After my wife and I had our fourth child, we realized that, in no time at all, we would be faced again with a daunting task of finding a quality preschool. We know of a very good couple who runs a reputable and high-quality dance school in South San Francisco who highly recommended Ponderosa Montessori to us. My wife and I decided to visit the school and we met
Mrs. King, the director and instructor.
The moment we entered the school, Mrs. King greeted us with so much kindness and warmth. She is very professional and pleasant to deal with. The facility was clean and organized, with spacious classroom and a beautiful outdoor playground. Teaching materials are neatly organized and the students’ projects are neatly tucked in to their seats’ folders. Class size is small and provides an effective one-on-one interaction with the students.
My son has only been attending Ponderosa Montessori for about a year but we have noticed his tremendous growth socially and academically. He used to be shy and timid but Mrs. King's Montessori approach to manners and play has made my son much more engaging. He enjoys his time with his classmates both in the classroom and playground. Mrs. King is warm and caring, patient, deals with children in a loving and respectful manner, and treats them like her own. She is very approachable and provides me with good progress reports or feedback about my son.
Academically, I am always amazed at the lessons that she teaches her students. The students are consistently engaged in arts and puzzles, reading/writing and math, practical life activities, and developing a keen eye to the things around them. They are so ahead of their peers in terms of what they learn at Ponderosa Montessori.
A little over 6 months after my son started at Ponderosa Montessori, I had him take a diagnostic test from an after-school learning center and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he is at 2nd Grade level in Math and 1st Grade level in Reading. Later on, I realized that his Reading level was such because he missed some morning sessions in Reading.
My son has only been going to Ponderosa Montessori for 3 days a week but I can only imagine how much he would have progressed had we opted for him to go 5 days a week. I credit Mrs. King and her staff for what my son had accomplished, what he had become and what he is capable of. My son will be entering Kindergarten this fall and we believe that he is more than ready.
I strongly recommend Ponderosa Montessori to any family looking for a superb quality preschool environment for their child.
South San Francisco, CA
Our family recently moved from the South Bay, and our 5 year old daughter has been with Ponderosa Montessori for the past 6 months. We have experienced a seamless transition to the new school, and I know this is due to Mrs. King and the nurturing, stimulating environment she creates every day. My daughter came from an academically focused preschool, and Mrs. King rapidly expanded her horizons even further.
Mrs. King is very patient, and took care to find an approach to engage my daughter’s attention, knowing she was capable of performing the work. I have also seen my daughter grow socially, and her self-confidence blossom. Every day when I pick her up, she is eager to finish the work in-hand, and then circles the room to give hugs to the teachers and kids. And she is always so proud to show me her latest worksheets and projects. She has made many friends that she talks about at home, several of whom will be with her in kindergarten! She even ventures to try new foods that Mrs. King makes for lunch – a true feat.
The school is organized, clean, and inviting with a large variety of activities to promote learning. The day is structured using music, and the activities are tailored to the level of each individual – true to Montessori philosophy. Even the setup of the tables promotes communication, sharing, and taking turns among classmates.
Mrs. King calmly commands respect from the children, teaches them responsibility for themselves and their belongings, and teaches them to speak respectfully and properly. For parents, the administration is clear and simple, and the fees are very reasonable. For anything that comes to mind when considering preschools, I can only say positive things about Mrs. King and Ponderosa Montessori.
I emphatically recommend this preschool to parents with young children who share a zest for learning.
South San Francisco, CA
We have now been with Mrs. King for 5 months and we have been very happy. Mrs. King is kind, warm, grandmothery (if that's even a word) and serious about teaching the kids through Montessori practices. When we drop off our daughter she is excited to be there and never cries. She has made so many friends whom she talks about all the time. She is learning the alphabet and can speak with more confidence and has learned so many new words.
Mrs. King teaches her to be polite, to put things away and most importantly she is teaching her discipline which is important for the future. The place is always clean and it never feels chaotic. I trust that my daughter is being taken care of very well.
