Arbor Preschool Berkeley

Community Subscriber

Berkeley, CA

To see Department of Social Services records on this facility, click on its DSS Facility License # below.

DSS Facility License #
Rebecca Lidow & Kelly Johnston
info [at]
Claremont - 207 Alvarado St.
Maximum Capacity:
Language(s) Spoken:
Ages Served:
33 months - 60 months
8:00am - 5:00pm
Additional Services & Features:
Part-time available,
Snacks provided,
Organic options,
Vegetarian options,
Special diet support,
Cloth diapers accepted,
Potty training support
Editors' Notes:
About the Program:

Arbor Preschool is a Spanish immersion program offering an emergent, play based curriculum. We provide a warm and loving environment geared toward teaching and nurturing the whole child. Arbor Preschool is tucked away in a lush and serene location in the Claremont Hills. Our space is nothing short of magical! We hope you’ll reach out to learn more!

Parent Reviews

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Check out arbor! Their Berkeley location in the southeast corner of Berkeley has been amazing for our kiddo. If you want more info about our experience, let me know

You might try Arbor Berkeley or Oakland, both are on the border between Berkeley and Oakland. They are not immersion, but they do Spanish-English, and they are very open and play-based, with many parents that are into RIE. Their snacks and activities for the kids are more diverse than most places, and they don't do junk food or sugary snacks. They also focus on a lot of outdoor time, which my kid loves. 

They start at 2.5 and are good up to about age 4 to 4.5. They are great with the younger kids, but don't have anyone on staff for TK, and have a required 2 hour nap/rest which doesn't work for a lot of the older kids as they outgrow nap. This is a general issue with preschools though, so if you're kid's not a great napper, or won't go to bed after napping, 1/2 preschool (if that's an option), or a preschool that has a program that goes through K or later can work better because they usually don't require the nap after 4. Some of the Montessori preschools are 3-6, which seems to work better for the older kids, but universal TK seems to be making leaving preschool early a more popular option. The only other warning about Arbor is that they're just a couple years old, so things are not entirely ironed out yet with the management and processes, and they have shorter hours than most places with extended care. 

Another popular option for Spanish immersion is EBI, which is a certified international baccalaureate that starts in preschool and goes through grade 8. There are lots of reviews of EBI online since they've been around longer. Applications are in the winter for the following fall. Mi Mundo is another preschool on the Oakland/Berkeley border, and small like Arbor. There are other Spanish language preschools around, and many have reviews on Berkeley Parent's Network. It's best to check them out in person though, because that's the best way to get a feeling about fit for your family. 

Our kiddo is partway thru his second test at arbor (Berkeley/Alvarado location) and while I can’t speak to the college Ave location, I can highly recommend the curriculum, admin, teacher caliber, and general awesomeness of the arbor school/ approach/ general ambiance. 

i especially love the casual, play based feel of Arbor’s approach. Feel free to message me directly for more info

My 3.5 year-old daughter has been attending Arbor since she was 2.5—at the time, nearly the youngest in her class. We were very apprehensive about starting her out at preschool, given that she'd had a less-than-stellar experience at another preschool a few months prior. It was very important to us that she receive care that was warm and compassionate and that prioritized validating her emotional experiences.

When I met with Marissa, the director of the Berkeley location, I was immediately impressed by her empathetic approach and her wealth of knowledge about how to prepare our daughter for this preschool transition. In the year that we've known her, Marissa has consistently given us thorough—*beyond* thorough, really!—guidance for how to navigate tricky parenting challenges, be it with selective eating patterns, potty training, shyness around other kids, anxiety about being away from home, and more. The other teachers are similarly fantastic; our daughter speaks regularly about how much she loves Marissa, Anahi, Stephanie, and Daisy.

As we'd expect with any new preschool, especially one launched during Covid, there have been some growing pains as we've all worked together to adjust protocols for drop-off and pick-up, coordinate families for extracurriculars, etc. But it already feels like Arbor has hit its stride, and I'm confident that any parent who joins the community in future years will have a fairly seamless childcare experience.

One last thing I'll add is that I'm really happy that the directors of the program value both racial and economic diversity and are actively exploring ways to expand the community that Arbor serves (in addition to making sure the curriculum and pedagogical approaches foster values of racial and ethnic inclusion and respect for different cultures).

If you're considering sending your child to Arbor, I highly recommend it.

Arbor is a gem! Our daughter has been going to Arbor in the Claremont hills the past 9 months and we absolutely love it. It is very important to me that our daughter can play freely, and spend so much time outside in nature. She is surrounded by warm, caring, teachers, who respect children and believe they capable, intelligent individuals. Arbor follows some of Janet Lansbury's teachings, and if you have ever heard of her or listened to her podcast " Unruffled" you can get a sense of how the teachers approach guiding children.  During morning drop off, my daughter is more likely to observe in the beginning and then she will jump in once she feels comfortable. The teachers welcome her each day with a big hello & smile and make sure she is comfortable and has a place to go during the morning transition to school. Most days when I pick her up, she is not ready to leave and wants to stay and swing or keep playing. Wooden toys, organized classroom, nature activities, healthy snacks, hands on activities, + fun Spanish music has my daughter coming home singing songs in Spanish and requesting I play them for her...which is the sweetest thing! She is always showing our friends and family how the morning circle songs go at arbor.  My only request would be for arbor to offer a more flexible early/ 3:00 pick up option with a small tuition decrease, for freelance parents who need more flexible hours. Happily message me with any questions! 

Preschool Experience (May 6, 2022)

Our kiddo is at the 'old' Arbor location on Alvarado, up Claremont from the College Ave location that's opening now. Our location has been open since last fall. Our kiddo started a bit late in October when he was solidly 2.5yo.

I can't say enough positive things about the school, the co-founders, and the environment they've created for our covid-cloistered kiddo to explore. We really liked the director of the Alvarado location immediately, and the whole vibe in general (casual & authentic, outdoor/play based). The teachers Becky & Kelly have brought in at our location have been phenomenal - they'll have the same standards for the College Ave location. The stuff the kids do is interesting and varied. Everything from gardening, sandbox play, painting, alphabet letter discussions, books, swings, tree climbing, caterpillar & worm raising etc.etc. 

Feel free to reach out directly if you have specific questions about Arbor, and best of luck with your preschool search!