Seeking a Daycare or Preschool in Berkeley
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– Jul 20, 2022(2 replies)
I am a solo mom moving to South Berkeley from SF in the next few weeks with my 3 year old daughter. I would so appreciate hearing from anyone with experience at Aquatic Park School or UC Berkeley’s ECE Harold E Jones location. Both seem really wonderful and have spots for my daughter, but I’d love to get firsthand insight.
Thanks so much - I am really looking forward to moving across the Bay to Berkeley!Jul 20, 2022
– Jul 7, 2022(7 replies)
Hello, we have a three year old, and we will be living on Vine and Shattuck. Searching for any recommendations around the area.Jul 7, 2022
– May 6, 2022(1 reply)
We are new to the area and looking at preschool options for our 2.5 year old. We've enjoyed getting to know the folks at Room to Grow and Arbor, but haven't been able to find more comprehensive reviews. Can anyone share experiences with either?
Thanks!May 6, 2022
– Apr 14, 2022(4 replies)
We've toured many preschools and have been offered spots at Duck's Nest 41st and Rockridge Little School on College. We liked them both, but they are so different and I really can't decide. Location-wise, Little School is probably easier for us. I liked that Duck's Nest basically has smaller class sizes. I worry Little School would get loud/overwhelming all day in one big room, but my daughter is loud herself and probably wouldn't mind? All of the kids there seemed quite happy. Diversity is super important to us and it seemed comparable among the students at both schools, but better among the teachers at Little School. I also got concerned about some negative posts about Duck's Nest - even though they were from a few years ago, it seemed like lack of supervision/taking parent concerns seriously put some kids at risk in the past. We haven't applied to Step One or Aquatic School and who knows if they'd even have spots for the fall (our daughter will be 3), but wondering also how those compare. Thanks for any thoughts. I tend to be on the anxious/indecisive side even though my preschooler is much more easy going than I am, lol.Apr 14, 2022
– Dec 11, 2021(1 reply)
I’m relatively new to the area and am looking for a loving and secure daycare in South Berkeley for a 4 month old in April. Please share any daycare recommendations in South Berkeley area and if you know of any openings. Thanks!Dec 11, 2021
– Nov 20, 2021(2 replies)
My family is moving to the area next February and my kids are 2yo and 6mo. I feel like I need to find a place ASAP. Had no idea there were year-long waitlists? And there's preschools with different schedules? It feels so crazy coming from living in a place where I call the best looking place and they just ask when did you want to start.
Please help with recommendations and advice! Thanks!Nov 20, 2021
– Jun 24, 2021(4 replies)
I am looking and thought I would also ask for any recommendations about care options in Berkeley for my daughter. She is 2 1/2 yrs & will be 3 yrs old in Dec.
So if there is somewhere great you know about and you don't mind taking a minute; please let us know as there are a lot of options out there and any info would help.
SashaJun 24, 2021
– Apr 19, 2021(2 replies)
Hello, We are moving close to N Berkeley Bart/Virginia McGee totland, our son is 1.5 yrs old. Are there preschools nearby that parents and kids love? Thank you!Apr 19, 2021
– Apr 10, 2021(3 replies)
My 3 year old son has stayed home since last March and thus has become too attached to me. I really need to enroll him in a fun, play-based preschool now. Can you recommend any schools with current opening?
FatemeApr 10, 2021
– Mar 3, 2021(8 replies)
We are moving to the East Bay (targeting Berkeley/Rockridge) this summer, and will need childcare for our almost 3 year old. We are currently living in the DC area, and I am assuming that childcare is as competitive (if not more so) in the East Bay, so I'd like to get on some waiting lists now as we will need care starting in the late summer/early fall.
It's easy to do online searches to find daycares, but it's so difficult to distinguish the great from the good from the probably not for us options solely online. Where we currently live, we were lucky to have a strong parents network that we could tap into for recommendations and advice, so I'm hoping to find that here.
