Archived Q&A and Reviews
I was hoping for some help finding schools/play groups for my 3 year old that can take him 2-3 full days per week, rather than half days. Thanks! HB
Look at Lakeview Preschool in Oakland. It is in the Lakeshore area. They are a full day preschool (a really excellent one) and they prefer to have kids 2-3 days/week rather than five. Mom of two Lakeview Grads
My family has recently moved to the Lakeshore area and we have hired a nanny to look
after our two sons. I feel like my nearly 3 year old is craving more interaction and
engagement with other kids and he would really flourish at a pre-school. Unfortunately,
most of the preschools in the area only offer full time programs but I'm looking for an
option where he can go a couple of days a week, or even just mornings.
Please send any recommendations my way!
Look at Lakeview Preschool, they are full day but prefer to have kids for a
couple of days a week (my kids went full time, but that definitely wasn't the
school's preference :0). It is a REALLY great school.
Also look at The Lake School. They are mornings, I believe. I have had
several friends whose kids went there and it looked great to me when I was
looking, but as noted above, we needed full time.
I know that Lakeview only enrolls in the Fall, not sure about The Lake School
but right now is about the time that applications are due for Sept.
Two GREAT options
Two schools in the area that I think offer part-day or part-week programs are
Lakeview Preschool and Grand Lake Montessori. Both have reviews on BPN.
We are relocating to Berkeley (from out of state) in August and I am looking for a PT (2/3 days a week) half day preschool program for our daughter (she'll be 2.5 yrs in August). We would prefer a Reggio Emilia or similar type approach, a school not home-based setting, a nice outdoor area, experienced and caring teachers, and something not too far from our older daughter's school in Central Berkeley. I appreciate your recommendations! Thanks! Meghan
It sounds like the Gay Austin School might fit well what you're looking for. It's a half-day preschool with separate classes for 2, 3, and 4-year old children. They may have space available in their 2's class for the fall. The teachers are very experienced and amazingly fluent at guiding the children through all kinds of creative and fun learning. My daughter is finishing up her third year at the school, and she's had a wonderful experience. We will miss the school very much! You can learn more about the school at gayaustinschool.com. Best of luck! Happy Gay Austin Parent
Hi, I would recommend you look into Frog Hollow Nursery School in North Berkeley. It is a small school with lots of attention from loving, experienced teachers. My son learned a lot, including about gardening! Email Ellen at edressman [at] icloud.com Lydia
I've sent 2 kids to half-day 2 year old programs 2-3 days per week in Berkeley: The JCC in North Berkeley about 5 years ago and Wee Two Toddler House last year. You can find reviews of both on BPN and call ahead to see if there is still room for the fall and to schedule a visit. The JCC is a larger school and enrolling is a nice way to meet lots of other local families (there are plenty of non-Jewish and/or non-religious families). Wee Two is a lovely lady running a very small and sweet two-year-old program out of her home. Welcome to Berkeley and good luck! Berkeley mom
Dear Meghan, You should take a look at Griffin Nursery School in Berkeley (Elmwood neighborhood).http://www.griffinnurseryschool.org. They offer a 3-morning per week enrollment (8:30am-12pm). Our daughter is finishing her first year there and we love it. We were also looking for Reggio Emilia, and though they don't specifically state this philosophy in their literature, they do mirror the basic tenants of the philosophy ie encouraging a child's specific interests. It is a very play-based school with an emphasis on social development/relationship building, and the children are free to play inside or venture out to the beautiful back yard/patio/play area whenever they please. The teachers are all wonderful, and I know there are a couple openings for this fall. celeste
Hi Meghan! Welcome to Berkeley! I wanted to recommend my son's preschool - Berkeley Rose . It's Waldorf based and your daughter would be in the Rosebud classroom. That's where my son is now. Vasilica (the lead teacher) is absolutely amazing! My son is really shy and Vasilica was so warm, gentle, and caring with him. He has absolutely thrived in the setting and loves going to school now. The school has a beautiful yard and garden. The children who attend there are so sweet and lovely. The community is very supportive. I can't say enough good things about the school. I believe there's only a couple spots left which will probably fill up quickly if you are interested for the fall. Here's the schools website so you can learn more. http://berkeleyrose.org/ Ha
We like our preschool, but my 3-year-old daughter is the only kid I'm aware of there who is part-time (she goes 2 days, everyone else goes 5 days.) It appears that because the other kids are together more, they have bonded quite a bit, and my daughter has not bonded so much with them. I love having my daughter home with me part-time as we do lots of activities and see her other friends then, so I don't want to increase her days at school. I am thinking that perhaps there may be another preschool in or near Berkeley where most of the kids are in her position of going part-time, so she's not the only one with less group interaction and therefore not so left out. Anyone have any suggestions? Many thanks. preschool mom
As a teacher I do see that when kids come to school less often than their peers that it can take longer for them to develop the close connections that develop during shared play, day after day. But it's lovely that you're spending time with your daughter at home and in other enriching activities. I wouldn't give that up if you don't have to!
