Preschools with Black Kids

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  • Preschool with African American kids

    (11 replies)

    Our 3 year old is the only black or mixed race child in her classroom. Looking for some suggestions for a preschool in/near Berkeley where she won't be the token black child.  Thank you. 

    Well, it's been a few years, but back when my kids attended Monteverde Preschool in Berkeley (~2012-2016), there were kids of all races at the school, including multiple African Americans. The teaching staff was also very diverse and included African Americans. Maybe go visit and check out what it's like now? It is a *wonderful* school all around. I still miss it.

    I don't have any great ideas for you because I'm looking for the same thing! But I have heard the Nia School is a good setting. 

    Apply to Monteverde! There are dedicated to diversity and have an anti-racist curriculum. Your child definitely won't be the token brown kid :)

    Golden gate learning center in Berkeley is a small pretty laidback preschool with a diverse groups of kids. Our daughter joined 2 months ago and is enjoying it so far. There is at least one kid of every race in her class. Would recommend. 

    I'd recommend looking at the amazing Monteverde School. They may have a waitlist, but it is not a first-come-first-serve list, and they prioritize diversity. 

    Our daughter, who is African Amercian, goes to Duck's Nest in Berkeley and was one of 3 Black kids in her class last year and this year there are 4 Black kids in her class. I think Duck's Nest's other campuses in Oakland are more diverse and might have more Black or mixed race families. We've been very happy with the school. They have a good anti-bias education program.

    When we were visiting preschools before she started we noticed that Nomura Preschool in Richmond (close to El Cerrito) had a fair number of Black kids and teachers. Their philosophy/model just wasn't the right fit for us.


    My daughter is a mix-race child (black/white) and attends Monteverde with other black and brown kids. There are several other mixed-race children. Monteverde makes an effort to enroll a diverse population of students, which is also reflected in the parent population and pick-up and drop-off. Also, the teachers are from a diverse set of backgrounds, including African American.

    I recommend you check out their page on BPN:

    They are currently accepting applications for next year, but I believe they have a waitlist in-case any spots open up this year.

    Feel free to contact me directly if you would like to chat more.


    The Berkeley School. My kid is one of 5 black kids in a class of 14. Definitely not the token black kid. Many will be in the class next year too, since it's a mixed age class and kids stay in the same class year over year. 

    We thought about the same thing when we applied. We looked at many of the schools mentioned here. We chose TBS based on the outdoor space and curriculum (thoughtful about differing perspectives and experiences), and location. Happy to tell you more about our experience if you send me a message

    Grand Lake Montessori in Oakland is an excellent school and relatively diverse. My son's class has several black students, his lead teacher is black and so is is the new head of school. 

    My mixed race kiddo had a great experience at Duck’s Nest Telegraph. I would guess it averages about 20-30% Black/mixed kids, depending on the class (in our class of 20 last year, I think there were 4 or 5 Black or mixed kids; the year before it was a much smaller cohort due to Covid, and I think it was 4 kids out of 10). My kid is also gender expansive and the school was extremely supportive on that front- one of the directors has personal experience with a gender expansive family member, and the school does trainings with Gender Spectrum, so that was another huge benefit for us. 

    I am a mixed-black parent with a mixed child who has attended MV for the past three years. When looking for preschools, our main criteria was to find a place that had a rich diversity of kids and staff. I can say that MV has not disappointed one bit. I remember immediately feeling a sense of relief when our son was accepted. I knew that with Monteverde, he would not feel like the only child that looked like him, nor the only child coming from a culturally / racially mixed family. In fact, what he became immersed in was even better than we could have asked for. Numerous families of mixed backgrounds, including black, different languages spoken from around the world, blended families, Queer families, single-parent families, and a staff that reflects this diversity as well. There is a depth of understanding and respect that each teacher puts into their time with the kids at Monteverde, fully embodying the Reggio-Emilia principles. The community that has been fostered at Monteverde is rich and unique in that it has created a place in which parents and children alike can thrive and feel cared for. 


