We have sent both of our children to Crestmont School and our youngest will be graduating this year, as she is in fifth grade. Our experience at the school has been excellent, and we strongly recommend that parents consider touring and coming to information events to learn more about it. At Crestmont, children thrive in a ”small village” environment, with support from teachers, instructional aides, specialty teachers and participating parents. There are many multi-age activities and opportunities for developmentally based, differentiated learning. Both of our children have loved school, and our oldest, who is about to graduate from high school, developed confidence in herself and a love for learning that has guided her through the challenges of adolescence and middle and high school. Crestmont is a little jewel of a school – it’s the oldest parent cooperative elementary school in the West and has been around for over 40 years. And last, being a parent at Crestmont is an education for the adults, as well – in cooperative learning and interaction. This learning community has enriched our lives far beyond the role of a traditional school.
Happy Learning Kids
My daughter has been at Crestmont School for two years and she is thriving there. The teachers support the kids in all facets of learning, academic as well as social-emotional. There are wonderful enrichment opportunities, with art, music (Orff method), and Spanish built right into the curriculum, as well as great great programs after school (Zumba, adventures, Lego…). Parents are closely involved, spending time in the classroom and contributing their special skills, which makes it so much richer. It is a true community of parents, teachers, and students working together to make happy learning kids.
Safe and Respected
My son is in 2nd grade at Crestmont. The curriculum is hands on and project based, fostering critical thinking and engagement. Class sizes are small, allowing teachers to work with different learning styles and not be forced into a ”one-size-fits-all” approach. There are 1 to 2 field trips every month! There is no homework in K or 1st grade, and very little in the other grades. Art instruction is integrated into the curriculum, and there are Spanish classes, PE and music several times a week. There is also a learning specialist. There is a very high importance placed on social-emotional learning at Crestmont; the teachers create this curriculum together based on current research and proven practices. My son feels very safe and respected at Crestmont, and has displayed some impressive conflict resolution skills.
We were looking for an elementary education for our children that would expose them to all the highlights of the youngest years of learning: a focus on core elements of science and math, an immersion in art, an introduction to music and the foreign languages, AND we wanted it all tied together in a community that would surround and envelop my son with a smart mix of warmth, encouragement and the teaching of real-world decision-making skills. We found that, and have been for six years at Crestmont School on the Arlington Ave. in the Richmond Hills/El Cerrito boarder. Though we considered homeschooling, what changed my mind was the breadth of focus at Crestmont: the abundance of field trips, the chance to study and play outdoors in a multi-venue learning environment, the focus on the fact that different children learn differently and the ability to tailor teaching methods based on that principle. There’s also a strong focus on taking care of one another and genuinely welcoming those around us, no matter how different they may be. Last week was anti-bullying day, and every child wore bright orange to show that not only are they against bullying, but more importantly, they can recognize what it is and take a stand against it. Crestmont is a parent teacher co-op, so there’s a real hand-in-hand aspect to building the right kind of environment together. It’s been a hidden gem.
My son is currently at Crestmont in 4th grade and he loves it. My daughter also went there and she is now in 7th grade. What I like most about it, besides the great education my children receive, is the community and the class size. The two go hand in hand. The community is so strong and caring that I know my children will always have someone making sure everything is all right. With the class size between 10-15, it is a perfect blend of big enough for a good social pool and small enough for children to not feel lost. They treat every child as an individual and work with their strengths and their style of learning. My son loves school and is ready to go each morning and I have to drag him home each afternoon because he wants to stay and play with his friends.
I am have two children at Crestmont and have been extremely happy. The environment is small and nurturing which allows for a lot of time to attend to the emotional and social needs of the children. In addition, due to the fact that it is a co-op, the parents are super involved which creates a strong sense of community that often is lacking in many cities. The teachers are wonderful and allowed the space to be creative in their curriculum. I feel so lucky to have found Crestmont and that my kids have had such a great start to their education.
Full Day Kindergarten
We wanted a full-day kindergarten since our child was coming from a full time preschool program. We needed the before/aftercare Crestmont offers (it’s on-site and drop-in, staffed by long time classroom and daycare aides – there are also after school enrichment classes like yoga, kung fu and engineering). We feel lucky that Crestmont was affordable for us at half the tuition of other independent schools. We value the small class sizes, the specialty programs (Spanish, Music, PE, and lots of time for art), the creative curricula, the many and unique field trips, the tremendous parent involvement, the warm and nurturing environment it offers the kids and the great attention paid to their social and emotional learning. The students are a nice group of kids, and there are lots of opportunities to get to know each of them and their families whether or not you participate in the classroom.
My daughter is highly sensitive, and the teachers and administrators at Crestmont have really taken the time to get to know her and accommodate her in the ways she needs. She loves it, and is learning fast. It helps that it’s a very small school, with a lot of adults around (on most days my daughter’s class has an exceptional teacher, a terrific aide, and a parent volunteer for 15 kids).