“If the wonder, joy and exuberance of childhood could be captured in a place, that place for us is Duck Pond. It’s a warm, caring and loving environment that we’ve found to be a perfect balance of structure and play. We liked the teachers’ focus on the social and emotional development of the children, which really comes through in the school environment and empathy kids show for each other. And through play, they learned about themselves, each other and the world they live in. Duck Pond attracts an amazing, down-to-earth and fun family community. For us, as parents, Duck Pond feels like family and like home. While we worked in SF during the day, it was such peace of mind to know that our kids were having fun, growing and were being cared for with the same love and attention we would give them ourselves. As parents, we are grateful for this experience and will miss this special place and time in our lives.”

Katie and Martin W.

“We feel so fortunate to have found the Duck Pond Preschool. One of my favorite things about the school (and most pleasant surprise) is the strong community that the director fosters. We and our daughter have made great friendships and we will continue these well beyond preschool. The director/teachers are a special group. We like the balance between structure and play, and how the teachers encourage each kid’s interests, creating projects around them. Our daughter progressed so positively socially and emotionally through all her experiences. But most importantly, from day one through today, our daughter has been so happy there…a great comfort and joy to us as parents. Thank you Duck Pond!”

Alisa and George B.

“My two sons have both attended Duck Pond. We toured numerous Oakland preschools and were drawn to the warmth and positive energy we felt at The Duck Pond. Fast forward 5 years, and we feel so grateful to be part of an amazing family of teachers, kids, and parents. We know that our children are surrounded by friends and teachers that truly love and care about them. We love that our sons’ interests – from baseball to Star Wars to a stuffed orange cat – were incorporated into their day to day learning. It has made going to school everyday exciting! Finally, we appreciate how prepared our older son was to enter an increasingly demanding kindergarten atmosphere. We feel fortunate to have made the right choice 5 years ago.”

Karen and Nick G.

“I’ll never forget the first time we stepped foot into the Duck Pond classroom for our trial day with Hayden. I was greeted with smiles and hugs from the teachers. I was also struck by a sense of curiosity and wonder in the space. Multiple types of artwork adorned the walls. Plants, objects and materials were set out on the tables for the lesson of the day. Music filled the air and healthy snacks were set out. Books lined the walls and interesting and creative toys lay on the shelves. Outside the sandbox and plant gardens waited for the energy to come. In this quick visit we fell in the love with the imagination and possibilities that this school and community presented. Every day since then, we have been thrilled to call this our school.”

Aaron and Anne P.

“I can’t begin to describe how wonderful the Duck Pond has been for our daughter. She has thrived during her three years there, growing into a confident, independent girl who is both intellectually and emotionally ready for kindergarten. The Duck Pond goes above and beyond preparing kids for school, as they leave preschool knowing how to write (and many know how to read), which is far beyond what’s expected at that age. At the same time, the curriculum is delivered in a very hands-on, individualized way, understanding that each child learns at a different pace. We love that the teachers are so engaged with the kids, helping them develop not only intellectually but emotionally and physically as well, with a strong focus on play and peer interaction. We as parents love that the families are so involved in the school, as there is a really strong sense of community here – there are a lot of family-based activities that happen after school hours, like camping trips and ski trips. We are sad that our daughter’s time at the Duck Pond is coming to an end, but we can’t wait to have our son join the school next year!”

Kara and Ian D.

“Joseph said to us before going to bed, “You and Daddy and Elena and Ezra are the best parents and sister and brother I’ve ever had,” to which we replied, “that’s so nice, but we’re really the ONLY parents you’ve ever had…” Joseph said, “No, I have another parent… Lois! Because she teaches me at school just like you teach me at home and makes sure we’re taken care of.” He couldn’t have said it better. The Duck Pond really is Joseph’s second home, because Lois and ALL of the teachers do such an amazing job of creating an environment that’s filled with love, support and guidance that we all strive to provide for our children.”

Johanna R. and Ari C.

“Lois does an incredible job of meeting the needs of each child. Together with her dedicated teachers, she creates a program that changes with the interests of the children. In keeping the classes small, she fosters a sense of community that makes the school feel like a loving extended family.”

Jennifer C.

“I currently have two kids at Duck Pond, and our whole family loves it. We really feel lucky to be part of such a nurturing community. When our 2-year-old first hears his teacher’s voice on our way down the stairs, he calls out and starts jumping joyfully. He loves her. She is warm, consistent, organized, and communicative. When I pick up she always gives me the important info from the day: naps, diapering, etc., as well as any fun anecdotes. It’s been a wonderful place for my daughter as well. She loves all of her teachers and friends. As a parent I love that her learning seems to just happen as an extension of play. She makes art, plays with water, climbs, sings, and also can now write her name well and add and subtract using her fingers. Probably most importantly, we’ve seen great improvements in her self-control, and ability to name and manage her own emotions. Finally, it’s been a great community for us as parents. We’ve met great people through the many (official and unofficial) social events. It’s a really fun place!”

Hillary J.

“The Duck Pond is really a wonderful place. The 25 or so families that attend have a real sense of community. The school provides an incredible number of enrichment programs including dance, yoga, music, storytelling, gymnastics, science, and cooking. The number of enrichment classes at the Duck Pond seem to far outnumber the classes provided at the preschool my two older children attended. In addition, the academics are equal to other preschools in the area.”

Liz B.

“My son thrived at Duck Pond Preschool. I was amazed at the social skills he has developed just in one year. Glenda, his teacher, was warm, supportive and wonderful. The most amazing part of this school from my perspective is the community that Lois, the director, builds. From the day school starts there are picnics, parties, camping trips, weekend family field trips and even a ski weekend. These usually happen after school so that working parents can participate. Some of these events school organizes and others happen organically, but they all foster a tight knit community of 25 families. We have made close friendships that will last after Duck Pond. We miss Duck Pond – a wonderful gem of a school.”

Jennifer L.

“Duck Pond has been magical. My children have developed socially and academically. Their creativity and curiosity have been nurtured, and they often astound me with the insight they show into how to behave towards each other and the world. Lois is amazing. She understands children where they are, respects them for their individuality and inspires them to learn and grow. The other teachers are also kind and encouraging. The Reggio-Emilia approach is fantastic, and the small size makes for a cozy and welcoming environment. The facility is lovely, with two great outdoor spaces. The children and families are universally wonderful. Best of all, Duck Pond is a family. Lois believes in building community, and the close friendships this has fostered among the parents is an amazing bonus. Everyone cares for each other’s children, and it really is that proverbial ”village” we need to raise a child.”

Kathleen M.

“Words can’t begin to capture what a magical place this has been for our two sons. Lois, the director, has created a truly outstanding program. The teachers encourage each child to pursue their passions and inspire amazing creativity. There are so many aspects of Duck Pond to rave about, but the one that others notice the most is how my son has learned how to express his social and emotional needs in healthy, loving ways and has really embraced the concept of looking out for his friends and their hearts. Because Duck Pond focuses on social and emotional learning, the children’s level of empathy is inspiring. It is definitely a result of the teachers and Duck Pond’s philosophy.”

Cathy C.