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Spanish-Speaking Schools & Preschools

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > K-12 Schools > Spanish-Speaking Schools & Preschools


Questions about Preschools Questions about K-12 Schools See Also Reviews of Preschools & DayCares
    Spanish-speaking preschools and daycares in the area are too numerous to list here - see Preschool & Daycare Recommendations, where each school's page indicates languages other than English.
Reviews of Public School K-8 Immerson Programs Reviews of Private K-12 Schools

Questions about Preschools


Looking for a 1/2 day Spanish Immersion Pre-school

Oct 2011

My daughter will turn three in Feb 2012. I would like to find a preschool program for her that is part-time, maybe three mornings a week - 9:00 - 12:00 PM. I would love to it to be Spanish Immersion. Oakland or Berkeley would work. Any suggestions? Thank you! Anon


Check out La Plazita in Oakland. I'm not sure they do 9-12; I think it's more like 9-3, but they might be flexible. http://www.laplazitapreschool.com Anon
Our 3 yr old has just finished the first week at the newly opened Berkeley location of Kids Into Speaking Spanish, and so far it is fantastic. The teachers are competent and caring and the school environment feels friendly and warm. The school seems to be off to a great start and I am excited for future plans like getting a community garden (kids, teachers, parents) started in the large backyard play area.

They are still enrolling and I see they've posted a notice below for an upcoming open house. Give it a look--we really feel like we've found the right place! New and happy Berkeley K.I.S.S. parent


Spanish language preschool recommendations

Oct 2011

Our family is looking for a good Western East Bay preschool environment to help our 3yo daughter get a good start on her Spanish. We're a bilingual household, but Daddy's Spanish is borderline nonexistent so the dominant language is still Ingles. Thanks! Language Lagging Papa


EBI! (Escuela Bilingue Internacional) It is a WONDERFUL school. Our 2 boys have been there from the age of three (they're in Kindergarten and 2 grade now). They are both fluent and can read & write in Spanish and English. I love everything about the school - the warm and huggy teachers, the thoughful education my boys are receiving, the fabulous head of the school, and the amazing parents & kids who make up the community. It is the best. We could not be happier. Una mama de dos muCJune 2008ecos
Our situation is almost identical to yours. My wife is fluent in Spanish, but I speak almost none. However, we both wanted a bilingual education for our 3 year old daughter. We ended up enrolling her at Escuela Bilingue Internacional (EBI), which is located on the Oakland/Berkeley border. We were very impressed by their teaching method, especially the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. While we did consider some other language schools, it seemed to us that EBI understood that while becoming bilingual is very important, it is still just one component of a complete education. Also, we found that a number of other children who attend come from households where Spanish is not the primary language spoken.

Although our daughter has only been there a short while, she is already starting to say some words in Spanish and sing some Spanish songs. We're very happy with our choice, and I would highly recommend EBI to others. Feel free to email me if you want any more information. Peter


Escuela Bilingue Internacional starts in preschool, and can stay just a preschool for your child, but also will go up to 8th grade. I'm looking forward to having fully biliterate kids who also will speak some conversational Mandarin, which is added four hours a week after third grade. - parent
Our 3 and 5 year old sons just started at Escuela Bilingue Internacional this year in Oakland, and we couldn't be happier to be there. The school and its staff are incredibly thoughtful and dedicated, providing a warm, welcoming, creative environment that our kids love! It's only been two months and already my boys, who previously had no Spanish, are absorbing the language. They are learning a tremendous amount and more importantly to us, having a lot of fun doing it. It's amazing to see their language skills blossom alongside their confidence. I highly recommend the school. Feel free to email me directly via moderator if you have more questions. We love EBI

Spanish immersion-type preschool programs

June 2008

After reading several posts about parents being on pre-school waiting lists for up to 3 years, I'm getting worried. I have an infant son and wonder when I should start looking for pre- schools. I'm interested in Spanish immersion-type programs, in particular, but am open to other good play-based schools in Oakland or nearby. I would like to get other perspectives, experiences, and suggestions. Do you love your pre-school? Tell me about that too. Thanks! new mommy


