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Affordable Preschool in Albany/El Cerrito/Richmond
We are looking for a recommendation for a small, home based preschool that
is affordable, strong academics (preK math, reading, writing) not just play,
small teacher/student ratio, willing to work with a very active, busy
toddler who needs some redirection at times.
I highly recommend the Creative Play Center
in Albany as an affordable and enriching
preschool! We just finished the first week of the school year and the children are so
happy and excited for what's to come! The teachers have all been there for many years and
they provide a very warm, safe and fun environment with lots of opportunities to learn
and grow. The school takes many educational field trips and has vans equipped with child
safety seats. My child has been in the preschool for a year now and every morning he asks
me ''do I get to go to school today?'' He lets out a very disappointed moan if I say that
it is the weekend and the school is closed. That in itself has been an endorsement for
the school. CPC also offers after school care for preschool through elementary school
kids. There are currently just a few open spots for the 2012-2013 school year. This
preschool is a hidden gem in Albany!
happy CPC parent
Can anyone recommend an affordable pre-K program in Oakland (our daughter's
birthday won't make the new CA kindergarten cutoff)? Some of the ones I've seen
previously recommended on BPN are just way out of our budget. We live in Maxwell
Park so we would be willing to go to San Leandro as well. I know that OUSD is
going to offer pre-K programs at some of their schools, but are looking for other
options as well.
Or, alternatively, would anyone recommend an affordable larger preschool that could
serve a similar purpose? Our daughter goes to a very small preschool right now,
and I wonder if finding a larger one with more kids and a little more structure
could also be an alternative for easing the transition.
Our son thrived at the East Bay Academy,
a bilingual Chinese preschool that is
off the radar maybe because of its location, in an unpretty section of
Eastlake. We paid under $600 a month for full time care including meals. It was
an academic rather than play centered preschool but our bright boy really
enjoyed it and learned a lot.
Lisa from Oakland
Our three girls have been at Tudorka Tots
(East Hills site off Redwood Road)
for the past two years and have been very happy. TT has pre-K at the main site
and is recruiting kids to start up another pre-K at East Hills. They currently
serve infant through toddler. The teachers are great and the facility is nice.
Food is provided and the rates are reasonable. Highly recommend that you (and
anyone else) look into TT and recommend the East Hills site and staff in
Hi, I am looking for affordable preschool for my 4 year old son. At present he
is going to CASA cerrito in El Cerrito for 4 half days. I am having a hard
time at drop-off and pickup because I started a new studio in Berkeley and
it's hard to concentrate on work. Looking for an affordable Preschool near
Berkeley. Thank you in advance for your advice.
Hello - We're currently at
Children's Community Center (CCC), a parent teacher
co-op in North Berkeley. It's been an affordable option with a great community,
and a chance to really get involved in your child's school life. Each family
works one morning in the classroom alongside professional teachers (8:45-12:45)
and has an admin job that helps the school run with a low overhead. We have
teachers who have been here for over 20 years. Monthly tuition is around $490
something for the 5 day 9-12:30 program. PM hours (12:30-3:30 or 12:30-5:30) are
at $7/hour now. Scholarships are available for those with financial need. Call
the message line for our tour parents to get in touch with you if you're
interested in the 4-5's class for next year (4 by 9/1/12). i think there might
still be spaces. 510-528-6975.
Have you look at Montessori Family School's Preschool? They are located right
in N. Berkeley and offer a flexible schedule.
We have some financial assistance available at the JCC East Bay Preschool. Read
my comments in the reply above for "Berkeley preschool with openings for Fall
Please call to schedule a tour of our wonderful school! 510/848-0237 x122.
Could you recommend and affordable preschool in the South or West
Berkeley/North Oakland area? I'm looking for a preschool for my
three year old, and am having trouble finding something we can
afford. Our family is not low income but can't afford the
$16,000/year schools. I'm looking for full time around $1,000 per
month. I'm finding it surprising that preschool would be more
expensive than infant care! Could be Montessori or other style,
would love Spanish speaking if possible.