Archived Q&A and Reviews


Preschool where my son won't be the token black kid

July 2008

I'm starting to look into pre-schools for my mixed race son (1/2 black, 1/2 white) and have been discouraged by what appears to be a lack of diversity in the schools I'm considering. I don't need a huge percentage of African-American presence, but I'd like for my son not to be the token black kid. Can anyone suggest a school for us? (I'm in El Cerrito, so would prefer to be somewhere in EC, Berkeley area.) discouraged in EC

Wee Lil People Preschool in Oakland on Alma St. (near Lake Merritt) is fabulous. I have one son that goes there now and one son that graduated from there a few years ago. It's predominately African American and the staff is great with kids. The kids learn Spanish everyday and they have an exceptional academic program. We love it and highly recommend it. Their phone number is (510) 433-0288. Good Luck. Marlene

Try Claremont Day in Kensington . It's VERY diverse, both students and staff. It's wonderful. Francesca

Dear Discouraged, I think that the Children's Community Center in Berkeley does a pretty good job of keeping both the student population and the staff pretty diverse. Only problem is they usually have a long waiting list! It still might be worth giving them a call even if it's just for a referral. Speaking as a teacher who runs a small program in Berkeley, I have to say that I too am discouraged and disapointed by the lack of diversity in my program (as well as most others that I have seen) despite my best efforts. Nobody wants to be the ''token'' anything, but sometimes it takes just one person to encourage others. Once enrolled, a parent can refer other friends and family thus enlarging the diversity of the population. I think creating diversity is a community effort and we all have an important part to play to make it work. -Wanting More Diversity Too!!

You should consider Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington , just off the Colusa Circle. ''Kensington?'' I hear you saying. But yes, this is a great little gem of a preschool, with a very diverse group of kids. First of all, the head teacher and on-site manager is an African-American woman who has been a teacher there for more than 30 years. My kids absolutely adore her. They give her a hug and tell her they love her every day before leaving. She has an incredible way with kids, and was great with my two wild boys. Her daughter now also teaches there, and I think has developed into a great teacher. Aside from the teaching staff, there are several African-American children. I am not sure how many -- not a lot -- but definitely more than 1 or 2. There are also Latino kids, lots of Asian kids, and lots of European kids (whose parents may be affiliated with UCB, I suppose). I regularly hear French, German, and Italian being spoken by parents during pick-up time. There are also kids with two Mommies, although I am unaware of any kids with two Daddies. There are professional parents, and parents who pick their kids up in the delivery truck they drive for work. Definitely a place of diversity. My son's best friends at the school are a little boy from France, and a little girl who is half Asian and half African-American. Loves Claremont Day

Have you considered Pacific Academy located on Carlson Blvd and Burlingame St. (510.526.7847) The school is wonderfully diverse - over a majority are kids of color and mixed heritages. My son's pre-K class before the June graduation had 5 African American kids incl. mixed out of the total 20 full- time and partime students. Not sure what the diversity is in the younger classes but you should check it out. Email me with any questions. Good luck. Sue

i know e.c. people are used to looking south, but there are 2 good preschools i know of where mixed race kids would be nothing special. one is noah's ark in richmond just off barrett on 38th st. the other is la casita in pinole, about 15 minutes up the road. l.c. is a bilingual montessori program. last year we had 3 mixed race kids, about 1/2 latino, the rest split between asian and caucasian. we had a couple of e.c. families. kmom

As the parent of a biracial child now long finished preschool, if you are concerned about the diversity of the preschool then check the US Census data for the school's zip code. If the zip code has, for example, 10% middle-class children of color, then you should expect the school to have about the same, 1 in 10 students of color. So 1 in 10 would not be a token, it would reflect the diversity of the area.

P.S. Once kids start preschool and start choosing their own friends, I have found race doesn't even factor in, it is based more on common interests and temperment. laid-back mom

Have you looked into the Nomura Pacific Academy ? They are on Carlson, right on the El Cerrito/Richmond border. We love the school and feel it has a nice mix of ethnicity, not only among their students but with their staff as well. Feel free to contact me if you have questions. Brandye

Check out Step One School in North Berkeley. The school is committed to diversity. This is reflected in the families attending, the teachers and the curriculum. Another mom of a mixed race son

Berkeley preschool for African American 2-year-old?

March 2007

Can someone recommend a Berkeley preschool that is racially diverse? My son is 2 years old and African American. I am having a hard time finding a school that is 'truly' diverse in its student and teacher population.

My son goes to The Snuggery on McGee near University. The Snuggery, although it seems to have a lot of girls right now, is really a very diverse place. My son has and has had friends who are white, black, asian, female, male, foreign--you name it. The staff is also diverse (black, white, asian, hispanic) and the school's curriculum focuses on celebrating a wide variety of holidays and events (e.g. Black History Month, Lunar New Year, Cinco de Mayo, etc.). Snuggery Mom

New School , on Bonita at Cedar is as diverse as any private preschool I've seen, in both students and staff. The staff has a good gender diversity, too. happy parent