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San Francisco Preschools

To view licensing information at the State's Licensing Office for a preschool or childcare site, including inspection dates, citations, and complaints, click "view" next to the License #. See this page for info about daycare and preschool reviews on the BPN website.

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Preschools & Daycare > San Francisco Preschools

Editor Note Only about 3% of our subscribers live in San Francisco, so there are not many recommendations for SF preschools. For childcare in the East Bay area (especially Berkeley) see Preschool Recommendations
Questions: Reviews:

SF Preschool that's off the beaten path

Jan 2007

I'm looking for a preschool recommendation in SF for my 2 3/4 year old daughter (yes, I'm crazy and late considering). I have the book ''How to Find....'' and I've used the website Savvy Source, but would like to find one that's off the beaten track. Maybe a Family based, but any recommnedations will do. I'm more interested in play based, laid back style which would explain why I didn't prescribe to the ''apply while in utero''. Thanks for all advice and recommendations. cindy

Little Bear School! It's quirky, play-based and an excellent place to be a kid! I believe that Patricia (the owner)has been running this school (in various locations) for 30 years or so. They might be full though for the fall... Their number is:(415) 239-2220 Feel free to email me if you have any questions. Two of my children have been through the Little Bear 'program'. Good luck! Tamara

Pre schools in SF Down town area

May 2004

Can anyone recommend or send me to a list of preschools in SF in the area streching from the Embarcadero to Powel, above or below Market St? Since finding a good and ''available'' preschool in the East Bay is becoming a nightmare, maybe taking my son with me on my way to work would be an easier solution.


  • Easter Seals Bay Area Child Development Center

    Moving to SF, need preschool

    May 2004

    We are planning on moving to San Francisco from the East Bay sometime in the next year, and would like to find a good preschool for our son for the Fall of 2005 (he'll be 2 1/2). We'd prefer to find a good bilingual (spanish-english) school or Jewish preschool, but the most important thing, of course, is the quality of the care! Does anyone have any recommendations? Abby


  • Pacific Primary
  • Stepping Stones Preschool

    Beth Shalom Preschool

    Nov 2004

    We send our daughter to a wonderful, intimate, family-welcome preschool in San Francisco that has some openings for this year. It is an 11 month (!) school, so that is a bonus as well. You don't have to be Jewish or religiously inclined to attend. Please see the website for contact information: or you are welcome to email me and start a conversation! Some families have moved to the East Bay, which is why there are openings. Check us out! Nancy

    Easter Seals Bay Area Child Development Center

    Re: Pre schools in SF Down town area (May 2004)

    Easter Seals Bay Area Child Development Center (aka Healthy Environments) is located at 95 Hawthorne Street. Telephone 415/744-8754. You don't say how old your child is, but this center takes infants from (I think) 6 weeks up. There is a *very* long waiting list for the infant room, but there tends to be better availability for older kids. (Kids are grouped by age all the way up to 5 years old). This place is expensive, but if you can afford it, I can honestly say I have never encountered daycare of higher quality. They are accredited which means that they must go way above and beyond the requirements for basic licensing. This translates to really fantastic, well-trained teachers and wonderful age-appropriate activities for the kids. On the practical side, they have very long hours, are open all year long, feed your child a hot breakfast and a hot lunch (and snacks). They just brought in a new director, Patrick Shannon, who has made a great program even better. He has an open door policy for parents and welcomes suggestions on how to improve the center. Call him and set up a tour. The facility itself is only several years old (no worries about lead-based paint, etc) and is located in an earthquake safe building. The classrooms are big, always filled with a variety of great toys, and there is even an outdoor playground for the exclusive use of the daycare center. Another reason I love this place is that they will never show your child a video on a rainy day - no TV. Good luck with your search. I know it can be kind of overwhelming. Happy with SF Daycare

    Stepping Stones Preschool

    We live in SF, after moving from Berkeley 3 years ago. We had to find a preschool immediately for my son, who is now in 2nd grade, and my daughter now goes to the same one. We chose Stepping Stones Preschool in the Sunset District. It was convenient for us (my husband is at UCSF), and actually was the 2nd place we put our son. The first place came on high recommendations, but after a month of school there, we realized our son was not thriving. I would recommend that you check out the schools thoroughly that are recommended to you for what you know your child needs. (That goes for anywhere you choose to go) Though Stepping Stones wasn't the ''best-looking'' preschool (from physical appearances), it has an excellent staff and community of children and parents. We've loved it there, as have our children. I also heard good things about Phoebe Hearst Preschool (in Pacific Heights), and Lone Mountain is also well-known. Graduating to Kindergarten

    Pacific Primary

    I highly recommend Pacific Primary, near USF. My son, now 12.5, went there for 3 years. When he started, we lived nearby in SF. After we moved to the E. Bay, he commuted for 2 years with my husband from Berkeley (that's how much we felt connected to it). The school remains wonderful--exciting, child- oriented, creative, and very convenient hours! The only drawback is that it is quite difficult to get in. Good Luck! rupali

    SFSU Child Study Center

    Nov. 2003

    I am interested in hearing about any recent experiences at the San Francisco State Child Study Center. How long has it taken to get through the waiting list? Is it a great place for a 4 year old? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Kristin

    The SF State Children's Center is excellent--both my 3.5 year old and 7 month old daughters attend there. The facility is almost brand new, with a huge ourdoor play yard, the teachers are all very well-trained (mostly in early childhood education) and the administration is top-notch. It's probably the best school my kids will ever go to (since it will be public schools after this)! Low-income undergrads get first priority so it's also very economically and racially diverse. It's play-based so there's lots of art and creativity.