What we're looking for:
- Smaller class sizes
- Very fun and engaging atmosphere
- Lots of outside time and activities-based play
- Loving, caring providers
- Not super concerned with a lot of book-based curriculum- we want our kid to be active and happy
- Centers are fine
- An exceptional in-home would be a possibility
- Outstanding safety precautions, especially COVID-related
- Connected parent community (it would be great to make some friends with other parents, since we'll be new to the area)
Thank you very much in advance for your suggestions and advice!Mar 3, 2021
– Dec 15, 2020(1 reply)
anyone know anything about walnut grove berkeley, or kidsland addison?Dec 15, 2020
– Nov 7, 2020(14 replies)
Hello BPN! We're looking for a preschool for Sept 2021 for our daughter. We would love to stay in South, Central, North, or West Berkeley. Our daughter is very outgoing and curious, so we think she'll adapt to most schools well. She's biracial (Black/Asian), and we'd love to find an inclusive and diverse preschool. We'd especially love for our daughter to have Black peers and teachers. Does anyone have recommendations?
We've spoken to a few schools (the Berkeley School, Hearts Leap South, Little Elephant too) and have a few others on our radar (Aquatic Park, New School), and we'd love to hear from current parents (or parents of recent alums) about their experience.
Thanks!Nov 7, 2020
– Oct 28, 2020(4 replies)
My family is moving up to the East Bay and looking for suggestions re: good preschools, daycares, and transitional kindergartens. We are likely coming up in January by which time our kids will be 4 and 1.5 years old. We are looking at areas between Piedmont Avenue and North Berkeley.
Any advice re: great TKs in Oakland/Berkeley (w Spanish Immersion a plus) would be much appreciated. We'd also appreciate any advice on preschools. We've been checking out A Room to Grow and Duck's Nest and are open to suggestions. Also, if there's a great program that takes kids from 1 to 5 years old, we'd be interested in hearing about it.
Once we figure out schools, we'll be able to figure out housing!
Thanks very much,
M, N, W, COct 28, 2020
– Oct 13, 2020(1 reply)
After many months of waiting, we are finally moving to Berkeley in mid-December and we're at a loss as to where to begin to find a school for our son and daughter.
Our son turned 4-years old last July and our daughter celebrated 2-years the same month. Right now they attend the same school, where our son is in a Pre-K and his sister is in a preschool program. My wife and I are supporters of public education, though right now they're in a privately-run school because the kids are very close. We'd love to keep them together if at all possible but obviously we're ok with sending them to separate schools because of their ages.
Where do we begin?
And, how soon do we need to register our son for kindergarten?
Are Berkeley schools assigned or a lottery?
Lots of questions! We're excited about the move but anxious to do right by our kids. Thank you!Oct 13, 2020
– May 22, 2020(1 reply)
Our family of three is planning to relocate to Berkeley(space, the beautiful flowers, the list goes on) from San Francisco. Our 3.5 year old son goes to Katherine Michiels School in San Francisco. Will preschool admissions in Berkeley occur at their regular rate or will they slow down because of the need to maintain space in the school area? Does anyone know if this has happened already? My concern is that it would make finding a vacancy that much harder(or impossible) for maybe the entire next year.
SaptarshiMay 22, 2020
– Dec 13, 2019(6 replies)
I am looking to go on waiting lists for good day care centers near the UC Berkeley main campus (workplace near west entrance University ave.). Please let me know of any recommendations. Thank you.Dec 13, 2019
– Nov 5, 2019(6 replies)
Hello! We are currently looking for a part time play group, preschool ( in home or not ) for our just two year old son. He is very active, social and adventurous. We are looking to start him ASAP or at the least January. We are having a hard time finding the right fit for him or an opening at all. If anyone has any recommendations in the Berkeley area it would be greatly appreciated.
AliNov 5, 2019
– Jul 15, 2019(4 replies)
Hi! I will be moving back to Berkeley, this time with a toddler in tow. She has a September birthday and will turn 3 this year. I am doing research for preschools and am finding it super overwhelming and much of the posts here on BPN are outdated.
For those who enrolled their toddler in Berkeley Public Schools pre-school, how successful will I be or will I be on the waiting list forever? Will I need to qualify and is there a income restriction? i.e, if you make above a certain amount then you do not qualify?
Are there any recommendations in the Berkeley area? I work in San Ramon so it is important to me that it is accessible for my mom (grandma) to pick up my daughter after school. Since she is only turning 3, I am thinking part time would be ok.