South San Francisco, CA
My daughter has been attending Ponderosa Montessori for the last 8 months. What struck me most about the school was the nurturing environment that Mrs. King and her staff provide. Add to that an intimate environment that is calm, structured, fun, and ethnically diverse. This was one of 5 schools I toured in one day with my husband and daughter, and the first thing my daughter said upon entering the school was, "oh, this is really nice."
Because of its school size, we have been fortunate to get to know many of the parents, which adds to a good sense of community. My daughter, at age 4, has grown tremendously both in her academic and social life, i.e., she can sit down at a meal now and can read beginner reader books. Mrs. King is flexible, knowledgeable, patient and caring of the little ones. By providing home cooked lunch meals, she also relieves me of the responsibility of trying to pack an interesting lunch for my daughter.
As a clinician who works with abused children, I am quite careful about who I leave my child with. I actually pulled my daughter out of one pre-school (The Early Years) on her 2nd day after seeing a teacher be inappropriately aggressive with another student. The environment at Ponderosa Montessori is safe.
Daly City, CA
Where do I
even begin?! Mrs. King is sooooo wonderful!! My son spent 3 years
and two months with her at Ponderosa Montessori, and I consider myself
and my son extremely lucky to have found her when he was only 2 1/2
years old. My husband and I looked for a decent daycare for our son for
over 2 months (I was going back to work) when we finally found Mrs.
King. At the time we lived in North Beach and we knew that the commute
would be very hard, but we were so impressed with her and her school
that we were willing to make the sacrifice and have a very long and out
of the way commute to her school. In the end, we ended up moving to
Pacifica just to be close to her school - she is that great!!!
We've had nothing but the best,
best, best experience with Mrs. King. She is a very warm and loving
person, she is GREAT with kids, she really, really takes her Montessori
teachings seriously, her school is always very clean, she cooks their
meals every day, the play area is terrific, kids learn a
lot and have advanced knowledge for their age, her rates are very
reasonable, and most importantly, my son was always happy to go there
and he was always happy when I would come to pick him up.
last thing I want to share here just to give you the full picture of how
Mrs. King runs her school. When my son had just turned 3, there was a
boy there who was 4 or 4 1/2 and my son tried to play with him or just
be around him. Then one morning my son was crying because he did not
want to go to (school.) I was very surprised because until then he
always loved going there. So I asked my son what was wrong and he
(luckily) told me that this older boy was spanking him. I told this to
Mrs. King that same morning, and within two days Mrs. King decided to
let this little boy go. I will not go into the details here but will
just say that Mrs. King did not feel confident that this would not
repeat so she let (the boy) go. That told me that she truly puts the well
being and safety of her children before her bottom line.
all, I could not recommend Mrs. King more highly. If some people are
dissuaded by (any) negative review, it's really too bad because it's
their kids in the end who will miss out on a great opportunity for a
wonderful, nurturing and stimulating environment. If anyone is seriously
considering starting with Mrs. King, she has all of my contact info,
and I am more than willing to speak to anyone who has any questions or
wants more information.
San Francisco, CA
Our 4 year
old daughter has been attending here for a year and a half. It is truly
incredible how much she has grown and thrived since attending here. I
especially appreciate the individualized attention each child receives,
which allows them to learn at their own pace. When she began she knew
her letters and numbers, however, in the short time she has been
attending, she has learned how to write, can do simple math, has learned
geography, science, cursive, and has even learned some French. She is
currently reading and writing at a second grade level - at 4 years old! I
am constantly amazed at the immense amount of knowledge she has
acquired and the words and sentences she reads on a daily basis.
months ago she picked up one of her books and read it cover to cover by
herself with only asking for my help with two words. She will even read
my text messages, so now I must be careful on what I say! My friends
and family are astonished by how intelligent and well behaved our
daughter is and I credit her teachers for playing a big role in her
growth. They have gone above and beyond my expectations.
I fully trust Ponderosa Montessori with my
child and I am so pleased that we chose this preschool for her. She
continues to amaze me with her intelligence everyday.