-just making it financially
You could try
Kidsland on Dwight Way. They are a home-based, Spanish
immersion program, in your price range. They accept kids of all ages, and
offer preschool curriculum for the ''older'' kids. Call Mara at
Another mom who can't afford steep preschool tuition
My husband and I are looking for a pre-school for our daughter for
the fall (she'll be 3 1/2 then). I've looked through the archives
but am getting overwhelmed trying to find something that will meet
our needs! Hopefully some of you out there can help
To start, we need someplace very affordable, as our budget is
reeeally tight--we could probably swing up to $350/month, maybe a
little more, although less would be great. It would be for part-time
care, 2-3 mornings a week. We live in North Oakland, and are hoping
to stay fairly local (Oakland/Berkeley/Emeryville).
I'm also really hoping to find someplace racially and economically
diverse. I'm leaning toward a play-based philosophy, but am open to
So far the only pre-schools I've found in our price range are co-ops,
but we have another baby on the way who we'd have to find care for,
which would probably offset the savings of a co-op...Plus my husband
and I both work, and the parent responsibilities of a co-op, although
wonderful in theory, seem like they would just be too much for us
given our circumstances.
So is there anyone out there who has found a wonderful part-time,
affordable, diverse non-co-op pre-school??
This may not quite work for you right now..but the
Children's Center is a wonderful public preschool (it's run by
the Albany School District) on Albany Hill. It is not a co-op,
but there are some parent participation expectations of 15 hours
per YEAR per family. They only offer full-time, and the
non-subsidized tuition is $990, but subsidies are available for
families who qualify. Since we pay full tuition, I don't know
the details about that. The director, Susan Stevenson, is very
helpful and approachable, so she could tell you more.
The teachers are very good; they have a lot of experience, and
since they are district employees, they have good benefits
compared to many preschool teachers. That means little
turn-over. Also, since the school offers subsidized tuition and
accepts students from outside the district, there is a
tremendous amount of diversity. Out of the 24 kids in my
daughter's class, there are 10-12 languages spoken!
We looked at various private preschools in the area, but
ultimately chose ACC because of convenience (location and hours)
and the quality of the teachers.
I did not look into the public preschools in Berkeley, but that
may be an option, too.
Hope that helps.
For an absolutely amazing, affordable preschool, consider
Montessori Family School
on Hearst and Scenic in Berkeley. The
head teachers have been in the field for 30 years, the ratios
are really good and the individualized attention to each child
is astounding. The school was originally founded in 1980 by a
couple of single moms who needed an affordable place to send
their kids for a truly excellent education in life and academic
skills. So, by comparison to Bay Area standards, and given the
quality, its a bargain. They also have an excellent scholarship
Our son loved going to East Bay Academy when we lived in
Oakland. It's in a not-so-great area of East Lake but it's very
clean and well organized, plus they serve the kids lunch. We
paid under $600 for fulltime preschool (9am-4pm).
El Cerrito Mama
I am a single working Mom, looking for a Daycare/Preschool for both my
23 month-old son, and 4 year-old daughter asap. I work very close to
Lake Merritt and would love for the both of them to be close.
My dilemma has been finding a place for both of them that isn't in
upwards of $1,400.00 total.
I would be considered middle class on paper but my salary supports the
three of us with little to no assistance.
I have looked for good, f/t care that would work with me based on my
salary; I don't qualify for any breaks and a lot of grants and
scholarships, I'm finding are for elementary aged children.
I am in need of suggestion, ideas or any information that would fit my
Thanks so much
Working Single Parent
Our child recently started attending
Snow White Preschool on
MacArthur near Broadway (right by Oakland Kaiser), which is not
far from Lake Merritt. So far our experience there has been fine
and my child seems to like it. I think full time tuition is
about $800/month per kid and that includes lunch and snacks. I
don't think you'll find a preschool for less than this unless you
are eligible for financial aid. They are open 7:30-5:30, and
they take kids from 18 months on. I'm pretty sure they have
openings right now.
Although I have found several wonderful seeming schools
that have openings, they have all allotted their financial
aid/scholarships for the year already. (If they offer it at all)
Does anyone have a recommendation of a wonderful school in the North
Oakland/piedmont/temescal/rockridge/grand lake area that has openings
for a three year old boy and still has scholarships/aid available??? I
am willing to help with meals, cleaning, classroom stuff, etc ...
I feel like I'm hitting a wall here. Any advice is appreciated!!
And just to put it all out there, I think the furthest we could stretch
ourselves would be $300/$400 a month for three full days of care. (and
believe me, that is a stretch!!)