There are definitely good part-time preschools out there. Co-ops often have part-time programs. My daughter went to a wonderful co-op in Berkeley, Dandelion Nursery School. The school where I teach, The Lake School in Oakland, is not a co-op but has 2 day, 3 day, 4 day, and 5 day programs (the 2 day is for the very youngest kids). Both Dandelion and Lake School are half day, developmental, play-based programs with caring, well-educated teachers (if I do say so myself :-). I hope you find something just right! wnmnf
Try the Mulberry School . Both my kids went there, though it's been a few years since they graduated. A wonderful place, with lots of part time students, and back then at least the school day was only 9-2, probably still is.
We go to Albany Preschool and the vast majority of the kids are part time. There are a few that go all day every day, but most kids go 3 mornings or afternoons a week. It's a cooperative, so you really get to know other kids and families. It's a great school! www.albanypreschool.com happy Albany Preschool family
We send my son to Gay Austin Preschool , located near Monterey Market, and the majority of the kids attend less than 5 days per week. The program is wonderful, but short (9-12 for 3yos) which sounds like a plus for you. Probably full for the current year, but call soon about getting info on the 4yo program for next year! Gay Austin Mom
Do you know of a preschool or home-based childcare program that would take 2.5 year old (31 months) non-potty trained twins on Tuesday and Thursday mornings? I would like my twins to start getting exposed to group care before they start preschool at age 3. We are not flexible on the days - only Tues and Thurs mornings. We live in lower Rockridge and would like the school/home to be in Oakland or Berkeley. We are looking for caregivers who speak English or Spanish. Thanks!
I had the same question when my twins were that age. I found a great home based daycare program that was a little as 2 days a week and as much as four. It's White Rabbit in Glenview. Barbara Ferguson is director/teacher and since it's small, the kids get individual attention. It was my girls first experience being away from me or with any structure and it was a great way to prepare for preschool. My only wish was that I started it earlier. No need to be potty trained, but she will help with that if need be. Not sure if they have room, but worth a call to check it out. 531-0673 Rachel
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.
My housemate had her boy part time at My First Steps home daycare on Alcatraz Ave. near Sacramento in Oakland. She chose it for the good reviews on BPN. She has openings now and is very flexible with times/days. She only $10/hr for part time care. It's pretty big for a home daycare with several different rooms and a fun outdoor play area. http://myfirststeps01.com/Home.html -Julie
Happy Lion School and Daycare Center in San Pablo offers flexible scheduling options (2 days to 5 days, part-time or full-time). It's a wonderful preschool and they moved to their new location in Fall, 2009. The Director is Wednesdey Chavis and she has a Masters in Education plus over 24 years of experience educating children. The teachers are bilingual (English, Spanish). Call Wednesday at 510-233-3330 for more information or to schedule a tour. Parent
My daughter and son-in-law plan a move to Oakland this summer, and they will be needing a preschool for their daughter who will turn 4 in May. My son-in-law is a stay-at-home dad (and a fabulous one!), so they do not need an extended day. My granddaughter is currently enjoying a two day a week mornings-only program. Anyone know of any schools with openings for a 4 year old next fall - preferably mornings only, 3 days a week? Charlotte gets lots of academic attention at home -- best would be a school that focuses on social and emotional development. Also, a good art program would be a bonus, but I know that this late, for the last year of preschool before kindergarten, finding a spot is going to be hard. Nice kid (if I do say so myself) and great dad. They also have a 2 year old boy, who presumably would follow if the family likes the school. Co-op ok. Charlotte's Nana
For Nana's granddaughter I highly recommend Narnia Preschool in the Oakland hills (on Tompkins). Zeze Cole is the director of this fantastic school. Our now first grade son attended and our youngest daughter is about to ''graduate'' to Kindergarten. The day she leaves will be heartbreaking; she's already talking about going back to visit every day and bringing one of her teachers with her. Narnia offers full-day or part-time placement. It's small and diverse with the most loving teachers we could hope for. The kids are engaged in art, music, capoeira, learning letters, numbers, cooking and a million other projects piquing their curiosity. My car is full of Bea's artwork, as she brings piles home, and daily she regales us with interesting facts about animals, Portuguese language or books they have read. At first my daughter had separation anxiety, but Zeze patiently helped her through the transition. Now Bea cries when she DOESN'T have school. I see that as a terrific sign. You should check it out. hilary
We've decided that our 2 1/2 year old could benefit from being in either preschool or a toddler program a few mornings a week (we prefer two days). We would like to start visiting schools as soon as possible. I realize that many places have extensive waiting lists, but we are looking for availability soon, so if your child's school has spaces left, please let me know! We are looking for something a few days a week, either co op or not. Cost is of importance. While her Grandparents will help us with the cost, we would like to find something for less than $350 per month if possible. Ideally, we would like to have her in preschool 2-3 days per week for about 4 hrs per day. A play based school with a good teacher/child ratio and a large outdoor area is preferred. We feel that Montessori may not be right for our child, but we are open to hear about yours if you are happy with your child's experience there. The school could be in Pinole, Richmond, Albany, El Cerrito or in Berkeley. Any advice or referrals are appreciated! THANKS~Anne
