Preschools in the BUSD

Per the above website, there are three pre-school campuses in the Berkeley Unified system: Franklin (on 8th north of Cedar), King (near Derby and Milvia), and Hopkins (near Hopkins and Josephine).

Archived Responses: 


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Reviews of BUSD Preschools

Nov 2015

RE: Inexpensive school near Berkeley for my 2 year old?

My son goes to Berkeley USD preschool and we all love it. There is no residency requirement. There are 3 preschools, officially called Berkeley Child Development Centers (CDC). They provide enrichment programs almost daily: gym class, library class, garden class, literacy class. There is also lunch provided, no volunteer requirements, and two field trips included

Franklin Preschool
Maura Blanco, Secretary
1460 Eighth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
Hopkins Early Childhood
Maria Elena Romo, Secretary
1810 Hopkins Street, Berkeley, CA 94702
King Child Development Center
Margo Wilson, Secretary
1939 Ward Street, Berkeley, CA 94703
Victoria Hritonenko vicka17 [at]

Application process for BUSD preschools

May 2015

We are searching for affordable preschool options for our 3 year old daughter starting in August or September (late June birthday). We live in Oakland, but I read that BUSD preschools do not require residency, and I have not heard much about Oakland's programs nor received any responses when I have written into this newsletter about them. Can someone provide feedback on the different BUSD campuses, the structure of their programs, fees, and the admissions process? Ideally, we would love our daughter to have as much time as possible outside (it's why we live in the Bay Area!) with lots of freedom to explore and a not too academic schedule. But we cannot afford most of the private preschools in the area and missed the boat on scholarships and admissions for most of them anyway, so I am scrounging for options. King looked nice when we walked by the other day, but I don't know anything about it or about the other campuses. Please enlighten me! Thanks. rachel

I wish I had better news for you, but while it's true that the BUSD preschools are open to students from other cities, there is a long waiting list and you must qualify through the state criteria. The income limit is $3,518 per month (about $42K per year) for a family of three before taxes, assuming both parents are working, in school, or looking for work. If you qualify, you should go ahead and apply, but know that there are many more applicants than spots so it may take time to get a space.

If you haven't already contacted BANANAS, you should do that too--they manage state child care/preschool subsidies for Alameda County and can give you a full list of programs, including some private preschools that accept subsidies. The income limit is the same as for BUSD--it's set by the state. Full eligibility and application information for BUSD preschool programs is here:

Cast your net widely, and hopefully you will get into one of these programs--good luck!
Another preschool mama 

Free Pre-K classes at Berkeley Parks and Rec?

Oct 2013

Hi everyone! In looking for affordable preschools in the Berkeley area, I came across the free pre-k classes offered through the Parks and Recreation Department. Does anyone have experience with this program? The City of Alameda apparently has an amazing preschool through its Parks and Rec. Dept., and I'm wondering if this is comparable. More broadly, do you know of affordable preschools in Berkeley that aren't co-ops? Both my boyfriend and I work, so we wouldn't be able to fulfill the parental involvement requirements. Thanks for your help! - Zoe

Hello, My son was in the Berkeley Parks and Rec Pre-K Power Play program last year and is in it again this year. We love the program and my son loves it too. He has learned so much and has really matured as well. At first, the structure of it was a big change for him. There is some free play, but there are also activities where kids are directed by the teachers. The teachers really worked with us to address issues that he had, and now he is a leader and helps in the class. I really like the teachers and the diversity in the classroom. There is also a really strong feeling of community between the families in the program, and many of us hang outside at the park for lunch after class. We are enrolled at the YAP location but there is also a class at James Kenney. There are also parent education classes offered, and they offer free childcare. It is wonderful that this high quality program is available for families, and for free! We live in Oakland, but the program is open to all Alameda County residents. Becca

Berkeley Unified Full Inclusion Preschool?

Dec 2010

Our child is currently in the evaluation process for preschool special education services in BUSD and we are struggling to find information about the full inclusion classrooms at King and Franklin. Can anyone write about recent experiences and about the basic structures of these schools' programs? We especially need to know about times of day that the full inclusion programs are open, whether the preschools are open in the summer, extended day care offerings, the teachers, and occupational therapy services available? -Need to know the preschool options

I can't give you my own recent experience since my son went there 5 years ago, but consider joining Berkeley Special Education Parents Network; we're an informal group of parents who have kids with special needs at BUSD. More info here: Jill