Seeking a Daycare or Preschool in Oakland

Parent Q&A

Looking for an in-home daycare: Oakland, July 2020 Jan 22, 2020 (2 responses below)
Oakland Preschool for sensitive, non napping 2.5 year old May 10, 2019 (8 responses below)
Current Experience with These East Oakland Preschools Jan 28, 2019 (1 responses below)
Play based preschool recommendations in Oakland? Sep 13, 2018 (7 responses below)
Looking for Preschool for 2.5 yr old near Mills/Zoo Aug 22, 2018 (1 responses below)
Home Day Care near Redwood Heights with openings for Sept 1st Aug 13, 2018 (2 responses below)
Montclair Preschool and Day Care? May 19, 2018 (2 responses below)
Seeking a Preschool ( Age 4) near Lincoln Heights Mar 17, 2018 (2 responses below)
Part-time Preschool near Southern Oakland Hills Jan 10, 2018 (1 responses below)
Current openings for 2 y/o in an Oakland preschool? Dec 12, 2017 (1 responses below)
Daycare openings near Rockridge BART for November Sep 11, 2017 (1 responses below)
Last minute preschool for fall 2017 near Lake Merritt Jun 26, 2017 (2 responses below)
Daycare recommendations for infant in Oakland Apr 3, 2017 (1 responses below)
Preschool in Rockridge Mar 31, 2017 (2 responses below)
Looking for full time daycare for my 18 month old son in Oakland Mar 13, 2017 (3 responses below)
  • Hello! We are looking for a small, caring in-home daycare beginning in late June/early July 2020 for our 8.5 month-old son. We would prefer a daycare close to our home, in the Laurel/Dimond/Fruitvale/Redwood districts, and we will need care at least Monday-Thursday (ideally 8am-6pm but we could work with 8:30am-5:30pm). We are also willing to pay for full time care, M-F.  I have searched this site and reviewed the many listed daycares but am also interested in any current recommendations and possible openings for this time period. Thank you for your help!

    My daughter went to Carmen's Family Daycare at 1957 E 38th street in the Dimond. We were very happy with the providers who are both named Carmen (although they went by Tia and Nina).

    Hi! I hope you will check out Compassionate Child Care (CCC) between the Laurel and Dimond districts. Sonam and her family are amazing! They are listed on BPN

  • Hello-

    I am looking for recommendations and/or advice on appropriate preschools for our daughter. Sleeping has always been a challenge for her, and despite our best efforts, she rarely naps (and generally holds up well for the entirety of the day). She will be 2.5 this fall and we'd originally thought to hold off on school due to her sensitive nature, mainly her attachment to "mama" and difficulty around separations. However, she has started to demonstrate more independence and we are regretting our decision to hold-off on schools as we are now thinking that she will be more stimulated and distracted in a school setting, oppose to at home with a nanny. She enjoys being around other children and in a stimulating/engaging environment. Of course, now most preschools are full for the upcoming year. We found one Reggio style school with an opening that seems like a good fit in many ways, however, their options around napping are likely too rigid for our daughter (expected to occupy herself quietly on a nap amidst sleeping peers). We are not opposed to other school models (Montessori, Waldorf, etc.), and are more interested in a play-based program, with supportive and positive teachers (and a higher teacher/student ratio). We would likely be starting her at part-time until she is adjusted, with the hopes of transitioning to something closer to full-time by the time she is 3/3.5. We are considering programs with current openings, or holding off until fall 2020 for a better fit. Any advice regarding this transitions, and programs that seem like a good fit are greatly appreciated! We are in Oakland near Park Blvd, so the closer the better. 

    Places we're already considering if you have any feedback on these programs (and interested in new ideas too):

    My Own Montessori (a little far from us and no extended afternoon care options, but seems like a solid program with alternative activities for non nappers)

    Duck's Nest 41st (no space for the upcoming year, but it seems like a good program with full-time options at a good price point compared to the other schools we're looking at. However, it would mean waiting until fall 2020, and that is if we get in. Does anyone know how hard is it to get in to this school?)

