Seeking a Chinese Language Daycare/Preschool

Parent Q&A

Select any title to view the full question and replies.

  • I have just moved to Bay area. I am in the process of searching high quality dual English and Chinese Immersion Preschool for my 6 month old son (Expected to send him in when he's 2.). I heard that the high quality one may have a long waiting list and likely need referral. High quality to me means not purely play-based. I would expected a certain amount of things to learn. The expected outcome from that preschool should well equip my son to enter good Kindergarten or elementary schools.  It would be great if anyone could share your thoughts and experience. Thanks!! 

    A frustrated new parents.

    Hi "frustrated new parents" - 

    Two options I am exploring myself and they are very different. 1) Pacific Rim International School in Emeryville (PRINTS for short) -- it's Montessori-ish and language immersion (Mandarin) focused. They are open year round and have a huge campus. So far the research experience has been great for us but I will warn you (as everyone has) that it is on the more expensive end. You can understand why after exploring but it's still a big price tag. 2) Albany Sunflower Daycare is an at-home daycare with small class size that begins around 1yrs old. The instructor is experienced, has a defined curriculum, and seems very loving. GL!

    Hi there, we have two kids at AIM, who each started when they were three. It is a Montessori Mandarin-immersion program, so the classes are of mixed ages. Out of all of the schools we visited prior to choosing AIM, we found AIM to be the most academically rigorous, but with a nice balance of playtime and opportunities for social interaction with the other children. The children learn Traditional writing and reading, and their Mandarin speaking skills have become much more sophisticated when speaking at home. Only Mandarin is spoken throughout the day when the kids are at school, except for their music class, which is taught by an English speaker. In addition to learning how to read and write in Chinese, they learn how to write in cursive, geography, math, and a host of other daily life-type activities (laundry, cleaning, food prep, etc.). Speaking with parents who have  older children who graduated from AIM's preschool program, their kids found kindergarten/first grade to be a breeze. Though, with AIM being a Montessori school, kids are encouraged to stay for their kindergarten year.

    The teachers are patient and kind, and really take care with the children. Also, the school's response during the COVID lock-down was amazing. They took every precaution to keep the entire AIM community safe, and once they reopened, were able to stay open with no outbreaks occurring. This is just to say that they put attention and care into all aspects of the school and community, and I believe that our children will be well-prepared for wherever they move onto afterward. Good luck with your search!

  • We are moving to Alameda next month and are looking for a preschool/daycare with openings for a 2 year old girl. Any recommendations? She is half Chinese so we're also interested in a Chinese Immersion program (but not required). 

    Not sure if you are religious or not, or if it matters, but my daughter's school in Alameda - Coastline Christian School - has a preschool called Tiny Treasures Preschool for 2-5 year olds.  It is not a Mandarin immersion program but they do teach Mandarin as one of the core subjects in elementary through middle school.  We came from a Mandarin immersion preschool in Berkeley but made the switch to the elementary school at CCS because we wanted something more academically rigorous and getting some Mandarin instruction (but not full Mandarin immersion) was the right balance for us.

    Tiny Treasures on Bay Farm is a preschool and I think it is bilingual English and Mandarin. 

  • Anyone know of any preschool or day care (taking kids 2yrs +) in Oakland where they either have Cantonese speaking staff or are Cantonese-English immersion? Sadly most of them in the East Bay are Mandarin. 

    From the research we have done, there aren't any. I believe the only one I found was in SF and it was an in home daycare that was just too far away from our home and work.That said, our child started in daycare at 9 months old and they attended Pacific Rim International School in Emeryville. There were a handful of words they learned that were Cantonese even though they are a Mandarin speaking daycare...and I realize that is not what you are looking for but thought I'd mention it.

  • Chinese Immersion Preschool Recommendations

    (2 replies)

    Debating to find a daycare/pre school situation for my 18 month old. I am not sure if it is worth to break a leg or an arm to pay for the Chinese immersion montessori school but I feel like her age is a little ackward - either do a daycare for a year then join the pre school or just attend pre school directly.

    We have been talking with Guidepost Montessori (prior named as LePort) but would like to get other parents' thoughts if your kids are in Guidepost - pros and cons. Pleassssss! 

    Not exactly what you're asking for but our child just graduated from Little Lamb Bilingual Preschool in Albany,, and we had a wonderful experience. The curriculum is a Montessori-like approach and the monthly tuition is listed on the website for you to compare against Guidepost.

    The director, Xin Dong, finds really wonderful teachers and accepts children from 18 months of age. There's a cohort of younger students and then an older cohort of slightly older students that works really well. Good luck!