If you can't find a place with a scholarship, consider finding an ongoing
parent co-op. Some are more expensive than others, and some are more
academic than ours ever managed to be. But the price was right. Ours
ran about $300 a month per family. We got 4 full days of care per week,
plus 1 full day a week that the parent provides care for everyone. It
worked really well. The $ paid for the ''nanny'' who was the one
constant, while the parents and location changed daily. We used to
advertise for new folks through Bananas, this newsletter and word of
mouth...so ask around. Ours wasn't ''school'' - it was free-play, arts
and crafts, tag (lots of tag), trains, being read to, etc., etc., fun -
despite this my son was definitely ready for elementary school. Another
plus was that I learned how to deal with more than one kid at a
time...and developed a nice group of friends to boot.
Good luck with your search!
Maybe not hopeless. You're putting it out there, and hopefully someone
can come through for you. Have you checked out Step One Preschool in the
Berkeley Hills? I know it's not in your target area, but it's a great
school with a scholarship program. Even if their money is allotted, it
couldn't hurt to get on the waiting list. Go on a tour and talk to
Stacey, the assistant director.
My son goes to Oakland Garden School
(http://www.oaklandgardenschool.com/) and I know they were looking for
someone (not sure if they already found someone or not) to be the office
admin as the one they had moved away. She was a parent with two kids at
the school and she was pretty full time there. I don't know what the
arrangement was exactly but it's possible it could offset your tuition
completely if you could make a significant commitment. Contact Tae at
email@example.com if interested.
I had a similar problem with my son last year. Save him and yourself the
trauma of a rigid ''learning'' environment, and find a good play-based
If you are willing to travel to
Albany, Albany Preschool meets your requirements and is an absolutely
amazing school that restored our faith in the preschool system. They are
just over the border from Berkeley, and a half block from both bus and
bike path (Ohlone Greenway).
Another possibility is the Model School on Prince St off of Telegraph:
I've heard good things about Peter Pan Co-op in Oakland:
Growing Circles near the Piedmont area:
And, Griffin Nursery School in N. Oakland.
You might also try:
Tots around Town in Berkeley offers both free and low-cost part-time
care. More of a playgroup but great teachers:
I find myself desperately searching for last minute
preschool openings for my 26 month old son. The catch? We're
broke. Can anyone recommend some great schools that offer
financial aid options? I mean real aid here. We make
waaaaaaaaaaay below the (laughable) $75,000 that most places
consider financially needy :)Does the city of Oakland offer
anything for kids this young? We need something 3 days a
week (MWF) full days (9am-5pm) - we are flexible on times.
My son is very bright, adores being around older kids, has
an amazing vocabulary. and is potty trained. I could use any
advice! Thanks! I'm also more than open to a co-op as long
as they offered a long enough day.
Do you know about Head Start? It is for low income 3-5 year
olds. Here is the website for the YMCA/Head Start program
The Berkeley Unified school district runs pre-schools for
low income kids.
Not sure how to get this info for Oakland but you could try
googling for it.
Hope that helps
Hello fellow BPN folks,
As for many of us, our finances and circumstances have changed
quite drastically since my son has been born. He turns 3 in
August '09, and I have gone OVER and OVER on how in the world we
can afford preschool. My son is currently part-time at an
in-home daycare while I actively seek employment. We barely
survive off of my unemployment and my husband's hourly wage - we
can't afford $700/month for 3 1/2 days!!
What are my options? I'm looking into Oakland Head Start which,
quite honestly, is frustrating. We do not qualify. We wouldn't
qualify if it was just me, collecting unemployment. We also
wouldn't qualify if we relied on my husband's $15/hour wage and I
did not collect unemployment. I'm going to apply, but I already
know the answer, unless someone has had a different experience.
I've been told to get ''creative'' on my application, but I
certainly don't feel comfortable doing that? Maybe I'm a sucker.
Any suggestions? Is there a place you love that is affordable?
I'd love to know anyone's experiences with this...are you going
through this as well?? I live in the Oakland Dimond district if
that helps. Thanks for reading.
Have you considered Peter Pan Co-op in Oakland? We had friends
who loved it there. I just checked their website
(peterpancoop.com) and their tuition is $215-230 for 2-5
mornings/week and the afternoon (from 12-2:45) is $20 more per day.
Hope that helps.
On a budget too
I have had the same concerns as you are having and have also
tried to find information on pre-schools (including whether I
need to sign my daughter up for one - put her on a waiting list -
she is now 16 months old).
I was given some advice which was useful - I was told to look
into ''co-ops'' - arrangements where the parents and children go
and I believe they are run by a group of parents in some cases.