    Children's Workshop Oakland (Lovely program with full-time options, but no nap alternatives so we may not even be able to make use of full-time schedule. Also, it is relatively new, so there are not many reviews, etc.)

    Holding Hands (Would have to wait until Fall 2020 based on minimum age requirements, but nearby and have heard positive things)

    We have had a wonderful experience at Duck's Nest.  The environment and the teachers are superb.  I can confirm that enrollment is difficult, perhaps flexibility on days and part-time can increase your chances.  Feel free to contact me directly if you have specific questions on the school.

    Regarding your concerns around naptime, I can also confirm that other families struggle with this - especially through the transition of dropping naps!  Prior to enrolling in pre-school, I'd advise you to research state regulation as well as school policies around offering undistracted rest (nap) time.

    Hi There - My kids went/go to Bloomers, a small home-based, play-based, and reasonably-priced preschool in lower Glenview. They have both been very happy there, and get a lot of attention, which is great for my mama's girls. The kids are expected to rest during naptime (which I believe is shorter than most preschool naptimes), but the teachers put on soothing music, and I think sometimes kids who can't nap are moved to different areas or rooms so they don't keep others awake. You may want to talk to the owner, Carolyn, about her strategies for non-nappers. She has been in this business for decades, and has a strong, informed philosophy about early education practices and experience with all kinds of kids. My girls have never napped well, but very surprisingly (to me), neither was that bothered by resting during naptime at school, and sometimes actually fell asleep, even YEARS after they stopped napping at home. Bloomers teachers are very intentional about social-emotional learning, and there is a big focus on kindness and community. I really feel my girls have benefited from this approach. Also, being a neighborhood place, we've made friends with lots of other families that live within a mile of us, and that has been absolutely wonderful!

    Hi! Responding to your query about Ducks Nest on 41st: It's a great school! They handled our slow-to-transition, very mama-attached 2 y/o in a beautiful, caring way. And there were always kids in his classrooms (even at 2 and 3 years old) who didn't nap, and I don't remember it being a huge deal. However, I worry you won't get a spot for your daughter as a 3 y/o, because most of the 2 y/o class (Ducklings) goes on to the 3 y/o class (Wood Ducks), and if one or two students do move away or leave for whatever reason, those spots are nabbed so quickly. Maybe just go ahead and get on a waitlist for 2020-21 anyway? Best of luck!

  • Hello. We have a 4-month-old but are hearing from other families that some preschools have long waiting lists and that we shouldn't delay in exploring our options.

    We are planning to take some tours this spring but wanted to hear any other parents experiences with any of the following preschools: Kids Konnect, Oakland Garden School, Chathem Nursery School, Holding Hands, Skyline Preschool, or Duck Pond. 

    Thanks in advance for your input.

    My son attends Duck Pond and I also highly considered Skyline Preschool. I did start the application for both a year in advance of his start date.

    Duck Pond only accepts a small amount of children per year and will only accept applications in the fall of the year prior to starting. I was, literally, standing at the door the first day they would accept applications as I also heard it was very hard to get into preschool.

    As a back-up, I applied to Skyline which I really loved. The outdoor playground is very nice, the teachers are especially sweet and the tuition costs are manageable. Our neighbors son goes there and loves it. We would've ended up there but amazingly our son was accepted to Duck Pond so that is where we landed. 

    I can't say enough about Duck Pond. They have enrichment programs four out of five days a week and the class size is small enough where I know my son is getting individual attention. They have a lot of activities for the families outside of school as well so you are constantly surrounded by community. So much so, I tend to run into the Duck Pond families by happenstance on the weekend. It makes the experience that much better. 

    I looked into Chatham as well upon the recommendation of a few friends whose kids went there. The waiting list is long there and spots fill up fast. The cost is much less than Duck Pond or Skyline but the class sizes are, subsequently, a lot bigger. We had/have a nanny for our son and daughter and because they were going from a situation where they got 1:1 attention all day long I strongly felt they needed to transition to a school with smaller classes. If that hadn't been the case, Chatham would have been a contender as well. 

