Preschool Programs for Two Year Olds
Berkeley Parents Network >
Preschools & Daycare >
Preschool Programs for Two Year Olds
Hi, I am seeking a preschool with two openings for the fall for my twin girls born
4/11. I was a stay at home mom until last month so I wasn't planning on preschool until
fall 2014, but I'm back at work unexpectedly and now would love to get my girls into a
program given our new circumstances. I'm not married to a particular approach
(Montessori, play-based, etc.). My only requirements at this point are that it offer
full days (8 to 5 maybe? - will probably do 3 or 4 days/week) and be near us (in
Oakland, Upper Rockridge.) I commute to SF via Rockridge BART so a place right near the
station would be a big plus. I know most programs start filling their fall classes
earlier in the year, so my expectations are low for what's out there, but you never
You might want to look into My Own Montessori in Rockridge. They have a
wonderful program and caring teachers for the age range you want and it is close
to the Bart station (across the street from Trader Joes). I'm not sure if the
hours will work for you (8:00am -2:45pm) but thought I would mention it.
You should look into Claremont Day Nursery. They have two locations near
Rockridge Bart. One is on College Ave, almost right next to the Bart stations
and the other is on Claremont Ave right above College. They accept kids two and
up and having rolling admission. I strongly considered sending my daughter there
and was impressed during my site visit. They have great hours and for the area
is reasonably priced if that is a consideration.
Working in Rockridge
Not sure if you've looked at Temple Sinai Preschool yet, but we highly recommend
it. Our 2 children go there (our daughter is in her 3rd year and our son is in
his 1st) and we've been extremely happy with our experience there. The school is
play-based and, although it is a Jewish preschool, they welcome all families
(Jewish, Interfaith, non-Jewish, etc). The teachers are wonderful...warm and
friendly and they really connect with each child. Our kids have made great
friends there and we've even developed some amazing friendships with other
parents we've met through the school. It really is a great community.
Regarding extended care, they do offer early care (dropping off as early as 8am)
and aftercare (until 6pm). Feel free to email me if you would like more
information, or you could contact the preschool director to schedule a tour
(firstname.lastname@example.org). Although it is unusual, there are some spots still open
for next year. Good luck in your search!
You never know- you might find something great. I think sometimes the whole
''waiting list'' thing is overrated. My kids have all attended quality schools
and never been on long wait lists for years on end. To answer your question more
specifically, I feel like I have seen recent postings on BPN for Rockridge Little
School openings, as well as for Claremont Day Nursery- both located near the BART
in Rockridge. I don't have personal experience with these schools, but have had
friends with kid at both places.
Hope you find the right fit for you and your kids!
Could you fit South Berkeley into your commute? I highly recommend The Model
School, 2 blocks south of Whole Foods, off Telegraph. They enroll year-round and
offer full-day flexible scheduling, not to mention that my kid is very, very
happy there! It's closer to Ashby BART than Rockridge, but perhaps you could
BART from there?
Model School Mom
I'd like to recommend Vivan Los Ninos Preschool to you. My daughter started there
when she was 2 years-old; she is now 3.5 and attends 2 days/week. Although she
was one of the youngest in the beginning, the school is play-based, and the
teachers do an exceptional job of encouraging play (as well as respect and
communication)among all ages. My husband and I had alternated care of my
daughter until she was 2, and only sent her to school at that point b/c a spot
opened at VLN. It is a small home-based daycare/preschool center (about 10
kids/day, ages 2-5) run by Hilda Manzanero and her assistant teacher, Delia.
Together, they provide the kids with love, an amazing outdoor playspace, and 2
home cooked meals per day. The facility is immaculately kept, the kids are
treated with kindness and respect, and are taught to treat others in kind. My
daughter is so happy there, and we feel great while we are away. We also live in
Rockridge (moved here after she'd been in school there for 6 months) - we
explored schools closer to home, but ultimately feel the drive is worth it
(Fruitvale exit off 580). It may not work for your commute, but I encourage you
to check it out. Hours are 7:30-5pm, breakfast & lunch are home-cooked, and
rates are very reasonable. You can check out a few new reviews on yelp -
although Hilda's been running the school for 15 years on referrals only, there
are many kids ''graduating'' to kindergarten next year, so she has a few
I am looking for full time care for my 2 year old son beginning sometime at the
beginning of next year. We live in the Pinole/San Pablo/Richmond area, but will
travel anywhere to El Cerrito or Hercules for the right place if it is relatively
convenient to the freeway. My son has been going to a school for about 6 months, but
it doesn't seem to fit quite right with his personality. It is play based, which we
like in theory, but my son is a little reserved around other kids and with 12 other,
mostly older, kids running around I think he kind of gets lost in the shuffle. We
would like a smaller place with a low teacher to student ratio. We appreciate the
Montessori philosophies and my son LOVES all kinds of music if there is anything
available which incorporates those. He also always wants to be outside so we really
want a place with a nice outdoor space where they spend lots of time. Lastly, we
would like to find a place that is under $1,200/month if possible. I would love to
hear any recommendations or if you think your daycare/school might be a good fit.
