Schools

Preschool coming soon to Montclaire Elementary


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Cuperdoodle, the Cupertino Union School District’s preschool, is opening a new location at Montclaire Elementary School next year.

Montclaire Elementary School in Los Altos will welcome a new preschool, Cuperdoodle, to its campus in the fall.

Cuperdoodle, run by the Cupertino Union School District, currently serves children at Muir Elementary. The preschool is set to grow to five sites.

“We really hope that families stay in our school from preschool on,” said Michelle Herriage, director of Cuperdoodle.

California’s new governor Gavin Newsom has recently called for expanded access to early childhood education. Preschools statewide are likely to expand, but the decision to expand Cuperdoodle started over a year ago in an effort to meet the existing needs of families, according to district Chief Operations Officer Jeff Bowman.

“We like the direction that he rolled out, but we had this expansion planned way before that,” Bowman said of Newsom’s preschool push.

The district surveyed local parents to see if they’d be interested and heard an overwhelming “yes.”

“We are looking at our smaller school sites, and we’re looking at ways to balance enrollment as well as to provide opportunities for families with multiple kids to grow at that site,” said Leslie Mains, the district’s chief information and community engagement officer.

Any parents can choose to send their kids to Cuperdoodle – they don’t have to live within the district’s boundaries or within that school’s boundaries. But if families have sent their 3- to 5-year-olds to the preschool, the district will try to find space for them to attend that elementary school, even if they don’t live in that school’s attendance boundary or even within the district’s boundary.

“It’s a popular school in our district,” Mains said. “It’s one way for us to be able to grow that enrollment.”

Spots in the preschools will filled according to who applies first, regardless of a child's address and future elementary school. 

Sarah Vakharia, who has a 3-year-old son at the current Cuperdoodle site, toured several preschools before deciding on Cuperdoodle. She said she liked that it was part of the school district because the district has a strong reputation, and she liked that the school focused on play-based learning. She was also impressed with how often Herriage, the director, is on-site.

“She’s always there,” Vakharia said. “The kids know her by name.”

The drop-off is the only part of Cuperdoodle that’s frustrating, but Vakharia said she’s expecting things will get easier next year. She’s going to send her son to the new Cuperdoodle location at Regnart Elementary, because that’s where her daughter already goes. One drop-off site will simplify her life.

“My son is really happy, which is the No. 1 thing,” Vakharia said. “He’s always talking about his teachers, his friends.”

Cuperdoodle costs $1,600 monthly for the full-day program and $900 for the half-day program. Herriage said she has already seen a great deal of interest in the Montclaire Cuperdoodle.

“Montclaire is one of the most popular preschool programs,” Mains said.

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