What other factors do I need to consider? Feeling lost and overwhelmed so guidance is appreciated!!!Jul 15, 2019
– Jun 3, 2019(8 replies)
We are late to the game looking for a preschool for our 3-year-old. Does anyone know of a great school, preferably in North Oakland, South Berkeley or Piedmont that still has openings for the fall? We prefer play-based but are open to other types of schools as well. Thanks so much!Jun 3, 2019
– Mar 28, 2019(2 replies)
So nice to discover this group. Our family of three are thinking of moving to a home in Berkely and wanted to take advantage of the very good school system there. A kink in the plan is that our 2 year old got admission to Katherine Michiels School in San Francisco. It took us a long time get admission and experience tells me getting into anything takes time in the bay area.
Does anyone have advice on a preschool comparable to KMS and how feasible it would be gain admission mid this year? I really dont want to make the commute from Berkeley to KMS every day twice a day ...Mar 28, 2019
– Mar 21, 2019(10 replies)
My family and I are moving back to Berkeley and I'm a little overwhelmed with preschool options. I'm looking at schools that prioritize diversity with students and support it with a culturally competent curriculum. (that has good structure, not just free play) Also, I really want a preschool that has diversity amongst its teachers. Any recommendations?
Thank you!Mar 21, 2019
– Mar 19, 2019(1 reply)
My nearly two year old child's strongest interest is music, both "playing" musical instruments and listening to others play. I am hoping to find a preschool in Berkeley (preferably North Berkeley) where he can continue to explore that interest. I would be grateful for any recommendations as to preschools that offer access to instruments and musical experiences for the children (sing-a-longs with guitar accompaniment, moving to music, etc.). Thanks in advance!Mar 19, 2019
– Mar 16, 2019(3 replies)
Hi! Can anyone recommend any daycares in Berkeley that are open 8a-6p? It would be for my daughter who is turning 2. I’ve been looking through the daycare list on BPN, but the info re:hours isn’t consistently available. Thanks so much for your help. We’re moving back to Berkeley after almost 9 years away! Very excited, but also daunting in many ways!Mar 16, 2019
– Feb 11, 2019(19 replies)
We are deciding which preschool to choose for our daughter who will be 3 this September. I'm a stay at home mom and this will be my little one's first experience being away from mom. We visited two other schools and the teacher must have forgotten I was in the room because she shushed my daughter curtly when my toddler expressed excitement (followed by a gentler guidance from the director to use" indoor voices") and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I want to enroll her in a preschool that is warm with gentle teachers, where bullying isn't tolerated and is generally a place where she will be happy spending her days socializing and being engaged.
I'd love to hear recent experiences from any parents who enrolled their kids into any of these preschools. Any clear picks or red flags? Thank you!Feb 11, 2019
– Sep 4, 2018(8 replies)
I am new to this and would love to hear your recommendations for best daycares in Berkeley. I am already looking at Step One and Bright Horizons. My daughter is 19 months now. ThanksSep 4, 2018
– Jul 6, 2018(6 replies)
Can anybody recommend a good, AFFORDABLE daycare located in Berkeley? It’s for a 9 month old. The daycares all seem to be for 2+ Year olds. Many are around $1,300 per month, when we can really only afford 1/2 that. We are looking for larger group settings and possibly foreign language immersion.Jul 6, 2018
– Apr 18, 2018(4 replies)
Hello BPN parents,
My husband, myself and our 3 yo daughter are relocating from Brooklyn to Berkeley in August and are in search of a daycare/pre K for our 3 yo daughter Ella. We toured Duck’s Nest and fell in love with it, unfortunately we were put on a waitlist. If any of you know of a school that is comparable to Duck’s Nest, please let me know. Any info much appreciated!
AniaApr 18, 2018
– Apr 5, 2018(7 replies)
We will be moving to Berkeley in the summer and are looking for preschool options for our son, who will be 3 in September. We are looking for a place with good child:teacher ratios and preferably smaller class size. Preferred locations around North Berkeley, Thousand Oaks or close to UC Berkeley. Recommendations and any additional advice is welcome! Thank you!Apr 5, 2018
– Dec 22, 2017(2 replies)
im hoping to find a preschool or daycare with openings for my 3 year old in January in the Rockridge or Berkeley area! It'd be even better if they have an opening for a 3 month old as well! I'd love to keep my boys together if possible! Thanks!Dec 22, 2017
– Dec 20, 2017(2 replies)
Hello families! We are looking to relocate from San Francisco to South Berkeley (near San Pablo park) and are looking for a new preschool for our daughter who is two and a half. By chance does anyone know of a good preschool in that area that might have a full-time opening? Thank you!Dec 20, 2017
– Oct 13, 2017(2 replies)
Seeking updated experiences/ recommendations for preschools with longer hours in Berkeley. We are having some struggles with our current school and are particularly interested in hearing from those with their children currently at or recently at Cornerstone, Claremont Day or Golden Gate.
