Seeking a Daycare or Preschool in El Cerrito

Parent Q&A

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  • Hello! We are moving to the El Cerrito Hills and would appreciate recommendations for preschools with openings for a 4-year-old starting in January. Many schools I’ve called are already full for the school year. 

    If you have time to volunteer, the El Cerrito Parent Cooperative is GREAT! 

    You might want to look into Sunshine Playschool in El Sobrante. It's a bit of a trek though no traffic getting my kid there or home (just the reverse when I come home solo and I just listen to podcasts). I've been soooo happy with them for the past 6 months my 3.5 year old has gone there. Absolutely worth the drive from El Cerrito hills where I also live. 

    Hi! We also live in the El Cerrito Hills and send our 3 year old to Little Tree Montessori. It’s also Mandarin immersion which is something we were specifically looking for. 

  • Touring a couple schools near our new house, but can't find any reviews of Little Tree Montessori in El Cerrito. Does anyone have any experience with them? Also meeting with Rising Sun, which has plenty of glowing reviews but a bit further for us. Open to other recommendations between EL Cerrito and downtown Oakland. Preferably starting this fall but also ok if we need to wait for an opening later in the year or next year. Ideally looking for him to have a Montessori education and be able to get to know and grow with the teachers. Also, if you know of any great in home daycares that could take him now, I'd appreciate it! He's 17 months old. Thank you!

    Little Elephant Montessori (they have both Berkeley and Oakland schools, but I think that Berkeley may be the only one with openings for the fall).  Both of my kids went there and loved it, as did we.  Natanya Moore, the founder and director, is fantastic and all of the teachers are warm, interesting, well-trained, and great with the kids.  I can't recommend it highly enough.  My kids haven't been there in a while, but my niece will be starting in the fall, and it is exciting to have the next "generation" of our family there.

  • Hi There!

    Any recommendations on a daycare located in El Cerrito area that are accepting toddlers? I need full-time care for my son who is 13 months old.

    Many thanks,

    Shalisa  :)

    Karen’s Kiddos.  I don’t know if they have room,  but this is a great place.  I’ve known Christina for years.  Very caring place.

    I've had my son at Auntie Shell's Childcare and Pre-K for a little over a year now (He just turned 2). She will have openings for toddlers in September. Her number: 510-684-2257.

    Highly recommend Nini’s Place in Richmond (Annex, close to Trader Joe’s Plaza area in El Cerrito). Our two children went there from ages 7 months to 3 years and we still drop by for visits, they are so fond of her!

    We’re really happy with Pride and Joy on Liberty St., although you’ll need to check with the director Moilan to see if there is space. 

  • I am having a hard time finding a *reasonably priced* preschool in or around El Cerrito that runs on an academic year rather than year-round schedule. My husband and I teach, and so we spend the summer road-tripping, camping and caring for elderly parents back east. We have found a few promising places, but so far they are all year-round. The thought of paying thousands of dollars for the 10+ weeks that we are gone for the summer seems somehow absurd.

    I realize that many parents work year-round and appreciate the ability to have a stable placement for their children throughout, but I imagine that there are others in a similar position to us that have found accommodations.

    Thanks for any leads.

    We LOVE Casa Cerrito, the city-run preschool.  They give an option to change your schedule over the summer, and tell them you plan to have your child back full-time in the fall.  Last year we reduced preschool to half-time for a few weeks and then went back up in the fall.  They do say there's no guarantee you'll get your full-time spot back if another kiddo comes full-time in the summer and wants to stay, but I think they try to make it work, and they're more affordable than most other preschools around.  The down side is that their hours are 9am-5pm, no extended care available, so if you can't make those dropoff/pickup times work with your work schedule it can be pretty challenging.

    Good luck!

    My son went to a preschool in Berkeley, run by BUSD 2015-2016. I paid less than $800 M-F 9-3. I know that they have groups run on academic year and also groups for a longer day (these are very hard to get into). I was happy with the public preschool. I visited or spoke to ALL preschools in Berkeley-Albany-Kensigtin area. This was my top choice. My other son will start at the same school (they are called childhood development center, not preschool) in August. The downsides are that children must be fully potty-trained and if you are late 3 times to pick up your child-you are out! The had a weekly library, garden, PE, and theatre performances. Lunches are included in the price. Also they had two field-trips on a school bus. Firefighters visited them on a fire truck and dental hygienists did to teach them how to brush their teeth. I felt that my son, who is now in second grade, was  perfectly prepared for school. There are 3 sites: Franklin, Hopkins (we went there), and another one. Information is on BUSD website.


    I don’t have a specific place recommendation in El Cerrito but my husband and I are both teachers too. When our son was in preschool, we had a year round preschool. However the preschool worked with us so our son could go part time instead of full during the summer. It saved us some money and it was actually nice to be able to take him sometimes and get a break, although we were out of town a lot.

    I’m not sure if our school was just particularly flexible, but it is worth asking wherever you go. That school has since changed owners and is entirely different now.

    We moved out to Pinole and our last preschool WAS on an academic schedule and was fantastic: La Casita Bilingue in old town Pinole. If you happen to work this direction I highly recommend.

    My daughter is at the Berkeley Rose Waldorf School preschool, and we love it. They are on an academic schedule and have spaces available for next year. I'm sure someone could arrange a tour if you call.