I was also told to consider part time pre-schools for 1.5 days a
I have not reached the point where I am panicking yet as my
daughter is not yet two, but I did ask some questions, and these
were the answers that I received.
I have not yet put my daughter on a waiting list anywhere (as we
are also hoping to move to a new location as well), so don't know
the answer regarding how available these options are. However, I
do see messages all the time on BPN stating that certain schools
I hope this is helpful.
I would also be interested to know if you find some useful
check out Little Sprouts Preschool in the Fruitvale district of
Oakland. 2626 E16th St, Oakland, 510-533-5667, It's very
affordable, somewhere around $450 for 3 days/week, and as a
small preschool, can offer lots of individualized care for your
child. It's a part of New Hope Covenant Church,
http://www.newhopeoakland.org, but whatever your faith, it's
comforting to know that your kids are in a place where they are
loved. I've had three kids go through the preschool, and I'm
very thankful for the social, emotional, and yes, even academic
development. My kids have been very well prepared for
kindergarten and beyond. Contact Director/Teacher Thea for
more info, 533-5667.
It's definitely a rough time out there for many of us trying to
juggle childcare, unemployment, jobseeking, mortgage/rent, and
our sanity. You are most definitely not alone! I just wanted
to point out that preschool will actually often work out to
cost you less than daycare. For instance I pay just under $700
a month for 3 full days a week of preschool. Preschools with a
5 half day option usually charge a similar fee to the 3 full
days schedule, if half days work better for you. When you are
paying for inhome daycare you are paying for a smaller, more
intimate setting, but as your son gets older he probably
doesn't need that so much anymore, and will be happy in a
larger setting which is going to be cheaper for you. So I know
it's a struggle to pay what you are paying now, but just wanted
you to know that if you can manage to keep paying a similar
amount, you may well be able to get more hours out of that
monthly check, which will equal more time for you to jobseek.
Start looking around and getting on waiting lists if necessary,
and good luck!
-- in the same boat
Do they even exist in the Bay Area?? I'm finding that most
preschools that are full-time (7:30am - 6pm) are OVER $1000 and
this breaks my heart. We can maybe-probably do it, but of course
with the economy and all (job security?), we're just nervous to
commit to a preschool that takes that big of a chunk out of our
paychecks when it can go towards savings (for even, god forbid, a
really rainy day and one of us gets laid off?). We have another
kiddo on the way due this fall too, so we really feel like we
should be more on the conservative side. But I have to confess
that most of the preschools we've looked at that are within our
budget (under $1000) did not knock our socks off. Most of them
just felt like daycare extension (lots of playing around in the
backyard play structure) but $$ more. My daughter gets plenty of
that at daycare! I'd like to find one that has a little more
structure than just play all day.
Can anyone recommend a preschool that they LOVE and is not
$1000+? has to be full time, M-F. Oakland/Berkeley areas. Me or
husband being a stay-at-home is not an option for us.
Thanks a million,
~On a budget but don't want to shortchange daughter
We were in the same situation as you. The only preschool I found
that was structured and under $1000 and worked with our hours
was Smiles in Montclair. It is not much under $1000 (860), but
every bit counts.
We love our son's preschool, the
Child Education Center in
Berkeley. http://childeducationcenter.org/ Going five full-
time days (7:45 am to 5:45 pm) costs about $931 for kids three
and up. It's play-based, but they do a lot to get kids ready
for kindergarten, like having them learn to write the alphabet
numbers, and their names. They also have weekly dance, music
and capoeira classes. On Fridays, the kids take the bus to UC
Village for gymnastics. There are optional swimming classes in
the summer, and they go to the Julia Morgan center to see a
ballet once or twice a year. There is usually a Christmas
field trip, too. If you visit soon, please note that right now
the preschool and preK classes are in transition (one teacher
leaving and one on leave for a month). Our son has thrived
there and our daughter will start there soon.
My daughter attended one of those ''over $1,000 per month''
preschools. It was by far our best investment, by far.
We cleaned the school, published the newsletter, did gardening
and washed laundry several times per week for the school to pay
for it. We both worked full time in addition to this.
And, it was worth every weed, every machine load of laundry,
every push of a vaccum cleaner.
Check out Rising Star Montessori School
in Alameda -
http://www.risingstarschool.org/. We are also expecting our
second child in the fall and will probably send our 2-year-old to
the Cottage Campus, closer to the Webster Street end of Alameda.
