A Step Ahead Preschool

Oakland, CA

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

Home-Based Daycare/Preschool
DSS Facility License #: 
Julia Rose Wolfe
laura [at] astepaheadoakland.com
Maxwell Park
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
English, Spanish
Ages Served: 
24 months - 60 months
Monthly Cost: 
7:45am - 5:30pm
Additional Services & Features: 
Afternoon option, Drop-in available, Part-time available, Year-round, Sibling discount, Snacks provided, Cloth diapers accepted, Potty training support
Editors' Notes: 

Prior to 2016, licensed for 8 children #013421790

About Our Program: 

A Step Ahead is a Montessori-inspired Spanish bilingual preschool, based out of a loving home in the Maxwell Park neighborhood of Oakland, CA. We have a low student/teacher ratio (6:1) with convenient hours of 7:45a-5:30p, and serve children ages 2-5 years old.

We strive to nurture the social-emotional, physical, & cognitive development of children in order to develop the “whole child”. These experiences all take place within a loving, safe, and respectful environment to encourage curiosity and discovery.

Parent Q&A

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  • A Step Ahead Preschool in Oakland

    (2 replies)

    Hi, my husband and I both recently visited A Step Ahead Preschool and we had different impressions of the school, so are not able to decide whether it would be a good fit for our daughter who's almost 3. Are there any current or recent parents who would be willing to chat on the phone about their experiences there? 

    Hi, Mom happy to talk with you. Our daughter is 2.5 and has been there since November. DM me. 

    Hi, I'm a very satisfied parent whose child has been at A Step Ahead for the last two years (since she was 3 when we moved to the neighborhood). Our daughter loves the school and is now fluent in Spanish. Ms. Julia is well-organized and responsive; the teachers she hires are loving care givers. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have about the school. Sorry it took me a few days to respond, as I had to wait for the BPN moderators to accept my account.

Parent Reviews

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We've had our daughter in this amazing gem of a preschool for 2 years. It's an in home, Spanish immersion Montessori, run by super warm, loving, caring teachers. My daughter loves going to school here, has made great friends, and is learning a ton through play and developmentally timed lessons. The learning is very organic, fun, and keeps her interested. The small group of kids lends to close friendships and a warm environment. For my somewhat shy kiddo, this has been a place where she's built amazing social skills and lots of confidence. The teachers are super cued in to each kid's needs, and how they function together as a group.  Also, I did almost nothing to potty train to her; Ms Julia and her staff gently and ease-fully initiated this when she was ready, and they did an incredible job. The teachers were super supportive and helpful when my younger son was born, and I they helped my daughter adjust well to the new family dynamic.  I can't say enough kind words about this school. The parent community is down to earth, the school highly values diversity, and the kids have a great time. My daughter can understand almost everything in Spanish, and is now starting to speak it at home. This is going to be a huge resource for her in life, and I'm so glad its so easy and interesting to her. Ms. Julia and Ms. Laura are excellent teachers, and provide such a high quality program.  Each day I receive pictures of my daughter, they give frequent updates in addition to a formal meet up to discuss the kid's progress and experience in school, and the teachers are always accessible if I have a question or need to tell them something (via text/phone/email).  I highly recommend ASA, and am so glad we ended up there. Couldn't be happier.  

My son has been at A Step Ahead preschool for almost 2 years.  We have been very pleased with the school.  The school offers a warm and loving space for my child to learn and grow.  I have watched as he has gone form be a shy little one to a confident four-year-old at the school.  Ms. Julia and her staff are greatly in tuned to each child's needs and she worked diligently for my child's benefit over the years.  A Step Ahead provides lots of feedback about the children and actively communicates and works with parents to make sure each child is developing well.

The environment at the school is very comfortable and the children seem to adjust quickly into the Montessori learning environment including full Spanish immersion.  The school is safe and clean and the children really seem to enjoy being there while at the same time learning and developing educationally.   A Step Ahead offers well-maintained, cozy, yet very comfortable outdoor space that the children use to play.  Its not huge but it's big enough for kids in the age range the school caters too.  

Additionally, Ms. Julia is great about creating flexible scheduling and pick-up arrangements for families with various needs and challenges. She is a real believer in creating a community environment and that goes a long way in making sure each child feels comfortable and loved.  Lastly, A Step Ahead offers competitive pricing programs for such a high quality environment.

We've had our son at A Step Ahead since he turned two-years old and he is now 3 1/2.  We've been thrilled to have him attending school there for some of the following reasons:

- Montessori learning environment
- Full Spanish immersion
- Ethnically and culturally diverse families
- Based in the quiet/lovely neighborhood of Maxwell Park
- Kind and generous staff who love our children
- Clean and safe environment where kids learn and have fun!
- Financially competitive and they offer much more than other schools!

When we chose A Step Ahead, we had come from a very bad experience where the school staff told us they couldn't help him adjust to napping out of a crib and with other children!  I called Julia and told her about the trouble he was having and she said she would welcome our son, happy to help him with this transition.  She also normalized that this is something many children go through and was astonished the other school would not help him.  

All the staff are very kind and loving and supportive with all the big transitions the children go through as toddlers - from potty training to napping.

They are also very open to feedback from parents/families.  For example, many of our children have special diets and allergies and also have preference for organic foods.  Julia and the teachers worked hard to adjust the snack options to accommodate all our needs.