Daly City, CA
Ponderosa Montessori school is a great and healthy environment for the
kids - both my children love to go there and are treated warmly by Mrs
King and her staff (as are other children). My son has been attending
the school since summer of 2011; my daughter just stated in March of
this year - we couldn't be happier with the way they are educated and
taken care of.
The program is very diverse - kids color, learn languages
(French, for one) they have plenty of play time inside and
outdoors where the yard is nicely decorated/stacked with kids toys. I
am seeing great improvements in reading and writing, etiquette/table
manners. My 3 year old's vocabulary, communication, and motor skills
have improved dramatically, - she colors so beautifully, even better
than her older brother :)!!! . The meals are all home cooked, healthy
and wholesome. I would greatly recommend this school to
San Francisco, CA
My daughter has been going to this school for few months now and so far
we have been real happy with it. There are 2 groups: 2.5-3.5 and 3.5-5.
The teachers and care takes do a great job at customizing the
activities and curriculum based on kid's age, interests, and abilities.
They have been doing this for over 20 years and seem very knowledgeable
and well educated.
I like that they have discipline,
cleanliness, and order. These things are never easy with toddlers, but
my daughter loves the school and her classmates, who seem friendly and
well-behaved. I like that they encourage independence and
responsibility. With this said, I think they are quite reasonable when
it comes to getting kids to sleep and getting them to do various
Pricing is also reasonable for full time, or part time.
San Francisco, CA
We will be moving out of the neighborhood soon and thought of leaving a
review for Ponderosa Montessori. Our 4-year old daughter has been with
this school since May 2012. We wanted a more structured approach to
pre-school education when our daughter turned 3 since she was extremely
energetic and hard to discipline.
A year later, we can happily say that
could not have asked for a better place than Ponderosa Montessori! Our
daughter now is not only well behaved, reading and writing with
immaculate pencil control, she is also speaking French! All thanks to
the enterprise of Mrs King and her lovely daughter Johanna, to inspire,
educate and nurture. They are extremely patient and loving towards the
children and are adored by them, not only as care-givers but as role
models. Their professionalism speaks in each and every class worksheet
our daughter proudly brings home. We are so blessed to have had the
opportunity to enroll our child under Mrs King's care.
San Francisco, CA
parents know, finding a preschool that is right for your family is time-consuming
and strenuous. Thus, when we found Ponderosa
Montessori School, we knew our prayers were answered.
The teachers are patient, kind, and caring.
They provide a structured, creative learning environment while
encouraging the students to respect their peers.
all 3 of our children grow emotionally, socially, and academically while
attending Ponderosa Montessori School.
two eldest children (now 11 and 10) attended until they progressed to
kindergarten. Without question, when our
youngest turned two, we enrolled her as well.
She is currently attending and looks forward to her days at school.
children started attending Ponderosa Montessori School, we were able to go to
work worry free because we knew our children were in a safe and clean environment. As parents, knowing that your children are
receiving a holistic education and being treated with dignity is priceless.
We want to
give our deepest gratitude and appreciation to the owner and her staff. We honestly do not know what we would have
done in the last 8 years without Ponderosa Montessori School - Our children’s
“home away from home”.
Tamara L., RN, Labor and Delivery
San Bruno, CA
My family and I have been a member
of the Ponderosa Montessori school community for three years this
March. My oldest child began in March 2010 and has since graduated to
Kindergarten. My middle child began in May of 2012 and continues to attend
Ponderosa Montessori. I hope to send my youngest child there, too.
We visited many preschools in the
area to find the perfect fit.
Our first impression of Ponderosa Montessori is that it was clean, spacious, meticulous and warm. The owner and her
daughter were welcoming, kind, and knowledgeable. During the next few
years our impression of the school has continued to remain positive.
There is never a doubt in my mind
how much the staff love and care for the children and their
Aside from providing children with an exceptional academic
foundation, the staff is extremely accommodating, within reason. For example,
it was not until last year that Ponderosa Montessori implemented a holiday and
vacation schedule. This was because the owner wanted to always be
available to parents who do not have childcare readily available on
holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Because of the small "schoolhouse” setting,
the owner and her staff are able to provide individualized attention to each
my children look forward to going to school at Ponderosa Montessori. They
welcome the affection given to them and genuinely enjoy their time learning
and playing with their friends.