Centro Vida is a wonderful Spanish immersion preschool. However, I would get on their waiting list NOW. I put my son on the list as soon as he was born, and he didn't get in until part way through the first year! But he loved it, and spoke Spanish fluently while he was there. hablamos espanol
Hi-I highly recommend Viva El Espanol, Spanish Immersion school, based in Lafayette,but there are also campuses in Alameda,Pleasanton,just to name a few,also incorporated in the Public schools in parts of the Bay Area.Best of all,they always have openings, for infants to adults and are flexible. My children, who are 3 1/2 and 5 yrs old have been attending the Lafayette campus for 2 years and they love it!The staff is Great!The phone(925)962-9177 or check them out at www.LamorindaSpanish.com Denise

Spanish speaking preschool for 2-year-old

May 2008

Does anyone have a recommendation for a Spanish/ bilingual preschool or daycare for a 2 year old in September? I am looking in El Cerrito, Berkeley, Albany, Pinole and Oakland. I do like La Casita in Pinole, but she can't start until she is 2.5.
I'm having a tough time locating one myself, so your recommendations are greatly appreciated! Shana


The best in Oakland/Berkeley area, on Alcatraz Ave. is EBI Escuela Bilingue Internacional, but........ I don't think they will accept a 2 year old. Is a good reference for next year 2009. Good Luck Susana
Of course for the best bilingual preschool, Centro Vida in Berkeley is the best but is hard to get into. You can try anyway though. My son went there. Another school that is in Berkeley is Mi Escuelita in Berkeley off Marin. My daughter went there and I know they accept young toddlers. Good Luck. Kristine
Have you heard of Viva el Espanol? We offer full-immersion Spanish classes for kids of all ages, and have multiple proficiency levels. We are a supplement to whatever pre-school or elementary school your child attends. We have locations in Alameda, Lafayette and Pleasanton. We also have some terrific summer programs. Please call 925-962-9177 for more information or visit our website at www.vivaelespanol.org. Margaret Grover-Roos

Spanish immersion preschool or Kindergarten

April 2008

We are looking for a Spanish immersion child care or kindergarten situation for our soon-to-be-five-year-old . We tried for Washington Elementary and have been wait-listed with not much hope of getting in next school year. Does anyone know of anything in Richmond, El Sobrante, Albany, El Cerrito (you get the picture); public or private; pre-school or Kindergarten that we could check out? thanks so much


Hi, You might want to check out www.contracostapreschools.com. They have tons of preschools listed on their site and I've seen some Spanish immersion programs as well. JJ

Spanish-Immersion Pre School

March 2008

I am looking for Spanish Immersion Pre Schools in the Bay Area. I already know about EBI and KISS. I would love to hear people's experiences with both of these schools. I would also LOVE to know about any other schools. Are there more I don't know about?? In the East Bay, SF, or even the Peninsula?? Really, anywhere...i'd like to research all of them and hear reviews. Thanks in advance. Isabella


My kids (ages 4.5 and 2 years) go to ''My Spanish Village'', a home-based total spanish immersion program in Walnut Creek. We LOVE the school, the teachers, the director/owner, the community. I think that they are working off a wait list right now, but I know that she is looking to grow the school. Call Ita Perez, cell 925-286-4382. She is amazing! I am happy to talk more about our experience. Mama feliz
Check out Monte Tavor off of MacArthur & Fruitvale in Oakland. Also Renaissance Montessori, I think in the Glenview area of Oakland. These two, EBI & KISS all have a very different feel to them in setting & style. Also, EBI & Renaissance go on to grade school, which is an important consideration if you want to continue with the Spanish immersion long-term and are willing to go the private school route. also looking
I would recommend you look into El Nuevo Mundo Children's Center in Richmond. They are the sister school of Centro Vida in Berkeley. Although the school is technically bi-lingual, almost everything happens in Spanish. My daugher went there for a year before starting kindergarten and was the only student from a non- Spanish speaking home. Almost all of the students and teachers are native Spanish speakers. She learned a ton of Spanish and had several non-English speaking friends with whom she managed to comminicate quite well. She also had a perfect accent as a result of being with so many native speakers.

In addition to the great language-learning aspect of the school, it is just a really great place on top of that. I would have liked so send her there even if I hadn't been intent on a Spanish speaking pre-school for her. The teachers are warm, friendly and well trained. The program has a good balance between structure and freedom of choice which prepares kids for kindergarten in an age appropriate and fun way.

They do fantastic productions for holidays and even feed your child! Not having to worry about breakfast or lunch was really a bonus for me. Their wonderful cook Maria Elena makes all sorts of yummy things everday and all of the kids eat together in a little cafeteria. They have a nice playground space outside. They also plan field trips from time to time that included a picnic at a park and a trip to the movies, if you can believe it.

