Broadway Children's School of Oakland

Community Subscriber

Oakland, CA

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

DSS Facility License #: 
Private non-profit preschool
(510) 763-9337
office [at]
Adams Point on Adams St.
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
Ages Served: 
24 months - 72 months
9:00am - 3:00pm
Additional Services & Features: 
Afternoon option, Part-time available, Pre-K program, Snacks provided
About Our Program: 

At Broadway Children's School, our play-based programs reflect the belief that every child is unique and special, and we nurture and encourage that sense of individuality so that each child will develop within his or her own framework. In a caring and playful environment, we work to help each child develop competency in the social, emotional, intellectual, creative selves that make the whole child. We combine child-centered learning with parent enrichment, cultivating a committed community that offers families a bedrock of support, knowledge-sharing and friendship. We strive to serve a school community that reflects and celebrates the unique and beautiful diversity of the East Bay. It is a wonderful place to learn and grow together!


Parent Reviews

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My three children all attended Broadway Children’s School and it is the most wonderful preschool. My youngest is finishing her last year at Broadway now in the Rainbow Room.  My kids all started at age two. The social emotional learning program is exceptional.  I didn’t fully appreciate it until my oldest graduated from Broadway and started kindergarten.  She and her Broadway peers were particularly well prepared for kindergarten. Broadway really focuses on the whole child and provides a loving, caring space with just the most wonderful, thoughtful, creative and highly experienced teachers. It really shows in the kids.  Not only have these teachers given so much to my kids, but they have taught me so much too. Broadway has a rich community that really brings people together and it’s incredibly enriching and supportive for the entire family. The school has been such a fundamental part of my parenting experience to date, I really can’t imagine not having a child there next year.  Also it’s worth noting that I send my two older kids to private elementary school and my kids were accepted to all the schools we applied to. I think that is a credit to Broadway. Also, Broadway puts on events and leans on its alumni community to help guide people in the kindergarten selection process (public and private).  I found this to be really helpful when trying to navigate the next step in my children’s education. I feel so lucky that I found this amazing preschool on BPN almost a decade ago.  It’s phenomenal. 

If you are okay with part-time programs for 2 or 3 days per week, then Broadway Children's School of Oakland has everything you're looking for. Our son just finished up the PACT program (Parents and Children Together), and he's eager for summer to be over so he can go to preschool in the Sunshine Room in the fall. They currently have openings in the PACT program for 2-year-olds (if your child has a December birthday like mine does, she could start in August even before turning 2). It's been a great transition to preschool, especially for our pandemic baby who hadn't been around many other adults or kids before starting. We love this preschool and can't recommend it strongly enough! 

If you're willing to travel to Oakland, we love Broadway Children's School of Oakland. It feels like a warm hug. Play-based, lovely teachers, and it's part time. My older daughter went through the whole program and now my younger one is there. It's roughly 9-12 with optional extended care til either 1 or 3pm, M/W/F or T/Th. Check it out! 

Yes, there is the PACT program at Broadway children’s school :) I just signed us up to start next year. Hoping it will be a nice transition, sort of a pre-preschool. So far they have been lovely to work with. 

It has been a few years since our kids attended Broadway Children's School, starting with the two-year-old program.

At that time (it may still be operative), the two-year-olds had only two hours of separation from the parents.  They got a bite-size dose of socialization, enough so they found friends they wanted to have play dates with. But it was not such a long stretch of time that anyone got fatigued and behaved badly.

The program included a "parents' meeting" with the school director for an hour or so, which was pleasant socialization for the moms (and occasional dads) as well.  Meanwhile, the teachers were reinforcing hand-washing routines and singing songs with the children.

That IMHO describes an ideal situation.

Would it be possible to start with a two-hour "workday" for your little one, and gradually ramp up the time?

Some kids would be fine with five hours, others would not be.

We found, and I believe this is common, that after the moment of separation is concluded, most kids take an interest in the preschool and start to play and interact.  If the child is really unhappy about being there, they will tell you clearly in words or actions.

I can't say enough good things about Broadway Children's School of Oakland. Unlike most kids, who start there at 2 years old, our kids (twin boys) enrolled in the MWF program when they were 4.5. Before Broadway, the kids were in a preschool that emphasized hard academics (math, writing using a 3 point grip, coloring within the lines, etc.) to the detriment of other important skills (socialization, cooperation with other children, and playing outside.) After asking around for recommendations, a member of our twin club suggested that we check out Broadway. 

What I love most about Broadway is its supportive environment and the school's emphasis on academics through play. The boys had no problem integrating with the current crop of kids. And it's been a delight to see the boys look forward to going to school again. For anyone who is looking for a preschool providing a safe, enriching, and stimulating environment for their children, I highly recommend Broadway. 