    That said, the class sizes are all fairly small so it's not that easy to get in--I'm a faculty member & fairly low-priority so I signed my older daughter up at six months old. We went to a private daycare until she was 2 so we'd been on the waiting list a while & got right in last spring. But new enrollment fluctuates from semester to semester according to demand--last spring when we were admitted there was less demand because student fees had just gone up. Plus they only offer set schedules i.e., MWT afternoons, or TTh all day and so forth, so sometimes the people at the top of the waiting list can't get the schedule they need and have to pass.

    Anyway, if you're at all interested you should put yourself on the list for sure. You may get lucky and get offered a slot right away or you may have to wait a while. But if you get in you'll probably like it--the ony complaint we have is the fixed schedules and the fact that as a faculty member I get nearly last priority in scheduling. Small complaints for a great place-- vsoe

    I wanted to point out that there are actually two separate pre-schools on the SFSU campus. One is the Associated Students Child Center and the other is the Child Study Center. The previous poster seems to be describing the A.S. Child Center which is where my children have both gone. I agree that it is wonderful. The program has great ratios, is very diverse, has a great child-led play based (Reggio-inspired) ciriculum, and is in a wonderful new facility. They do lots of art, some cooking, and great projects. The teachers we had were very caring and really helped the kids develop socially. It is NAYC accredited and many of the head teachers have MA degrees in child development.

    However, the Child Study Center is a completely different building, and is a completely separate program. I have not heard that much about it, but the people I know who have looked at both programs picked the A.S. center. I believe they do a lot of teacher training there for students in the Education department. Good luck, a parent of two

    Marin Day School

    Nov 2008

    Re: Preschools serving organic food in Fremont/SF Try Marin Day Schools in San Francisco. They have a lunch (optional) delivery from Chefables, an organic lunch program for pre-schools. I love Chefables, the cost is about $5.00 a day, but worth it. Or, just contact Chefables and ask them who they deliver to. anon


    I checked into daycare in SF. I found Marin Day School to be a great place. It is pricey- $1200 for pre-preschool. The waiting list is long also. We decided to find something near home due to cost.

    They have a couple of schools located in the Embarcadaro area (one on Spear and one on Harrison). 2 Harrison St # 150 San Francisco, CA (415) 777-9696 220 Spear St San Francisco, CA (415) 777-2081 Good Luck! Lisa

    Part-time program for 15-month-old


    I have a 15 month old daughter that i would like to introduce into a preschool 1 or 2 days a week. Can anyone recommend one in SF? Thanks for your help. Liz

    Our son has been at Stepping Stones (inner Sunset - 7th / Irving) for a year. It's a wonderfulschool with a very nurturing environment. The teachers are absolutely fabulous and the kids get to do so many things! For example, they get to go out to lunch about once a month (pizza, chinese, etc) and picnic once a week- they walk to Golden Gate Park and "explore" every day, they go to the library every week, and they also goto the beach and on other cultural field trips. They just saw a play last month, and this month will be visiting an Insect Zoo. The earliest age to start is 2, and the 2 year olds are separated for a good part of the day from the older kids, with their own teachers. My daughter will soon be old enough to attend, and she can't wait. We've had our son in 3 preschools for various reasons (moving, etc), and this by far has been the best and most fulfilling school for him, and for us as parents. Please email if you have further questions, I also did look at a few other schools in the city if you want opinions on those. Melissa
    Preschool in SF for 15 month old. I cannot recommend Angelina's Family Daycare (near Sea Cliff/ outer Richmond/ VA in San Francisco) more highly. She accepts a couple infants and mostly toddlers, till about age 3. We took our daughter there starting in 1998 for over a year prior to moving to the East Bay. Angelina lives up to her name. She has been running this "hole in the wall" very warm, loving, nurturing, and well-run 12-child family daycare for 20 years. Angelina has perfect intuition, and is always 100% in tune with each child's needs. My daughter grew beautifully in her care. I still called her for parenting advice long after I moved away from San Francisco! We still have a few friends with kids there now, and they continue to speak very highly of her care. Everyone always say that it was VERY hard to transition from Angelina's to a "true" preschool, because no other place could live up to Angelina's! competence and personal dedication to outstanding childcare for each and every one of "her" kids. Angelina is from Spain, but speaks fluent English as well. She and her staff can speak Spanish or Hebrew to the children as well.-- Tali

    Lakeside Presbyterian Center for Children


    My 4 and 1/2 year old son will begin his 3rd year at Lakeside Presbyterian Center for Children which is located on 19th and Eucalyptus, next to Stonestown. (My sister's 3 kids went there some 25 years ago so it has been around awhile). Most of the kids come from families which are not affiliated to the Lakeside church and religion is not emphasized. There are 4 classes. The younger kids are in the morning sessions which run from 8:30 to 11:30. Child care is also available.

    We also were looking for a school primarily for social purposes (no kids in our neighborhood). There are about 20 kids in a class. You can sign up for 2, 3 or 5 mornings. The classrooms are spacious and full of creative and fun toys. Art projects are done daily, but children are not forced to participate. The playground was completely redone last year so the equipment is new and lots of fun. The school does require a fair amount of parent (or adult) participation. There are monthly meetings (although "events", such as an adult/child dinner and a bookfair replace meetings some months). Parents (or grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) are also required to participate in the classroom twice a month or do minor maintenance one evening a month. Alternatively, you can pay an extra $10 a month and not do either.

    There are 2 teachers in each class and 1 to 2 aides in addition to the parent helpers. For the younger children, the first hour or so is "free play" and art projects. Then comes "circle time" as children learn to sit in a circle and sing songs, play games, etc. Then there is snack time, playground play and story time. My son loves it. He has learned a lot, made lots of friends, and loves his teachers. During the summer, they run weekly "mini-camps" which go from 9 to 1 so they will be open if you want to call or take a look. I believe they are closed entirely during the last week of August.

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