Some of these reviews are not factored into our overall Yelp rating. "Not recommended" reviews are located beneath our published Yelp reviews.
Helen Y., 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. The two teachers helpers are also very nice and seem to truly enjoy children. Mrs. King keeps me posted about everything that happens when it concerns my daughter. She patiently works with her toddler problems such as biting, accidents, etc. She helps to make suggestions on how to teach her and overall is easy to talk to and very flexible on scheduling.
I have met many of the parents with their children currently attending and they are very happy as well.
To be completely honest, when I first visited the school I really liked the environment and how warm Mrs. King was until she disclosed that her school had been cited by the licensing board twice. That freaked me out and made me question whether or not I trusted her to take care of my daughter.
This is when I started doing my homework. I read all the yelp reviews, the review of the parent of the child that had been expelled as well as any other articles I found on the internet regarding this incident. I wanted to find out for myself.
What I found was that there was definitely a heated disagreement concerning an administrator and a parent. Nothing more. Some personalities just are not suitable for others. With that said, I decided to try it out for myself and registered my daughter.
Sometimes I think about how I almost passed up a gem because of the melodrama of one person and I'm glad I trusted my own gut.
Emily C., Daly City, 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
By providing home cooked lunch meals, she also relieves me of
the responsibility of trying to pack an interesting lunch for my
a clinician who works with abused children, I am quite paranoid about
who I leave my child with. I actually pulled my daughter out of one
preschool (The Early Years) on her 2nd day after seeing a teacher be
inappropriately aggressive with another student. The environment at
Ponderosa Montessori is safe.
Mia S., San Francisco, CA
Where do I even begin?! Mrs. King
is sooooo wonderful!! My son had 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!!!
It saddens me very much to
see some of the harsh and very unfair negative (Yelp) reviews. But, I
guess when people get their feelings hurt because their children are let
go, they take that personally and instead of focusing on the real issue
at hand, they focus their anger on the messenger and the whole thing
becomes a personal vendetta.
So, I just wanted to give my 2
cents here - 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 in
her backyard 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.
One 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 Mrs. King's. 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 him go. That told me that she
truly puts the well being and safety of her children before her bottom
All in all, I could not recommend Mrs. King more highly. If
some people are dissuaded by the negative reviews, 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.
I.D. San Francisco, CA
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.
Several 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.
believe that there would be any negative comments about this place, but
I am aware that there are disgruntled parents out there. Some people
may be upset at learning that their child may not be ready for
preschool. Additionally, please keep in mind that this is a Montessori
preschool with a Montessori philosophy so I encourage parents to
research this philosophy prior to enrolling their child to see if it
would be a right fit.
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.
Zayka Z. San Francisco, 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 any parent.
Andrew S., 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 (aides take care) to 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 well educated and knowledgeable.
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 activities.
Pricing is also reasonable for full time, or part time.
Alokenanda L., San Francisco
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.
I am surprised to see a few comments about negative experiences at this school. Though it is not uncommon to come across comments from disgruntled parents, one must remember that Montessori education may not work for all children. Parents should be fully aware of the philosophy of this type of education before enrolling a child who may not be psychologically ready to receive such care.
J. P., Daly City, 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 a nice 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 year 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 he 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!
5 Star Review
Chris W., San Francisco, CA
Our son has attended Ponderosa 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 old's are treated differently than five year old's, 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 are so pleased with our experience that we felt that we had to share our thoughts on Yelp. We have a second child, and we will be sending her to Ponderosa, too.
One last note: The negative reviews of this school are the result of one disgruntled former family. The parents of Ponderosa are all saddened that this family did not have the same wonderful experience that the rest of us have. We know that Mrs. King did everything she could for this particular child, but sometimes things just don't work out. We didn't have much luck at our first school either, and we are so thankful for being referred to Ponderosa. We hope this disgruntled family finds a similar experience in their next school. And, also drops this defamatory campaign against a wonderful school.
AJ K. San Francisco, CA
Our child has been at Ponderosa 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 thanks to Mrs. King's expertise and commitment.
Recently a child was dismissed from the school. The reason for the dismissal as stated by Mrs. King on this site was that the child began to pose a danger to the other students. I have personally witnessed several instances of the behavior that led to the dismissal and completely agree with the action that was taken. I witnessed the process and it was not a snap decision by any means. Mrs. King and her staff went well out of their way to improve the situation and accommodate as much as possible.
By any reasonable objective measure the correct decision was made.
Unfortunately, it now appears as though one of the parents of the dismissed child has represented themselves as the owner of Ponderosa on Yelp and created a business account as such. After creating the business account this parent then writes a lengthy negative review talking about the dark side of this preschool where the sanity of the owner is in question and painting a picture of a "pretty mild kid with standard 3 year old issues" that was wrongly dismissed for no good reason. Because the parent created the business account for the school on Yelp the true owner does not have the ability to comment directly on the negative review.
Bottom line, I and every other parent that I know at Ponderosa think it's a wonderful place with a wonderful teacher. Mrs. King runs a fantastic preschool. And yes, we are greeted every morning and afternoon with a smile. Idyllic? Yeah, I suppose it is. Regarding the lengthy negative review written by the disgruntled parent of the dismissed child who took it upon himself to create a business account for a business that is not his - I will let the reader gauge whether or not that type of unethical maneuvering is trustworthy.
Final note: I would give Mrs. King 5+ stars because she deserves it but I think my review is less likely to be filtered by Yelp like the other positive reviews recently submitted by current parents if I give 4 stars.
Randy L.,South San Francisco, CA
Sending my kids to Ponderosa Montessori 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 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. 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.
“Children are human beings to whom respect is due,
superior to us by reason of their innocence
and of the greater
possibilities of their future.”
Dr. Maria Montessori
Famous People Who Attended Montessori School
Buckminster Fuller, 20th century inventor and architect,
Anne Frank, famous diarist from World War II,
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, former first lady,
Katharine Graham, former owner-editor of the Washington Post,
Prince William and Prince Harry, English Royal Family,
Helen Hunt, Academy Award-winning actress,
George Clooney, Academy Award-winning actor,
Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer,
Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia
Sergey Brin & Larry Page, co-founders of Google.com,
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com