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Readers' Choice: Best Child Care

It's not easy to choose a child care facility — let's see how Novato parents weigh in on this survey.

There are 30 child care/preschools in the listing section of Novato Patch. It's a daunting task to choose the best for your kids. But maybe parents who've been there/done that (and those with kids currently in preschool) can give a hand and vote for the school you think is the best.

Let us know who stands out.

Voting (rules attached at right) comes in two forms: you can vote in the poll below, but the poll is not scientific and is not the sole consideration in choosing a winner. You also weigh in by rating the entry on their page in Novato Patch Places directory (links below).

These are new rules, in effect with this week's contest: Comments, while always welcome, are no longer included when we tally the votes at the end of the week.

Here are the entries, but if we've left one off of the list, please let us know in the comments and we'll try to add it right away.

Moms, dads, grandparents too: Here's your chance to tell your neighbors where to find the best child care in Novato.

Carrie Criswell March 20, 2012 at 02:02 AM
While not on the list, my children both attended Terry's Teddy Bear School. Terry Dayner is amazing, and with a very small class size she is able to give the kids one on one attention that we so appreciated. Both of my kids thrived there, and with my youngest entering kindergarten in the fall, it's out last year at Terry's. We will miss her!
Janna Barkin March 20, 2012 at 01:53 PM
There is also Lotus Tribe in Hamilton
Ron Witzel March 20, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Tracey, you've left off the best, longest serving, community supported, professionally staffed, child care provider in Novato...The NOVATO YOUTH CENTER. Their programs with certified early childhood education staff support your child in these early years, including Child Development, Novato School Readiness and Youth and Family Counseling. Their one-of-a-kind facility on Wilson Ave. features age appropriate classrooms and playgrounds, a healthy food program tailoring to special dietary needs, full size indoor gym, and counseling rooms. The staff are professionally trained experts in their field.
Brent Ainsworth (Editor) March 20, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Ron: It's on there now! Thanks for pointing that out. It's the selection at the very bottom of the poll.
Dana McCune March 20, 2012 at 08:00 PM
The YMCA has 4 school aged sites in Novato: Rancho, San Ramon, Loma Verde and Pleassant Valley. The Y serves over 600 Novato children a year and is for sure the Best! Please add them to your list.
Brent Ainsworth (Editor) March 21, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Added them! Thanks.
Michael Gushard March 21, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Lotus Tribe is not on the list and their heart-centered childcare is the best!
Michael Gushard March 21, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Lotus Tribe and their heart-centered child-care is the best anywhere!
Tracey Ruiz March 21, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Lotus Tribe has been added to the poll and in the article you can click on the link to go to the listing and rate them as well.
Erin Geary March 21, 2012 at 10:51 PM
We love Montessori for Toddlers! My daughter has been going there since she was 18 months and has blossomed into such a capable, independent, happy toddler. The MFT teachers are invested in the Montessori and Positive Discipline philosophies and are truly devoted to my daughter and all of the other students. Highly recommended!
PBJ March 22, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Montessori for Toddlers is ideal to start off your toddler, particularly if want a smaller environment with a lot of one-on-one interaction for your little one. And it is not a daycare masquerading as a preschool. Ms. Therese and Ms. Mary are wonderful with the kids and I only wish we had sent our little girl earlier. She has thrived, learned to express herself, and is very capable and independent. She is confident and kind, and we owe a lot of the credit to MFT! Love this program.
Dchristensen March 22, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Montessori for Toddlers is a uniquely personalized program for little children first experiencing a "formal" learning evironment in a home based program. The teachers are patient and adept at facilitating each child's personal development at his or her own pace. I often hear an enthusiastic cheer, "I did it!"when my child puts on her shoes or figures out a puzzle. It is a wonderful program and as professional as larger programs. Plus it is not overwhelming in size for a first school experience. Will send our next child with excitement and surety that he or she will thrive as well. Great program and highly recommend it!!
Kerry Yocke March 22, 2012 at 06:14 AM
