Language Immersion Programs in OUSD
There are a couple of great options with Oakland Unified! Some of which we decided to put on our list for our current kindergartener. OUSD has a list on their website: https://www.ousd.org/Page/15094 We chose to live in Oakland in part because of the likelihood our kids could do bilingual public education.
I think Melrose Leadership Academy is most people's favorite. It does not have a neighborhood to draw from and so there's no way to guarantee your child will go there. It runs through 8th grade. We've put it #1 on our list for two years now.
Manzanita Seed is also popular. When I toured there two years ago I liked it but wasn't in love. It went #4 on our list. I think that it often has a long waitlist. I'm not sure if everyone in the neighborhood can go there if they want or not.
At the time we were doing the lottery for kindergarten we were in boundary for International Community School and I loved it when I toured it. I think it's kind of a secret diamond, though is starting to get more interest from families who aren't able to get into Melrose or Manzanita. Last I checked only about 50% of the students come from the neighborhood, and so you could live elsewhere and try to get a spot from the lottery if you don't like the neighborhood. The principle who gave us the tour was friendly and professional. She obviously new the kids and the community well. There was a lot of flexibility in the classroom- different seating options, etc. They just got a new playground and have gotten a lot of grants for other improvements- a librarian and library for example. It would have definitely been #1 on our list except that we wanted our kids speaking Spanish through middle school, so it was #3 for us.
The school was was #2 on our list and that we ended up at is Greenleaf. It is currently bilingual up to 3 or 4 grade but each year they add a grade. Eventually it will be Spanish bilingual through 8th. It was a failing school that was closed down and restarted with community input and has improved a lot since then. When they asked what people wanted they told the district a bilingual program. Most of the kids live in the in-boundary neighborhood but we didn't. We were first on the waitlist (12 I think) and got called during the summer. When I toured I liked it; it seemed well run and like a good school but I didn't love it as much as ICS. But the building is just as nice and they also have a library. We've been mostly happy there, though it's been a weird year to start kindergarten. Since we've been online we've not connected as much to the school. But my child's teacher is excellent. They are trying to build school community with special online events. They are fairly good at communicating with parents.
For preschool all my kids have gone to Colibri Preschool in Oakland, and it's awesome. I can't say enough great things about it- both pre and post-Covid. Since it's a private preschool there's no way to make sure you'll have a spot there. It has 2-4 year olds.
Oakland Unified has seven elementary schools with dual immersion (Spanish-English) programs. Middle-class families have flocked to Melrose Leadership Academy in recent years and many people seem to think that is the only program in the district, but that is incorrect (10-15 years ago middle-class families flocked to Manzanita SEED). More information and a full list of schools is here - https://www.ousd.org/Page/15146. If you listed only schools with dual immersion programs on your Options form you would definitely get into one of them (and several are wonderful but chronically underenrolled programs). San Leandro Unified also has a dual immersion (Spanish-English) program at Washington Elementary. None of these schools have "good" scores on Greatschools because they don't have great test scores (partly because test scores typically lag for dual-immersion students and partly because they enroll a high proportion of low-income students and test scores are always correlated with socio-economic status). That doesn't mean that they are not amazing school communities providing quality education - and they are absolutely worth exploring.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
You didn't say whether you were looking for preschool for right now, or looking ahead toward kindergarten. For preschool, I'd recommend any of the several Kidsland home-based daycare/preschools (mostly located in S. Berkeley, but also w/locations in San Leandro).
If you are looking ahead toward kindergarten plus, Oakland Unified School District offers dual-immersion Spanish/English in several of its public schools, including Melrose Leadership Academy, Manzanita Seed, Community United, Global Family School, and Esperanza Elementary. I chose Esperanza for my son this year, and have been impressed thus far w/the level of caring & commitment amongst the teachers, admin, and after school staff. All of the Spanish language arts teachers are native speakers. There are some of the usual public school issues (class sizes larger than ideal in some grades, for instance), but for an Oakland public school, I'd say they make a dedicated contribution to the community. Parent who switched from private to public