Our daughter attended Hidden Valley Preschool for two years. I never had to worry about my child when she was there. The number of kids is low and manageable, and the school space is set up with great thought and materials-there is even an indoor gym play space! I love the themes of the week and the activities, and they even bring in special visitors and music lessons. Families who attend can do presentations also to introduce the kids to different cultures, foods, activities, and more. I work in education and love that HVP provides all day structured care (Not just daycare). The day is just structured enough,with lots of indoor and outdoor play time-they are outside at least twice a day even in the winter. I LOVE that they not only address academic learning to ensure all kids are ready for school, but they attend to the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of the kids too, working on problem solving and social skills between and with the kids. I have seen them work to meet the needs of many kids from those that are very shy and reserved, very busy kids, those with some challenging behaviors, and others with medical conditions and developmental delays. Communication is great as someone can always be reached and also between the teachers. They were very accommodating with our schedule which changed at times. They were also wonderfully helpful and supportive with out daughter's food intolerances, which were really a non-issue there, as they focus on healthy eating and celebrating often with non-food items which we missed greatly after entering the public school system where kids are bombarded with food treats and candy constantly. With the high demand of childcare and preschool in the area, it may be necessary to think ahead and check places out for your child when they are quite young, but HVP staff are more than qualified, the set up is professional yet comfortable, and, in our experience, the families who attend have been great too.
My child just finished her first year at Hidden Valley Preschool and we couldn't be happier with the results! My daughter looks forward to going to school every day and can not wait for the next school year to start. The teachers and owner go above and beyond for the children and we love the neighborhood it is located. Hidden Valley has an amazing track record, having been at full capacity for past seven years. I do believe there is generally a waiting list for enrollment, so you may need to plan a year or two in advance if interested. Some of my favorite curriculum aspects of this school are how active the children are, constantly getting to explore and play outside as well as having a weekly music guest and special events such as the Duluth Zoo Mobile. This isn't the kind of place that is just going to pop a movie in for your kids. There aren't even televisions in the classrooms (kids get enough of that at home). We also love that multiple times per day via a private facebook group for the families, we are updated with live look in photos of what the kids are up to. We love Hidden Valley and couldn't imagine sending our child anywhere else!
Kid went here for the 2016-2017 school year.You are required to pay for a full time slot for your child, Monday through Friday from 7:30-5:30. Proceed with caution if you have limited flexibility with your job, as this preschool will be closed for breaks corresponding with the Duluth Public Schools, which does mean two weeks midwinter at Christmas. Expect morning-of notifications throughout the year that school will be closed for snow, ice, power outages, or lack of staffing.Staffing: There are two part time teachers with the director on-call for backup. Be advised that most of the time there is only one adult present and 10+ children. If any crisis or disruption occurs, they will "hail Mary" the parent and director to immediately remove the child for the day, including for developmentally normal misbehavior's which do not include bodily harm to other students. Communication can be spotty. The director is always available to be reached by phone or email, but when behavior problems occur, there is very little follow through to troubleshoot in person with parents and all teachers present a new plan for behavior management.Overall assessment: Is this daycare terrible? No, far from it. But it is a home based daycare that is charging the going rate for established centers, but does not provide the accountability and reliability of a center. Our contract was terminated without fanfare 1 week before the end of the school year for "unmanageable behavior" (read: 4 year olds threats to stand on the table) but probably in retaliation for a private facebook status I posted expressing my frustration with the frequently unreliable care.
Leah's demeanor with children impresses me everytime!