Preschool for 2-year-old near Piedmont Av.

Our son just turned one, and we'd like to get him into a preschool right after his second birthday, which means we should start doing research. Does anyone have any recommendations for high-quality preschools in Oakland or Berkeley? (We live in Oakland, near the Piedmont Theater.)

More generally, any advice for first-time parents about how to go about researching/choosing?

Thanks for your help!

Parent Replies

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If you're able to get in, Duck's Nest on 41st Street is a magical place, and walking distance from you. They take kids at two, but most kids start in the fall, so if you have a child turning two mid-year, it just depends on whether there are any openings at that point. 

Hi! We are neighbors :) We sent our older son and are now sending our younger son to preschool at Duck's Nest on 41st and Gilbert. It's a wonderful school. The teachers are experienced and caring, there is not very much turnover (as compared to other schools I've heard about?) and Ducks Nest has been around forever. There are a few campuses in the East Bay - the 41st street would be closest to you (and how great to be only a few blocks away!) and there is also one on Telegraph and another in West Berkeley. I don't really have anything negative to say about the school, except perhaps I wish it were cheaper? Ha, that would go for every preschool in the Bay Area. They do offer financial aid if you qualify. They start accepting kids at 2 years old. Contact the school for dates, in terms of tours, applications, etc. Good luck!

We love our preschool which is at Piedmont and Pleasant Valley. It's Colibri Preschool and is a small Spanish language immersion school. We've been there since we moved to the area a year ago. My oldest is now in the 4s class and my middle child is in the 2s class. They have a lot of flexibility in schedules- you can do 9 to 3 or 7 to 6. 2s have to be there at least 2 days a week, 3 yos 3 days a week and 4s 4 days a week. This works well for our family as I work part time and so we just do the minimum number of days for each age. The teachers are caring, attentive and creative in their teaching. My 4 year old struggled a lot with behavior after our cross-country move and they were very patient, collaberative and thoughtful as we tried to address that. Throughout the SIP and COVID crisis they have been great at communicating, provided some online teaching and materials and working with families struggling with tuition. The owners, two women, are investing a lot of resources in the school itself. They fairly frequently are buying new toys, recently painted a mural on the building and work hard to create a sense of community. The preschool is a little more structured than some as they want the students to interact with the teachers more frequently so that they are hearing and speaking in Spanish. My 4 year old struggled with this a bit at first but is doing well now and is learning so much. It seems to work well for my 2 year old. I really can't say enough good things about them.