Skytown Preschool (in Kensington) has a toddler program and a preschool program. http://www.skytown.org/ Mom of Preschooler
Skytown preschool in Kensington is a wonderful play based co-op preschool that my daughter attends. We have been very happy with the teachers and cirrculum of the school. The teachers are very kid-oriented in the sense that they choose themes every month that really coincides with the children's interest. The teacher to student ratio is 3:1 for toddlers (18mo-2.9yrs) and 4:1 for preschoolers (up to age 5). The preschool has a nice well sized sunny outdoor space with a beautiful garden that the kids participate in as well as all the standard play structure, tricycles, etc. The tuition is really quite reasonable and it is one of the reasons why we joined the school. We currently pay less than $300 a month for our daughter to attend three days a week. The community at skytown has been such a great experience so far. As new skytown members last year, the community was very welcoming towards us. The teachers interact in a very genuine and caring manner with both the children and the parents. I know that they have openings right now. You can contact them at info [at] skytown.org and/or arrange a tour of the preschool. Feel free to contact me with any questions! happy skytown parent
I HIGHLY recommend Mama Bear's Playcare in Pinole. It is in Carol Thompson's home. She is amazing. Our daughter just finished two years at Carol's and I could not have asked for a more wonderful place for her first day care experience. Carol is trained in both Waldorf and Montessori teaching. She serves all organic food. She has a great back yard area and the kids go on walks most days. She's in Pinole, on Emma DriveVjust up the hill off of Pinole Valley Road. I think she may have some openings. The program is from 8:45-1:15 and your child can go as many days as you want. It might be a little more expensive than some of the preschool's, but you definitely get what you pay for. The care the children get at Mama Bear's is unmatched, in my opinion. Carol is very knowledgeable on child development and helped us as parents too. Canmt say enough great things about her! Her number is 741-8336. jenny
Hi, I live in the Laurel District of Oakland, and am interested in finding preschools relatively close to us (Say, from mid-San Leandro to Grand Lake to Montclair area) that will take children for 2 whole days a week. Most of the ones I've found so far have a 3 day minimum, and right now that costs more than I like and is more personal time than I need. Any suggestions? Jeanne
Beth Sholom (northern San Leandro) 2 days a week is currently $433/month Cathy
The Snuggery may be the preschool that you are looking for. It is a great school and they offer flexible schedules. It may take awhile to get the 2 days that you would like however. You may have to enroll in the available days to start. This will give you first priority when openings do become availble on your preferred days. http://www.snuggerypreschool.com/ Good Luck with your preschool hunt! Snuggery Mom
We recently posted looking for preschool options for the fall, for our two girls, aged 2 and 4. (We're from Cambridge, MA but are moving to Berkeley this summer.) Huge thanks to everyone who wrote in with recs for North Berkeley & Albany--now we're hoping for a few recs for the Rockridge area. We're looking for something part time (3-4 mornings a week); prefer something small, cozy, diverse, & play-based; some sort of ''enrichment'' offering would be a nice bonus (ie, music, yoga, dance, 2nd language, etc); and ideally some place that would take both girls. I know it's a tall order, and we're late to the game, but if anyone has any leads or suggestions (even if they don't fit all of the above), they would be very much appreciated. Thanks again!!! Jen
I believe that Duck's Nest in Piedmont fits your criterias - www.ducksnest.org They have yoga, sign language etc. Try them. Very close to Rockridge. Anonymous
I am looking for recommendations for a small preschool, ie. less than 15 children, that takes part time families, and is located around the Berkeley area. I've checked the website but just wondering if anyone has any new recommendations. Thanks in advance. bh
I know of two excellent preschools who accept part-timers and have a max. of 15 kids. Both are located in or near El Cerrito so I'm not sure if these would work for you. Sadly, most of the smaller schools tend to be harder to get into as they have fewer spots and often younger siblings of the current students get priority. I would encourage you to call anyway because things can always change. Recommended:
Hi, I'm looking for a play based preschool and/or co-op where my high energy son could attend only 3 days a week(as opposed to 5). Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. bh
- Chatham School
- Child Education Center (CEC)
- Children's Community Center (CCC)
- Little Village Preschool
- Skytown Coop Preschool (2 responses)
I am looking to enroll my 3 year old daughter in preschool two days (or perhaps a few 1/2 days) a week. (I am disabled and cannot afford anymore much for tuition) The preschools I've called so far do not favor part-timers and I do not wish to participate in a co-op.I would love for her to have the social experience of playing with kids here own age. If anyone can recommend a loving preschool in the Richmond/El Cerrito area, I would be most greatful. jane
- Claremont Day Nursery Kensington
- Contra Costa Comunity College Preschool
- Piccoli School El Cerrito
- Pride and Joy Preschool El Cerrito
I have started looking for a preschool for my daughter to attend next fall and am having a tough time. I've read through the archives and the NPN Preschool Directory, but found relatively very few true part-time programs -- what I want is one where the children attend just two (or maybe three) mornings a week, not one where I simply have the option of picking her up earlier in the day.
