PSA is awesome. I had two kids there for two years each, and they absolutely loved it. The teachers were great, caring and competent and loving, with multiple adults for each class. The staff was excellent -- even the office staff knows the name of every kid and recognizes their parents. The afternoon activities were so fun and varied that they were disappointed if I picked them up early. The rooms are bright and colorful (and air-conditioned in the summer!!), and my kids loved going to different rooms for different things just like big kids.
PSA follows the Montclair school calendar, which is great if you have an older kid in the public schools, but they are also open with "vacation camp" for most weekday holidays which is a boon for working parents, as are the afternoon activities. I'm not sure why another reviewer said that they close with little notice -- the calendar is available before the school year starts, and the only time they deviated from it in the four years that my kids were there was when the town turned off their power to fix a street light without telling them in advance. They were even open on some days when the public schools declared a snow day.
We had our children at PSA and didn't take them out early enough! In hindsight, we should have removed them immediately. What has the potential for a great pre-k, is in fact nothing but an experience we are happy to have behind us. Administrators are defensive and quick to argue instead of trying to resolve and maintain relationships that help the business grow. This sort of attitude and behavior MAY in fact ultimately shut the business down in the future. FACTS: The school closes with very little notice so make sure you have extra childcare/back up. I don't recommend this school for working parents. Pay careful attention to the contract. There is no deposit. The $1,000+ you give as a deposit is actually an "Enrollment fee" so you lose when you realize things aren't working out. (See other parents' reviews) Very little play space so parents with boys, beware. Your son may end up frustrated and bored. Very poor management and understanding of how girls and boys work and learn in the same space. Good luck!
PSA has been a great introduction for school. My girls have attended the school for three years and blossomed. One of my daughters is very shy, but the teachers found a way bring her out of her shell. She is still a quiet girl (that's just who she is) but she has become so confident. Both girls are prepped and ready for kindergarten -- socially, intellectually and emotionally. Thanks PSA!
Some kids undoubtedly do well here. However if your child is one that is not loud and confident at big family gatherings, they are unlikely to be one of them. The class sizes are large and the classrooms are not structured into areas so that quieter kids can get some space from the others. The outdoor play space is nice but often not used if the weather is anything except dry and warm and sometimes not even then. The staff ratio is fine but the class sizes are too large to actually give the quieter kids the attention and assistance they may need; it goes to those that are acting out, either positively or negatively. So in short, there are more nurturing places in Montclair for children that are sensitive or shy. My child is now going to a different school and has blossomed.
my child attended PSA and another will be attending shortly. The staff are wonderful, caring and very experienced. There is an emphasis on good behavior, responsibility that comes home with the child. I had no need to worry about my child starting public school, the transition was seamless. She loved her teachers and friends and I made great friends too. Ms. Lisa's art classes were so amazing. It's o.k. to challenge kids in an age appropriate way. Do the tour and talk to other parents.
Both my son and daughter attend Park Street Academy and i couldn't be happier with the academic, social and emotional experience they both have had and continue to have each day at PSA. Each class of teachers is exceptional...they really get to know your child and sincerely want what is best for him and her... I really do believe that a child's first educational experience is very important and sets the stage for the upcoming years and at PSA...the kids are learning without realizing it... Their day is filled with so much fun and joy, that they don't realize how much they are learning...the thematic learning structure, the daily routine and the chemistry between the 4 teachers in each class is so well planned out...it's truly a success. Behind the success of the school is it's amazing director...dynamic, energetic and so full of compassion for the children and all the families...she really loves what she is doing and it shows! I wholeheartedly recommend this school to everyone and feel that all children deserve a Park Streeet Academy first time school experience!!
There is no other preschool in the Montclair area like Park Street Academy. Both of our boys attend this school and we have had great success. My five year old will be leaving this year after after having attended for 2 years. He is reading books, able to do basic math problems, playing soccer, has learned and exceled at tennis and made great friends. My boys are greeted every morning with smiles and warm, friendly teachers. They receive so much attention by all of the staff and the owner and director and are always available and responsive. Of all the preschools that we looked at, PSA by far offers the most structure and emphasis on academics and we couldn't be happier with our experiences at this school. Kelly C.
I have had at least one of my kids in Park Street during the last 5 1/2 years. I highly recommend this school for several reasons: (1) a fun, creative curriculum that the kids soak up (2) diversity of the families and the staff, (3) the warm and caring owner and staff, and (4) the extended hours that allow parents to have back up care (and peace of mind). There are positives and negatives to all preschools, but this school is special in all the ways that count.