    Finally, I did research Oakland Garden School and found they had a high teacher turnover rate - so immediately discounted it as that made me uncomfortable.

    Good luck! You're doing the right thing by starting early. :)

  • Can anyone recommend a play based preschool with a nice outdoor space in Oakland that your children love? Spanish is also a plus. Our daughter is 2, and we're looking for May 2019. Thanks!

    Sequoia Nursery School.  They don't enroll mid-year, only in September, but it is worth the wait.  The best outdoor space you have seen at a preschool.  Loving teachers.  Engaged parents.  I had four children go through there and they all say it was the best school they ever went to.  

    Information Night is usually held in January.

    Our son started at Storybrook Oakland this school year.  It is play based and they have an amazing outdoor space.  They have a cooking/farming teacher and art teacher in addition to the classroom teachers.  My son loves it there!

    Skyline Preschool at the UCC church on Skyline (but not religious), fantastic outdoor space.  Bloomers in Glenview has a nice space, but it's just the backyard of a house.  We loved both, but that was 12-14 years ago.  Both basically play based.

  • We are currently looking for a preschool M-F. My son is 2.5 yrs old. Preferably in the mills college  /Oakland zoo / Sheffield village area  .willing to try San Leandro also. Any suggestions? 

    We go to Daisy and love it. Your child is the same age as my daughter and would probably be in the “galaxy room,” where the teachers are super loving and kind. 

  • I am looking for a great daycare for my little boy Soren. He’s currently 17 months and in a small family daycare in SF that is bilingual and we love it. But we are moving to Oakland and looking for a new daycare for him to start at Sept. 1st.

    I’m looking for recommendations that might include something similar or even a larger daycare with openings. Our new home is in Redwood Heights so we’re looking within that proximity but will travel for the right school/daycare!


    I'm not sure if it is similar to your old daycare in SF, but we have been so happy with Carmen's Family Day Care in Glenview. My oldest child is moving onto preschool this week, as are several others, and I think they may have some space for toddlers. 

    Our child is in Sakura Daycare (Japanese-Spanish emersion) which is in your neighborhood, and we love it!

  • Montclair Preschool and Day Care?

    (2 replies)

    We are moving from Albany to Montclair in a month and need to find a preschool for our 3 year old (currently at Duck's Nest) and day care for our 1 year old (currently at a home day care). We need full-time hours, M-F. Any recommendations for loved preschools or day cares in or near Montclair? Any opinions about Smiles Day School? I've researched online, but would love some word-of-mouth recommendations from those familiar with the area. Thanks for your help!

    Have you checked to see if Duck’s Nest will allow you to transfer to the 41st or Telegraph campus? Neither is that far from Montclair.

    I'd like to wholeheartedly recommend that you check out The Pumpkin Seed Childcare ((510) 633-2423). Our daughter started at the Pumpkin Seed at two and half and stayed until she went off to kindergarten at five.  Damond and Jen, the incredible husband and wife duo who own and operate the Pumpkin Seed, played a hugely important part in her growth, development and frankly, in who she is as a person and as a student today (she's now about to start high school!). The influence of caregivers on young children in full time childcare is enormous and something I don't think I fully understood as a first time parent - I knew I had to choose carefully but I didn't realize the remarkable influence that others would have on my child. What I learned is that it truly does take a village to raise a child - the Pumpkin Seed is the very best kind of village and we feel so lucky to have found them. Not only did our daughter learn a lot from them, but so did we as parents. Jen and Damond are simply wonderful people. They're the parents of three outstanding kids, they're warm, open, communicative, down to earth, energetic and smart. Their years of experience is evident as is the tremendous amount of effort they put into what they do every single day. Give them a call, go for a visit and check out this marvelous gem of a "village" right here in Oakland. All the best in your search for childcare! :-)  

  • Hi all, 

    We are in the process of moving from SF to Oakland:) My son is 4 and currently enrolled in a large play based program here in SF, and will need one more full year of Preschool. I am on 2 waitlists for next year and starting to get nervous about a spot. Does anyone have any recommendations for around that area with known openings? We are totally ok with Lakehore, or Park Blvd surrounding areas. 

