Best preschool in Berkeley for 19 month old

I am new to this and would love to hear your recommendations for best daycares in Berkeley. I am already looking at Step One and Bright Horizons. My daughter is 19 months now. Thanks 

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

Hard to say without knowing what you think "best" means. You should check out the Aquatic Park School. 

We sent both of our kids to Hearts Leap, which is part of the International Child Resource Institute. There are two schools and they have several sister schools. It's one of the higher priced preschools, but the environment is nurturing and loving and the teachers are excellent. 

I highly recommend Step One. Super warm environment for the kids and community for the parents. I can’t say enough good things about the teachers. Anthony is the older brother everyone wishes they had. 

I highly recommend Monteverde School, a play-based school, located  in the Elmwood area. It’s a warm, nurturing school, with kind and talented teachers. It also multicultural and they incorporate an anti- bias curriculum. They also provide partial scholarships. My son thrive there as a student. 

We love Monteverde! They are Reggio Emilio based, a fantastic philosophy that involves respecting and trusting children with their innate abilities. They support curiosity, exploration, conflict resolution while supporting and meeting every child in their own growth stage. We moved to east bay from San Francisco, and I was researching Reggio Emilia schools here in east bay. We loved the place as soon as we saw it. Kristen (the director) was so good at listening and really answering all my questions! We could not be happier with our choice. Our child who is in her second year there now, has developed so much positive emotional growth. We feel so lucky and blessed to have her there, be surrounded by intelligent and caring teachers. We have a second toddler who are hoping that will start next year as well at Monteverde! 

As a parent of a spirited/wild child, I feel so grateful every time I speak with the teachers regarding to the challenges we might be facing at home. They always use such positive language around some of those commonly taken negative behaviors. Such as; Bossy child is a child that who shows great leadership skills..etc. It's amazing how important all these little things add up to shape our and their perspectives on themselves.  It's a place I believe everyone accepted and loved "just the way they are" while teaching them how to accept one another.

I sometimes secretly wish I could have gone there as a child myself. Fun and loving place. They should be having an open house soon for applications Fall 2019! I would check their website to watch out for that:

Good luck on your search! 

We love Wawasi and want everyone in the Berkeley/Albany community to know how excellent it is. You will not find an atmosphere as personal, or a team as genuinely devoted to your child's happiness, as Wawasi provides. In the one year our son was at Wawasi full-time (age 1 to age 2), he thrived emotionally, cognitively and socially, and even absorbed a lot of Spanish even though he is still on the cusp of speaking in sentences. They are not a "child care provider"--they are a loving community. As a Wawasi parent, you will feel your child is a part of their family. From the quality of the food served every day to the idyllic backyard garden, from the comfortable play and rest spaces, to the activities and projects: a yoga instructor! a harpist! Songs and dances to celebrate the seasons and holidays. Wawasi is a Spanish-immersion program, but as a non-Spanish speaking family ourselves, we never felt alienated by the Spanish orientation. The team is fully bilingual. Art projects for even the youngest children were a constant part of the program. Every day had a clear program of activities, and were thematically linked to one another. Wawasi's unique spirit is a function of its talented, ever devoted, and creative leader Roxy, a Peruvian woman whose joy in life and children is infectious. We were blessed to have her 20-year old daughter on the team, whose energy and temperament were exemplary. She has also employed other members of her family, a younger daughter and niece. We've thought so highly of her team that we continue to call on her niece for babysitting, because our son's attachment to her is still so strong after more than six months apart. Yureny and Leide are also incredibly strong, capable, kind and joyous members of the team. The whole team is youthful, flexible and resilient. She is also completely professional, completely trustworthy in all matters financial. The facility is safe and the block is calm and easy to park on. We were broken up when we left, and only left because we moved too far away to make it practical. We love the parents we met and will always hold Wawasi close to our hearts. For that reason, I urge you to check them out. Though their services are totally reasonably priced, a bargain really, Wawasi's team are the highest quality people you could want caring for your children, modelling behavior for them, and teaching them how to manage their own emotions, they reemotionally big-hearted and even-keeled. Wawasi is a true gem. Look no further.

My daughter has been in the UCB Early Childhood Education Program, which has 5 different centers, for over 2 years. She's 2 1/2 years old now. We were in the infant and toddler rooms at the Dwight Way center, and recently migrated to Clark Kerr for the older toddler program. We had a few rough patches in terms of staff turnover at Dwight, but I've always been happy with the quality of care and the modern facilities there. The Clark Kerr center is in an older building, but has fantastic access to outdoors space. There's a 1:4 teacher-student ratio, plus lots of extra support from student assistants who are terrific with little kids. But the program has a long waitlist, and we just started our school year.

I also checked out St. John, which seems to be great at providing individualized care, including transitioning between rooms when the child is ready instead of on a fixed schedule. I almost moved my daughter there except that she was pretty settled into the UCB program by the time a slot opened up.