Seeking a Daycare or Preschool in Alameda

Parent Q&A

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  • Low-cost Alameda daycare/preschool help

    (3 replies)

    Hi parents,

    I have a strong willed toddler who will be almost 2.5yrs when our new baby is born (February 2022). My toddler hasn’t been in daycare or anything so this will be a huge adjustment. Does anyone know of a daycare/preschool set up that’s low cost? We are on one income. I know co-ops are amazing but I can’t commit to being available once a week with a new baby. My partner works long hours, 6 days a week and I have no family around so I’m pretty much on my own. 

    My daughter went to ABC Preschool at Bay Street, behind Mastick Senior Center. Unfortunately, we no longer attend as we moved, but the school was great, and I highly recommend it. To my knowledge, this is the cheapest preschool on the island.  

    Hi there,

    Congratulations on your second one coming your way!

    My kids are attending LePetitZ in city of Alameda and they love it. It is reasonable in terms of cost. $1450 for full time enrollment, but Miss Susie has other options in place such as three days per week, or part-time attendance.

    Best of luck,


    Parks and Rec in Alameda has preschool for ages 3-5. Your toddler may be a little young, but wouldn't hurt to plan ahead for when he or she turns 3!

  • We are moving to Alameda next month and are looking for a preschool/daycare with openings for a 2 year old girl. Any recommendations? She is half Chinese so we're also interested in a Chinese Immersion program (but not required). 

    Not sure if you are religious or not, or if it matters, but my daughter's school in Alameda - Coastline Christian School - has a preschool called Tiny Treasures Preschool for 2-5 year olds.  It is not a Mandarin immersion program but they do teach Mandarin as one of the core subjects in elementary through middle school.  We came from a Mandarin immersion preschool in Berkeley but made the switch to the elementary school at CCS because we wanted something more academically rigorous and getting some Mandarin instruction (but not full Mandarin immersion) was the right balance for us.

    Tiny Treasures on Bay Farm is a preschool and I think it is bilingual English and Mandarin. 

  • We are moving from North Oakland to Alameda (across the street from Krusi Park) in August. We have a son who will be 3 in October and a baby on the way in September. Our son has been in a nanny share and we are hoping to transition him to preschool once we are in Alameda or shortly thereafter. This move was somewhat unexpected (at least the Alameda part) so we are starting from scratch and we are WAY behind in terms of getting on wait lists, touring preschools, etc. I would love to hear any recommendations on preschools in the area and if there are any known preschools that have availability this fall. Additionally, since we are new to town, I would love Alameda recommendations in general (playgroups, parks, etc..). Thanks in advance! 

    Welcome to Alameda! We moved here last August, and while we knew we were moving to the Bay Area for a while, we didn’t know exactly where till we signed a lease in mid July. At that point, I called every preschool and Montessori in town trying to find a place for my then 3 year old and they were all long since filled up with long wait lists. I was looking for full time childcare so I didn’t call places like co-ops or places that only go till noon or something, so I can’t speak to those. You don’t mention whether you will be working, but I ended up putting my daughter in a little in-home daycare that we have been happy with and would be pretty convenient to the Krusi Park area, and May have an opening since my daughter is moving on to TK in the fall. Feel free to Respond to this if you want more info about our daycare.

    Welcome to Alameda!  Our family lived on the island for several years during some intense preschool years.  We moved in to Alameda in August and had to scramble to find a spot too.  We wound up at The Seedling Child on Bay Farm and had a lovely experience.  The long time director retired so the vibe might have changed since we were there.  Also we made friends whose children attended and loved:  Kiddie Kampus Co-op,  Fuzzy Caterpillar and "Small Size, Big Mind".

    There are plenty of sources of info about stuff to do in Alameda so I'll mention a couple of things that generally don't crop up:

    - Bay Farm is a fantastic place for young children to ride bikes because the trails are not busy, are mostly independent of car traffic, often are along the bay or canals and it's flat.

    - Lincoln/Franklin Pools (aka Alameda Swimming Pool Association) are basic and you need to find a current member to explain how it works but inexpensive and has a very retro neighborhood family feel.  The one important caveat is to keep your eyes on your children when volunteer members lifeguard the pool (particularly the small pool at Lincoln).

    -Encinal Yacht Club has a well regarded youth sailing program including a summer camp program for kids as young at 6.

  • Infant daycare in Alameda?