The full-time (7am-6pm) cost is around $1,000.
Check out Skyline Preschool
in Oakland. We've paid under $900 the past two years. I
believe it's going up to $900 this Fall. This is for full-time, 7:00 am - 6:00 pm, five
days a week. The teachers are fabulous! The program covers all subject areas. There's
a dance teacher that comes every week. My daughter comes home with lots of artwork
and details of various projects and information she learned. My daughter is more than
ready for kindergarten this Fall.
Skyline Preschool parent
Hi there! I have an excellent school for you to check out.
Wee Lil People, which is
right near Park blvd. I found this school when I sat on the thesis commitee of the
creator and owner of the school. Her dream was to provide a school that offered
excellent education and affordability. The school offers academics along with
Spanish and performing arts. They have 4-5 big performances a year celebrating
cinco de mayo to Christmas. The school is run by very strong intelligent black
women who will love your child as their own. My son left after kindergarten and
was reading, writing and doing mathmatics at 1-2nd grade levels along with having
a good basic level understanding of Spanish. The school is underneath a church
and doesn't have all the fancy bells n whistles but it makes up for it in love,
education and culture.
My son attended the
Rising Star Montessori School
in Alameda (pre-K) and the fees
for M-F + extended care are $1032. (M-F $857 + full rate extended care 7-8:30
AM and 3-6 PM is $175). If you use only 3 hours in either the AM or PM it's $125.
It's slightly over your limit of $1000 but well worth the extra cost.
The website is: http://www.risingstarschool.org/fees.php
Rising Star Montessori School (2 campuses: Main and the Children's Cottage both in
Alameda) Main Office Phone: 510-865-4536 Fax: 510-865-4538
1421 High St. Alameda, CA 94501
It's a great school and he learned so much. We're sending the baby there this Fall.
The head preschool teacher, Ms. Robyn has been with the school for 20 years!
Send me an email if you have any questions.
I would highly like to recommend
Chatham School. I know it has
gotten bad reviews here in the past, but my children have all
gone (and sitll going) there and they love it. I believe it's
less than $1,000 including hot lunches and long schedule (7:30-
6:00), I have 2 currently attending, so with sibling discount
is a bit less than $2,000. My oldest has done great
academically and socially in Kindergarten after attending
Chatham. She has also remained friends with her friends from
pre-school. There is usually a waiting list, but I do not know
what the status is for next year. Good luck-
My daughter goes to
El Nuevo Mundo in Richmond. It costs $35 a
day which comes to about $700 a month - it ranges from $565 to
$770 depending on how weekends and holidays land.
It is bilingual and they have an extensive list of activities
including art, science projects, field trips, circle time,
organized and free play and performances for special occasions.
The teachers seem well treated and content there and all really
like working with the kids.
The neighborhood is pretty dodgey but I've never had a problem
picking up and dropping off. The school itself is set back from
the street and behind solid gates. I urge you to go in a ask
around. Spend a couple hours following one of the teachers around
and talk with the director, Sylvana. They do not start kids
mid-year so you will probably have to wait until fall, but I
think this place is well worth it.
We are very happy at the bilingual (English-Chinese)
Academy in Oakland. A few caveats -- it's in a not-beautiful
section of the Eastlake area, and the teachers speak in heavily
But the good far outweighs the bad. Our son (almost 4) is very
bright and verbal, and he's been absolutely thriving there. Meals
are provided, which means you don't have to spend time fussing
over his lunch every morning; and the teachers are very warm and
supportive. About 75% of the families who go there are Chinese
(we're not Chinese, by the way).
Since he's over age 3, we pay $560 per month. Younger kids are
slightly more expensive. This is fulltime, 5 days a week.
Feel free to email me if you want more info.
What you need is a pricey preschool that offers financial aid.
Grand Lake Montessori is a great school and offers financial aid
that might bring the price down to under $1000. There are others
too. It is probably too late for this fall, but apply for fall 2010.
My son attends the
Montessori Children's House of Hayward.
Hayward may be a drive for you, but it is located just off the 92
exit from the Nimitz/880 freeway. The tuition last year was
635.00, which included before and after care from 7:30-5:30.
From 9-3 the kids have Montessori work that prepares them for
Kindergarten, including phonics, numbers, shapes, colors, science
and arts/crafts. So, contrary to what the other poster stated,
beggars can be choosers. There are quality preschools in the Bay
Area if you hunt for it. Good luck!!
I've got twins and am looking for a preschool opportunity for
them that we can afford. Given that we will paying for x 2, most
schools are out of our budget, including Skytown, El Cerrito
Co-op Preschool, etc. Right now we are on the waiting list for
the Albany Co-op Preschool which is the max that our budget
allows (about $270 each for 3 mornings a week). I would be fine
with just 2 mornings a week, a co-op, home based, whatever. They
are really showing signs of being ready to go to school and I
would like them to have this pre-kindergarten experience. Thank you!
Hello... I have been a single mom of twins since they were ten
months old... Today they graduated from kindergarten and I am so
proud... They got their first school setting experience at
Balboa Head Start ..
It is located just two blocks off of San
Pablo Avenue at Madison... landmarks are Big 5 sporting goods
and derweinersnitzal hot dogs... If I remember the address is
1001 South 57th Street... officially this is in Richmond.. They
loved it.. and even started out in separate classrooms... they
adjusted better than I did... hahahah... They are through the
county and will work with your income and ability to pay...If
you want more info feel free to write back... I hope this
helps... Good Luck!!!
My sons attend a wonderful preschool that happens to be extremely
affordable. It is called
Noah's Ark Preschool and it is located
in Richmond, on 37th between Barrett and Roosevelt. I live in El
Cerrito and is only a mile from my house.
I believe that three mornings a week 9-noon is $225/month.
The school is going to be on a short break next week (June 15-19)
but will be back in session June 23. Feel free to give them a
call on Tu-Wed-Thurs between 9 and 12 at 235-8989. I am not sure
if they have any openings for the fall but it's worth a try.
Noah's Ark is a little neighborhood gem with incredibly
wonderful, experienced, caring teachers.
Happy Noah's Ark mom
I believe Little Red Wagon
in El Cerrito has part time availability.
(www.thelittleredwagon.net) I can highly recommend the new teacher who will be
starting the new preschool room at Little Red Wagon daycare in El Cerrito. I haven't
been to the school site itself, so I can only speak to Tew (pronounced Tay-u) - she is
magic! Both my son and daughter have loved her. She is an exceptional preschool
teacher who engages the kids in all sorts of wonderful explorations of the world
around them. I only wish Little Red Wagon was not so far away or we would follow her
there, but what good luck for anyone living in El Cerrito or Albany. If you want to know
any more about Tew as a care provider feel free to email me, I would be happy to share
all the lovely things about this very special teacher.
I am looking for a preschool for my son who in September will
be 3.10 months. Ideally it would be $650 or less for at least 3
full days or 5 half days. We live in South Berkeley, but I am
willing to travel up to 20 minutes(in any direction) for
reasonable tuition and a school that fits for my son. I know
that some of the schools on the outskirts tend to be just as
good and more reasonable than my hood(rockridge/ Elmwood) I
also know that it's late in the game for a lot of places. Ive
actually been looking since Dec. for my younger son, and have
now realized that we just cannot afford the schools around us
and the one that he is in. I NEED to find something for my
older son, and will put my younger son somewhere if we can
afford it, but he doesnt need the stimulation as my older son
does. Currently he is in a play based school, but I also like
developmental, and Emilia Reggio schools and am open to
Montessori as well as long as it isnt super strict and rigid as
I dont think thats a good fit for my son. I dont prefer(because
of how young my kids are) a co-op but am definitely open to it,
if it means my son has a place where he fits that we can
afford. Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.
**I realize that their is a plethera of info on preschools in
the digest, however some is not current- and Im hoping to hear
from someone who actually knows of a GREAT PLACE WITH OPENINGS.
Thanks so much!
If you are willing to travel to Lafayette,
Seedlings Preschool is an
excellent preschool for the money. It is through Lafayette
Orinda Presbyterian Church, but you do not have to be a member
for your child to attend. Call them soon, as they do give
preference to current families. They also have a DK class for
young 5s. I live in Oakland and it takes me under 15 minutes to
mom of a Seedlings Kindergartner
My daughter attends Skytown Preschool
in Kensington. We love it there. She is
actually in the Toddler program which is 18 months - 3 years old and then there is the
Preschool program which is 3 - 5 or whenever your child will start Kindergarten.
Skytown is a Co Op, but you do have the option of buying out of participation. The
regular programs are from 9am - 1pm, but you can do early drop-off and an
afternoon program. Potentially the day could be as long as 8am-3pm. It is a play
based school with low ratios (1:3 for toddlers and 1:4 for preschoolers). My daughter
loves the teachers and the friends that she has made there. You can go to the website
to determine exactly what your tuition would be www.skytown.org. Good luck!
I am looking for a preschool for my son who will be 2.3 by the
September cut off. Do you know of one that you LOVE?!! It does
not have to be super structured, but I would like more of a
preschool feel than just childcare. I would like something
where he can go at least 2-3 days a week( 1/2 day OK), more
if it's affordable. He is very social, and inquisitive and
would really thrive with other little ones. I am not sure I am
interested in a co op at this time(but am open to suggestions
from parents who are involved in one, as I may not have the
time to be there each week. I am looking for something in the
Berkeley area, or in Oakland, hopefully not much further than
Montclair or Rockridge though, as my older sons school is
already 15 minutes in the other direction from my house(almost
in Albany) I cannot put my younger son in my older son's school
as he is not old enough yet.
My son has been going to
Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington
since last September, and absolutely loves it. Their rates are
pretty reasonable ranging from $620 part-time to $1075 full-time,
they serve a hot lunch as well as two snacks during the day, and
their hours (7am-6pm) is very conducive to working parents. The
teacher turnover rate is very low and even though the children
are split up into age-based classrooms, all the teachers and
caregivers know every child in the school. They follow a
play-based preschool program and we are very happy with our son's
progress and development here. Please feel free to contact me if
you need more information.
Help! I'm planning to relocate to the Bay Area from Southern
California in June and will be seeking preschool placement for my
3-year-old starting in June or September. I'm horrified by the posts
I've read -- sounds like applying to preschool is worse than the
college app process!
Currently my daughter attends a 5-day-a-week income-eligible program.
For my income level it's free to us, and the program, though not
perfect, is pretty great. Does anything comparable exist in the Bay
Area? And if so, do we have any hope of finding a spot for the summer
or fall? The posts make it sound quite bleak. Any leads would be
Wondering if we shouldn't move
I have to second the post for the
Albany Children's Center in the
UC Village (see the post below). I have one kid there now and one who attended for 2
years. Both kids really enjoy/ed the school. It's sliding scale
and part of the Head Start program (which means you get lots of
bonuses - including free dental/eye and ear check-ups each year
and programs like brushing your teeth after lunch! - I never did
that in pre-school.) The student population is mainly from the UC
Village, meaning the children of UC graduate students - from all
over the world.
The facilities are not the new and shiny but the rooms are full
of wonderful art and all have big windows, there is a large yard
with lots of swings and sand and room to ride trikes fast. You
won't find a Zen fountain around but there's a small library
building in the yard (built in the shape of a train) and lots of
dedicated teachers, many who have been there for 20 years. And
the director Susan is WONDERFUL - a smart, engaged leader and a
Do get on the wait-list early (like now). Albany residents get
preference, and here's the trick - if you can start your child
during the summer you'll have a good chance to get in because
that's when the students graduate and start leaving .We started
both our kids in July/August.
Joanne does all the administrative work and has been there
forever. Be kind and thoughtful to her and she'll watch your
back. She really helped us navigate the system when my husband
and I were really struggling financially. We pay full-fee now and
wouldn't go anywhere else.
Good luck, it's a great school!
mom of happy healthy well- cared for kiddos
My daughter is a touch over 2 1/2 and potty trained. She is in daycare
really needs to move on to a preschool. I have looked in the archives
for some info
to help me pick one but a lot of the data is old, unfortunately! I
have called a few of
the places listed but some are full.
Since I am a single mom and my daughter is bi-racial, I was wondering
knew of scholarship possibilities for us? My daughter is very bright
and needs to be
challenged a bit more than she is in her daycare situation. I am not
opposed to a
co-op and if anyone has updated information on those that would also be
appreciated. My schedule does have some flexibility so I can
morning a week. I would be interested in her attending a preschool 4 or
5 days per
week, all day.
If I do not qualify for a scholorship, I would need to go with the
absolute cheapest. I
have no idea how much the quality goes down with the price, if at all.
Thanks for your help. These sorts of decisions are very overwhelming
and I am
always thinking if I make the ''wrong'' choice it will have a
significant effect on the
rest of her school days! I need some help.
I know it can be so overwhelming looking for a preschool for
your little one!
