Archived Q&A and Reviews
We are searching for a preschool, and have found a couple we really like that close during the summer. We will need care during this time, however, and I'm wondering whether it's worth considering these schools and supplementing with camps or other summer activities, or whether this is just too much transition for a young child. Our child will start preschool at almost three, so the summers we'd need to fill would be at ages 3.9, 4.9, and 5.9. Are there enough programs out there that are open to and equipped to handle preschool-aged children that this might be feasible (I have seen a few, but not many, that take kids this age), or are we better off limiting our search to year-round schools? Would love to hear from other families at academic year preschools. (We would certainly plan to take any family vacations during this time too, but are not in a position to take two full months off, unfortunately.) Soon-to-be mama of a preschooler
You didn't indicate any geographic location at all, so this may not work for you. Lakeshore Children's Center in Oakland (3540 Lakeshore Avenue) is a year-round preschool that never closes for a full week at a time, any time of the year. It has very working-family-friendly hours, too. It's been around a long time and has a very stable staff. Former LCC parent
We faced this issue as well and ultimately chose a preschool that is year-round, and generally more accommodating for families with two working parents, rather than some other options we were considering that took the summer off and/or had a huge number of other breaks throughout the year (e.g., a whole week at Thanksgiving, 3 weeks at Christmas, Presidents Week, plus whole weeks taken up multiple times a year by in-service training, conferences, etc.). I have a rather flexible work schedule and a generous vacation package, but there's now way my work could accommodate all of that. Yes, we'll have to deal with summer vacation and other vacations, etc. when they're in elementary school. But my thought is that by the time they're that age, they'll (presumably/hopefully) be more adaptable and able to deal with going to multiple places. But at these early ages (3 and 4), having them in summer camps in the summer, which are often short in duration and involving lots of new changes from week to week) seems like a bit too much to me. Also, many of the summer camps are really expensive-- much more than paying for preschool when all added up. Though there are some cheaper summer camp options, often run through cities' parks & rec, etc., these often don't accommodate the younger ages. Some of my friends' kids currently go to really nice preschools but have had to deal with this whole hassle of trying to find summer camp for 3 and 4 year olds and I don't envy them at all. If there's no preschool that you like or that works out for your family that includes summer care, I'm sure you'll all survive. But if you can find something you like that includes summer/year round care, I'd definitely go with that. --working mama
We are in need of a year round, full day (8:00-5:30) preschool for our son in Berkeley or Albany. We would prefer a Montessori preschool but we are open to other options. Does anyone know if this exists? Thank you. -anon
The JCC of the East Bay in North Berkeley provides care 8am - 5:30pm year-round. Our daughter went there for several years and just ''graduated''. We were extremely happy with the school and the community.
Our daughter was thrilled to go to school practically every day, and she and the other kids were lucky to have the wonderful and caring teachers who are at the JCC. The activities are fun and age-appropriate developmentally, with room for adjustments based on the needs of the individual kid. She made several friends with whom she's had all kinds of play dates as well.
I believe they still have a few spaces open for the Fall, so you may want to get in touch right away. Very satisfied JCC family
Aquatic Park School in Berkeley is open year round, 7:30am-6pm. It is 5mos to 5 years (or whenever they start kindergarten--some kids even go back for after school care when they start kindergarten.
Cedar Creek (I think it's Montessori) in Berkeley on Cedar and Sacramento: also has longer hours.
Check out Growing Light Montessori school, which is right on the Arlington, 5 min. away from Berkeley. It is a very established Montessori school with well trained teachers, a warm environment, and a good balance between academics and freedom. My children went to school there, and really blossomed. The school is year-round with extended care until 6pm. It is a wonderful place. Happy mom
My son just ''graduated'' from kindergarten at Bright Star in Albany. He has done well there, we have enjoyed the last 3 years. I am impressed with his projects and ''focus,'' I also like their outdoor play area and the families. This is a small school, during the summer the program is mainly play based. And, if your son starts at 8 he will be one of the first kids there, most kids start between 8:30-9. satisfied mom