Advice on multilingual childcare in the East Bay

We would like to raise our daughter in a multilingual environment — I am a native Japanese speaker, my partner is French, and we speak English together at home. We would love perspectives from bilingual/multilingual families about how they approached language in childcare, what has worked and not, and any advice as we explore childcare options in Oakland/Berkeley.

In particular, it seems most daycares with language immersion do not accept infants. We speak our respective languages with our two month old daughter, but we want her to hear Japanese/French in her childcare environment, even if she is still nonverbal. Is nanny or nanny share the right path?

We had hoped to find part time day care programs to split languages, but would likely prioritize a language in a nanny situation.

Appreciate any comments, and please feel free to DM me. We’d love to find a community of Japanese and French speakers in the East Bay as well!


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Les BouTchou takes infants and is French-speaking. They had openings when I inquired last year.

There's also Happa Baby on Ashby but I'm not sure if they take infants or not.

My husband and I speak Cantonese as a 2nd language at home. Our daughter started at a Cantonese speaking in-home daycare when she was 4.5 months old. She moved to an English speaking preschool at 3 years old. She now attends a Cantonese Immersion elementary school (kids speak Cantonese to the teachers but speak English to each other). Being immersed in the language from an early age was very helpful. She gravitates towards speaking English, but when prompted, can easily switch to communicate in Cantonese. I would suggest trying to find a Japanese or French in-home daycare. I personally would not suggest having 2 part time day cares to split the language. Having one daycare will help your child develop a bond with her caregivers and allow them them to get to know her better and what her needs are.  

American International Montessori (and its sister school Berkeley International Montessori) provide care for infants with Japanese (and Chinese) immersion.

It has been really hard for us to raise a trilingual family, but possible. With tremendous effort, our kids now both speak and read English and our home language comfortably; only one actually speaks and reads the third language (also French). To get them very comfortable with only a second language, we have been very strict. All conversation with both parents and all grandparents is in home minority language, as they are now in English-language schools. All cartoons are either in home language, or in third language.  For the French, our third language, we tried Ecole Bilingue, followed by tutoring, and there is also a French Babysitters in Bay area facebook group. What I didn't know when our kids were younger: there is a ton of English in the US environment. There is no need to have parents speak English to kids or to maintain English when traveling abroad. But, if they kids sound like native English speakers (which they will) others, including teachers, will assume they can read in English. English is a hard-to-spell language. Also, both Disney+ and Netflix have a ton of dubbed content. 

We had a bilingual nanny (French) who we found through BPN. We worked with her until our daughter was old enough to start at EB in Berkeley. (Great school!)