If you're considering sending your child to a bilingual preschool, I highly recommend La Plazita in Oakland. We have our 2yr-8mo old daughter there and she's very happy and learning a great amount in a very diverse student body that includes Latinos, Caucasians, Asians, and African Americans. It's so fun seeing and hearing her develop her Spanish language skills through conversation and song. The staff at La Plazita are a great bunch of folks as well! We visited two other bilingual schools in Oakland about a year and a half ago, and none of them compared to La Plazita. The school staff is great about having occasional open houses for kids and parents for events like Dia de los Muertos and Dia de los Reyes. We're hoping that there will be an open slot for our son in a year and a half when he'll be old enough to attend!
After 6 months at La Plazita, we have been amazed at how well our 3 year old speaks and understands Spanish. She comes home excited about her friends and the creative art projects, and loves writing her letters, which she can now identify in both English and Spanish. She adores her fun and energetic teachers. And we are pleased with how well the school is managed; it is clean, orderly, and run professionally. The school also does a great job of involving the families with fun potluck dinner celebrations.
As bilingual and bicultural parents, we are determined to make sure that our children enjoy all the benefits of biculturalism and bilingualism. When our son was just about ready for pre-school, our good friend Krystel had the brilliant idea of opening a school that would provide our son with the social, academic and language support we were looking for in a pre-school. True Spanish immersion schools in Oakland are hard to find. When visiting a few, I found that children were not really engaging in the language and that care-takers often spoke in English. Besides the fact that my child is safe and cared for at La Plazita, I most appreciate the fact that they are true to their Spanish immersion philosophy. I appreciate the fact that there are enough dominant Spanish speakers to maintain the integrity of the program and also enjoy the diversity at La Plazita. My son Emilio is now 3.5 and Spanish continues to be his dominant language (which is what we want for now). I really can't say enough about La Plazita. Krystel, Maestra Lupe and the other support staff are amazing and really care for the children. In addition, the space and organized family events are wonderful as well. We love La Plazita and are excited to have my son learn and play at their new site for big kids.
We were fortunate to be among the first La Plazita families and I can't say enough great things about our experience. My daughter absolutely loved the program, from the wonderful teachers to the warm, stimulating, and attractive environment. She really became a part of the family there, in many senses of the word, as did the rest of us. The many cultural and family events kept us all connected to La Plazita and the other families, and brought us into our daughter's experience along with her. I almost forgot to mention her acquisition of the Spanish language! She was completely conversant in Spanish after one school year. I highly, highly recommend the school.
La Plazita is a great Spanish immersion preschool and has been a solid experience for our family so far. Our 3 yr old knew minimal Spanish going in, and we of course were concerned with how the transition to a full Spanish environment would play out. So far so good. Within weeks, she was reciting the alphabet in both English and Spanish, counting and talking about days of the week in Spanish as well. She also took to writing her name within the first couple of weeks.
The true familia spirit of the school really shines. Dropping our daughter off the first day felt very familiar and comfortable due to the care they take in organizing family get-togethers at the school beforehand. The whole family has also enjoyed celebrating Spanish culture and holidays at La Plazita. Our daughter loves her teachers and friends. And we love that she's getting a very early bilingual experience and exposure to different cultures.
Our preschool has a couple of rare openings, so I wanted to write a review. We wanted a bilingual Spanish-English preschool experience for our children. We have been with the school for a year now, and we are thrilled with the school.The kids love their school too and look forward to going there. The school also welcomes parents to participate in various activities, but there are no volunteer requirements.
The school is very organized, with well laid out lesson plans and monthly themes. The curriculum is fantastic. Every month we receive a vocabulary list and song lyrics, so that we can practice them at home with our kids. The teachers are kind, well respected by the kids, and are very successful at teaching Spanish. The school itself is cheerful and inviting. The director of the school has really good attention to detail and it clearly shows in everything they do. The school day runs 9am-3pm, with flexible before/after care hours. They offer 1 to 5 days/week slots depending on availability. I love their flexibility!
