Best Private Schools around UC Berkeley?

Hello!  I have just found out that I will be moving to Berkeley or Oakland.  What are some schools that I could look into for first grade for this fall?  I know the regular admissions cycle has passed, but I am wondering if any schools still have any spaces?  Please advise!  Thank you :)

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In my experience, most East Bay private schools have some space for new arrivals through the summer. I'd think about where you want to live and then explore the schools in that area depending on your child's interests.  If you haven't already found the EBISA website, that's a good place to start for a list of all the schools. Then go from there based on what sounds compelling. Your options are more limited if you need financial aid--much of that is already awarded--but even there, you'll find some schools that can still accommodate you. Welcome to the East Bay!

Check out Black Pine Circle.  Its a progressive, private K-8 school in Berkeley.  Its been amazing for my son and we are sending our daughter there next year.  

Hi! Montessori Family School has their KT-8th grade campus in nearby El Cerrito, and I believe they have openings. Others for consideration off the top of my head include Prospect Sierra, Black Pine Circle, The Berkeley School. These will have varying degrees of vacancies. Best of luck!!

We went through this when we had to find a school when we moved to the area a few years ago after the admissions cycle ended. The process was incredibly time consuming but it ended well. You have come to the right place for your first step. Make a list of all of the schools you are interested in from the list on this site and then just start calling the admissions staff. Many of the schools we called didn't have openings but enough did that we ended up with a suite of good choices. Some good options to call are Prospect Sierra, St. Paul's Episcopal School, Black Pine Circle, The Academy in Berkeley, the Berkeley School, Berkwood Hedge School, Aurora School. We even visited the Saklan School in Moraga, which was lovely but we decided we didn't want to make the drive. 

We love Shu Ren (! It's a certified International Baccalaureate school (of which there are very few in the country) and Mandarin immersion - globally oriented and inquiry based. We were intrigued by the IB curriculum and have been delighted by the Mandarin acquisition on top of it. Every classroom has two dedicated teachers - one teaches in English and the other in Mandarin. Our daughter started after Kindergarten and is doing extremely well now two years later - and I would expect that you can still enroll this late in the year. Classes are small, the new director is incredible, great location... check out the Jefferson campus (they have a preschool on University as well), you won't be disappointed!

The Berkeley School! There are some places in 1st left.

"Academic Excellence, Equity & Inclusion, Civic Engagement." You cannot miss there!

K-8 campus

1310 University Avenue 

Berkeley, CA  94702

Just down the hill from Cal. Lots of Cal families!

We were extremely happy and grateful for the environment at Prospect Sierra.


Check out The Academy (K - 8) located at 2722 Benvenue Ave (510) 549-0605 ; Justine Lewis, Director of Admissions 

Hi there,

Would you consider a Spanish immersion school?  I want to give a shout out to EBI, Escuela Bilingüe Internacional, a Spanish immersion pre-K to 8th grade school that follows the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. This is our second year at EBI; we have a child in 1st grade and a daughter in 3rd grade.  We can recommend EBI highly!  We were drawn to the school for the Spanish immersion and the IB curriculum, and we are very pleased on both fronts.  We feel our kids are getting a well-rounded education.  Some of the highlights: native speaker Spanish teachers; differentiated learning; two teachers in the classroom through 2nd grade; an over-arching emphasis on raising "global citizens" (thanks to the IB curriculum); very welcoming and tight-knit community of down-to-earth parents.

FYI EBI accepts a couple of non-Spanish speakers in 1st grade, so don't feel discouraged if this factor may seem limiting.  Reach out to the school!  (A classmate of my 1st grader joined this year without speaking Spanish and I can have proper conversations with her in Spanish already.  It is amazing!)

I'd be happy to discuss more with you or answer any questions you may have. Send me a message if you wish.

Good luck!


I suggest you look at Walden Center & School in Berkeley.  I am current parent of a first grader, and I am pretty sure there are still openings for next year.  It is a small, progressive, arts-focused school that has been wonderful for my son (who is not especially artistically inclined).  The music and drama program is fantastic, and he is thriving socially and emotionally as well as academically.  The cost is also much more reasonable than many other private schools because each family has a family job that contributes to upkeep of the school.

Hi!  Welcome to the East Bay!  Another great school to consider is Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley (EB) - its a French immersion K-G8 school, with a focus on the "whole-child". It's the oldest bilingual school in the East Bay so its program is very well established and strong.  All three of my children are there and we're loving it.  The teachers are great and the community is very special - diverse, caring and lively. There are families from all over - many American, but also about 50 other countries are represented.  I just love how globally oriented and inclusive the school is and what engaged, bright children it is producing.  

Welcome to the East Bay!

Our daughter has been enrolled at The Berkeley School since pre-school, and I cannot imagine a better educational environment in which to grow up. Anna will be an 8th grader next year - our final year at TBS! - and I look at the confident, self-aware and engaged young person she has become both with pride, and with gratitude to the exceptional faculty and administration at The Berkeley School. I believe the education a child receives at TBS to be unparalleled in the Bay Area, and I encourage you to reach out to Paula Farmer, our director of Admissions, to arrange a visit to the University Avenue campus for you and your family. 

Please feel free to reach out to me, too, with any additional questions you might have - and again, welcome!


Welcome to the East Bay! It's a wonderful place to live and raise kids. Our 10-year-old twins are at The Berkeley School and we couldn't be happier. It's a progressive independent school that values equity and inclusion and is deeply committed to its mission and to civic engagement. Late applicants are welcome and there are currently spaces available in first grade. The Berkeley School is a wonderful place. You'll be happy you checked it out.

I would have to second the recommendation for The Berkeley School.  We had started off at another school in Richmond but transitioned to the Berkeley School last year and couldn't be happier.  Its location is easy to get to, has an amazing team of teachers and the Administration is just great!  

I'd suggest checking out Park Day School, in North Oakland.  It is a wonderful K-8 school dedicated to progressive education.  I've had 2 kids there for a total of 16 years and we've experienced it as a fantastic place with a warm community, excellent teachers, and a commitment to social justice values and a whole-child approach.  I have no idea if there are openings for next year, but it can't hurt to ask, if this sounds like the kind of place you'd like.  

Best of luck.

Give the Bentley School a call.  The school is close to UC Berkeley with children of professors in attendance. It's a well-rounded program with strong academics, plenty of art, music, PE, and foreign languages. 


My son is going to ShuRen International school, it is an IB Chinese immersion school. We are very happy with the school and most important, my son LOVES it. He cannot wait to be back when we are on vacation... I don't know what is the age of your child, I understand they may have a program for kids who do not Chinese to catch up with the language. Worth a try. I cannot say enough about this school.