Thanks so much!
Searching for a Better Fit
Child Education Center (Berkeley)
Mother's Pearls (El Cerrito)
School on the Hill (Richmond)
Tati's Family Daycare (El Cerrito)
My family and I just moved into the area (Elmwood but ok to drive)and are
looking for a space in a nursery school (preferably part time)for this fall. My
daughter is just turning two and not potty trained. I would love a parent coop
but I know that will be hard to find. Something somewhat affordable would be
great but all the ones I love are not! I love Happy Baby in Elmwood and Happy
together in Piedmont. Nia House looks great too. We're on all the waiting lists
but it looks like slim pickings for the fall. Any suggestions?
Hi, there are openings in the toddler program (called PACT, stands for Parents and
Children Together) at Broadway Children's School
in Oakland-children need to be 2
years old by December of the year they enroll, so it sounds like your child's age is
right on. It is a co-op program and meets two days a week-- amazing staff and a
great program. Your child definitely doesn't need to be potty-trained. It's in the
Adams Point neighborhood, near Fairyland side of Lake Merritt. Call the school for a
tour 510-763-9337 or check out their website broadwaychildrensschool.org. The school
has been around for almost 60 years and the current director for 20 years. The
toddler program hasn't yet begun for the year, so you haven't missed anything.
Our 2-year-old daughter is starting Gay Austin
next week and I know there are still
openings. She isn't potty trained - and none of the 2-year-olds are. It's a little
bit of a drive from the Elmwood (Gay Austin is over near Monterey Market) We've
heard great things about the school and can't wait for her to start. Contact Pat
Cosgrove at email@example.com.
Rockridge Little School
on Taft is a charming pre-school that accepts 24 month
old's. My son is 3 and is having a wonderful time at the school. The teachers are
gems - they are very warm and diverse. The space is cozy and ample, toys are
multi-sensory. There is always art, sports and circle time; they had near daily
science projects going a few months ago which i hope continue. You might want to
talk to the owner Holly about affording tuition Holly@rockridgelittleschool.com.
It's worth it if you can swing it.
Does anyone have a recommendation for a good part time (2-4 mornings a week)
pre school in Alameda that takes two year olds? I'd love a school that is
either exclusively part time or has a good number of students who leave at
lunch so that my daughter isn't the only one being pulled away. Any
leads/sharing of experiences at these schools would be much appreciated!
I think your options include ABC preschool [owner/teacher Karen is great,
but the other teacher wasn't our style], rising star Montessori (cottage
campus) - which people rave about but even though we could walk to it
(huge plus) we gave the main campus on high street a try for 2 weeks and
moved on - many different issues from not enough teacher communication
for us, to basics like helping kids open lunch box containers - but, as I
said, many people love it. I think Child Unique Montessori also takes 2
yr olds. Son light preschool also is half day. No matter what, please
call licensing about any preschool you may consider sending your child to
- I was very surprised by what I learned.
My daughter will be 2 in June and I am looking for the right preschool program
for her to begin in the Fall. She is quite bright, outgoing, and curious
about people and the world. She tends to jump in very quickly to new
situations and really, really enjoys interacting with other children. She
loves/needs big open spaces and she is very physically active. We are hoping
to stay within Oakland where we live, and we need a full-time or 4-day
I am particularly stuck on this question of larger center vs. smaller
home-based setting, and wondering what would be the best fit for her. I
really see the advantages to both; and we've got so many great places around
here to choose from... I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed!
Any ideas or recommendations will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Skyline preschool would be good, but I believe they (and many preschools)
only take kids from 2 yr 9 mos. You could call to check. Great outdoor
area, multi-age, 1 classroom for around 34 kids. I would consider going
with the larger school for a kid that is very social and loves
interactions with others. That way there are more kids and more teachers
to interact with, and also there may be more special activities with
visiting people (like dance teacher etc). The other thing is after a few
years at a school your child may get bored with the other kids,
especially when she is the oldest level of kids, because the younger kids
are fascinated by the older kids, but the older kids aren't that
interested by the younger kids. Anyway, you are lucky to have a social
kid, it will make preschool easier to adjust to, whereever you go.