My daughter's Spanish is progressing so quickly and she is only there part time! Besides learning Spanish, the school does a great job of sharing other aspects of Latino culture (food, Day of the Dead, piñatas, etc.)Another great aspect to the school is the diversity of the kids-it really reflects the greater Oakland community. There are fun parties at the school and field trips too. The parent community is warm and welcoming. In summary, my daughter is well prepared to go off to kindergarten in the fall and her Spanish is fantastic.
Thank you so much for bringing us into this amazing family!! For me, the experience was two fold - education and community.
My son was able to get a quality, well rounded education - which was my priority. I believe that his time at La Plazita prepared him well for the school years to come, another priority.
Regarding the staff - I felt very comfortable with his teachers! I felt that I left him in good hands each day, which was comforting! I was able to talk to them when necessary and felt understood - even when I was being neurotic (you know, first and only child syndrome) :) I liked that i was told stories about him and his activities, which showed me that they paid attention to him, something that came through when he told me about his day at home. I also appreciated the parent / teacher conferences, they gave me a good sense of where he was developmentally.
I especially loved the Latino family feel - it was important to us to surround him with culture - something that definitely happened during his time there. It added to our comfort level. Even though we aren't fluent in Spanish, both my son and I grew up in Latino households so it is important to us to continue with some of the traditions, and having a school that supports that infusion and growth is special.
Community: For me, I didn't expect to develop such amazing friendships through my son's school... but I did!! The community connections that La Plazita fosters is the reason - if it hadn't been for the potlucks I may not have met and made the friendships, so thank you!! I feel fortunate that Judah joined when he did, because I may not have met them and I am extremely grateful - basically it all happened at such a good and necessary time for me :)
When searching for a preschool, we really wanted to find a place that felt like a second home for our son. We were searching for a community that would act as an extension of our family to help us raise our child. We found this at La Plazita. Our son spent 3 years at La Plazita and entered kindergarten with not only the basic fundamental skills, but also the emotional and behavioral skills needed to succeed in a school setting. La Plazita offers a very nurturing environment that thrives on partnering with families. The teachers are smart, friendly, and true care givers. We are forever thankful for La Plazita.
Hope this email finds you well. So we’ve finalized our final transition dates to our new home and Joao’s new preschool. I wanted to give you a head’s up that Joao’s last day will be next Friday December 9th. We’ve loved all the photo updates on the bright wheel application, the school festivities, and are so grateful that Joao has had this short time with you and the rest of his Maestra’s at La Plazita. We wish we could take you and relocate you closer to our new home in American Canyon. I know how much Joao will miss coming to spend time with his friends and Maestra’s, and how much we’ll miss the energy and community at your school. You all are doing amazing work and we wish you all the best. Thank you so much.
I am truly thankful to have found LaPlazita this learning community for my child Yamari. My eldest child was in a Montessori environment and I do alot of nature based play/learning with both children so I feared too much academic focus early on and structure initially. However, to see Yamari integrating so much Spanish in daily life naturally and seeing how he literally runs to school with excitement says alot. Just yesterday we were driving and he saw someone with a hijab and said mommy that's Malala. Of course this was a major teachable moment that not everyone that wears a hijab is Malala and at the same time it was a beautiful surprise that my child has been exposed to Malala and other courageous leaders at school and he's making associations/connecting outside of school. Exposing my child (and others) diverse change makers as well as teaching new gender neutral/inclusive spanish pronouns without delay feels like social justice values at home flows through school and I am so happy to see Yamari growing in more ways than one which LaPlazita is part of. I'm especially thankful for the warmth of his teacher Maestra Blanca and others that nurtures his growth so overall a happy parent and thankful to have him continue enrollment at LaPlazita. I also really appreciate the community aspect, for example allowing children to join in fun/cultural celebrations on days they're not enrolled has been another positive experience for my child.