I know that many co-ops have a part-time or more tradiational format. I would prefer to find a school that is not a co-op, though I realize I may end up compromising on that, especially if it means I get everything else on my wish list.
Also, I realize there is a page on the website that lists part- time preschools, but the ones listed there do not work for us for various reasons - some, on closer inspection, are more like day care (I think in those cases the schools have changed since the original post a couple of years ago); others require the child to be 2.9 on entry (my daughter will be 2 1/2 as of 9/1/2003); others are Jewish schools (our family is not); etc.
So, I'm looking for some new recommendations for part-time preschools (a.k.a. ''traditional'' nursery schools). Ideally, I am looking for a school that:
* is located in Oakland or Berkeley
* includes some ''academics,'' for lack of a better word exposure to letters and numbers, learning about... who knows maybe how plants grow, or something. At any rate, not just playing
* has a nice outdoor play area (well, nice indoor one too :)
* has a low teacher turnover
* takes field trips (though I realize this may not be feasible anymore with the new car seat laws)
* and, lastly, in the absolutely ideal world -- is a school that includes French as part of the program (I know I won't get that lucky, but it never hurts to ask...!)
Thanks so much to all for your help. Sarah
- Arlington Preschool
- City of Concord Preschool
- Claremont Day Nursery
- Duck's Nest (2)
- New House Dayschool
- The Snuggery
- Treehouse Preschool
We will be looking for daycare for our (to be born) infant son in late February. He will be about 4 months old. We will be needing 3 days a week of care. We are certainly planning to explore nanny shares, but we are also wondering if anyone knows of home/family or center daycares that will a) take infants this young and b) accomodate a 3-day week schedule. We live in Oakland but work in Berkeley, so we are open to a variety of locales. Many, many thanks! Christy
I'm currently a stay-at-home mom with a 2 year old son. I've noticed that he has begun craving more social interaction with kids around his age, but don't want to put him in a part-time daycare situation yet (the typical minimum hours/commitment is more than I need at the moment). What I would love to find is a paid/supervised "playgroup" situation where I could drop him off a couple of times a week for 2-3 hours at a time. Ideally, others would be doing the same and my son would have the opportunity to see the same kids on a regular basis. Does anything like this exist, and if so, can anyone recommend one? thanks!
After conducting extensive research of 15+ nursery/preschools in the Oakland/Montclair/Piedmont area, I am in somewhat of a quandary. It seems that nearly every school I have investigated is a "full-time" program, bearing closer resemblance to day-care than to the type of 2 or 3 mornings a week program I have in mind. A few of the co-ops (Montclair Community and Peter Pan) seem to have more flexibility in this regard, but for me the time commitment with a co-op is not feasible. Does anyone know of a good "part-time" (mornings only, several days a week) program with an emphasis on socialization. Many thanks, Rebecca
There are a number of pre-schools that meet your description: Linda Beech and Highlands in Piedmont, Duck's Nest in Oakland on Peidmont Avenue and I believe Hearts Leap on College in Berkeley also offers this kind of program. Unless there has been a very recent change in the programs all of these are exactly what you are describing.
Well, there's The Lake School, , Lakeview has a part time program, Chatham used to (Probably still does), most of the Oakland city rec centers have very part time programs. AOCS does a part time program, Temple Beth Abraham has a part time program, I think and I think Temple Sinai also has "until 3" program.
you might be interested in a new licensed daycare in Montclair for children 2 to 5 years old: Cottage Playhouse . (see link for info)
Did you check out the Griffin Nursery School , 2410 Prince Street, Berkeley, 845-2025? I haven't been there, but I understand it's a morning program with a good reputation
Try Skyline Preschool at 12540 Skyline Blvd in Oakland, (510) 530-0884. My daughter goes full-time and loves it, and I believe there are a number of kids that part-time.
We love Monteverde School on College Ave.
As I recall from our experience many years ago, two very good preschools that offered part time programs were: Berkeley Hills Nursery School , and Step One (also north Berkeley area). They are outside the Oakland /Piedmont area you mentioned, but might be worth a look.