Which preschool for anxious son?

Hi everybody, 

My 3y old was recently diagnosed with social anxiety. This manifests in a manner that he just seems super shy, he does not want to engage with other kids (because too anxious) and he just needs that extra encouragement from teachers. When he feels relaxed, he loves playing with others. But he might need the encouragement the day after.   Can anyone recommend a preschool in the Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito/Kensington area that has experience with kids with social anxiety or maybe any other tips on what school would be a great fit? Do kids with social anxiety thrive more at schools with less or more structure? 

Thanks in advance for your reply! 

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I think Albany Preschool for the child who is not outgoing.  my daughter is/was reserved ouside the house, and it was a wonderful fit for her.

Just wanted to add I think 3 is a little young to be "diagnosed" with social anxiety. It can be a self fulfilling prophecy. Keep in mind kids can change in lots of ways and that's a pretty sticky label for such a youngster. While respecting his temperament,  don't assume that label is destiny.

Hi there - it sounds like you have a pretty typical three year old - some are more outgoing than others, but the degree of shyness you describe is normal!  I only say that because I myself have a very shy toddler who over the course of the past year at their preschool absolutely blossomed. Still shy, still takes some time to warm up, still prefers to play alone over other kids, but much more engaged and stands up for themselves and asks for space when they need it. Pine Crest School has been great - not overly structured, lots of space to spread out and play, and gentle encouragement from teachers who really respect where the kids are at and teach them the language they need to express their needs/emotions. 

Hi, my 16 year old daughter has social anxiety and exhibited it in preschool but was not diagnosed until much later. I think you are lucky to have the diagnosis now so you can help your child early with this. My child was definitely born with this tendency. We put her in the large, play-based preschool her brother thrived in and it wasn't a great fit. In hindsight, a smaller, more structured program would have been better. I found this out for sure last summer when she volunteered at her old school and at another, small preschool. Even at 15 she much preferred the small school which had way less space, fewer students and teachers, a more structured day with a clear schedule etc. You also want teachers who will work with your child and help him take small steps to get more comfortable. I would also encourage you to get parenting support from professionals who really understand anxiety, if or when you feel you need it. There are lots of "experts" around, including on these boards, but anxious kids need help learning to feel confident and it's easy to swing between overprotecting and pushing them too far. I've found really good therapists to be invaluable at times. All the best to you and your son.