Family friendly neighborhoods in Berkeley?

We are currently considering a move to Berkeley and in need of advice about neighborhoods.  We have a 4 and 6 year old, and our 6 year old may be attending school in San Francisco close to a BART station but I would need to Bart with him or drive him over by 9am which is a terrible traffic time.  I also have a 4 year old who would need to be dropped at preschool (looking for part time / half day programs only) which seems very challenging logistically unless they have extended care before school.  We are looking for advice on family friendly neighborhoods where there are kids (and parents!) active in the community and which would also meet our demanding school schedules.  We don’t know anyone in Berkeley but it’s a lovely city!  Thanks in advance for your advice.  PS leads on preschools would be super appreciated especially since we have likely missed many cutoffs at this point.  Thank you!! 

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Hi -

North Berkeley/Westbrae/Northbrae are close to the North Berkeley BART or to Downtown Berkeley BART. Parts of South Berkeley are close to Ashby BART. In terms of family-friendly, truly, all areas of Berkeley are family friendly but more and more of my clients are seeking out the areas around San Pablo Park as it is flat and close to a big, fun park. The neighborhood has shifted significantly in the last few years so that it has become family-centric with parents with strollers and front packs being der rigueur but it isn't really "walkable" to a BART station. 

The hills, which is more affordable than the flats, can be hard with kids bc playing outdoors is often difficult and of course, transit is difficult. Hope this helps! Yes, I am a realtor but I am also a mom of 4.

Try Poet's Corner. Super neighborhood! Lots of families and kids. Close to 80 and multiple BART stations.

North Berkeley and the Berkeley Hills are wonderful - and have lots of preschool options.  Mustard Seed, Step One and Ducks Nest are all popular.  

I've raised 3 kids in Berkeley and you really can't go wrong no matter what neighborhood you live in.  I live in the Elmwood Claremont district but have friends in all the neighborhoods. There are so many wonderful preschools in every neighborhood of Berkeley. If you just pick one that's convenient to where you live that has openings, it will almost certainly be fine. I don't know of any "bad" preschools in Berkeley regardless of neighborhood, and you should be able to find a good preschool even at the last minute. School-wise, the public schools in Berkeley are all pretty similar regardless of neighborhood because Berkeley attempts to balance the schools socio-economically and will assign you to one of 3 or 4 schools in the zone you live in. Every public school in Berkeley has its fans. There are also many private school choices in Berkeley and in nearby cities. So you really do not need to consider SF schools unless that is just more convenient for your family. Welcome to Berkeley and good luck with your move!