Crestmont families in their own words

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. –Susan & Rafael Coto-McKenna (October 2012)

Crestmont offers the unbeatable combination of a strong academic base and a caring, supportive atmosphere without which learning actually is not possible. Coupled with the level of involvement of the parents, it’s the trifecta of academic and social success for children. –2010/11 family

Crestmont allows my child to be a child. In a world where kids are growing up way too fast, that is very important to us as parents. It is also very important to me to be deeply involved in his experience, both by participating in the classroom, and serving on the board. I knew my child would be nurtured at Crestmont, but the real surprise was how I grew as I became more and more involved in the school.–2010/11 family

We live in a fast-paced, high-pressure world where kids are often forced to grow up and “achieve” too much, too soon. Crestmont provides a wonderful alternative, where children are known as individuals, taught to love learning, learn to care for each other, and are given the space to be healthy, playful, creative kids! – 1st Grade parent. –2010/11 family

My son graduated from Crestmont last year after having spent his entire elementary years at the school. He came out more creative and confident as he went into middle school and his experience at Crestmont has given him life coping strategies that he will carry with him into the future. As he undertakes the task of middle school, I see the influences of the creative task force of teachers alive in his daily life. It is amazing to see. –2010/11 family

One of my favorite things about Crestmont is that success is measured by the quality of your child’s character and not just his/her academic achievements. –2010/11 family

Crestmont is the kind of school where the community, from teachers to parents, knows my child, cares for my child and leads him to think creatively with his mind AND his heart. –2010/11 family

My son started at Crestmont in Kindergarten and is now finishing 5th grade. The school is built on experiential learning with no testing, and focuses on learning through field trips, art, music, creativity and active learning – exploring education in a non-traditional setting. Students sit with teachers and with the whole school, and talk about feelings and how to treat others. The school is a cooperative, so the tuition starts at a lower rate than most private schools. Plus the more you volunteer and work at the school, the lower your tuition bill. Academics? My son tested (through an outside agency) two grade levels above the average child of his age after just a few years there. There is a lot of cross-grade interaction with academic projects and creative activities. I can’t say enough wonderful things about all the teachers and the school! — Jeff Luna-Sparks, 2010

Crestmont nurtures kids in a way I never dreamed possible. It supports the potential in each child and holds possibility for each person’s different way of learning. It fosters a passion to discover and explore. The community network creates a safe and empowering space for children’s curiosity to blossom and unfurl, and it allows the children to stretch their imaginations, teaching them through experience while allowing them to find their own paths. We love Crestmont and are so happy we found it; we wish every child could share the benefit of a school such as this. –Sarah McLeod

I just wanted to say how incredibly impressed I was with the fifth graders’ presentations today. I thought their humor, poise, self-possession, compassion, ability to articulate their thoughts and feelings, and the craftsmanship of their speeches was about the best testament to what a Crestmont education can do for kids that I have yet seen. What an amazing group of young people. It was wonderful to hear their voices. – Tanya Shaffer

Being a part of a cooperative school for us is a creative process, and we are a creative family. We enjoy making a difference in our daughter’s school life, in addition to enhancing the lives of so many other families. Participating strengthens our principles of supporting families and our community. – The Kniess Family

Participating in a co-op school takes energy. Parents participate in the classrooms, attend monthly meetings, help out on cleanup weekends, chaperone on field trips, etc. It’s not for everyone. But for people committed to being involved in their children’s education, the experience is rewarding, and the results are tangible. Playground rules like “Can’t say can’t play” make sure that everyone is included. Kids quickly learn to “bring each other up,” to work together on shared problems, to think about the impact of their actions, to take their role as guardians of the planet seriously. Public schools have had their arts, science, phys-ed, and music programs decimated over the past decade. In addition to strong academics, we wanted our child to have access to more than the three Rs – we wanted him in a place that encouraged an awareness of the environment, of a child’s responsibility in the world. We wanted him in an environment that would help him grow as a human. Crestmont has been all that to us and more. – The Hacker/Kubes family

My son is excited to go to school every day.  On the weekends he asks me why there have to be weekends; he’d rather be at school then, too.  Crestmont is a special place, full of art, community, magic, adventure.  It’s also a gentle, nurturing environment that can help a quiet soul bloom.  We’re grateful to have found it. – The Shaffer-Green family

  1. Everyone knows and cares about my daughter.
  2. My kids can learn in a very supportive environment, at their own pace, and be introduced to amazingly creative curriculum.
  3. Small class size with great adult-child ratio.
  4. Creative arts, math, science, Spanish, physical education, band, chorus, art, music, language arts and reading – all presented by inspiring teachers.
  5. The community: pulling late hours together, problem solving, supporting staff, being in the classroom with my child, special camping trips and events.
  6. Love of field trips and exploring our local environment.
  7. Tradition of supporting the local family shelter (GRIP) and buying land in the rainforest from our children’s fundraising efforts.
  8. Partnering and supporting other schools in other countries – Nepal was this year.
  9. My daughters raising money for Heifer International and for Shivalaya School in Nepal.
  10. Freedom to express themselves and impact the school with their ideas

– Scott Gelfand