The other good thing about this school is that it is relatively unknown outside of the immediate neighborhood so there is no crazy situation of needing to be on the waiting list before you child is even born.

Their phone number is (510)233-2329. Heather


Spanish Language Pre-school?

Feb. 2003

We have lost all hope of moving up the waiting list at Centro Vida and are desperately seeking a bilingual Spanish/English pre- school for our daughter (starting in January 2004). Does anyone know of anything that at least comes close? We're in Oakland but would even consider San Francisco. She is currently in bilingual child care and speaks both languages at home. Feels like we're going to have to make a choice between Spanish language development and early childhood education; hate to have think about it that way! Any advice and creative solutions welcome. julie


Hi, Right next door to Centro Vida is a small family daycare owned by Lupe. My daughter goes there and she took to it like a fish to water. All three teachers speak spanish and so do many of the children. My daughter, who is two, peppers her speech with Spanish and she is primarily an English speaker. Give them a call and ask them anything you want to know. Her number is 524- 5012. Good luck. Cherene
Have you tried calling Bananas for bilingual child care providers? (Their referral line is 510-658-0381)Many of their providers offer quality comparable to preschools. The advantages might be finding native speakers of the languages you use at home and smaller group sizes. The smaller group size is especially beneficial for children under 3 years old. Pat
Pre-school Recommendations received:
  • Monte Tavor Preschool
  • The Renaissance School

    Questions about K-12 Schools


    Spanish Immersion In Berkeley and Oakland

    Sept 2013

    Hello I am a mother of a 4 year old and a 2 year old and we are looking for quality dual immersion schools for spanish speaking families. I have heard of a few but a lot of the reviews are old. We speak spanish at home and would like to find a great bilingual school for our family. I also would appreciate any advice on application processes. Thank you, Megan


    You didn't say whether you were looking for preschool for right now, or looking ahead toward kindergarten. For preschool, I'd recommend any of the several Kidsland home-based daycare/preschools (mostly located in S. Berkeley, but also w/locations in San Leandro).

    If you are looking ahead toward kindergarten plus, Oakland Unified School District offers dual-immersion Spanish/English in several of its public schools, including Melrose Leadership Academy, Manzanita Seed, Community United, Global Family School, and Esperanza Elementary. I chose Esperanza for my son this year, and have been impressed thus far w/the level of caring & commitment amongst the teachers, admin, and after school staff. All of the Spanish language arts teachers are native speakers. There are some of the usual public school issues (class sizes larger than ideal in some grades, for instance), but for an Oakland public school, I'd say they make a dedicated contribution to the community. Parent who switched from private to public


    (Several responses were recieved for Escuela Bilingue Internacional - see that page for reviews.)

    Spanish Immersion after 5th grade

    Dec 2011

    My daughter has been attending the Spanish immersion program in a Berkeley Public School. Does anybody know if there is a Spanish Immersion middle school in the Bay Area? I would love for her to continue her education in Spanish, but I don't think any of the Berkeley Middle Schools offer the immersion program, or am I wrong? wanting to keep it up!


    I believe Longfellow is the Berkeley middle school where the continuing Spanish immersion kids go, but I could be wrong. In Contra Costa, Portola is the feeder for our Spanish immersion kids but their program is in its infancy, just started this year. anon
    The only Spanish Immersion Middle School that I know of is Escuela Bilingue Internacional (EBI) in Emeryville. Currently the school is Pk-5th grade but the plans are for the school to go up to 8th grade. Next year they add 6th grade and are currently accepting Middle School applications.

    This is our 5th year at EBI and we plan to stay through middle school. EBI is getting accredited as an International Baccalaureate Organization school, which means that the curriculum is Inquiry based. Students are taught to think critically, to develop their analytical and experimental skills, to take responsibility for their learning and consider how it affects the world around them and to be better global citizens. You should take a tour and check out their new facility. http://www.ebinternacional.org/ Happy EBI parent


