Recent Experience w/ Cal's Early Childhood Education program?


We're looking into the UC Berkeley Early Childhood Education program for our 2.5yo, and would love to hear reviews or advice from parents about their experience with the program. BPN has a few posts about it, but all are from at least 3+ years ago. There is a lot about the school that works well for our family (location, schedule, meals provided, play-based, price, etc.), but we don't know anyone who has sent their kids there and would love some insight before we submit the deposit. 

Thank you!  

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Hi there- we started at Berkeley's ECEP last school year (August 2021) when our son was almost 3yo. We are at the Haste St. location, and just started the new school year last week. It has been an awesome experience for our family. In the early pre-k class (last year), it was much less structured/more child-led play and activities. This year is a little more structured, as they are prepping the kids in the class for kinder. 

Biggest positives: the teachers and communication from the administration. In previous schools, and just in general talk w other parents, often times communication is the hardest part of school. I don't feel like this is the case with ECEP. The few times we've had a concern, both our child's teacher and the campus director have quickly responded and scheduled Zoom calls with us to go over our concerns and problem solve or provide more info. The teachers are loving and supportive and just amazing human beings. We love the facility - the location is not the best, as it's in the middle of a pretty urban area, but each of the classrooms and their associated outdoor spaces are fantastic. You can see the daily menu via Google calendar (or their website), and it's so nice to know they're eating healthy, balanced meals that I *don't* have to pack. Last year, the hours were tough, but this year it's back to 8:15-5:15, and parents are allowed inside for pickup and drop off (just for a couple minutes) and that has been really nice as well. 

Feel free to DM me if you'd like to chat more. I don't have multiple kids and haven't been there for years and years, but overall I highly recommend it based on our experience. 

I can't speak to the ECEP program, but will say that unless you are in one of the priority categories (e.g., UC Berkeley employee), you'll want to get on other waitlists/look at other programs too given the length of the waitlist here (think years long, so your child may age out before being offered a spot).