Inch by Inch School

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 #: 
Lisa Fitch
(510) 406-2624
lisapizzaf [at]
Temescal on 49th St.
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
Ages Served: 
15 months - 60 months
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
Editors' Notes: 
  • Also see reviews for Toddler Family, now closed, where Lisa Fitch was director for a number of years.

Parent Reviews

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I can't say enough good things about Inch by Inch! It is truly a magical place, run with love by it's head of school - Lisa Fitch - and the other primary teacher there, Fathima. The facility is so beautiful and so sweet: each room is loaded with books, crafts, dolls, dress-up clothes, trains, play kitchens, cozy corners, etc. Lisa has a few sensory swings which my daughter absolutely loved that she sets up in the living room so the kids can burn off steam. She has a huge fenced in back yard with a fort and flowers and bikes where the kids can play and get fresh air. There are so many rituals that personify the love and caring Lisa puts into this school: Friday morning song circle with kids and their parents and Lisa on the guitar; weekly yoga for the kids; daily afternoon "tea"; chinese new year parades; spring egg hunts; amazing theatrical performances, etc. My daughter graduated from IBI in June 2015 and the ceremony was so personal and so touching - it really showed how much Lisa personally knows and cares about these kids. My daughter and I both truly loved Inch by Inch, check it out - i know you will too! Janet

Archived Q&A and Reviews

June 2012

I wanted to recommend Inch by Inch my son's preschool which has a few openings for the Fall. This is a wonderful place for children to play, learn and grow. Lisa and Fathima are caring teachers and my son has learn new songs, about gardens and making friends. There is plenty of space in the backyard to run and ride bikes, but there is also areas for dramatic play and dress up too. Feel free to contact me.

Feb 2012

Re: Preschool with music/dance focus?
Inch by Inch in Temescal is a beautiful, small school with lots of music and dance. Lisa and Fathima, the teachers, are compassionate and attentive. Lisa leads a singing circle every day (parents can stay one day a week and sing too) and does plays every season which incorporate dance and storytelling. In the summers, the school is transformed into a circus camp or an art camp. Dance & music are definitely part of every day life at Inch by Inch! Both of my daughters loved the school. happy mom

July 2010

Re: Preschool for 2 1/2 year old, parent participating
Check out Inch by Inch. It has a parent-child program that's wonderful. I'm sure you can find the address and phone number here at Berkeley Parents Network. good luck!

Feb 2010

Re: Preschool for twins 2 mornings a week?
Our son attended Inch By Inch Preschool in Temescal. It's small, offers a part time schedule, and accepts children who are not potty trained. We had a wonderful experience there.

April 2009

Any current families from Inch by Inch preschool (not the toddler program) willing to share their experiences -- both positive and negative? I'd love to hear your thoughts about the curriculum, the teachers, and just the overall feel of the place. How well do you feel that the teachers know and understand your child? Do the kids generally seem happy and engaged? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Both of my boys were at Inch by Inch throughout their preschool experiences (I now have one 5 and one 7). We had a stint early on (after the toddler program) where we tried to go to a well regarded selective Montessori thing (to get more coverage--there is a MWF and TTh schedule, nowadays she does aftercare so it's a little more time), and we much preferred Inch by Inch in the end and came back as soon as we could. Lisa and Fathima know and love each child. The dramatic productions are wonderful and fun and magical. My kids, who are very sensitive,feel like Inch by Inch is their home. I could not recommend the school more highly. The parents are also generally terrific. If only the whole world were like IBI--no pretension, wooden toys, healthy food, love, and a little magic. inch by inch devotee

My son started IBI in the toddler program and has now been in the preschool program for two years. We love it and more importantly, so does he. Lisa, the director, has an incredible way with children and really does understand each and everyone one, Fatima is so incredibly nurturing and was incredibly supportive when we were potting training. My son is now an expert on the solar system because Cata makes science classes fun and Kelly has taught him how to sign the alphabet. Every year IBI picks an enrichment activity for the kids and they put on incredible school performances that the kids have so much fun doing. You really couldn't ask for a more creative, positive environment for your child. I'd be happy to tell you more, it's an incredible place. Sana

Hi -- I moved my 4 year old from another preschool to Inch by Inch in the middle of last year and I was immediately so relieved and happy. It is a small program and she was welcomed and understood. After some struggles at the previous school (which was fine), she absolutely flourished at Inch by Inch and was very happy to be there. The teachers, Lisa and Fathima, are both so kind and calm. Lisa's program is brilliant, the kids got Spanish (this year I think it's sign language), capoeira (sp?), and all sorts of other special programs, and just the basic art and other activities that Lisa provides, and especially the daily singing, are wonderful. If you want a small school that really provides a tender, home-like atmosphere for all involved, Inch by Inch is the place to be! My younger daughter is now in the toddler program and I am happily planning to enroll her in the preschool when she is old enough. I am very attachment oriented and had a hard time with sending the kids to school at all, but I feel like Inch by Inch provides perfect creative energy and extra nourishment for both mom and kids. happy at IBI

my children were at inch by inch for two years in the preschool program (never in the parent toddler program). we loved it. Loved it. i am so happy now that my children are in a public kindergarten that they had the fantastic preschool experience they had at inch by inch.