    Thank you! 

    You may want to check out Lakeshore Children's Center--it's a large, play-based program that is great for working parents. Staff have been working there for many years and there is low staff turnover. 

    The preschool our daughters attend, Pumpkin Seed, has spots available due to a family moving out of state in May, my review is on BPN but I’ve repeated it here for your convenience. We literally can’t imagine raising our kids without Titi Jen, Damond and the Moodie kids too! Our daughters are becoming intelligent thinkers, creative artists, excellent members of a community and just all around beautiful human beings due in no small part to the steady leadership, education and guidance offered by this amazing place called Pumpkin Seed. I feel like my children are being raised in a larger family and caring community, something truly special.

    When my older daughter started kindergarten this past year she was 1000% prepared, it was a beautiful thing to have so much confidence in her ability to thrive in a new environment. Pumpkin Seed has an amazing program, from field trips to the library, swimming lessons in the summer, daily hikes to explore and wonder, a curriculum that inspires, beautiful art projects, chickens, music, kite nights, movie nights, date nights, breakfast and lunch prepared from scratch with a menu that makes me salivate and my kids ACTUALLY eat all their veggies! The daily reports specifically written about my children helped me feel completely in tune with their wins, tough moments, and overall what’s going on at school. The advice of Titi Jen and Damond has been so essential to our parenting experience, we feel so supported! The community they work so hard to build have become our forever friends. We couldn’t be more grateful!

    Please consider checking them out:

  • My husband and I are still trying to identify daycare center for our first child, who's due at the end of Feb 2018. We are fortunate to have combined leave until early Sept 2018, so we're looking for childcare starting then. Ideally, it'd be a place near Lake Merritt or Downtown Oakland, but we are open. 

    Any recommendations for places you love?

    Know of any openings around that time?

    THANK YOU!!! 

    Whichever one has a spot for you?? (Okay, I kid, but...sadly, not really!) There aren't very many large daycare centers in the Downtown/Lake Merritt area, and almost all have waitlists, so your best bet is to cast a wide net and get on all the lists. Smalltrans (Caltrans daycare) sometimes has openings when others don't; we have friends who liked it there although I didn't love their lack of outdoor space. It's too early for many home daycares but you can start calling to see if they anticipate openings and at least get on their radar; you may have better luck with these than with centers. The good news is that September is when older kids often head off to preschool so spots do tend to turn over then. Good luck!

  • Hi BPN!  My daughter just turned 2 and is not potty trained.  Do you know of any preschools near the Southern Oakland Hills offering a part-time preschool program?  Thanks for the help!

    We enrolled our older daughter at Treehouse and were very happy with the school. Treehouse offers a class for 2-year-olds and being potty trained is not a requirement. I’ll be enrolling my baby there once she turns two in the fall.

  • Hi,

    We just moved to Oakland (Montclair) and are looking for a half-day play based preschool for our 2.5 year old. Does anyone know of any with an opening now? We're already applying to a few places for the fall, but we're hoping to get her in something sooner.


    Hello, welcome to Montclair!  we are attending Blue Skies and absolutely love it.  It is an amazing, accredited play-based school.  If you would like, I will be happy to provide more details.

    Warm Regards, 


  • My husband and I are a bit late to the game in terms of identifying childcare options for our first child. We are due end of Feb 2018, and have combined 5-6mo paternity leave. So we're looking for childcare near Lake Merritt or Downtown Oakland beginning in Fall 2018. 

    Any recommendations for places you love?

    Know of any openings around that time?

    THANK YOU!!! 

    First of all, you are not late to the game. I just had my first child in May, I didn't go back to work until she was 5 months old, and didn't start looking for childcare until a month and a half before I went back to work. You are way ahead of the game in my book!