Hi Ali,

While not in Berkeley, both of our daughters attended Broadway Children's School of Oakland for 2+ years each and we cannot say more amazing things about our time there as a family. They have part time programs for ages 2+ and are incredibly nurturing and supportive. Most of the teachers there have been teaching at Broadway for decades, and many of them have ended up retiring from there. Sadly, there have been a few retiring teachers the past few years, but their replacements have been above and beyond what you'd expect for an average preschool teacher.

Broadway teachers supported both my children and myself when BOTH of them went through separation anxiety, and they stress a "Family First" approach to their school. I would highly, highly recommend you look into touring the school and seeing if there are any available spots for your son while you can! :)


Look into Broadway Children's School of Oakland in Adam's Point. My daughter did the PACT program last year which is two mornings per week, parents and children together with some drop-off. The kids are supposed to be aged 2 by Sept 1 but worth asking if there is wiggle room. Otherwise you're probably looking for a daycare situation as I don't know of any other preschools that start that young (there could be ones I don't know of course). We LOVE Broadway though, play based and very friendly. Good luck!

Broadway is a phenomenal place. I can say without hesitation that it is one of only a few preschools in the broader East Bay region that truly puts a child's needs above all (and the only other candidates are co-ops, that basically require every parent to work for 20+hrs/month until a child turns 5). Their philosophy is wholly play-based, part-time, and with strong parent/primary caregiver involvement. In retrospect, this seems so clearly aligned with my son's development, and it is no surprise that the school has been around for 60+ years doing things in this same way. Yet it is such a rarity nowadays due to a number of reasons: it's certainly difficult for working parents to spare the time (and cover childcare for the other days of the week), it requires an extraordinarily dedicated staff and low student:teacher ratio, and the radical benefits of this approach are sadly minimized in our modern day and age.

On the final note, I am happy to note that childhood research is slowly catching up with what has seemed obvious to the best teachers basically forever: little kids thrive amidst structured free play, strong and safe relationships, and individualized attention. (For more on these topics, I'd strongly recommend the book "Brain Rules for Baby".) It's also becoming clearer that these factors have an especially dramatic impact on the very young - 1 to 3 yrs old, in particular - and the influence of a child's experience in these precious years can actually be measured even decades later. I didn't know all of this upfront - my wife and I both work, and like many parents, I was initially hoping some magical full-time program would be great for my son - but there is no doubt in my mind that the sacrifices we've made are 100% worth it, though I'm not sure we could have done it without the unique wisdom and community provided via Broadway.

We began our experience with the school with the PACT program for 2-3yr olds, which runs 2x/week from 9:30-11:30, and every day there are three parent volunteers in addition to two teachers. On Thursdays, all the parents stay, half of which they spend in a parent education meeting where we explore topics like boundary-setting, positive discipline, the nature of childhood friendships, and more. Initially, I had all the same questions you probably have (e..g, what do you do on Mon/Wed/Fri? Why is it only 2 hours long?) In due course, both my role as a parent and the nature of my son's development became clearer to me, and I began to see that the structure was set-up with clear intent. In the first few months, the parents are encouraged to stay in the classroom even when they aren't required to, so as to give the child space to develop comfort and because separation anxiety hits all children differently. We never had the experience of my son crying all day or saying he was scared or didn't want to go to daycare - instead, we experienced a seamless transition as his comfort and independence grew, and even better, I got to witness his incredible journey! Amidst this, I also started noticing so much more about what the children were experiencing. Being around 14 other kids for 2 hours is really hard work for a 2yr old! They are navigating new rules of socialization, absorbing such an enormous amount of new information, and experiencing big and new emotions on a daily basis. They are really exhausted by the end, and are so grateful to have some one-on-one time for a while afterwards. There's no doubt that kids *can* adjust to a full-time daycare schedule, and *can* learn to live with minimal involvement from their parents, but if your primary question is figuring out what's ideal, a structure like Broadway's is so much more naturally aligned with the child.

It would be my pleasure to share my experience and recommendation further with anyone interested - feel free to reach out to me!

I am a forever fan of Broadway Children’s School. My 2yo just went through the PACT program and I can’t say enough good things about what this past school year has meant for my child and for me as a parent. Upon starting PACT, we entered a lovely and loving community of families, educators, and fellow parents. BCSO is nothing fancy, and I mean that in the best way. It’s a humble little neighborhood school housed in a little yellow house, and many of its classroom toys are literally from the time BCSO opened in the early 1960s—like, indestructible solid wooden blocks and trucks, indestructible metal jack-in-the-boxes, handpainted vintage rubber animal figures... you get the idea. And guess what? The kids love those toys in 2019 exactly the way kids loved them 50 years ago. The teachers and staff take turns making homemade batches of this legendary classroom playdough that has perfect playdough consistency. It’s also worth noting that many, many of the teachers and staff have been at BCSO for decades, and continue to volunteer or sub even after they retire. 