    You should check out Escuela Bilingue Internacional (EBI)! It's an amazing bilingual English-Spanish immersion K-8 school in Oakland and Emeryville. My child began this year and we've been very impressed with the quality of teaching and the organization of the school. In addition to language immersion, the schools offers an IB curriculum as well as a strong arts program. We also love the friendly and open community of families who deeply care about the school. You can check out the website at:www.ebinternacional.org and contact Liza Sanchez, the Admissions Director at 510.653.3324. There's also an upcoming Middle School Info Session on January 10th. Good luck! Anonymous
    Spanish immersion continues at Longfellow Middle School in Berkeley. You will need to fill out a new Middle School application and preference form, like you did when your child entered Kindergarten. Choose Longfellow's Spanish Immersion when you fill that out. Berkeley mom of 3
    My child is younger, but attends Escuela Bilingue Internacional, a private Spanish/English school with campuses in Oakland and Emeryville. They will be adding a middle school next year in Emeryville, as they have been adding a grade per year. The school is only a few years old and they add a grade each year as the older students ''age in'' to the next grade level. It is a wonderful school, I can't say enough positive things about how great it has been for our daughter. We adopted our child from Latin America and wanted her to have some contact with her birth country's language and culture. EBI is an international baccalaureate school, all the classroom teachers are native Spanish speakers and bring their culture and language to the school. It is a warm, supportive staff and community of diverse families. Happy mom
    Longfellow Middle School continues the Spanish immersion program through 8th grade. My son is a 7th grader and he loves it at Longfellow. He is challenged academically and has made great friends through the sports teams. My 5th grade daughter will start there next year. Longfellow is a dynamic caring place. The teachers and administration are responsive and talented. The parent community is involved. I highly recommend that you check it out. Cherene, Longfellow PTA President
    There is a BUSD Middle School continuation of the Dual Immersion Program at Longfellow Middle School. We are currently in our 9th year and have successfully continued the bilingual development of Berkeley Unified Students from all three TWI elementary schools and the Thousand Oaks Bilingual Program. Our program runs from 6th through 8th grade, and then we help place our graduates in advanced Spanish classes at Berkeley High School. You are welcome to visit Longfellow and the Dual Immersion classrooms anytime. Longfellow Teacher Mary Patterson
    I would suggest that you look at Escuela Bilingue Internacional (website: www.ebinternacional.org) It is a private Spanish immersion school, and it goes up to 6th grade (ultimately it will go up to 8th grade). I think you'll be be very impressed with the rigorous academics, the talented staff, and especially the warmth and diversity of the families that attend. The curriculum is called International Baccalaureate (IB)and has a global community focus. They have financial aid available too! Happy parent of bilingual kid
    From what I understand, kids/families who want to continue in TWI through middle school all attend Longfellow Middle School. All 3 TWI elementary programs feed into Longfellow, which has a TWI track alongside their regular program. Our oldest is only in 3rd grade (in a TWI class), but from what I hear, Longfellow is supposed to have a great program. TWI Mom
    Longfellow Middle School has a well-respected dual emersion spanish-english program, although some students there are in the english only program. If you know some families with older kids in the dual emersion program, you should speak with those families about their middle school choice. The longfellow community is small and close and supportive with good teachers. The campus is safe with a big yard and a great auditorium. Sports, music and other programs are offered. They probably have an open house coming up at some point that you can check out. My student did not go,through that program, but has friends who did and those kids are great. Another BUSD parent
    In Oakland, we have Melrose Leadership Academy, a public two-way immersion school that is building a k-8. Right now I have a son in 2nd grade and every year a grade will be added until 8th.

    Spanish immersion school with strong art program

    April 2010

    We currently live in SF and are moving to the East Bay. Our son currently attends a Spanish immersion preschool that is arts focused, which he loves. We are looking at elementary schools in Berkeley with Spanish immersion programs and a strong arts curriculum. I toured Cragmont and was impressed with its arts program. I also toured Escuela Bilingue in Oakland and, while the Spanish Immersion seemed great, the arts seemed limited, especially in the upper grades. Can anyone speak to either of these schools or other schools that would be worth looking into? Thank you! hoping to move


    My child is at Escuela Bilingue International (pre-K), so take my comments, especially about the upper grades, with as much salt as necessary. He's my second, much younger, kid, so I've seen my share of schools. What strikes me most about EBI is the thoughtfulness of the administration and community in creating the curriculum and deciding how things will be done. There's an amazing flexibility and creativity in finding the best situation for each child. There is a very sincere commitment that I see in action to enable students to direct their education. You really see classes shift direction based on the ideas and interests of the kids, individually and collectively. In some ways, this is more meaningful in the upper grades, but I see it as well even in the PK. It takes a special kind of a teacher to start a day with a certain plan in mind and integrate changes in direction at the drop of a hat, but I've watched it.