Does anyone know of preschools taking 2-year olds in the Oakland/Berkeley
area? I know that there are many taking kids closer to 3.
Any recommendations would be great. Thanks for your help!
East Bay Mom
Many preschools start at two. A few examples:
Small Size School (Bari Nelson's) in No. Berkeley
and Rockridge Little School, Mills College, and Happy Together in Oakland.
Our daughter goes to Temple Sinai Preschool
in Oakland at 28th and Broadway.
Children need to be 2 to start, and don't need to be potty trained. We love it
there, the teachers are fantastic and it's a wonderful community.
I would recommend Wee Two Toddler House
run by Sharon, near MLK & Cedar in
Berkeley. She is a very sweet, caring grandmotherly figure who has up to 5 kids
between 2-3 yrs old. It is perfect for a 2-yr old just starting out in an
situation larger than individualized care, but perhaps still too young for
full-fledged preschool. Kids have outside and inside time. She does lots of
painting, rotates toys, has a small slide inside, has a medium-sized back yard
with toys, swings, garden, etc.
Happy Together Preschool
in Piedmont is enrolling 2-year olds. You can check
their website for details (www.happytogetherpreschool.com). Their curriculum is
AMAZING. I HIGHLY recommend them!
(another East Bay Mom)
Our 2.5 year old goes to Boulevard Little People's Academy, off Grand Ave.
in Oakland. We love it there! It has the advantages of both a daycare and
a preschool, with kids of lots of different ages. They go on field trips,
they have a great outdoor space, they do art projects almost every day, and
she's even beginning to learn how to write her letters! Deltrina, the
director, has been doing this for 35 years and she's amazing. Here's their
I'm looking for a small preschool in the North Oakland/South Berkeley
area for my two year old daughter. She is young to start a preschool, I
know, but she's eager for the whole classroom and peer experience and we
think she's ready for it, especially if it's a small setting. We worry
that with a day care, attention naturally is focused more on the
infants, but most preschools I have looked at won't take her until she
is at least two and a half. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
Dad looking for preschool
Check out Little Village
in Albany. Both my kids started right around 2,
and had great experiences there. I actually appreciate it more now, in
retrospect, knowing how well my kids transitioned into their Berkeley
public elementary school. Small, cost-friendly, mixed-ages pre-school
with flexible, caring and experienced teachers. Doesn't necessarily show
well - it's an older facility - but definitely pulls through on the
things that count.
Happy Little Village alum
Check the Model School. They have a toddler class.
The New School
at BFUU, Cedar and Bonita in North Berkeley is awesome! They start
at 2 yrs old. My stepdaughter has been there for years now, and is now ''a Four''
(the group of 4 year olds). Creative program, a lot of fun, really great staff.
Good luck! I'm pretty sure kids can start any time.
I would recommend looking at
Happy Together Preschool. My three-year old son
is enrolled there and has classmates who have just turned two. The directors
of the school are able to give focused attention to every single child and
actually plan their curriculum according to the children's interests. They
helped us with an easy transition from home-care to school setting, including
potty training support. Since starting, my son has learned to play
cooperatively with his peers, recognize and express his feelings, draw shapes,
sing, and appreciate science and nature. The best part is that my son
genuinely enjoys going to school. It's wonderful & I highly recommend it.
I'd like to find a warm, play-based preschool for my 2-year-old
daughter in the fall. I live in Central Berkeley, and work in West Berkeley,
and I'm hoping to find somewhere close by. But if you love a school that's a
little farther away, I'd be interested to hear about it, too. My daughter has
been with her grandmother and a babysitter until now, so this would be her
first transition to a larger group of kids. Thanks so much!
Please consider Skytown, a parent cooperative preschool in Kensington. Cozy
and fun certainly describe this play-based cooperative preschool! I have been
very pleased with the warm and supportive atmosphere and it was a wonderful
transition for my son who had been home full time up to the time we started.
Check out the website www.skytown.org and call to schedule a tour if interested.
There are still summer and fall openings.
Children's Garden Montessori
is in El Cerrito and based on my experience
from 2001-2008 I recommend it highly. All three of my children went there.
When I first started looking it ended up being the only place I looked! My
initial feel of the place just said, ''YES.'' It is not ''state-of-the-art'' and is
totally NOT fancy. It is run out of the home of one of the kindest, gentlest
people you could ever hope to cross paths with... Alaina Benner.
All of the kids are happy. When we were there the teachers were so loving
and nurturing. Whenever someone needed to be held there were open arms
ready to hold him or her. It is loosely based on Montessori principles. There
is a great outside space for the kids to play and have lunch.. big bunny pen,
great play structure, ride-on toys, sand for digging. Lots of fun ''works'' for
the kids to experiment with and learn from inside.