If you have a strong recommendation for or against any other place in town, we'd be happy to hear those too, but we need full day (7:30-5:30 or 8-6p at a minimum)
thanks in advance!Oct 13, 2017
– May 12, 2017(2 replies)
We just bought a home near San Pablo Park. Talk to me about preschool options nearby? My son is 3.5.
Thank you for any info or experiences!May 12, 2017
– Jan 25, 2017(1 reply)
Does anyone have any recommendations on home based day cares in Albany or Berkeley? I am looking for one for August for my then 1 year old.
Thanks so much!
[Moderator Note] On the BPN website there are 81 home-based daycares that have reviews in Berkeley and Albany. Use the search at https://www.berkeleyparentsnetwork.org/daycares-preschoolsJan 25, 2017
– Jan 4, 2017(2 replies)
Hi parents and caregivers,
We are currently looking for a homecare/daycare in the Berkeley area, ideally with a full-time opening for our 2.5 yr old daughter. She is currently in a homecare full time with 8 other children, run by a teacher who is Montessori trained from 8 am to 5:30 pm. We'll be moving from Oakland to South Berkeley soon, so we looking for a new homecare/daycare that will be local to us. We'd love to find a new daycare that offers play-based learning, a range of activities and has meals provided. Our daughter sees her current homecare as an extension of her family, so we'd love to find her a place as equally warm and welcoming.
I would love to hear any recommendations! ThanksJan 4, 2017
– Aug 22, 2016(2 replies)
My husband and I are thinking about moving to the Berkeley/Oakland area early next year. Our son will be 2 in November, so I was wondering if anyone knows about any preschools that accept students in the middle of the school year (January/February 2017). Any advice and/or specific school recommendations would be much appreciated!Aug 22, 2016
– Aug 17, 2016(5 replies)
Can anyone recommend a small, loving and nurturing play-based home preschool in Berkeley? Looking for a strong connection to nature, organic food for snacks and a feeling of community among the parents. In the flats would be a huge bonus.Aug 17, 2016
Archived Q&A and Reviews
- Mid-year opening for 4 year old near North Berkeley?
- Preschools near Totland in Berkeley
- Best Daycare Centers for Infants Berk/Oak?
Do you love your child's preschool? Looking for a mid-year opening (immediate or summer) for a 4 1/2 year old boy with fall birthday. preferably in north Berkeley or northward (Albany, Kensington, El Cerrito). Play-based with a lot of freedom, movement, music a plus. Thank you
We love the Child Study Center, part of Cal's childcare. We started in February, 2014, when our daughter was three and we had just moved to the East Bay. We were shocked that they had an opening, and I think they do now for 4 year olds. Amazing teachers, no turnover, spacious yards and plenty of choice in activities or free play for most of the day. Perfect, except the price and the upcoming Spring Break. http://ece.berkeley.edu/ Amy
My 5-year-old goes to Child Education Center in North Berkeley, and we LOVE it. He's been there since he was 4 months old, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It's play based (reggio), the teachers are incredibly creative, and there are weekly music and dance classes and lots of field trips. Some of the programs are wait listed, but there might be openings in the preschool. Good luck! http://www.childeducationcenter.org/ Heather
I live close to Tot Land in North Berkeley and would like to send my son to a preschool that is in walking distance. Can anyone recommend a prescool that is close by? I am interested in a school that takes two and a half year olds and offers half day programs. Mixed age, flexible environments appeal to me, but mostly I'm interested in excellent teachers. ann
I am looking for recommendations on the best daycare centers (and the ones to avoid), that accept infants. My baby will be 4 months old when I go back to work, part-time. I have read numerous posts about various centers but they are a bit outdated. Positive and negative feedback would be greatly appreciated! I stayed home with my first child and am nervous about placing baby in a formal daycare, but finances may require it. Thanks in advance for your help. working mom