    I would say staying with chinese speaking daycare for a while as it is safer to not expose them to a bigger crowd of people because of Covid. Chinese immersion montessori is just too expensive for us now too since we have twins.

    Alternatively you can try to get a Chinese speaking au pair. 

    I am personally making the choice to start their actual school til Kindergarten, and we are hoping to go to a Chinese immersion one too.

  • Hello, we’re looking for recommendations for a play based/mandarin immersion  preschool in the Oakland, Berkeley, El cerrito, Richmond area.  My son is 2 years 4 months now and he’s in a small Mandarin immersion in-home family daycare.  He’s the oldest kid there.  His mandarin is great and I would like him to continue learning Mandarin but also have more stimulation.  I was hoping to do part time at the Berkeley forest school this fall (no openings, i heard, and has not respond to any of emails or fb msgs) and part time at his current daycare.  

    Does anyone have any recommendations or suggestions for us to explore—play based preschool or mandarin immersion?  We can keep him in his current daycare for another year so looking to get into a place fall 2019 or fall2020 when he will be 3.5 yrs.

    thank you!

    Check out American international montessori (AIM). It is where our daughter goes for the Japanese program. 

    Try Happy Garden 510-9659461. Eveline is great with the kids. 

    Little Lamb Bilingual Preschool in Albany (Adams/Buchanan) is play-based and Mandarin immersion. It's located in a home and on the smaller side as far as pre-schools go (note: the home is strictly for the school; no one lives there). I know a few kids are leaving shortly to start school in the fall so this may be a good time for you to call and inquire about the waitlist. (They can accommodate kids younger than 3.5 but that section may be full at the moment.) The teachers are from mainland China and the head teacher is from Taiwan, and all are very kind. 

  • Chinese-Immersion Montessori Preschool

    (1 reply)

    Hi!  I am in the process of looking at Chinese-immersion Montessori preschool for our little one. I was wondering if anyone attended (or is attending) GMIS, AIM, or Pacific Rim? I'd love to buy you coffee (or wine) and chat about it if you can spare some time! (or, a brief phone call / email if you can't get out of the house). Thank you!

    [Moderator: responders looking for the nice get-together option, please reply directly to the poster. Thanks!]

    Hi there, we just started our son at PRINTS (Pacific Rim) in their Infant Community (he's 16 months old) and like it so far. Have you toured the schools? We were debating over LePort and PRINTS and PRINTS won us over because of their staff. The building itself may not be as shiny and new as some other schools, but the staff has been very responsive throughout the process (tour, waiting list, my 10000000 questions, my kid starting and the other 9000000 questions I had, etc.). Let me know what other specific questions you may have and I'm happy to answer them for you.


  • Chinese Immersion Montessori Schools?

    (2 replies)

    I'd like to put my twin boys in a Chinese Immersion school, and I'm pretty sold on the Montessori method (although I know each school has different interpretations and executions). They're 21 months now and will start either this fall at 2 yrs old (I think PRINTS may have openings) or at 3 yrs old next year if they have to be put on a waitlist. I am comparing AIM, PRINTS and GMIS. Can anyone provide recommendations between those three? There don't seem to be *recent* reviews on BPN, so I'm reaching out to parents who have kids enrolled now or within the last 3 years. I know AIM requires a 3-year commitment. Thoughts on this? Also, is it worth forgoing availability of one to take the chance of getting into another a year later? I know AIM has a long waitlist. Thanks!

    My older daughter just graduated from GMIS, and it was such a great experience. Vivi runs a very nurturing school, and my daughter (now 5) is fluent in Chinese, with a love for learning. I wish she could do her kindergarten year at GMIS, but we need to make way for my almost 2-yr-old to start in late fall.

    The main teacher in the 2-yr-old class is the sweetest and will no doubt provide a smooth transition. A HUGE plus is that GMIS toilet-trains the kids starting on day 1. My older daughter was trained in just a couple weeks.

    I don't know much about the other programs, but I love the small size of GMIS. It's a great community and we have become close with many other parents in the school. I know other parents I've talked to are also very happy with the school. 