At first I was concerned that the play yard wasn't big enough for my son to get exercise - but after a year and a half, he still finds all the options for play in and outdoors fun and works up a sweat on bikes and running around!

A Step Ahead is a quaint and loving preschool, located in Maxwell Park.  My four-year-old son has been going for approximately two years.  What originally attracted me to this preschool was that it is  both Spanish immersion and Montessori based.  Not knowing if I wanted to put my child in the nearby Montessori elementary school, or the Spanish immersion elementary school, A Step Ahead made me feel like I was covering both bases.

    A Step Ahead was my child’s first preschool experience.  Julia, the owner, was very patient and proactive about helping him to become comfortable in the space.  She even recommended that I come for lunch, more often, to help him transition better.  That is what I like most about Julia, she is truly an advocate for the child, placing their needs above all others.  My son has a speech delay, which Julia quickly noticed, and provided support in the form of  information about free programs and networks to assist him.  He now goes to speech therapy twice a week, and Julia is very supportive in making it a smooth transition.  Again, she was very passionate about advocating for him to receive more outside services.  This is yet another example of her deep commitment to each of her students.

    True to Montessori, a Step Ahead is designed with well-organized shelves, tables, and rugs, for the children to have their work periods.  I’ve had the pleasure to observe, many times through out the years, what I can best describe as a peaceful, productive, and orderly environment.  The children also spend a large amount of time outdoors, in her backyard, equipped with a sandbox, slide, scoot bikes, and often a water station.  The yard is grassy and contains a few beautiful trees, making it truly an oasis for little ones.

    I have seen some turn-over in staff, over the course of my time there, but there has been consistency with three core teachers.  I’ve only experienced the staff to be kind and loving with the children.  Although my son does not speak much Spanish, he is able to follow all directions in Spanish.  He also enjoys painting, doing different jobs, interacting with his schoolmates, and taking neighborhood walks.  He brings home a plethora of “masterpieces” at the end of each week.

    If you are looking for a kind preschool with a small teacher-to-child ratio, I strongly encourage you to check out a Step Ahead.  Julia provides a reasonably priced option, while keeping the small school feel.  My son has one year left before entering elementary school, and though I am pro play-based approach, it is exciting to see his letter and number recognition grow, on such a large scale.  I am confident that he will do well in whatever school I choose to place him in.  I am at peace dropping my son off every day, and that, in my opinion, is priceless.

Our daughter has been very happy at A Step Ahead with Ms. Julia. The children are on a regular schedule, with a mix of indoor and outdoor activities that are creative and stimulating. Our daughter's engagements with Julia and the other kids have improved her ability to express herself and her emotions, learning how to communicate beyond tantrums. You can tell that Julia puts a lot of thought into the children's activities, and is very organized with every detail of the program in a way that makes our lives run smoothly! If you're looking for a small and attentive preschool that allows your child to be creative, exposes them to Spanish, offers potty training, and provides a safe and encouraging environment for all of toddlers' fluctuating emotions, A Step Ahead would be a great place for your child!

We chose A Step Ahead because it was Montessori-based, (Spanish) bilingual, close to our older kid's bilingual school (Melrose Leadership Academy), and relatively affordable. We've stayed for over a year because Ms. Julia has provided such a warm and wonderful environment for our daughter (now 3.5). The kids get to direct their learning, play outside, and do all kinds of fun activities. And she potty-trained our daughter!

I have felt almost guilty about what a great deal we have, hearing the challenges many friends have faced looking for good childcare -- but she now has part-time and full-time openings!

I fully endorse Julia and A Step Ahead Preschool.

My son has been attending there for a year. He’s a slow-to-warm, hesitant in new situations type, and Ms. Julia has created a strong bond with him. She’s very warm and loving, and does a great job of creating a safe, educational and fun environment for the kids.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

March 2014

I really just want to take the time to expose this gem of a preschool that I found in Oakland for my 3.5 yeaer old daughter. My struggle to find a high quality, yet affordable montessori instructed preschool was a tough one to say the least. Julia must be an angel...that 's the only explanation I have for how amazing she has been to both my daughter and myself. I am extremely selective with who I choose to leave my daughter with, as most mama's are, and from the moment I spoke with Julia on the phone, her genuine spirit and knowledge of Montessori based curriculum and child development led me to schedule a visit with her. My daughter loved her immediately and she is a choosy one too!

I was very hesitant to place my daughter in a home-based preschool because I always envisioned someone sitting her in front of a TV and ''babysitting'' her until It was time to pick her up. I knew after my first conversation with Julia that this would not be the case. She informed from the beginning that television is not a part of her daily curriculum at all and that she actually hides her TV during the day. Such a relief for me. She knows that these early years are so important and that education is and should be a part of their everyday lives. I feel great knowing that my daughter is learning something new every day that she is in Julia's care.

In addition to the Montessori based curriculum, she is also bilingual and actively teaches the children Spanish as a part of their daily instruction. Julia's home is clean and set up in a way that is conducive to a positive learning environment. My daughter doesn't look back at all when I drop her off, which puts me at ease. What could feel better as a parent than knowing your child is being loved and cared for by a childcare provider that they love and trust as well.

I could go on an on but you might not read it all. If you are looking for a Bilingual, Montessori education based preschool program for your little one, this is definitely the place hands down. Jasmine - mama to a princess