All I can say is Montessori for Toddlers is AMAZING!!! Having my degree in child development, I am aware of how important early childhood education is. My 2 year old absolutely loves his teachers, and begs me to take him to school even on the weekends. Terese and Mary are the most kind, loving, patient, and knowledgable teachers I know. I would recommend this school to everyone!
Mary March 22, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Montessori school of Novato has a staff dedicated to the needs of the whole child. It is a comfortable environment, more like a home, where children learn more than just academics. They learn to become citizens of the world! Fantastic little yellow school.
Gillian Barton March 22, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Montessori for Toddlers is an amazing oasis for toddlers to learn and to thrive! What makes this school heads and shoulders above the rest is Terese and Mary and their incredible dedication, patience and love of teaching children. Our son is a walking testament and at the ripe old age of 21/2, he is confident, curious and can independently achieve things most 6yr olds struggle with. We are so lucky to have MFT in our own backyard - A little hidden treasure tucked safely in the hills of Southern Novato. Thank you for being here! I wish we could keep our children there through college!!
Kelli STewart March 22, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Everyday my little girl is SO happy to get to school and start her "work". I feel so encouraged and proud of the work she does. It is evident in our daily life and she has really matured since being with Terese and Mary. She is much more confident and capable. Each day when I pick her up, she is full of news about new discoveries she made at school and tales of her fun adventures. We couldn't be happier with our choice of schools and are sending our younger daughter there next year. Terese and Mary take a personal interest in each child and take the time to discover how to work best with that child. We will be sad when our little girl has to move on! Can't say enough good things about MFT, children who get to go there are TRULY lucky and so are their parents..
Marlyn Morimoto March 22, 2012 at 05:13 PM
I can't say enough good things about Montessori for Toddlers. Terese and Mary are amazing. Our son started with the program when he was only 14 months, he is 2 1/2 now and has grown not only academically but he has grown as a wonderful, caring and outgoing independent toddler. We couldn't be happier with our decision. We can't imagine a better place for my son to begin his education.
Aude Foisy March 22, 2012 at 05:52 PM
The staff at the Loma Verde YMCA is very caring and professional, they are opened year round with extended hours and special family events and camps. They have separate rooms for young children and older children and the kids get to play on a huge outside playground. The Y staff also take the kids to and from other activities on the school site. My kids love the Y and I feel that they are safe and spend quality time there.
Kelli Fleitas March 22, 2012 at 09:53 PM
I second everything Gillian Barton and the other Montessori for Toddlers responders said. I live in the Ross Valley and while there are several great schools for this age, Terese and Mary are standouts. More than worth the commute. I only wish I'd found them sooner and could have sent my son too!!
Novato Parent March 23, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Novato is so fortunate to have so many places where our kids can grow and prosper. It 's also fantastic that parents can have a place they know their kids are safe and most of all thriving socially, emotionally, and academically. Parents need to trust what is right for their child and allow parents to feel good about where each family decides to put their child. All of us come wired differently and therefore need different things, even when in the same family!
Judy L. Riccio March 23, 2012 at 03:05 AM
"Our Treehouse," owned and operated by Caitlin Edwards, is a truly superior private preschool. Having toured many schools, Our Treehouse won my family's vote based on excellence in all areas: socialization, academics, creativity, safety, appropriate discipline, nourishing snacks as well as nourishing our little ones' hearts, minds and spirits. Seeing our children thrive is as important to Caitlin and her highly capable staff as it is to every parent. Both of my children were more than ready for kindergarten after graduating from Our Treehouse. Five stars from me and my friends!!!! Judy
stacey thompson March 27, 2012 at 03:05 AM
I loved sending my daughter to Our Treehouse for a pre-school/daycare experience (when she was 3 and 4). Caitlin Edwards provides such a loving, caring, happy, and spiritually nurturing environment. She is incredibly gifted and artistic, and my daughter would come home with by far the most creative and precious art work and crafts of any school she has attended. The one's from OTH are the only ones I have saved because through them, Caitlin truly tapped into how my daughter is and drew out her heart to make beautiful expressions of art. Cailtin was very accommodating to my daughter's dietary restrictions and my requests regarding nap time, etc. I whole-heartedly recommend OTH.

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