    (3 replies)

    I am looking for infant daycare on Alameda and I'd love to know what parents think of Small Size Big Mind. More generally I'm also curious what people consider a good/reasonable monthly price for infant daycare in the area. Thanks!

    I can't speak to Small Size Big Mind other than when I inquired about placement for my infant son in 2016 they told me they had no expected vacancies until 2021. Since I did not know I needed to reserve a daycare spot 5 years before giving birth, I have no first hand experience but I have heard good things about SSBM. As a side note, We are now at Little Lion and are very, very happy.

    Both my daughters were at Small Size.  We've been there for 4 years, in the transition room and pre-k room.  It's an excellent school, very relaxed, with a lot of play but also excellent kindergarten preparedness.  My daughters were never in the infant room but highly recommend the rest of the school.

    We attend a home daycare in Central Alameda and are paying $1,100 a month, including food. The hours are 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. We started when my daughter was 5.5 month old, and she just turned 2. This is the lowest monthly rate I came across, and I was initially hesitant to sign up, but I am very happy with the service they provide and plan keeping her there until she is ready to go to preschool. 

  • Vegetarian daycare in Alameda?

    (1 reply)

    Hello! The posts I see on this thread are from early 2000's and none in Alameda. We are looking for vegetarian friendly daycare options in Alameda's West End. Anyone have any experience or recommendations in this area? Thanks in advance.

    Little Lion PC serves mostly vegetarian meals, with chicken or fish maybe twice a week. Since they serve veg/tofu meals often, I would ask them to leave out meat on the other days. While not vegetarian, we had great responses from them on other dietary restrictions.

  • Hello,
    I commute to Coast Guard Island in Alameda and am looking for a daycare or other childcare arrangement when I return to work in July for my daughter who will be 6 months. It seems that most daycares have waitlists but maybe there is a in-home daycare option. Since I do not live nearby, I need a place that I can drop her. Ideally full time, 4 days a week, and within a 10 minute drive from Coast Guard Island.

    Thank you,


    There are lots of daycares in Alameda, and many of them are great. You don't mention where you live but unless you live on the island, I would strongly suggest trying to find something in Oakland due to Alameda's ever increasing morning commute traffic off the island. (Think way too many people for 3 bridges and 1 tunnel.). I'm not sure I would want endure that traffic crunch for a simple morning drop-off, when I could otherwise avoid it by finding a suitable place in Oakland, and when I'm pressed to get to work on time.  

    I believe Coast Guard Island has a child care on site.  Or perhaps it is just for enlisted personnel?

    Neri Alarcon is on the Oakland side near Coastguard Island 510-434-1942.  She is wonderful.

  • Hello parents, we are looking for a day care for our baby beginning in August, when he will be one year old. He is currently at a little school, but we are hoping to find a home day care. We just moved to Alameda and I was hoping for more up to date reviews than those I have found online. Ideally we’d stay towards the east side or center of the island. If you know of a wonderful home day care or school on Alameda that might have openings in the next 6 months or so please post! Thank you.

    Welcome to Alameda!

    I'm sorry that I don't have too many specific recommendations and hope you get some from a few East Enders.  We had our daughter in Jumpstart Discoveries (Central Alameda) a few years ago and it was fine but perhaps not my first choice due to the larger sizes and limited outdoor space. There is a glut of Montessori options but I've heard the quality can vary and not all will accept infants.  If you are interested in and available to join a co-op, there is on on the West End that looks super cute called Kiddie Kampus. I always eyed that on my bike commute to the ferry but I don't know much about it since co-ops were not an option for us.  

    I feel your pain re: trying to find Alameda info on BPN. People always respond to Alameda questions by saying "join the Alameda Yahoo Group" (which is Alameda Parents Network, or APN). I have and it is generally unhelpful.  It is just an email list serve and people aren't as honest since they cannot post anonymously, as they can here. That said, I have seen a few of the local care providers post there in their individual capacities (sometimes their email address and/or signature gives it away), and I have definitely made judgements about whether or not I would trust them with the care of my child as a result.

    One other option is to join NextDoor. It is marginally more helpful than the Yahoo group. Or try to find a nanny share. There are tons of nannies in Alameda and lots of people looking for shares (particularly on NextDoor).

    Good luck!