    Second, what type of daycare are you looking for? Centers or home-based? As far as centers, I didn't find too many in the area. There is Small Trans, which has a waitlist opening in January, and maybe 1 or 2 other places. I ended up going with my first choice, a wonderful place in east oakland, but I almost went with Pride In Learning, a Montessori school right on Lake Merritt. I encourage you to contact them for openings. If you are looking for home-based daycares, there are many in the area, and the openings vary on location. Bananas is a very useful resource. I would get a listing of options from them and start calling, inquiring on openings. For most of the places that I called that said they had a waitlist, they were opening up spots in summer 2018. Good luck and Congratulations!

  • We are new to the area and will need childcare for our son starting in November when I go back to work. We had planned on sending him to daycare in San Francisco were we used to live, but now we aren't sure what our plans are. We live near Montclair, and will commute from the Rockridge Bart station. If anyone has a daycare they love and recommend that would work logistically, we would be so grateful if you would let us know! Any bit of guidance is much appreciated.

    My daughter goes to Claremont day right near Rockridge Bart. We love it. They start at 2, and may be full, but check them out.

  • Hi BPN - we are moving in a few weeks and looking for a pre-school spot for a 4yo boy.  If anyone knows of an open spot near Piedmont, Lakeshore, Glenview or Montclair, please let me know!  Ideally looking for a play based morning program.  Father of Joe

    Hi there, our son has attended Lakeshore Children's Center for the past two years. He has loved it and will be staying in for day camp and the after school program now that he's entering kindergarten. What he loves: the large yard and play structure, the teachers, the friends he has made, the monthly enrichment programs, dance and soccer classes, the yearly family camping trip in Tilden . What we love: the teachers, the diversity in staff and families,  the decent price, the location, and the parent group that has good involvement in raising money for extra curricular activities.

    Our son is at Sequoia Nursery School and we LOVE it! It's a play-based, co-op preschool in the Oakland hills (in Montclair). It's a totally magical place for the kids and parents. The community is so supportive and involved and you can see how much it helps the kids grow. If you are interested in a co-op, you should definitely check it out. Good luck and welcome!

    Hi there, my daughter attended Highlands Preschool in Piedmont (and my son will attend in the Fall).  It is a play based co-op morning program and I can't recommend it highly enough.  The community is so friendly (there are families from all over Oakland as well as Piedmont) and the teachers are incredible.  My daughter loved it and so did I. Highlands has one free spot in the Monday/Wednesday/Friday group (for 4 year olds) so if you are interested please get in touch with carriekmarkowski [at] who is charge of admissions! Alessandra

  • My family was planning on moving out of the area but a sudden job change has but a stop to that. We have a three year old and live by Lake Merritt. Anyone know of a local preschool with openings for fall? Thanks, C

    I don't know for sure if they have openings, but Lakeshore Children's Center (near Lakeshore and Mandana, across from the park) often has spots open into the fall. 

    Duck's Nest is opening a new campus near the Macarthur BART which is going to be significantly larger than their existing campus on Broadway.

    (We've been at the 41st campus for a year and three years with our older child, half on Piedmont Ave campus, and half at 41st)

    -Duck's Nest Parent

  • I am looking for recommendations for daycare centers that accept 3-4 month olds in the Crocker Highlands or Lake Merritt area. I have found a few online but would prefer a recommendation or information on additional centers that may not be listed.

    I am in love with SmallTrans Depot!  I cannot sing its praises enough.  My eight month old daughter has been there for the last three months and they have made the transition to daycare quite painless.  I feel good going to work everyday and knowing she is in good hands!  Feel free to message me if you have questions.

  • Preschool in Rockridge

    (2 replies)

    Hi, we'll be moving to the Upper Rockridge area this summer. I would be looking to enroll my 3 year old into preschool for the fall (either pt or ft). Any recommendations? Has anyone had experience with any of these - Rockridge Little School, The Room to Grow, or Rockridge Montessori - thoughts?


