East Bay Coop Pre-School Recommendations

Hi there BPN community, we are seeking recommendations for a parent cooperative pre-school. Our son is 9 months old and we'd like to enroll him at age 2. Thanks so much! 

-Elisabeth

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Our twins went to El Cerrito Preschool Co-op for 2 years and loved it. Wonderful community, great teachers. I recommend it. I do think though that the child has to be 3. 

Our twins (age 4) had been in a Montessori program for the last 18 months but it wasn't working for them anymore, so we recently switched to Highlands Preschool, a co-op in Piedmont, and are loving it! It's a 9-12 schedule, but very sweet, welcoming, and the teachers are wonderful and so connected with the kids. Check it out!

My daughter attends Albany Preschool. She is (and we are) so happy here. Play-based, outdoors, excellent teachers, and a co-op setup where some parents are in the classroom in the mornings, and all families take on various duties, from being on the board, to maintenance and gardening and events and more. Solid communication, thought-out policies, and a friendly community that we hope to be a part of even after our daughter moves on next year. 

We are at CCC and love it. I also looked into Albany preschool and Dandelion. All 3 are coops with parent participation.  All 3 seemed like nice schools.  We chose CCC because it had the nicest campus,  a strong focus on diversity and anti-bias, and amazing teachers. Every parent I met loved the school. I do think some division and conflict has arisen over differing beliefs around covid precautions.  

You say you are looking to start at 2. I know CCC (and I believe Albany and Dandelion) want kids to be 3 by December to start in the fall. So 2 and 3/4 at the youngest. CCC is also the only one that will accept a child in diapers. 

Feel free to message me if you have any questions. 

Our child is at Montclair Community Play Center which is a co-op on Thornhill in Oakland. We love it! It has a big emphasize on helping kids facilitate restorative conversations, inclusion and self-led play. The cutoff is normally age 3 in September so maybe doesn’t exactly fit what you’re looking for, but if the director approves your child can start while they’re still 2 close to 3. MCPC also has an afternoon Toddler Program for 18-36 months to help younger kids make the transition. 
We also applied to and I’ve heard good things about Peter Pan Co-Op Nursery school and I think they welcome kids at an earlier age. 

I’ve had three kids in four preschools on two coasts… hands down our best, most joyful experience was at Highlands preschool in piedmont. It’s a great co-op preschool with parent volunteers and so much heart. Don’t know if they are still there, but we loved teachers Deanna and Angela. 

One of my kids attended Sequoia Nursery School in Oakland. Sweet, kind program with lots of space, both indoor and outdoor. Highly recommended.

Another kid attended Linda Beach in Piedmont, which is next door to Highlands. Another terrific program but less space, particularly outdoors, similar to Highlands.

The best schools are the ones you can walk to.