    Our son has been attending Little Lion Preschool for the last two years (since he was 15 mo.) and absolutely love it. Run by a husband and wife and located across from Upper Washington Park, it is small (<12 kids) family daycare with great people and a great environment. Lots of outside time, art and music. Has really helped our only child grow comfortable among other kids. Plus they serve hot lunches, which has been a lifesaver with my kid, who is already eating at teenager levels.

    Have you joined any Alameda Facebook groups or Alameda Parents Network (yahoo group)? You'll be able to find current info/recs.

  • My family and I moved from L.A. to the Bay Area on short notice. We are renting in Alameda in the Bayport development for at least a year. We are looking for immediate full-time care for our 3.5 year old daughter and 9 month old son. They were in a wonderful full-time in-home daycare together in L.A. (live music, organic home-cooked meals, art, gardening - we were spoiled!) but we know we'll probably have to split them up here. Plus, we think our daughter is ready for more of a preschool environment. We are willing to drive to the other side of Alameda or to Oakland - we just need a place! Our daughter keeps asking us when she gets to go to her new school :( Does anyone know of good daycares or preschools with openings now or in the next month? Thanks in advance! 

    Alameda Pointe Head start is really good.

    I would highly recommend Rising Star Montessori for your daughter. Fantastic program and you can usually get in over the summer because they run year-round and most of the regular families don't participate so much now.  Nice thing is, you can sign up week by week if you are on the fence. Also for the school year, they usually have more openings than other local preschools because they are larger than most (with 2 campuses). 

  • I've been searching for a Reggio or RIE school in Alameda or along I-580 south of the Oakland Zoo (San Leandro, Castro Valley, south Oakland). Everything either has an extensive wait-list or is out of our price range (~$1700/month). Does anyone have some hidden gems I can look into? I'm not sold on Montessori, but that's looking like the way we may have to go if we stay in Alameda. I'd also love to hear from parents that went the Montessori route without being sure it was right for their child. Thanks in advance.

    As an Alamedan with a child now finishing elementary school, I would say that we were extremely glad to have picked a local preschool, as we made friends that we still have to this day.  I, too, was not too keen on Montessori when we started our preschool search and yes, Alameda is very heavy on Montessori. On closer examination, we found that the Montessori programs are balanced with play and other activities. We were at Rising Star and especially loved the many family activities such as the Fall Harvest Fair and organized parent involvement. This is not just to "sell" the school we chose, but just to say that we were very glad in the end to chose a local school where we built longterm connections and that this was worth it above any one "methodology." We also know a lot of people whose kids went to other Alameda preschools and also had great experiences. So I would urge you to at least consider your local options - Alameda is such a great community, and preschool is a great time to get to know other local families. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Finding infant childcare in Alameda

May 2014

We are planning to move to Alameda in the next 6 mos. I am pregnant and due at the end of the summer. We are looking for center-based infant care beginning January 2015. I am surprised by the limited options in Alameda--from my research it seems there are only 3 infant centers on the main island (Small Size, Jumpstart, and Peter Pan). I also cannot find much about these online (yet they are all full with long wtg lists!). We would appreciate any information, feedback, or experiences you can share regarding infant care at these centers. Many thanks! confused in alameda

I would suggest posting your question to the Alameda Parents Yahoo Group, which has 5,000-members. BPN doesn't tend to have so many Alamedans on the list. You may even find out providers that have openings. My child is school-age, but I would tell you that there are a lot of families moving into Alameda, so daycare has become tight. Back in the day, we went with a licensed home day care - we still keep up with our caregiver, and she is completely full these days. Anyway, to find a space you shouldn't limit your options - there are definitely home-based care providers who are licensed on the island. If you haven't already, you should contact Bananas in Oakland, a non-profit subsidized by the county that has lists of all licensed providers and also has workshops/literature on choosing a provider. Good luck in your search! Alameda parent



Alameda preschools: NON Montessori

Oct 2005

My family and I are planning a move to Alameda next summer. Our children will be 3-1/2 and 2 next fall. My eldest is currently enrolled in a Reggio Emilia inspired school and we love it. However we will be moving too far away to continue school there in the fall. As a matter of personal preference and principle, I really want to avoid Montessori schools. It seems that there are more Montessori schools in Alameda than other choices. Can anyone recommend a quality preschool that is not Montessori based? We will look outside Alameda as well, within a short drive. Thanks Anon