Jodie and Jason C.
Our son has attended Ponderosa Montessori School since January 2011, and my wife and I could not be happier with the quality of education and care he receives from Mrs. King, Ms. Johanna and her staff.
Before attending Ponderosa, he was enrolled in a Bright Horizons center,
where we felt he was not getting the attention he deserved. We visited Ponderosa in December 2010, and were immediately impressed with the cleanliness of the facility, and the smaller classroom size, and decided to enroll our son. In many ways, that was one of the best decisions that we ever made.
Our son has prospered under Mrs. King's tutelage. She is very patient with all of the children, and let's each of them work at their own particular pace. That means two year olds are treated differently than five year olds, which is the type of individualized attention that benefited our son.
He is five now, and will be attending Kindergarten in the fall. We live in San Francisco, and have applied to a number of private and parochial schools, as well as the public schools in the city. So far, our son has been accepted at all 4 of the parochial schools to which we've applied, and we are still in process for the fifth school.
We can't thank Mrs. King and Ms. Johanna enough for their devotion, effort, patience and encouragement. We have a second child, and we will be sending her to Ponderosa, too.
San Francisco, CA
My son's been with this school close to 2 years. Before joining this school, he's been to other Montessori schools. One right before was nice a facility but the teachers paid little attention to little ones like my son so he learned nothing and even worse went backwards on his manners and ability. After joining this school, he's now a very able 4 years old where he knows his table manners, how to read and write, and even potty trained on time. My son very much enjoys his school days. As a mother who has seen other Montessori schools, this school definitely knows how to educate children and understands the limitation of children in their age.
In addition, the teachers will work with you on individual child's needs. For example, my son required a little more attention in his early potty training days due to his very sensitive skin. He never came home with any rash and was potty trained within a month. My son also doesn't like vegetables. One day he came home and wanted to eat peas because what he ate at school was so tasty. I had to get the recipes! Another example is he was confused with number 6 and 9. The teacher worked with him and now knows the difference. Bottom line, my son's learning and reading at 4 (he just turned 4)! The teachers are patient with your child and treat them like their own. The result speaks for itself!
I personally love this school and other parents at the school are very close. It's like small community where everyone is merry. Only one downside is when older kids graduate and move into kindergarten, it's a sad time. But that also encourages my son to join the big kids in kindergarten. Of course, he has no idea what kindergarten is yet.)
Daly City, CA
February 2, 2013
Our child has been at Ponderosa Montessori School for almost three years.
We visited many preschools in our search and this one stood out immediately as being the best. The school itself was immaculate with tons of wonderful learning materials and a beautiful outdoor play area.
We were very impressed with the place, but even more so with the owner and operator, Mrs. King. Our impression was that Mrs. King was a warm and caring person with excellent professional credentials. Now, nearly three years later, I can say unequivocally that all of our initial expectations were not only met but exceeded. Day in and day out Mrs. King and her staff take excellent care of our child. We could not be more pleased with our child's development and learning at Ponderosa Montessori thanks to Mrs. King's expertise and commitment.
San Francisco, CA
Sending my kids to Ponderosa Montessori School has been such a great decision for our family. Ms. King is a quality instructor and herself along with her staff provide a great program for pre-school. The facility is clean, the hours are great and snack and lunch come with the affordable tuition rate. We visited many different pre-schools but what we loved the most was the intimacy of Ponderosa's "schoolhouse" setting that Ms. King created.
My oldest son attended for a year and a half and was plenty ready for Kindergarten. He was able to write his name, knew his numbers, alphabet, beginning reading and even though his preschool class was relatively small (approx 12 students on average) he had no issue transitioning into a much larger Kindergarten class. He continues to excel in school and we give a lot of credit to the educational foundation he received from Ms. King and Ponderosa Montessori School.