    My daughter was at GMIS for four years.  Starting at age 21/2 years old and she just finished her kinder year this past year.  We were very happy with the program.  The teachers and staff are so loving and nurturing.  We chose GMIS because we could sense that this was a very loving place.  We felt that at 2.5 years old, we were less concerned with the academics as much as the care that is given to her.  It turns out that in the past four years not only was she nurtured but she was  exposed to so many different experiences.  She truly has thrived in the past four years.  Her Mandarin is impressive considering we do not speak at home.  But more importantly, she likes speaking Mandarin. The director, Vivi Teng, puts a lot of thought into the program and she has a special talent in choosing wonderful teachers.  They are very attentive to each child's needs. The parent community has been great as well.  We have made some good friends and the community overall is very welcoming.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Bilingual/Immersion Preschool that teaches Chinese

Feb 2009

Am wondering if anyone has any ideas or referrals for a bilingual/immersion preschool that teaches Chinese. I just visited Starlite Child Development Center in downtown Oakland (they have a sister campus at East Bay Academy). Just saw some old reviews here noting there's not much communication and there's a lack of parental involvement. (The Director said it's to facilitate the child's comfort level with the staff and school.) Wondering if anyone can share about their/their child's experience at either. Thanks! Eesa

I don't know about Starlite, but I can strongly recommend Shu Ren International School, a new Chinese immersion school in Berkeley. My son is in the pre-school (pre-k) there and we have been extremely happy with the teachers, his language development, and the community that is being built up around the school. The pre-k classes are 100% Mandarin; English will be gradually introduced in Kindergarten and higher grades. The teachers are warm, knowledgeable and creative, and it's been a very stimulating and loving environment for our son. Teachers communicate very well with parents and even keep blogs where they update parents every week on what the kids do in the classroom and post photos. Their website is and phone number is: (510) 981-0320. I recommend you check it out. shu ren parent

There are two new ones in Berkeley -- Global Montessori (started by some teachers from the Pacific Rim International Montessori School) and Shu Ren International School. I don't have personal experience with either one, but I've visited both and they seem worth exploring. Good luck! Looking Too

Mandarin language immersion for 4-year-old

March 2008

I am looking for a Mandarin immersion program for my 4-year-old son in Berkeley/Oakland area. Can anyone recommend either a kindergarten or a summer camp that provides such programs?


I'd like some feedback on Global Montessori International School.

What other Mandarin immersion preschool options are out there? PRINTS (esp from other local Emeryville parents), the new Shu Ren? What else?

Lastly, what options are there if GMIS too difficult a commute for us - do other families carpool? (I can do the afternoon commute, but not morning.)

I would suggest looking into Pacific Rim International School (PRINTS) in Emeryville. There is a lot of good information on them in the archives, and their website is Good luck.

Shu Ren International School is a new school opening in September in Berkeley (on University Ave and Acton St), which will offer full Chinese immersion using the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program curriculum. They will start with Pre-K and Kindergarten and add a grade every year. We've signed our son up to go there in the fall because after extensive research on the other Chinese schools in the area, this was clearly the best option. We really like the IBO program, which is a very special and impressive curriculum, and the fact that the first years will use full Mandarin immersion. We are also impressed by the dedication and intelligence of the head of school and her vision for the school. You can get more information about the school and application at berkeley mom

I would recommend you considering Shu Ren International School, a Mandarin-English immersion school scheduled to open in September 2008 in Berkeley. I am the founder of the school, and can give you a brief description of our school. Shu Ren will offer an immersion program in Mandarin and English within the framework of the world-class International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) programs. Shu Ren aims to become the nationms first Mandarin-English immersion school offering IBOms Primary Years Program (PYP) to Pre-K through 5 grade students, and Middle Years Program (MYP) to 6-8th grade students. Shu Ren will open with Pre-K, Kindergarten, and first grade and add one grade each school year. We are currently enrolling students for the 2008 q 09 school year. Our new campus will be located at 1333 University Avenue in central Berkeley, close to UC Berkeley campus, I-580/I-80, North Berkeley Bart Station, and other public transportation. For more information about our school, please go to our website Good luck with your search! Jie Moore

Chinese (Mandarin) school for 3 year old

June 2007

I am looking for a Mandarin program for my 3 year old. Preferably in the Oakland area. I have checked in with Albany Chinese school, the closest one I've found so far. Does anyone have any insight into their curriculum or know of any other schools? Wendy

The Chinese Cultural Education Association has Mandarin classes for children 2 1/2 to 5 years old on Friday mornings beginning in the fall. My child is in an older group and has benefitted from the excellent instruction. For more information write to info[at]

Any Cantonese-English preschools?

Jan 2004

Hello -- Wondering if anyone is familiar with any Cantonese-English bilingual preschools in Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville or Albany. I have only been able to find Mandarin language ones. Thanks!

Try Yuk Yau Early Childhood Center (291 10th St, 510.879.0824) or Yuk Yau Annex (314 E 10th St, 510.879.0821), both in Oakland. Katie

Cantonese or Mandarin daycare for 2-year-old

Feb. 2003

I'm interested in finding a daycare or preschool which is run in Chinese (Cantonese or Mandarin) for my 2-yr.-old. Can anybody recommend one in the East Bay? Lisa

Recommendations received: