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Preschools for African-American Kids

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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Preschools & Daycare > Preschools for African-American Kids



Preschool where my son won't be the token black kid

July 2008

I'm starting to look into pre-schools for my mixed race son (1/2 black, 1/2 white) and have been discouraged by what appears to be a lack of diversity in the schools I'm considering. I don't need a huge percentage of African-American presence, but I'd like for my son not to be the token black kid. Can anyone suggest a school for us? (I'm in El Cerrito, so would prefer to be somewhere in EC, Berkeley area.) discouraged in EC


Wee Lil People Preschool in Oakland on Alma St. (near Lake Merritt) is fabulous. I have one son that goes there now and one son that graduated from there a few years ago. It's predominately African American and the staff is great with kids. The kids learn Spanish everyday and they have an exceptional academic program. We love it and highly recommend it. Their phone number is (510) 433-0288. Good Luck. Marlene
Try Claremont Day in Kensington. It's VERY diverse, both students and staff. It's wonderful. Francesca
Dear Discouraged, I think that the Children's Community Center in Berkeley does a pretty good job of keeping both the student population and the staff pretty diverse. Only problem is they usually have a long waiting list! It still might be worth giving them a call even if it's just for a referral. Speaking as a teacher who runs a small program in Berkeley, I have to say that I too am discouraged and disapointed by the lack of diversity in my program (as well as most others that I have seen) despite my best efforts. Nobody wants to be the ''token'' anything, but sometimes it takes just one person to encourage others. Once enrolled, a parent can refer other friends and family thus enlarging the diversity of the population. I think creating diversity is a community effort and we all have an important part to play to make it work. -Wanting More Diversity Too!!
You should consider Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington, just off the Colusa Circle. ''Kensington?'' I hear you saying. But yes, this is a great little gem of a preschool, with a very diverse group of kids. First of all, the head teacher and on-site manager is an African-American woman who has been a teacher there for more than 30 years. My kids absolutely adore her. They give her a hug and tell her they love her every day before leaving. She has an incredible way with kids, and was great with my two wild boys. Her daughter now also teaches there, and I think has developed into a great teacher. Aside from the teaching staff, there are several African-American children. I am not sure how many -- not a lot -- but definitely more than 1 or 2. There are also Latino kids, lots of Asian kids, and lots of European kids (whose parents may be affiliated with UCB, I suppose). I regularly hear French, German, and Italian being spoken by parents during pick-up time. There are also kids with two Mommies, although I am unaware of any kids with two Daddies. There are professional parents, and parents who pick their kids up in the delivery truck they drive for work. Definitely a place of diversity. My son's best friends at the school are a little boy from France, and a little girl who is half Asian and half African-American. Loves Claremont Day
Have you considered Pacific Academy located on Carlson Blvd and Burlingame St. (510.526.7847) The school is wonderfully diverse - over a majority are kids of color and mixed heritages. My son's pre-K class before the June graduation had 5 African American kids incl. mixed out of the total 20 full- time and partime students. Not sure what the diversity is in the younger classes but you should check it out. Email me with any questions. Good luck. Sue
i know e.c. people are used to looking south, but there are 2 good preschools i know of where mixed race kids would be nothing special. one is noah's ark in richmond just off barrett on 38th st. the other is la casita in pinole, about 15 minutes up the road. l.c. is a bilingual montessori program. last year we had 3 mixed race kids, about 1/2 latino, the rest split between asian and caucasian. we had a couple of e.c. families. kmom
As the parent of a biracial child now long finished preschool, if you are concerned about the diversity of the preschool then check the US Census data for the school's zip code. If the zip code has, for example, 10% middle-class children of color, then you should expect the school to have about the same, 1 in 10 students of color. So 1 in 10 would not be a token, it would reflect the diversity of the area.

P.S. Once kids start preschool and start choosing their own friends, I have found race doesn't even factor in, it is based more on common interests and temperment. laid-back mom


Have you looked into the Nomura Pacific Academy? They are on Carlson, right on the El Cerrito/Richmond border. We love the school and feel it has a nice mix of ethnicity, not only among their students but with their staff as well. Feel free to contact me if you have questions. www.pacificacademy.com Brandye
Check out Step One School in North Berkeley. The school is committed to diversity. This is reflected in the families attending, the teachers and the curriculum. www.steponeschool.org Another mom of a mixed race son

Berkeley preschool for African American 2-year-old?

March 2007

Can someone recommend a Berkeley preschool that is racially diverse? My son is 2 years old and African American. I am having a hard time finding a school that is 'truly' diverse in its student and teacher population.


My son goes to The Snuggery on McGee near University. The Snuggery, although it seems to have a lot of girls right now, is really a very diverse place. My son has and has had friends who are white, black, asian, female, male, foreign--you name it. The staff is also diverse (black, white, asian, hispanic) and the school's curriculum focuses on celebrating a wide variety of holidays and events (e.g. Black History Month, Lunar New Year, Cinco de Mayo, etc.). Snuggery Mom
New School, on Bonita at Cedar is as diverse as any private preschool I've seen, in both students and staff. The staff has a good gender diversity, too. happy parent
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