    Gay Austin school in Berkeley. Both my kids went there and loved it. Not year-round, not cheap but cheaper than many other schools we looked at, and was only a 7-minute drive from our house in El Cerrito.

    Check out Sunshine Playschool in El Sobrante.  They are year round, but many teachers' children attend and they seem flexible with taking summers off without losing your spot.  Good luck!

    It’s not nearby but I beleive the Mills Children’s School in Oakland uses an academic year schedule (they have a summer program but you have to pay and enroll separately). They accept kids as young as 6mo. 

  • Infant daycare near El Cerrito

    (1 reply)

    Hi there! We have been looking for a daycare for our daughter who will be four months when I return to work in October. We have somewhat of a tight budget ($1300-1400) and are looking for a place near El Cerrito. Please let us know about any openings you may know of- we're feeling a bit stuck. We've tried Bananas but haven't quite heard back from places we've reached out to.


    I highly recommend Nini's Place in Richmond Annex. Anita Lavenia has decades of experience and was a loving home-away-from-home for our two kids since six months of age until our youngest recently transitioned to preschool. Her phone is 510-219-2603. Happy to share more if interested.

  • Seeking infant daycare near Del Norte BART

    (3 replies)

    Hi there! I'm looking for M-F fulltime daycare starting in May for my daughter, who will be 9 months old at that time. I've tried calling as many places as possible and am having no luck getting a spot for an infant! Any help would be much appreciated. Closer to Del Norte Bart is best, but I'm flexible. Thank you!

    Have you heard of Bananas? They’re a nonprofit childcare referral place. Great resource...

    I have a 10 month old in daycare, and it seems harder to get an infant slot than to get into a good college! Unless you luck out and happen to find a family daycare opening, it might be easier to find a nanny share on BPN.

    You can check if Shahin has an opening. She lives very close to El Cerrito Del Norte. 510-847-7561

  • Hi BPN, our childcare plans didn't work out as expected and we are now looking for daycare for our baby girl in El Cerrito or the surrounding area beginning in April. I work in El Cerrito for WCCUSD, and will be returning to work April 17th. I work 8:30-4 during the school year with some intermitten work in the summer. Lucía will be 5 months old the week prior to me returning to work. If you have an infant spot available at your daycare or can recommend someone who does, please contact us. We prefer a small in home daycare.

    Thank you!

    I highly recommend BB's Daycare!  Bouchra is the most loving, nurturing, wonderful provider.  Even after my daughter started school, she always asked to go back there for daycare instead of summer camps.  BB's is a home-based daycare, one block from the El Cerrito Plaza BART station.  I would trust her with my infant any day.

    Please call Bouchra at 510-541-9239. 

    Our former Nanny Tseyang (pronounced Tse-young) opened a home day care on the El Cerrito Richmond border.  It is called Kunga Day Care and it is listed on the BPN's website.

    Tseyang is magical.  Seriously she is the best.  The place is beautiful and clean and she is meticulous in her care.  If I can answer any questions for you, feel free to contact me via my user name.

    Contact Ligia Alvarez at Little Blue House Preschool on Arlington in Richmond. I don't know if she has openings or not. She only takes 14 kids at a time and only a few can be infants. Her whole family is wonderful. Our son thrived there (after failing at a bigger, fancier preschool in El Cerrito). 

    (510) 234-83325834 Arlington Blvd
    Richmond, CA 94805

  • I have a 14 month old son and now starting to really research daycare options in or near El Cerrito area. We are a conscious living family so an eco-friendly, clean with minimal plastic place would be ideal. Warm and attentive caregivers. Lots of activities and play time since our kiddo is full of energy. Also would be great to have organic meals and/or healthy snacks provided, part-time available and supported potty training.

    Looking forward to your recommendations!

    Thanks a lot in advance!

    Little Inti Daycare, it's in El Ceritto just a few blocks away from the high school. She normally takes kids from 2-5 years old. My daughter has been there since she was two, she'll be five next summer and we have absolutely loved being there. She also makes home cooked food and snacks for the kids everyday. I can't recommend her enough.

    We loved Applejacks, which is on Hill by del Norte BART. Kathy, the owner, is very warm and loving and has run Applejacks for over 25 years. The house and yard are fantastic and her assistant Tashi makes rice and dal for lunch for the kids every day. My kids attended from 3 months old to just over 3 years and came home happy and exhausted every day!

    Both my children went to Shahin's Daycare in El Cerrito (on Cutting near Del Norte station) and thrived! It is an amazing warm home-based daycare with long-time employees and a great parent community. They provide home-made mostly organic meals, lots of outdoor time, and so much love. Both my children started around 5 months old and stayed until they left for Preschool around 3 years old. They both talk about it all the time even now at 3.5 and 6.5 years old. It is also very working parent friendly, open 7:30 - 6:00, near Bart, and with monthly parents night out where the kids can stay until midnight on a Friday for an extra fee (my kids always considered this a huge social events, as often the older siblings of the current toddlers would come as well). I know that a lot of kids left for preschool this fall and some new babies have started, but I would imagine that there might be space for a toddler. We can't recommend this daycare enough. It was our kids second home. Contact Shahin Bahamian (510) 234-1238