Epworth Playgroups

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susanejardin [at] aol.com
Editors' Notes:

Epworth Playgroups for Toddlers (10 months - 2.5 yrs) has been around for many years supporting families in the East Bay and providing a safe, nurturing space in which to make new friends and learn about resources for parents and young children.  Groups meet from 9:30-11:30 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  You pick that day to attend that works best with your schedule.  The large, sunny playgroup space hosts activity centers, climbing structures, a play kitchen, book/reading area, snack table, circle time rug and more.  This is a great place to connect with others, whether you are new to the Bay Area or have lived here for years.  Affordable, convenient to get to, plenty of nearby parking, financial aid.  Check us out on Yelp to read parent reviews!

Parent Reviews

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Try Epworth Playgroup in North Berkeley.  It is held at the Epworth Church and is, I think, once a week in the morning.  It's been going on for many years and is low key and fun, and the adult stays with the child.  I took my two granddaughters there 6 and 11 years ago, and we all loved it.


Epworth Methodist Church in Berkeley offers playgroups.  They are wonderful!



Hi I did This group for about 2 months. And still keep up with the Moms and babies. I wish I had found it sooner. Very welcoming environment and judgment free. Check them out. Have a wonderful labor and delivery!! 


Baby playgroup (Apr 25, 2017)

Epworth has a play group for babies! Link below:


Baby playgroup (Apr 25, 2017)

Both Epworth Church, at the top of Hopkins, and the Berkeley JCC (near the Cheeseboard), have baby groups. Neither require any faith based belief system, and they are both wonderful. Both programs have toddler groups to grow into later as well.

Baby playgroup (Apr 25, 2017)

There are 4 that I know of:  1. The Alta Bates New Parent Support Group for 0-6 months and 6-12 month olds. I loved going when my son was under one. Once they can sit and crawl, it basically ends up being like a playgroup. Parents get to talk, and the kids play. We still hangout with many of the parents/kids we met there. 2. Epworth Church in Berkeley has baby and toddler playgroups (we go to the toddler one now and love it). It takes place at the church, but it's not affiliated with the church, so it's not in any way religious. 3. Lotus Bloom playgroups in Oakland. It's for 0-48 months. I only went once  (it was too big and busy for me...I prefer a smaller setup so I can get to know the other parents over time and make friends), but may work better for you. 4. I've heard that the Rose School in Berkeley also has a playgroup. I've never been to it myself, though, so I can't elaborate beyond this. Good luck! 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Jan 2002

RE:  Social circle for 17-month-old?

Check out the Epworth playgroups. The group meets at Epworth Methodist United Methodist Church on Hopkins St. for two hours (no religious content). There is free play, with toys, climbing structures, play dough, markers, paint, etc. Parents rotate bringing snack for the kids and thre is a circle time at the end where each kid picks (with some help from mom, dad or care giver) a song for the group to sing. The group size is around 12 kids.

Call the coordinator Liz Dunkle at (510) 528-0467. There is a fee for the playgroup, but it's not too much. There is usually a waiting list.

I have been taking my now 18 month old there since he was about 10 months old and we both like it a lot. Both he and I have made friends there and it's a great social experience for him. The only thing I would mention as a warning is that the Thrusday group is currently full of 2 year old boys who have been together as a group for a while and our day (Tuesday) keeps getting refugees from the Thursday class who are not 2 year old boys.

Also, my little guy enjoys the gymnastics plus classes at University Village. --Karen