    RE: Preschool in Rockridge ()

    We are a very happy family at Rockridge Little School, but they are full for this fall with a long waitlist - you may be able to get a spot for next year if you sign up this winter, however!

    RE: Preschool in Rockridge ()

    It's a bit farther, but Montessori Family School near UC Berkeley has a wonderful program! It is a lovely community with amazing teachers, and both my children learned to read early with the great Montessori materials and method. Check it out.

  • Hello Parents!

    Hope you're all doing well. I would love your advice and expertise in navigating the waters of "East Bay Daycare." My son Amory has been in an awesome in-home daycare in the mission district for the last year (he started in April of 2016 after a short nanny share experience) and we have loved it! He's one of a handful of kids, is learning Spanish, and the women who run the daycare REALLY love and care for him which is great. We drop off diapers and wipes when need be and every few weeks we're asked to bring milk or bananas or eggs, but we don't have to provide our own food every day which is a REAL win! They have a schedule, but because it's an in-home daycare and not a daycare center it's a little more loosey goosey and I'm alright with that. We have him there from 8:15am- 5:15pm and would need similar hours moving forward. I know that a lot of times places don't have websites so if you could share any places in Oakland/Emeryville/Berkeley I would greatly appreciate it. We are moving from the city to lower Rockridge and I work in Emeryville. 

    Thanks neighbors!


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

    Check out the Grand Lake Montessori school. My son loves it. Open 7-6 pm and there is an option for lunch 

    good luck! 

    Neelam Sahdev took wonderful care of our son at Woolsey Daycare (in-home) starting when he was around your son's age. Her info is here: (That top review is mine.)  It's reasonably convenient to Rockridge. Feel free to get in touch through BPN if I can provide more info.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Preschool and infant care at same location (near 580/880)?

Aug 2013

After finding out this week that i'll have a job to go back to in january 2014, i'm now scrambling to find a preschool that also has an infant center on-site so that i can do just one drop-off of my 4 yr old and newly-turned 1 yr old (their ages in january). I live in west oakland, will be working in san leandro, so looking for places in oakland (near 880 or 580 would be awesome), alameda, or san leandro. Back to school

Monte Tavor Spanish Immersion has openings for infants and preschoolers. Monte Tavor is in the upper Dimond close to the exits of Coolidge/ Fruitvale on 580. This is a Spanish Immersion program for all ages based on children's interest and teacher instruction. You can receive an e-packet by requesting at hmontetavor [at] or by calling (510) 967-2876. Yeira Howell

Chatham Preschool - 35th Ave campus. It is a large daycare/ preschool which serves 0-5. Chatham parent

You may want to check out Small Size Big Minds next to the Alameda/Bay Farm Island Bridge. Good luck w/ your search!

BlueSkies for Children is located half a mile off 580, between Fruitvale and Coolidge, so it is on your commute path. We currently have an opening for a 4 year old (born before 8/31/09)and will be able to enroll an infant later in the fall. BlueSkies is geared to meet the needs of young children and their working parents, accredited by NAEYC, open 7:30-6 year round. Please look at our website at and come by for a tour! Liisa Hale

I don't know if it fits your location requirement, but the Model School in Berkeley has both infant care and preschool/Pre-K in the same building. We didn't take advantage of the infant room, but I've observed that they take loving care of the little ones. There are nice places inside and outside for the babies to play. And our family has been very happy with the pre-K program. The teachers are great! There seem to be a lot of families from Oakland too. Good luck with back to school and back to work! Joanna

I just went to check out a few preschools recently and Little Stars at 169 14th St, Oakland, CA does have a preschool with an infant care as well. It's run by Chinese owners and a lot of the teachers are Chinese, but there are non-Chinese ones as well. Kids are a mix. Preschool is very affordable, however, infant care (up to age 2) will be twice as much. I did like it and felt a relaxed vibe. They have a huge playground for all the kids. Alice

Best Daycare Centers for Infants Berk/Oak?

Aug 2003

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

Recommendations received: