Archived Q&A and Reviews
My 3 year old son has been in a wonderful home based day care most of his life. We've decided it's time to send him to a more structured environment to help him get ready for kindergarten. Many of the schools open at 8 am. I am a teacher and must drop him off around 7:30-7:45 to be at work on time. I addition we need him there until 4 pm. Any recommendations? Melynda
Hello, I am an EC mom and my son goes to Claremont Nursery in Colusa Circle. Their hours are 7am-6pm and serve lunch and snacks. They are more responsive to phone calls then emails so try calling them. http://www.claremontkids.com/html/aboutus_kensington.html Claremont Mom
You're going to want to tour Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington (right on the EC/Albany border at Kensington Circle). It is totally geared to working parents - opens at 7, closes at 6. I had other issues with it, but my child went for 2 years and loved it.
Claremont Day Nursery in the Kensington circle. -Teacher mom too
Nomura Preschool has an option for early drop-off (7:30am) and they are open until 6pm. It's not in El Cerrito/Albany, but is on Carlson Blvd in Richmond Annex, so very close. We love Nomura! http://www.nomurapreschool.com/ Nomura parent
Claremont Day in Kensington has an early drop off that should meet your needs. Anonymous
I'm a teacher and want to put my twins in a preschool next school year that offers full days but that closes in the summer, or offers a separate summer program, so that I don't have to keep them in care when I'm not teaching. Does anyone out there have a recommendation? Thanks! Leann
You didn't mention where you live, but my twins went to Pickles Preschool in Albany, and loved it. It is a full day 8:00-5:30 program. The summer is a separate session. It's a very sweet place. LK
Cedar Creek Montessori 's (http://cedarcreekmontessorischool.com/) summer program is week by week. You can participate (and pay for) as much or as little of the programing that works for your family. They also have early start time, which is great for a teaching schedule.
My daughter attends the Montessori Family School in Berkeley. They follow the ''academic'' year, from September to June, and then have summer session separately. What's great about how they run the summer program, aside from the wonderful topics they cover and how much fun they have (of course), is that you can register for each of the weeks individually, as opposed to having to register for the entire month or summer.
As a teacher, I'm sure you will love the way the school is child-centered. Children dictate much of what they do and when, and they can interact with students in the different classes. Also, the classes are mixed ages 3-6, so that siblings can be in the same classes together (those that aren't twins of course
I really can't say enough great things about the place. I believe they are having an open house coming up, maybe in November? The website is montessorifamily.com
I've toured many preschools in Berkeley, and this was unlike any other program I had ever seen! MFS mama
We are moving to Orinda this fall, and have 2 sons, aged 4 and 2, currently in a FT preschool in Oakland. Our oldest will start kindergarten in 2011 at Sleepy Hollow and the youngest will start preschool next month 3 or 4 days per week from 8:30- 5:30. Can any working parents recommend Lamorinda preschools that allow for full days? heather
Our son went to Fountainhead Montessori , and we all loved it. As far as I know, it's the only f/t preschool in Orinda, but I may be wrong about that. The teachers are kind and patient, and seem to instill a real love of learning in the kids. We were only there for a year and a half (before our son went to K), but saw no turnover in administration or staff - I think may of them have been there for years. It's not cheap, though! - my only complaint. orinda mom
Our daughter went to the Old Firehouse School in Lafayette, which we loved. She had a wonderful experience there. She is 10 now, but at the time, that was one of the few full time preschools we were able to find in the Lamorinda area. Happy Old Firehouse Mom
Hello! I am starting to do research on preschools for my 19 month old. Unfortunately, I have some strict time constraints: I need three days a week 7:30 drop-off and 5 ish pick-up. It seems like the schools that I am interested in have later drop-offs (Sheffield, Monteverde, Heart's Leap, etc.)I am looking for a smallish mostly play-based school that also has some structure and planned activities (art/music/langauge), a lot of outside time and has a strong emphasis on socio-emotional development in S. Berkeley or N. Oakland. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm looking for fall of 2011. anon
You must call Lydia's daycare and preschool at 510-697- 9523. She is fabulous! My 20 mos old is thriving and she does full days. Located near Piedmont Ave./Oakland Kaiser/Harrison St. near right off of 580. Maya
I would encourage you to check out A Child's Garden , Christian Montessori school. They take children as young as 18 months, have a fun curriculum for toddlers through first grade. Both of my children attend, my youngest started when she was two. My eldest has completed kindergarten and is now almost done with first grade. Dorena has been very flexible with scheduling and works hard to meet the needs of working parents. Your scheduling needs seem to be be well within the realm of what she accommodates. A Child's Garden, in Albany (510) 524-8285 Tracy B.
Check out Cornerstone Children's Center on Channing in Berkeley. AI
My son currently goes to Shu Ren International School 's Preschool program. It is a play-based, theme-oriented program all taught in Mandarin. Even the kids without any Chinese re-inforcement at home are now speaking Mandarin. My son has loved going to school since he started there over a year ago and he will be in their kindergarten class next year. My second son will be in the pre-K program next year too. They are currently located in Berkeley on University, but this fall will be moving to South Berkeley/ North Oakland area. Their schedule runs from 8:30am to 3pm, but they have free care from 7:30-8:30am and they have extended care to 6pm. If you are interested, just give them a call to schedule a tour so you can see for yourself what a great school this is. Their website is www.shureninternationalschool.com. And their number is (510) 981-0320. Good luck in your search. I remember how hard it is. Christine, Shu Ren Mom
I am looking for a preschool or preschool-like childcare for my son who will turn 3 in February. It looks like I need to start applying now in hope of finding something for fall 2010, though I would love to start him in January if at all possible. I had no idea it would be such a challenge! I am looking for:
* Full day: Must accommodate typical 8-9 hour work day. * Less than $1,300/month * Location within Berkeley or Albany (live near Ashby BART, work near Gilman Ave/Target/UC Village) * Less than 6 month waitlist, if possible
Does such a thing exist? I've and applied to waitlists for two schools (well, one was just verbal, so I don't know If I'm really on the list). If you can recommend a school, or if you know about full-day options that have upcoming open houses, I'd love to hear from you! Linda
Try the Child Education Center in Berkeley. http://www.childeducationcenter.org/index.shtm My son went there for three-and-a half years. (It's also a daycare that starts taking children at age 3 months.) He just started kindergarten and is doing fabulously thanks to the great preschool experience he had at CEC. Other CEC moms tell me their kids are also doing in great in kindergarten. It's a play-based school with lots of fun extra classes and activities (capoiera, music, dance, etc.). They are serious about supporting kids' emotional growth while preparing them for kindergarten in a really fun way. Give them a call. I think there is no waiting list at the moment (although this may have changed). Andi
I recommend Child Education Center in Berkeley, on Browning Street, which is very close to University, and San Pablo. It's a very sweet school with classes for all ages from infant to preK. I have two girls who both went there for a year. The teachers are wonderful, and it's a very warm and loving environment for kids. The teachers each have their way with the kids, many of them are funny and help to humor the kids out of sad feelings about mom and dad dropping them off. They go on field trips, gymnastics classes, and capoeira, swim classes in the summer. Darlene is the director, and can be somewhat hard to get a hold of for a tour. That is just because she's very busy. Leave her a message, but if you don't get a reply, stop by the school and you may get a tour on the spot. Their website is here: http://www.childeducationcenter.org/ Best of luck to you! laura
I didn't see your original post, but there are a couple of openings at my daughter's preschool -- JCC of the east bay: http://prod.jcceastbay.org/childhood/preschool.html The school is open to both Jewish and non-Jewish families (we aren't Jewish and have been very happy there). Feel free to ask any questions about the school. Thanks, Kim
We are seeking a pre-school starting July/August as a preference for our 2 year old but will consider a daycare that has several 2 year olds. Looking for the Berkeley area but would consider kensington, albany, and parts of oakland. It's been difficult to find one during this time period because most are already full. We just decided that our full time work schedules were getting too difficult for the small home based daycare our son is at. kcj The JCC of the East Bay in Berkeley has a really great preschool which accepts 2-year-olds. Our daughter is just finishing up there (she's 5), and has a wonderful experience. Details at: http://prod.jcceastbay.org/childhood/preschool.html - Happy JCC East Bay familiy
My daughter's home based Montessori pre-school in the Grand Lake neighborhood of Oakland has one opening this summer and at least one for the fall. The openings are for kids aged 2-5. Creative Learning Children's House has 12 children and 3 teachers. We are very happy with the loving, nurturing care that our daughter gets there. Call the director, Agnes at (510)834-8196. Martha
I didn't see the original post, but our son is at Claremont Day Nursery and we LOVE it. they have several branches, but our son is at the Kensington one. Can't speak highly enough about it as a full-time option. most parents work full time, enriched program goes all day (rather than just 'childcare' in the afternoon. they also provide lunch which is a huge benefit for working parents. it's great. they may be booked for next year, though - it would be worth it to look into it... Amy
Our son is 16 months and we are starting to think about preschools in a year or so... We live in North Berkeley and would love to have him somewhere nearby. I went to a Montessori preschool and kindergarten and loved it, and am thinking I'd like similar for him, but we need a program that can provide full time care (seems like most run from 9-2 or so). Does anyone have any recommendations for a preschool that fits this bill? Thanks so much for your input. sarah
Sunshine Playschool has full time. My son will begin in Sept and I was very pleased with the program. I had looked at 5 other preschools/home daycare. They offer full and part day programs between the hours of 7:30A.M.-5:30 P.M. Monday-Friday, year round. Please call Brianna at 307-4365 or email her at brianna [at] sunshineplayschool.org for more information. anon
Berkeley Montessori School (Francisco, almost at Shattuck) offers care from 8am to 6pm. The regular ''school'' day is roughly 8:45 to 3pm, but the aftercare is fantastic. Check out the website: http://www.bmsonline.org and don't miss the video of BMS teachers in their students words on the home page. I'ts a pretty magical place. Happy BMS parent
My family is relocating to Oakland from Boston this July. I am coming to look at homes and preschools in mid-late May and am anxious to find a preschool for my daughter. Since both my husband and I work,I am looking for a full-time preschool (5 days/9-5 p.m), preferably year-round, but if they have summer programs that could work as well. I have already contacted some preschools, but many of them don't offer full-time hours. I would be grateful for any feedback- I need to schedule tours/visits in the next week or two for our trip out West. Emily
My daughter goes to Lakeshore Children's Center (3534 Lakeshore Avenue, 510.893.4048). It's a large preschool, 48 students divided into two houses. Regular hours are 7:30 to 5:30, and can be extended 1/2 hour on either end for an exta fee. The teachers are all great and most have been with LCC a long time (one for 30 years). The school is play based.
I also looked at Beacon , which is a pre-K through 8 private school. Hours are 7:30 am - 6 pm. Class size is 12 students. I took the tour and while it seems like a great school, it didn't seem to be a good fit for my high-energy daughter at that stage. I am looking at their program for K on up, though.
I also looked at Beatie Street Preschool , which is very small at 15 students. I have friends whose kids have gone or are going and they speak highly of it. I would have sent my daughter there but they did not have any openings at the time--the downside of being small.
Cottage-in-the-Woods is a similar small neighborhood preschool, hours 8:30-5:30.
East Bay Academy and Starlite are sister schools, both quite inexpensive, that offer full day care.
I know there are more; hopefully you will get some more responses. LCC Parent
Beacon Day School located on the Oakland waterfront has openings in our Early Childhood program (ages 3-5+). At Beacon, children are encouraged to be children, to experience the joy of learning through discovery and sharing. We nurture children's intellectual, social and emotional growth while providing a solid foundation for kindergarten and beyond. Please call Admissions at (510) 437-2311 to schedule a tour and receive further information. abaroni [at] beaconday.org
Welcome to Oakland (soon)! You may want to look into Claremont Day . We have been VERY happy with this preschool. Our son has been there a couple of years and loves it. The teachers are very loving and wonderful, it is very reasonably priced, includes lunch, and is full-time if needed. There are three campuses, two of which are in Oakland. Good luck! Happy Claremont Day Parent!
My son completed his Preschool and Kindegarten at Little Elephant Montessori near Rockridge Bart Station in Oakland. Both my husband and I work full time and our child was there from 8:30AM to 6PM, M-F. Because of the long hours, we were very careful in picking a school which offers an ''extended home'' environment. Little Elephant was a great match for our needs. Their kind and loving environment natured our happy and confident little boy. My child will be entering 2nd grade next year. When I count my blessings, I still count Little Elephant. You should go to their website: http://www.littleelephant.net or call their Director, Natanya Moore: 510.597.1963 Kay
Our preschool, Rockridge Little School (RLS), has one last- minute opening for a three year old, on a full or part-time schedule. Before choosing RLS, we looked at several schools in the area, and, after 3+ years at the school, I still believe the quality of care at RLS is outstanding. The classroom environment is very warm and relaxed, but also well organized. I donmt have to worry that my childrenms needs (physical, emotional or social) will ever go unattended or slip lunder the radar.n The schoolms educational approach is play-based, with a great focus on interacting with others, and I am thrilled to find that my initially shy child has grown increasingly confident in her social and emotional self. Imve also observed that the RLS classrooms work well for many different kinds of kids because the teachers pay special attention to the temperament and personality of each individual kid, so the experience can be successful for that particular child. Wemve seen a great variety of enrichment opportunitiessmusic, dance, drama, language, and great parent participation (which is welcome, but not required). Feedback from the teachers is also excellentsany behavioral or developmental issues (or potential issues) were always brought to my attention in a timely, positive and supportive manner. In our experience, all the teachers have worked very well as a classroom team, each with something special to offer the kids, but note that Jackie, head teacher in the 4 year-old room, is truly exceptional-- a gem if ever there was one! As we prepare to move on to kindergarten, we are deeply appreciative of the time our child spent at RLS, and the individual attention she received there. (While it wasnmt our familyms focus, we are also completely confident that she has honed the lacademicn skills necessary to join a kindergarten class.) One final, noteworthy thing about RLS is that neither the parents or the children are asked to fundraise for the school. The focus stays on the kids, and the RLS community enjoys social events without pocketbook pressure. I highly recommend this school, and I am planning to send my youngest child there next year. www.rockridgelittleschool.com, 510.420.1200 RLS mom of two
Hi, We are working parents so need a preschool that has daycare like hours (pick up time of 5:30 or 6). Our daughter is 2 1/2 and we are on the Via Nova wait list but I've realized maybe I shouldn't be putting all of our eggs in one basket. We love our daycare and she gets plenty of stimulation there but she can't stay there forever. I've procrastinated long enough but my main problem is that I can't seem to find a preschool that stays open past 3pm. Worried Mom
Our daughter has been going to CEC (Child Education Center) in Berkeley for nearly 1 year, she has just turned 3.The hours are 7.45-5.45. She loves it and asks to go to pre-school at the weekends. She loves all her teachers as well. They all have to get a hug and a kiss before she leaves. They have great art projects and lots of play room. It is a very mixed racial environment which we really like. The teachers are all very nice, and loving. They go on a lot of outings. She learns an incredible amount of general knowledge there- we are continually being astounded by new topics she introduces. I really like that children of all ages from 3months - 6 years meet on a large playground in a well controlled environment. We would would not take her out of this school now. Plus every few months they have a kids nite out on a friday- where they see a movie and do art projects until 9.00 The only downside is that the billing and administration sometimes gets mixed up- however they have just announced that they are in the process of hiring a permanent bookkeeper. Emma
Take a look at Claremont Day Nursery - there is one on College Ave and one on Woolsey in Berkeley. They stay open until 6pm and also serve a hot lunch. Most of the parents there are working parents and a lot of the kids do get picked up right at closing. My son has been there for almost 2 years and we love it. happy claremont mom
Claremont Day Nursery is great for working parents, including (among other things) the all-day hours and warm lunch provided. Maria
Claremont Day Nursery , AKA Claremont Kids. We've been there for a year and a half and love it. Big bonus -- meals and snacks provided. Open from 7:30 to 6. http://claremontkids.com/ Happy Pappy
We have a similar situation and my son has thrived at The Model School in Berkeley. It is located at Prince and Telegraph. The director is amazing, the staff are friendly and loving and creative, the parents group is a fun community, and it is just all around a great preschool. Their tuition is reasonable and is structured for working parents: you make your own schedule for anything between 15-50 hours per week! They are open from (I think) 7:30am-6pm. There may be a wait list, but it is well worth it. Hope you find the right place. The Model School is worth checking out. Laura
Claremont Day Nursery is our salvation! They are open 7-6, and most of the kids go full time. We go to the Kensington branch, off Colusa circle, which we love. It is a very stimulating environment, and he is learning a lot. I'm sure the Claremont and College branches also have those hours, but you might want to check (you didn't say where you were). Eli S.'s mom
Growing Light Preschool in Kensington has working parent hours. They also provide childcare (at an additional cost) during the school breaks. You noted that you are on the wait list for Via Nova. Just thought I would mention that VN closes for about 5 weeks out of the year (Christmas, Summer and Spring vacations) and DOES NOT provide any additional childcare. -working single mom
Grand Lake Montessori has extended hours--I think it's from 7 am to 6 or 7 pm. The basic school day is from 8:30 to 3:00 but many children stay later and it is an ''all day Montessori'' program, not just ''after care''. anon
Hi, You might want to consider getting on the wait list at Aquatic Park Nursery School in addition to Via Nova, which both have great reputations! Our son goes to Kensington Nursery School , which is a wonderful play-based co-op program with full-time option for working parents. If you're near Via Nova, however, KNS may be a haul for you as it is for us. I love the KNS location in terms of trees and wonderful play areas - - lots of room for the children! KNS parent