Daycare/preschool for ages 2-6

Hi all,

We are thinking of enrolling our sons in daycare next January and are hoping to find a place that can accommodate both of them (ages 4.5 and 2 years 3 months at that time), ideally in the El Cerrito / Albany / Berkeley area. The catch is that I am thinking that if school doesn’t go back to being in person next fall, it would be ideal if the place could accommodate keeping my older son for another year. I don’t think he would do well in kindergarten via Zoom, so my idea would be to keep him in whatever place we choose for a year longer than usual and send him to public kindergarten/straight to first grade in fall 2022 at age 6. So it would be ideal if the school we choose can take kids as young as 2 but also has a “pre-k” vibe for older kids. 

I appreciate any advice, thoughts or suggestions!

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HI! My daughter has been at Keystone Montessori in El Cerrito for over a year, and we've been really happy there.  The director has done a wonderful job with complying with the CDC recommendations (pods of 12 or less, parent drop-off outside only, additional outdoor time, etc.)  I believe there are still a few spots left but not sure in which age group.  Also, I'm positive she has a Pre-K/Kindergarten option.  There are now 4 different age-level classes (18 months to 6 years).

You can look up additional information on BPN and/or reach out to the school directly: info [at]   Feel free to direct message me if you'd like more info!

I don't know if the school made an exception because they were already going there, but Pinecrest in Kensington could be an option. A friend had her 5 y/o there since she was young; she also has her ~3 y/o there. The 5 y/o is back part-time when not in Zooms for Kindergarten. My friend is a teacher though so I'm not sure if they made the exception since they knew the family well and their circumstances. Worth looking into though. 


You cold try Montessori Rising Sun in Albany, they have classes for smaller and older kids. 



JCC Preschool in Berkeley! Wonderful preschool for both age ranges. Our son went there, loved it and thrived there. Good luck on deciding! 

Claremont Day Nursery at the Colusa Circle in Kensington may fit your needs. They take kids as young as two and I think there are currently some TK/Kinder kids in the older classes. 

New School of Berkeley!  They start at age 2 and currently have a school-age group for TK-3rd graders.

You may want to consider Duck's Nest- we are at the Telegraph location. It sounds like they'd fit the bill you described. Best of luck.

Not sure if they have availability, but Wawasi (in Albany) has a wide age-range, and might be open to having a kindergarten-aged kid. 

You should check out Keystone Montessori in El Cerrito.  That should check all your boxes.

My daughters are 3 and 5 and started in June at Little Elephant too! Montessori school in Berkeley. They are in it together and it's been such a wonderful experience. There are also two children in it who are Kindergarten age. It's a mixed ages class in a single classroom, and the Montessori program encourages mixed-age interaction and play. Let me know if I can answer more questions!.

Our daughter has been at Keystone Montessori in El Cerrito since July and we really like it. They take kids from age 18 months through Kindergarten, so it might be a good fit.

Two years and three months may be a little too young, but otherwise Little Elephant Too in Berkeley seems like it might be a great fit.  It's a small (single pod of 12) Montessori school that currently has kindergarten-aged kids whose families wanted to keep them in in-person education in addition to online K and one sibling pair with a similar age gap.  My daughter started there when she was 2 and a half and we've been really happy with it. 

We attend The Good Earth School in Kensington, they handle kids 18 months through 6.  This year they launched a kindergarten to help parents with the exact things you mention.  They are fantastic - you can see reviews of them elsewhere on BPN and we've been nothing but happy.  Not sure if they have openings, but they are worth a look.  Amazing teacher to student ratio, fantastic teachers, great feedback, and a loving atmosphere.

Have a look at Montessori Family School. They are doing safe, in-person pods outdoors.

Hi our daycare (new house day school has opening for 1 more family and ideally one with two kids! We currently have some kids who are doing virtual learning for Kinder. in the morning and then coming in the afternoon so I'm sure they would be open to it in case that was the case next year. 

CEC in Berkeley has babies through pre-school, all play based but progressively more pre-school like as they age. I believe the piloted a forest-school TK year as well, but I'm not sure where that stands with covid. We really like it, and spots are available now. At the moment the tuition is escalated because they have reduced the total number of kids allowed to enroll because of covid.

My kids go to KSS Immersion School! We really like it, and they do ages 2 - 6. I totally recommend them!