On the bright side, for the situation you described you are in,
quality does NOT neccessarily go down with the price! My oldest
daughter was in one of the 'exclusive' and expensive and often
mentioned preschools and had a great, really great
first year there (lots of stimulation and activities, it's
true,) and fantastic teachers, and a BAD, REALLY bad second
year, with a lot of intensive, oldest children, and a burnt out
teacher who simply did NOT deal with interpersonal issues(!!!)
and an unresponsive administration!
My second child, a boy, went to Nelly's bilingual class at the
FREE(!) BUSD preschool 'Franklin State' on 8th street, and he
had two GREAT years! (You in fact need to be low income to
qualify, which I was at the time as I had a new baby and worked
very little). It's only three hours though, but really great, a
nice amount of Latin culture (dancing, pinatas, Spanish, lots of
Latin families); however, I would NOT recommend many of the
other classrooms at Franklin State, from what I saw. My last
one now goes to a (?) middle or low priced situation, and it is
GREAT!!! Great ratio, owner SUPER committed and caring and smart
with children; less stimulation which is fine for this child,
very caring. (Called Maria Chairez daycare, next to Centro
VIDA.) So, there you go!
Also, I've found that the well-known schools are often expensive
and fill up fast, but there are great, not well known places
that can for you in!
quality before price
I'm in the process of searching for a preschool for our child
who will be 3 this summer. I've looked at NPN book and BPN
recommendations list, but I have a lot of mixed feelings about
the whole search.
First, some schools feel so snooty and don't call back or make
you feel priviliged to actually tour the place or don't allow
kids on the tour(I don't get that). I just didn't expect this
kind of uppity environment or the level of competitiveness to
get ''in'' to some of these schools.
Second, we are a single income family of four, and I was not
prepared for the cost. We are just keeping our heads above water
financially, so even finding an extra $200/month won't be easy.
I was expecting about $5-7/hour for a non coop. This doesn't
have to prepare my kids for Harvard, just give them some
socializing and learning and creative play that we can't give
them in a home setting.
Third, I am looking for one that is not a coop. I would like to
be involved by doing work on weekends or some other job besides
classroom participation. Our child has a younger sibling, and
we don't have any family in the area to watch the baby. If I
pay someone to watch the baby, then the savings we realize by
doing a coop is lost on paying for childcare for the baby. I
know we could trade off childcare with another family, but I'm
not a big fan of watching other's kids.
So, bottom line, is there a non coop(or a coop where we could
opt out of classrooom participation) where a 3 yr old could go 2
or 3 mornings a week for about $5-7/hr or $200-350/month in the
Berkeley/Albany/Kensington/El Cerrito/Richmond area? or am I
living in a world that just doesn't exist anymore?
Sign me as Surprised and Confused
Albany Preschool Albany
Children's Garden Montessori El Cerrito
Chinese Lutheran Church Preschool Richmond
Kensington Nursery School Kensington
Little Red Schoolhouse Richmond
Little Village Preschool Albany
The Model School Berkeley
Montessori Community School El Cerrito
Piccoli School (2) El Cerrito
Skytown Preschool Kensington
Willow Street Schoolhouse El Cerrito
We are looking for a pre-school for our 2 year old that is under
$700/month full time. I live in San Pablo and work in Berkeley
so the school could be located in San Pablo, Richmond, El
Cerrito, Albany or Berkeley. I am going to visit the Montessori
Community School in El Cerrito. Are there others that anyone can
think of that are in my price range?
Emeryville Child Development Center
Little Red Schoolhouse Richmond/El cerrito
The Snuggery Berkeley
i am looking for a good preschool thats close to berkeley.
my job hours are 9.30-6.30 and saturdays 10-4 and i am worried
about childcare (i am a single mom).he has to leave the present
school since i will no longer be a student.
I want a small school where he can form bonds and the emphasise
is on nurturing and lots of love and affection and open till
7pm at least.
i have heard that some private schools are priced on a sliding
Albany Children's Center
I would like to know if there are any programs/scholarships that
pay part or all of the cost for children in preschool?
Beth Sholom Preschool scholarship program for Jewish kids
When I was checking out pre-schools, I discovered Pacific
Academy in Richmond (pre-school to high school) works with an
outside organization for scholarships. I think Step One has
diversity scholarships. I also found that some schools were
willing to negotiate on tuition, so check the yellow pages and
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