I originally found BCSO after much research into options for affordable, part-time school programs for an almost-2yo; I was especially interested in a co-op because they tend to be so much more affordable, and because I wanted to participate in the classroom and school community. BCSO was the only local option out there that fit the bill, since Skytown is closed! I’m writing this review for other parents who might be looking for something similar. BCSO has been a perfect environment for my kid to feel supported and nurtured in her entrance into the sometimes fraught world of school. I feel so grateful to have found this sweet school community.

My daughter is just wrapping up the PACT program for 2 and 3 year olds and she has loved it! She gets so excited to go to school. It is a fantastic play-based program that is very supportive of the whole family. The PACT (parents and children together) program is perfect if there is one parent (or caregiver) who is home with the kid Tues / Thurs and who is interested in making friends with other parents while learning about child development and parenting skills. I feel lucky to have a close-knit community of parents now to support each other and even babysit for each other. The teachers and administrators truly care about the students, families and school and stay for many years. We are staying next year. Highly recommend!

My daughter goes to Broadway Children's School of Oakland, a play-based and wonderful school in Adam's Point. If you are looking for part-time and you have a young 3 year old, I believe they have space in their PACT program. Worth checking out anyway. We love it there! Good luck!

Broadway Children's School is a wonderful play based preschool with a large outdoor play area. It is located on Adams Street in the Lake Merritt district, and has been serving Oakland families for over 60 years. It has been such a warm, loving and safe environment for my son who is now in his second year there. They also have a parent participation class for 2 year olds, which includes weekly parent education and discussion groups. Not sure if there are any current openings but might be something to look into. I can't say enough wonderful things about this school. The teachers at Broadway offer just enough structure, leaving room for playful exploration based on the individual child's needs. It is a nurturing environment for young minds, and I feel so fortunate to have my son attend.

Broadway is a warm and engaging place for both preschoolers and parents; we really love it and can't say enough good things about the teachers and the programs! My daughter is in her second year, and my son (now in 1st grade at Glenview) attended for two years as well. They are so different, but they have both benefitted greatly from the school's dynamic, play-based approach and loving staff. Diana, the director, is awesome. The teachers compliment one another and make fantastic teaching teams. They seem to genuinely respect and honor the uniqueness of each kid and family. The outdoor space is lovely, the themes and projects inspire the kids, and we have made so many friends with other Broadway families. There are ample opportunities to get involved, without feeling too much pressure to contribute in ways that don't work for our family. Tuition is relatively affordable. We are very grateful to have found this school!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

March 2015

RE: Looking for a play-based, diverse preschool for my daughter

Hi Rachel, I would recommend you take a tour of the Broadway Children's School of Oakland which is located in the Lake Merritt area of Oakland. It is a play based preschool and only offers a part-time program. My daughter attends 3 days a week. The class is from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. They do offer extended care until 3:00 p.m. The school is a non-profit, so they do encourage parents to volunteer but it is not required. The teachers are fabulous and have lots of experience and education. The tuition is reasonable and there is scholarship money for families that need it. Please check out their website at Dharma

Sept 2012

Re: Spaces left in a nursery school that accepts 24 mo
Hi, there are openings in the toddler program (called PACT, stands for Parents and Children Together) at Broadway Children's School in Oakland-children need to be 2 years old by December of the year they enroll, so it sounds like your child's age is right on. It is a co-op program and meets two days a week-- amazing staff and a great program. Your child definitely doesn't need to be potty-trained. It's in the Adams Point neighborhood, near Fairyland side of Lake Merritt. Call the school for a tour 510-763-9337 or check out their website The school has been around for almost 60 years and the current director for 20 years. The toddler program hasn't yet begun for the year, so you haven't missed anything. Highly recommend!!! Jennifer

Oct 2011

Re: Need a pre-school
Broadway Children's School in the Lake Merritt area of Oakland is a fabulous school. My 4 and a half year old daughter has attended since she was 2 (we participated in their Parents and Children Together that first year). She now attends 3 days a week for 6 hours a day, which is more than I ever imagined she'd be able to handle since she was quite ''spirited'' when we first started. She now is doing wonderfully, and I am confident that she will thrive in any Kindergarten setting next year. This is a GREAT play-based school for parents who are not working or who work part-time/ flexible hour jobs. The tuition is very reasonable due to lots of fundraising, and financial aide is available. Many of the teachers and the director have been their 15 years, and their is very little turn over. They really do what is best for the child here. There are frequent parent education events and there is a strong sense of community between parents (including alumni). Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Hannah

Nov 2009

Re: Part-time two's program in Oakland?
Check out Broadway Children's School ''PACT'' program. We did this with both our children and feel like it was one of the best things we did (both times!). The website is: heidi

Feb 2007

I recommend this great program for 2 yr olds AND parents! PACT (Parents and Children Together) meets T and Th AMs for art, music, stories, nutritious snack, and indoor/outdoor play. Parents take turns helping teachers and, on Thursdays, meet for a discussion while the kids play. In this structured parent education program/support group, parents share the joys and frustrations of parenting and build community.