best things: lisa and fatima are loving caregivers. they compliment each other very well. the class size is small and the children's interests guide the way. the space is comfortable and inviting. the kids' night out parties are fantastic for the kids. lots of extra activities - spanish, capoiera, music. even when my children got older, they loved the place. lisa really knows how to watch out for the younger ones and let the older ones take ''leadership'' roles.

the only negative thing to say is that lisa is an artisty-free-spirited-type person and administrative stuff is not her forte. she has a person who helps now with billing, etc. which is good.

your children will be very fortunate to have inch by inch as their preschool experience. my children are older now and always ask to go back. they say it was their favorite school! jennifer

Feb 2008

Hi. I am looking for programs that are similar to what is described in past postings that describe the (now defunct) programs 'Toddler family' and 'Inch by Inch'. Basically, I am looking for programs that are a lot like preschool, but that I can attend with my daughter once or twice a week (not a co-op). I know about 'Montclair Community Center', but that is a bit too far from us. Anything else out there? Thanks! Anne

I am happy to tell you that Lisa Fitch's excellent parent participation program, Inch By Inch, is still thriving in its new location in the Temescal District. It's a play based program rich in music and movement activites, messy art and lots of fun. It draws a diverse and friendly group of parents, many of whom have their children continue with Lisa into her preschool program, where our son goes three days a week. He loves the enrichment activites, which include Spanish, drumming and Capoera. Lisa, Fathima, Dave and Cata are gifted teachers and have become very special to us. We will be sorry to leave! You can contact Lisa Fitch at lisapizzaf [at] Happy Inch By Inch Parent

April 2007

This is for the person looking for a daycare/pre-school in Rockridge. My son goes to Inch by Inch at 49th and Broadway, and I couldn't be happier. There's a part time preschool program and a mommy and me play group twice a week if your daughter isn't ready for preschool. They have music, cooking, and a great outdoor area. I love it there. Call Lisa Fitch at 510-406-2624.

March 2004

I heard that Lisa Fitch, who was the former director of Toddler Family in Oakland, has started her own program, which is called ''Inch by Inch'' and is a parent participation program for toddlers and a parent, rich with music and arts and crafts. I'm having trouble locating a phone number for this program, and am wondering if anyone has participated in it, and how they like it.

I don't know about the program -- I had the impression it's brand new -- but the phone number is posted at the gate of Avenue Park on Jordan Road in Redwood Heights, with a little advertisement. Stacey

Lisa can be reached at 406-2624. I haven't been to Inch by Inch, but my son went to Toddler Family with her and has Lisa as a music teacher at his preschool and loves her!!! Natalie

I would like to respond to the question about Lisa Fitch's new toddler program called ''Inch by Inch''. Several years ago I participated in Lisa's program when she was the director and teacher of Toddler Family program, then located in Berkeley. My daughter fell in love with Lisa, loved her program, and we kept in touch with her over the years. When it was time to enroll my second child, I was hesitant to go to Toddler Family program again as they had moved near Lake Merritt, which would mean quite a drive, however, when I weighed the benefit we had received years previously from participating in the program, I decided to follow Lisa to Oakland. When Lisa left Toddler Family and started her own school, we again went with her. My second child too, benefits immensely from this program, filled with Lisa's guitar led circle time, messy arts that are different each time, and friends we have made. Lisa is truly a gifted teacher, knows what each child needs, and finds a way to connect to the heart of each one. I am happy to hear that Lisa is expanding her current program and will have a pre-school in the afternoons, so that children who have already made a connection with her throughout their toddler years can continue growing independently into this drop-off program, or new children can benefit from the magic that Lisa brings to each child. Lisa can be reached by e-mail at lisapizzaf AT or by phone (510) 406-2624. I'm happy to talk to any interested parents, or answer questions. Yvonne

Inch by Inch is a wonderful program for toddlers and their caretakeres run by a wonderful woman, Lisa Fitch. It is a program designed for toddlers too young to attend pre-school but ready for organized activity. Toddlers attend with a parent or other caretaker (nanny, grandparent, etc.) twice a week for two hours at each gathering. The day's schedule is very similar to one at a typical pre-school, starting with free- play, then circle time (singing and movement), then snack time (Lisa reads stories at this time), and finally outside free- play at a park down the street if weather permits.

Lisa Fitch is a wonderful person and terrific with toddlers and their parents. She has a warm and inviting personality that instantly makese everyone, especially the children, feel at ease and welcome. The children all just adore her and she them. She is a wonderful singer and guitar player as well and the music at circle time is one of my favorite parts of the day. Lisa has a wonderful way of engaging the children in different activities and encouraging their curiosity and creativity.

Inch by Inch provides a wonderful transition from home-care to preschool by allowing toddlers to experience many of the same things they will experience at pre-school with their caretaker there to help them along the way. My son has developed socially and cognitively, learning to interact more with other children, teacher figures, and other adults. It also provides an opportunity for toddlers to play with new toys, read new books, take part in ever-changing art projects, games, dramatic- play scenarios, etc.

It is also a wonderful opportunity for caretakers to interact with other caretakers to exchange ideas, concerns, complaints, etc. The parents I've met their are wonderful and we have formed quite a strong bond this year.

My son and I look forward to school every week and have thoroughly enjoyed our experience there. I encourage anyone out there with a toddler looking for an activity to fill their schedule to look into Inch by Inch. Lexi