Lone Mountain has a different application process for its TK program which does not require applying years earlier.

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  183. You can't even tour St. Luke's unless you apply early enough. We submitted our application when our child was 8 months and didn't even get to tour.

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  184. We had the same experience with Eureka Learning Center and a few others. The fact that they wouldn't even show you their facilities was such a turnoff!

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  185. The SFUSD examiner who tested my daughter for Spanish fluency told us the kids from Crayon Box were not scoring that well on their assessment. She recommended a different Spanish-immersion preschool for our youngest, Centro Las Olas. She said their kids were all scoring around 95-100 percent fluent, including the kids from English-speaking families. But I hear it is only a part-time program, with no after care.

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  186. Little School, Pacific Primary, Phoebe Hearst, and 150 Parker are all schools you don't have to apply to until the year you would enroll your child. We thought they were all terrific (we ended up at Little School). And they are much more diverse than the applicant body would have you believe. When we went to the Little School Open House, I was practically the only Mom there who wasn't tall, thin and blonde, LOL... but I assure you that is not who ends up getting in. Yeah, there are a couple of those in our class (lovely people, btw), but there are also families from all over the world, different races, different family structures,etc.

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  187. Sorry, I meant the year *before* you would enroll your child.

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  188. "All the SFUSD tester's are native speakers."

    This is not correct: our tester was not a native Spanish speaker. My wife's a fluent Spanish speaker, and she confirmed this.

    "The SFUSD examiner who tested my daughter for Spanish fluency told us the kids from Crayon Box were not scoring that well on their assessment."

    We heard that as well, but that it also was true for all the Spanish immersion pre-schools in SF save Las Olas.

    "She recommended a different Spanish-immersion preschool for our youngest, Centro Las Olas. She said their kids were all scoring around 95-100 percent fluent, including the kids from English-speaking families."

    Yes, but as stated above there are only a 2-3 solely-Anglophone families let into Las Olas each year: it's even more heavily weighted towards the target language than SFUSD's immersion programs.

    Las Olas is great; we have a friend of ours on the board, and their kids are doing great there. But you better have a back-up plan if you're a solely Anglophone family.

    "Finally, we saw a kid crying outside a classroom, pretty much unattended. I so wanted to comfort the kid myself. Granted, this was a few years ago."

    That's very much atypical for Crayon Box, where my experience has been the teachers are exceptionally caring, especially Nena and Monica, and they don't send kids out of the classrooms for discipline. The campus is co-located with Little Bear, remember.

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  189. "What is the impact on diversity if the application process is longer? CDCs have long wait lists and require you to sign up far in advance."

    Not necessarily. I've heard the CDC run by the YMCA near Silver Ave was undersubscribed, and I've heard of other CDCs in the SE of the city where the spaces weren't filled by the target working poor population.

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  190. "What is the impact on diversity if the application process is longer? CDCs have long wait lists and require you to sign up far in advance."

    Not true. The YMCA CDC near Silver Ave was not filled this year. I've heard of other CDCs which were not filled also.

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  191. "Wow--i never knew i was an over optimizer!

    makes a whole lot of sense though.
    that being said, i think that San Francisco is deceptive in that everyone acts like a sufficer, but most of optimizers (to the extreme)."

    Yeah, but being an optimizer is a recipe for friggin' misery.

    For the elementaries, you've got probably in the range of 130-140 choices. For preschools, probably 2-3 times that. That's a lot of combinations.

    You'll drive yourself stark, staring, mad trying to figure out which preschool is going to maximize your kid's chance of getting the best Appeal Court clerkship after Stanford Law, or getting the best surgical residency after their M.D./Ph.D at Johns Hopkins.

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  192. This article published in 2003 came out just as my oldest was about to start pre-school. It's still pretty timely. Just no SFKfiles to add to the frenzy.
    http://tiny.cc/f6eCj
    I remember joking a few years later that I was giving up my child's chance at the Ivy Leagues by sending him to public school. Really joking, b/c I don't think that's true or even a bad thing.

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  193. Preschools definitely matter in how successful your private school application will be. This year was a disaster for our preschool. Not a single child was accepted to any of the local independent schools (about 10 children applied) whereas children from other preschools did very well. Some preschools placed over a dozen children into these independent schools. These results speak to the power of certain schools and their directors. If you're in the position of choosing a preschool, it would be wise to ask about the school's success in private school placement if that is of interest to you.

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  194. Here are the preschools that will get your child into private schools:

    The Little School, 150 Parker, Lone Mountain, Cow Hollow Preschool, Pacific Primary, some Marin Day Schools, Russian Hill School (but not as much as before. I think people are starting to see that pedagogy there is just outdated, and the kids don't even conceive of their own art projects).

    Apply early, but also get on the waiting list and call mid year--people leave and come in San Francisco. don't tell anyone if you child has speech issues or behaviour issues. And be very friendly.

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  195. Nice to have a list of good feeder schools, but I wonder which of those schools success comes from holding kids back a year so that they are 6 when they start kindergarten. I believe that is the case at the Little School. Maybe they should change the name to the Big School in honor of all those 6 year olds.

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  196. The schools don't keep kids back because they are gaining an edge, they keep them back because they usually miss the cut off point for applications to private schools!

    Its not the preschools who are setting the cut off for application for schools, you know.

    In my daughter's preschool, children will be 6 when they start K, but the majority of them either were prohibited from applying--as in my daughter's case (her birthday was in Sept) or because some schools said, "sorry"--or received "too young" letters.

    Whose fault is that?

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  197. 9:38 is incorrect. Half of both 5 y.o. classes go to K while the ones with summer birthdays and later can go to TK and will be six by the time they go to K. These children have either gotten or would have received "too young" letters.

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  198. A good list from 8:07 but its missing Alta Plaza. Alta Plaza had a stellar placement rate this year with lots of multiple admit offers to all of the top of the line private preschools: multiple into SF Day; Town; Hamlin; Stuart; 3 kids into Burke; etc.

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