Applications for the 2007-2008 PACT program are still being accepted. Come ViSchool of Oakland (BCSO)on February 22, 2007 at 9:40am.

About Broadway: Since 1952, BCSO has been offering a warm and nurturing atmosphere for preschool age children and their parents. The play-based programs are designed to develop all aspects of a child's growth socially, emotionally, physically, creatively and intellectually. For more info, contact BCSO or find us on the web: . Contact: Broadway Children's School, 510-763-9337sit PACT at Broadway Children

Feb 2007

Re: play-based schools?
i can only speak specifically about broadway children's school (bcso), but i have visited and researched a great deal about pre-schools in general. like bcso, other play-based and developmentally-based preschools incorporate a great deal of ''structured'' time in the way of indoor/outdoor time, storytime, circle time, snacktime, music time, etc. the play-based element leaves plenty of room for choice, where children can play with their favorite activities or try new ones. all pre- schools change the table/discovery tables daily, so children really are exposed to new things all of the time, and a great deal of learning takes place. YES, children from play-based pre-schools are prepared for kindergarten, to answer your question directly. personally, we have loved our time with bcso, and they seem to be a big draw with twins--right now there are three sets! bcso parent

Definitely check out Broadway Children's School. They have a parent/toddler program called PACT for 2-year olds, two 3-year- old classrooms (one is MWF, the other TTh) and one 4-year-old classroom MWF. Only PACT requires parent attendance. We have been there for three years and have had a great experience. Very experienced teachers for the most part, a play-based day with some structure, and lots of fun families. It is not a full- time child care solution, however. Good luck. Broadway parent

children learn by playing--of course they're prepared for kindergarten through play-based programs. A child's first experience of school should be fun. Although my child did not attend Broadway Children's school I did tour this school and really, really liked it. claremont day nursery mom

June 2005

Just wondering if anyone out there has any experience/feedback/information on Broadway Children's School, located on Adams Street in Oakland. I am thinking of enrolling my toddler there in the fall, but I can't seem to find any info on line about them. I have requested info from the school...Thanks. H.B.

I think you're talking about the PACT program, right? We did it with our daughter and it was seriously one of the best things we have ever done with her. The school is wonderful. Debbie Beck, the director, is such an amazing source of information and she helps build a great sense of community with the parents and kids during the year. The other PACT teachers, Nancy and Madeline, are also phenomenal. Our daughter has made friends for life there and so have we. It's really wonderful and I sincerely recommend it. Our daughter is ''graduating'' from Broadway this year and we will miss it and the teachers dearly. I know they are in the works of getting a website up as well. Good luck! heidi

Feb 2005

There is almost nothing on the website about Broadway Children's School, and yet I've heard tidbits through word of mouth that sound good. Can anyone provide feedback about their experiences there? I'm interested in hearing both about the PACT program and the preschool program. Thanks!

Hello, We've been at Broadway three years. My daughter started Broadway in the PACT program and this is her last year there. As parents, we have LOVED the experience and most importantly our daughter loves it and has thrived there. She says school is her favorite place--how cool is that? From the teachers to the play-based curriculum to the wonderful community of parents that we have met, we have been so happy.

Have you visited? You should. I immediately got the best vibe. It's this little yellow building and just feels like a preschool should: homey, comfortable and welcoming. You just get an over all sense that the kids are engaged and enjoying themselves.

They focus a lot on socialization, which is really the most important thing in the preschool years. I have heard consistently from parents whose kids attended Broadway, that they are constantly complimented by their new elementary school teachers on their children's ability to get along with others, pay attention and transition.

Doing the PACT program was probably the best thing we've done as parents. You learn so much from the co-director, Debbie Beck, and you meet a great group of parents. It's just wonderful.

Feel free to email me if you have any other questions. Good luck with your decision about preschool! heidi

My child has been in the school since Fall 2004, and we really like it. My child comes home from school each time very happy, and is always asking ''do we go to school today?'' The teachers seem very caring toward the children and the entire atmosphere is low-key yet organized toward each child having an enriched experience while there. They do not appear to have a lot of extras, like Spanish or dance or what have you, but the kids do tons of art and there is a nice, decent-sized, shaded outdoor play area. Our main goal for preschool is socialization in a safe, welcoming environment. When we saw the small class size (12 students, 2 teachers) of the Sunshine Room, and the great teachers, we knew it was a good match. Happy to be at Broadway