Neither my husband nor I are from Los Angeles, so when it came time to look for preschools for our first-born, we were clueless. We were baffled by the frenzy surrounding the private school application process. Even as we were absorbing the daunting prospect of having to interview on behalf of our 18 month old son, potentially DESTROYING HIS LIFE if we somehow failed to be chosen, we soon understood what the fuss was about, even if we did not immediately embrace it. We had stumbled upon a very special place. The Center For Early Education (CEE).
No school is perfect. I acknowledge that even those that seem to come close do not fit the needs/expectations of every child and family. We are now in our eighth year at CEE, our family is still enthusiastic about singing its praises. We consider the talented faculty and administration valuable partners in this journey of parenthood. Most importantly, our children, the REAL stakeholders, could not imagine (and would not even entertain) the thought of being anywhere else!
The following is a list of some of the things that we love most about The Center for Early Education, affectionately known as CEE:
For some, the developmental approach takes too long to “feel” academic. Depending on your child’s individual development, it may be a year or two into the lower school program before its brilliance reveals itself. Now that we have a son in the Upper Elementary grades (4 – 6), we see the results of the gradual build for ourselves and guess what? The kids were having so much fun, they didn’t even see it coming! Besides, as the saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding”. Our graduates are well prepared for the top rated, academically rigorous middle schools to which they are admitted year after year.
Because of excellent leadership, dedicated faculty and staff and generous parental involvement (in terms of time, money and influence), CEE students enjoy a multi-faceted, comprehensive learning experience. Important resources include technology, excellent facilities as well as access to experiences and opportunities that are complementary to the academic program.
The greatest resource of all is the high quality of our teachers. Leading up to the 6th grade, the elementary teachers work in teams with two lead teachers for 30 children (in kindergarten, there is a 3rd teacher). The team approach allows the children to master the academic building blocks in small groups of 5 – 7 students, paired with children who are learning at a similar pace. When necessary, children are offered additional academic support outside of the classroom with a dedicated Learning Specialist. Careful attention is paid to the feelings of the child when tutoring and/or modifications are necessary.
When considering the various elementary school options, I asked an admissions director friend at a top private school about our options. Without hesitation, she said that from the large pool of schools from which they draw students, she would choose CEE for her own children. I never forgot the reason she cited: among the many elementary schools that adequately prepare students for the academic rigors of middle school, in her opinion, CEE most consistently breeds respectful students who are simply nice kids. We have found this to be more the rule than the exception. It is our belief that this is no accident: the administration places great emphasis on mutual respect and the responsibility of the individual to the larger community. It is not “lip service” as they model it in their own actions. To our great satisfaction, our children have wholeheartedly embraced this philosophy.
We are starting to feel somewhat sentimental about the inevitability of graduating out, but we are fully confident that our children will be well prepared for the next step, even if their parents are not emotionally ready. At least this time, thankfully, they will do their own interviewing.
Andrea is the mom of two kids at The Center For Early Education in West Hollywood.
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