Do check it out... worth the drive. We initially were commuting from Point
Richmond and then moved. For my third child we were commuting to
Children's Garden in El Cerrito from Rockridge! When my fourth is old
enough, she will attend as well.
Alaina's number is 510 232-3089. (oh, and I just checked... a few recent
good recs on BPN!)
Sunshine Play School
Great school, a nice number of kids in the age range you
are looking for (2-3 yo along with some older-they take up
to 5), really attuned to the needs of the little ones-
always have fun activities/themes for the month along with
field trips. Rates and other info on website
www.sunshineplayschool.org...It is about 6-7 miles from N.
Berkeley-off the Arlington or if you take 80 E- it would
be the Solano exit. It is really worth checking out! Good
We've been very happy with Heart's Leap North, on Cedar
Street between Oxford and Spruce, in Berkeley. Our son, now
3.5, started when this new campus opened in Fall 2008. The
school is cozy - only two classrooms, each with 18-22
students, depending on the ages, with 3 teachers in each
room. The days are very playful, fun, and exciting. The
teachers are wonderful professionals, very warm, and highly
skilled in encouraging the children's interests and teaching
important social skills, like how to enter into play with
others, and how to speak kindly to each other. The children
and teachers all refer to each other as ''friends'', and it
really is true. Our shy son has made wonderful friends
there. The school is open 8:30am-5:30pm, but there are a
variety of options for pick-up times (12:30 for 2-year-olds
only, 2:30pm, 4pm, or 5:30pm), an option for 2 emergency
early drop-offs a month at an additional charge, and 4 days
a week is also an option. The school provides healthy
snacks, and parents provide lunches. Naptime is well
managed - my son who refuses naps at home still naps at
school almost every day. If you have other questions, feel
free to contact me. There are just a couple of spots left,
in the younger classroom. Good luck with your search.
I'm interested in putting my son into a part time preschool program in the fall for
socialization, he will be two in July. My 4 year old daughter attends a preschool full
time which starts at 2.9 mos. I am open to either a drop off or parent accompanied
program, preferably in the mornings. Is there anything like this out there? We are
located in Montclair/Oakland.
Check out Broadway Children's School ''PACT'' program. We did this
with both our children and feel like it was one of the best
things we did (both times!). The website is:
We are looking for a culturally diverse pre school for our almost 2-year-old
Most of the ones we have heard of don't allow you to sign up for part time.
would be a place where he could go 3-4 hours a day a few days a week. Any
You should check out Skytown Preschool. It's in the region of
the El Cerrito hills. They have a toddler (2's) room and it is a
fantastic school...my son went there and loved it! It is a coop,
but you can buy out of whatever you don't want to do...
Happy Skytown Mama
For a culturally diverse, loving and nurturing environment, I
am happy to recommend
Rising Sun Montessori on the El
Cerrito/Albany border near Memorial Park. My son enjoyed his
two years there very much, meeting friends from India, Brazil
and Venezuela. His teachers, Carolina and Reina, also
incorporated Spanish words and phrases into their daily
My son attended school three days per week for a full day,
though many children came for shorter times - until 12:30 and
some until 3:00pm. Rising Sun is a very happy place and the
children really enjoy the very large yard with a log cabin
playhouse, swingset, sandbox and veggie garden. Their number is
Happy Rising Sun parent
My daughter is not even one but I expect I should get her on
the wait list for some good two year old programs soon... I'll
need care 2 -3 full days per week. We live in Temescal so
Rockridge, North Oakland, Montclair, Piedmont, South
Berkeley are preferable. If you can wholeheartedly
recommend a place please let us know! Thanks
Montclair Community Play Center
Parent/child programs for 2-year-olds?
I'm looking for a program which my 2-year old and I can attend
together in order to have fun and make social contacts. My son
isn't yet in preschool, so we have been making the rounds of
Gymboree, MusicTogether, Kindergym and KinderMusik. Although we
have enjoyed these classes, I think my son is ready for a
program that is longer in duration than these classes and will
offer him a greater variety of activities. Any recommendations
would be appreciated!
Mom of a Bored Toddler
Toddler Family (3)
I am looking for a preschool for my daughter to start in September,
2002. I would like her to attend 3-4 morning per week, in Oakland.
She will 2 yrs. 6 mos. old in September and many of the schools
require 2 yrs. 9 mos, or are full day programs. I would love a
year-round school but that is not a necessity. I am looking for
developmental schools only and am not interested in Montessori schools.
I looked on the website and did not find exactly what I am looking for.
this page was last updated: Sep 2, 2013
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network