Moving to Sacramento - Childcare/Pre School Advice?

My family will be moving to Sacramento within the next year. Our daughter is 3 years old and we are looking for recommendations on high quality play-based preschool for her until she can enter Kindergarten. She is currently at KSS Spanish Immersion preschool in Albany and we like it there. 

I've started researching preschool options in Sacramento and could really use some recommendations. We both work full time so need at least an 8-5 M-F schedule. Spanish Immersion would be great but is not a necessity. We are looking to buy a house in one of the closer-in areas of Sac like Land Park, Curtis Park, or East Sac. So far the options I've turned up are either too far out of the city center or don't offer full-day schedules. Any advice on preschools to check out, or message boards/Facebook groups we could post on would be very helpful!  

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Hi there! We relocated from Berkeley to Sac about a year and a half ago and just got through the process of finding and getting into a daycare. I didn't research many schools that were  preschool-only, but though most of the schools we looked at included both daycare and preschool programs, so I'm happy to share the spots we liked! For reference, we live in Little Pocket (which is basically South Land Park), so very close to Land Park/Curtis Park, and our kiddo is 2.

First of all: good on you for starting the search now! I assumed getting into daycare in Sac would be way less competitive than the Bay Area, and I was quite stressed when I realized how wrong I was. Put yourself on waitlists anywhere you think you might be interested in so hopefully you'll have plenty of options when the time comes.

My favorite schools, which did not have openings in time for our needs, were Bergamo Montessori in Pocket and Acorn to Oak in Arden. Acorn to Oak would have been a schlep but we'd have considered it because the school seems so lovely. On the off chance we get off the waitlist at either, we'd seriously consider whether it's worth making a transition.

My kid currently attends Merryhill in Pocket, which I like fine. It's more "academic" than I care about, but not in a way that feels developmentally inappropriate or at the expense of lots of playing. The teachers and staff are generally lovely, the school is very racially diverse (which was important to our multiracial, queer family), and 2 snacks and lunch are included (hallelujah!). Full-time care is up to 10 hours between 6am-6:30pm, so very flexible for working parents. My kid is excited to go to school every day and has connected well with the teachers and kids. The program takes infants through pre-k, and it seems like lots of families have been there a long time, which gives a vote of confidence about how folks feel about the school.

My main concern about the school is the very high rate of teacher turnover. We've been there since late August and 5 teachers have left in that time, including both of my son's original classroom teachers. I know low wages and high turnover are a huge problem generally in early childhood education, and it feels too soon to tell if this is just a bad couple months or reflective of a larger problem within the school itself.  But, it certainly can make me look longingly at the incredible retention rates quoted by Bergamo (I can't remember exact numbers anymore but as someone with an ECE background, I was floored when I heard them during the orientation and it made me assume that they do a really good job of compensating and investing in their teachers).

If you're worried about COVID, our research suggested Shalom School and Peregrine (in Davis) have the best COVID protocols. Peregrine looked amazing but was not a doable commute for us. We seriously considered Shalom, but in the end the longer commute and lack of racial diversity made it less appealing than Merryhill. Merryhill's COVID protocols are largely hygiene theater as far as I'm concerned (and seem pretty typical for Sacramento) but we felt able to tolerate that once our kiddo was vaccinated.

Feel free to reach out if you'd like to chat more :)

Hi- We moved to Sac (Curtis Park) from East Bay summer 2021. Our 15-month old attends Mini-Makers daycare (Midtown & accessible from all those neighborhoods) part-time (under 2). We love it and the owner Leslie is lovely; we are considering sending her there full time after she’s 2. Also, we’ve been looking at Camellia Waldorf (a little further away but doable from Land or Curtis Park but might be far for East Sac), which may have a waitlist. 

We moved to Land Park from Berkeley almost 2 years ago and have been so happy. Our youngest is in her last year at Artenia Beast in East Sac and it's a wonderful school. The teachers are warm, the space is big and clean and foster and nurture inclusivity, they teach about pronouns, personal space, etc. They have 4 different classes based on age groups. They also have full time hours from 8-5:30. I think there's a waitlist but if you won't be moving for bit, I'd suggest reaching out now. It's a great community! http://www.arteniabeast.com/

A friend also sent her kids to Learning Tree, it's closer to Land Park then East Sac but she loves it. The director has been there for decades and they have low teacher turnover. They don't have a website so you should call them and ask for a tour. They accept applications in January and kids start in either June or September. They are also a full time school. 

Good luck and welcome to Sac!