My second son is currently a student and he is following in brothers footsteps. I plan on sending my daughter there as well.
I highly recommend this school to any family that wants their children to attend a preschool that provides a caring learning environment. In my opinion, Ms. King's program has the best balance of education, caring, and fun that should be expected from a preschool.
South San Francisco, CA
I am writing this letter on behalf of our daughter’s preschool director and teacher at Ponderosa Montessori School.
Mrs. King has the highest moral and cleanliness standards. Her school is immaculate, organized, warm and beautiful. The moment I stepped into her little school I knew it was the school I had to have my daughter attend.
My daughter is excited every day to go to school, see her friends and and Mrs. King and her daughter. She has developed a very special bond with both of them. Each time I gather with parents outside school hours, we always spend time talking about how much we love this school. My daughter is also well above kindergarten level and is learning so much at Ponderosa Montessori. Mrs. King and her daughter captivate her attention daily and she often comes home at night letting us who she played with and what she learned.
Mrs. King is devoted to her students and families. She is flexible and runs a well-organized school with proper policies. In addition, I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Francisco. I also work with preschools and offer consultation and help to both parents and directors alike. This is a school that needs no such direction.
I have no hesitation recommending them to anyone. She has cared for my daughter with deep compassion and patience and is considered a member of my family. August of this year will be very sad as my daughter is entering kindergarten.
Molly S., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
San Francisco, CA
From the Insider Pages
May 9, 2012
When I first visited Ponderosa, I knew this would be the perfect school for my 2 1/2 year old daughter. The teachers are so genuinely warm, patient, and loving to all the students. I could tell my little girl would be in good hands. And I was right.They provide a structured, organized school curriculum in a nice fun atmosphere.
The Teachers are dedicated to giving a high class education and it shows. They break down their advanced lessons with such simplicity and qualified skill, helping each individual child to learn and progress academically. The lessons taught train their children with remarkably advanced skills, making them so smart when they graduate and enter into kindergarten. My daughter attended for over two years before staring kindergarten last Fall. When she left, I was amazed at how much she knew and how trained she was in so many ways. She is now top of her class and I only see her excelling more and more as she gets older. I have this school to thank for teaching her so well during those important first years of schooling. Loved this place. So glad I found them. I recommend them to all.
Isabel Diego, Genentech
San Bruno, CA
April 23, 2010
I totally agree this is a GREAT school. My son (3 years old) is learning Montessori. He loves the teachers (they treat him like he is a family member.) The teachers take really good care of the children. My son is learning vocabulary, counting, writing his letters and numbers and a whole lot more. Thank you.
San Mateo, CA
February 24, 2010
A SUPER preschool! The location is great and they have REAL Montessori materials. My 4 year old loves his school. He's been attending since he was a toddler. He's learned a lot and is really advanced for his age. My husband and I are so happy we found this Montessori school. The rates are really affordable. We pay one flat rate for schooling and day care.
T. Ashcroft-Kent, Mills Peninsula Hospital
San Mateo, CA
From Merchant Circle
March 29, 2011
My grand daughter attended Ponderosa Montessori School in SSF for 3 years.
She loved the school. It's very clean and very parent friendly. When she went to Kindergarten she was the most advanced kid in her class!
February 28, 2011
I recently moved to South City. My 3 year old girl goes to Ponderosa Montessori School. The owner is wonderful. This is a wonderful school for children. My child loves to go to school here.
South San Francisco, CA
Dear Mrs. King and Staff:
I want to thank you for taking such good care of my family and me. I never thought I would need childcare services, but as you know, unexpected circumstances came about and I was forced to return to work.
At first it was difficult to leave my child in the care of "strangers." But before I knew it, all of you were like family to me. Your kindness, understanding and compassion helped me to cope with the sorrow that had befallen my household. You were not only considerate of my daughter's special needs, but you showed genuine compassion for my needs as well.
Please continue with the wonderful work you are doing. You are truly making a positive difference in the lives of your students and their families.
Veterans Administration, San Bruno, CA