Other advice:
Hello, While I have no experience with Alameda pre school, I would like to respond to your question about why some people don't think ''montessori'' schools are right for their kids. (My kids have been in both M and play based) Personally, I think there are a lot of misconceptions out there about M schools. M schools can actually be VERY different from each other, and I often find that a parent has a bad experience with one M school, and automatically attributes the problem to the M philosophy, but what they really have a problem with is some snafu that is specific to the school, like an insensitive teacher, or some other school specific dynamic. Then they go on to believe that all M schools are bad. The M philosphy is actually a very small part of what makes a school good. In addition, many ! schools that call themselves ''montessori'' may not be following the teaching methods very much at all. Often the teachers are not really trained in the method. So you can't automatically assume is good based on their advertisement of the montessori philosophy either. I guess I am trying to say that the term montessori doesn't really describe very much about the school and you have to look at all the other factors to decide if its right for your kid. anon

Alameda Montessori Schools?

Sept 2005

I am beginning to do research on Montessori schools in Alameda...and there are quite a few. I would love to hear **any** feedback from parents who have had experience with Alameda Montessori schools. Thanks! Jennifer


Other advice: Alameda Montessori Schools advice

Looking for an Alameda preschool

Jan 2005

I have checked the archives but there isn't much about Alameda preschools. Does anyone have any feedback (good or bad is helpful as I am beginning my search with a long list) on any preschools in Alameda including the tiny tots program run by Alameda Park and Rec? Places to visit or avoid? Any advice or input is appreciated.


Preschool in Alameda or Downtown Oakland

Sept 2004

I am looking for recommendations for Preschools (full time with good aftercare program) in Alameda (including Bay Farm)and around Downtown Oakland & Lake Merritt area. Montessori is OK too. We are interested in a school with diverse student group. Our daughter is very spirited and we don\\222t want a rigid system that would take the fun out of her. We live in Alameda and work in Oakland. Recommendations currently available for Alameda Preschools in this site are very limited and also outdated. The Children\\222s Cottage that had good reviews appears to have had large staff turnover, and therefore not so good anymore. Any help would be appreciated very much -Sasu


Part-time preschool for 18-month-old

March 2004

I am looking for recommendations for daycare or pre-schools in Alameda. My son is 18 months and I need part time care. There were a few pre-schools in the archives but nothing too current. In particular, does anyone have any experience with ABC preschool, Little seeds or Gardner? I also am intested in home daycares since most pre-schools won't take kids before age 2. thanks. alameda mom


Preschool that takes 2-year-olds

March 2002

Can anyone recommend a wonderful preschool in Alameda? My daughter will turn two in October, so I'm looking for one that takes them that early. Thank you for any feedback. karen

Recommendations received:

Preschool for 3.5 year old

June 2003

I am looking for feedback and recommendations for preschools in Alameda. My son is 3.5 and is not yet potty trained. I hope that he will be in the fall, but I can't count on it so I may need some flexibility there. I have seen the other posting on the site, but there wasn't much to go on. I am looking for a fun and loving environment, w/ a good ratio and some academics. I am especially interested in Montessori. I work M-Th so would need to have full days, preferably an option for TWTh 8-3:30 or 4. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Laurie

Recommendations received:

My son's daycare has openings for children like yours (about 3 years old , 4 or 5 days/week). It's Peter Pan at Mariner Square. Full-time care is $720/month with a hot lunch and morning and afternoon snacks. The teachers are loving and attentive. There is a ''2 to young 3s'' class and a ''3 to young 4s'' class, and they often get combined and play together. Potty training is not a problem. They have a large playground with updated equipment. Talk to Julie DeMauri at 521-2750. They go 7AM-6PM. Jennie

I have friends who go to the following preschools and have heard good things about them: ''Home Sweet Home'' (operated by the Home Base project at Alameda Point) Children's Cottage (sister school to Rising Star, but operated by different people) Little Seeds Peter Pan (there may be several locations, and they may vary in quality. I've heard good things about the one at Mariner Square.)

You say you need full days, as did we. Some preschools with limited hours have ''before and after care'' that allows the child to stay there for the full day. I would caution you to evaluate this supplemental care as carefully as the preschool itself. The preschool may be 4 or 5 hours, but the child might be in after care for 3-4 hours, which is a significant amount of time. So don't forget (as we did) to evaluate the qualifications of the caregivers, activities, and ratios for this portion of the day too. Good luck! Frances