    Which is to say two things about arts -- if a kid's interested in art, I know that they would get a tremendous amount of support in integrating that into many aspects of his education. And, I suspect that as the school continues to expand, arts will be strengthened. I continue to see the school fine-tune and strengthen various parts of the program (this year hiring a gym teacher who is really amazing). I'm not sure that I perceive EBI as particularly weak on the arts -- there's currently a display of children's interpretations of great artists' works.

    One last thought for you -- I had a fairly specific list that I used when looking for a school for my older son, based on his pre-school experience and his interests. He's in an arts magnet school which he loves. It's a great school. But, he's lost interest in art. Not because of the school. He just grew and changed. I don't regret it exactly, but if I had to do it again I would look for the overall school that seemed to support students well, with a much less specific list.

    One last thing about EBI -- it's a very international community (not surprisingly) which is very fun and, I think, broadening. EBI parent


    Wanted to provide some feedback on EBI. The langauage aspect is phenominal, as the teaching staff represents many spanish speaking countries and the manner in which they teach is comprehensive. The art program is completely integrated into the curriculum, which is why it may seem limited. My kids have been exposed not only to hands-on art projects in many mediums, but also the a variety of artists and can speak knowledgeably about them. All of the teachers use art as a way to teach other subjects (math, geography, science and music). We have been very satisfied with the entire curriculum and recommend that you take a second look at EBI. Very Satisfied EBI Parent
    Have you visited Manzanita SEED in Oakland? My son began there in K and is now in 2nd grade. He is very artistic and it has been a great place for him to learn and grow. SEED has had a resident artist teaching art once a week to each class since the school began several years ago. The art teacher also provides art instruction during the After School Program. The After School Program is free. Along with art, students can also choose to join a choir, learn expressive dance, or work with an amazing theatre arts teacher. SEED has a partnership with MOCHA so that artists come into each classroom to do several projects with each class every year, and also provide teacher training. I have seen the quality of art instruction improve among the teachers, and art is integrated often into writing, science and social studies projects across all grade levels. The Spanish instruction is wonderful and fully integrated so that students are learning science and math concepts as they improve their Spanish literacy and oral language skills. I feel I must tell you that I am both a happy parent and a teacher at SEED. I discovered SEED when I was looking for a school for my older son who is now in middle school. I was so impressed with the school and principal that I applied to work at the school myself, and I continue to be very pleased with the high level of instruction my son receives along with the opportunity for him to continue developing his artistic, social, and Spanish language skills. I feel that my older son also benefitted greatly from his instruction at SEED. anne
    I am a mom of a second grader in the dual immersion program at Cragmont Elementary school. Next year she will go to EBI. I understand your concerns and felt the same when she started in kindergarten. But I can tell you that the only thing I will miss is the art program because Joe is an incredible teacher. But I am also convinced that the art program that they will be starting at EBI next year will also be great. Art is also incorporated into the academic program in many ways.

    I am a native Spanish speaker and feel that the Spanish level of the kids and teachers is superior at EBI. The students in kindergarten speak in Spanish with their teacher but in Cragmont they don't as much. I have friends who graduated from there and they don't speak Spanish as well as the third grade students I have seen at EBI. They have a separate English teacher so students only speak English with that teacher and Spanish with their other teacher.

    The music program at EBI is also spectacular. The instruments they play are from different parts of the world and students in first grade start playing recorder and learning to read music. In Cragmont the music program is very basic. The transdisciplinary program at EBI is complete in all aspects and the academic level is also quite advanced. That is also very important to me. My daughter had great teachers the first two years at Cragmont but this year has been more difficult. I am excited with my decision to send her to EBI next year and she is also thrilled after having spent two days there trying it out. She wanted to start right away! Best of luck on your decision!


    Spanish Immersion schools in Berkeley and Oakland?

    August 2008

    Hi, Does anyone know about the Spanish Immersion schools in Berkeley? Is there anyway to get into them if you do not live in Berkeley? Are there any spanish immersion programs in Oakland? Thank you. -Nancy


    for berkeley there is the Spanish immersion private school but I assume you mean the public school programs. first you would have to get your child accepted into the Berkeley school system as a transfer student, then possibly you could apply to be in the lottery for an immersion program spot. Additionally, Oakland would have to ''let you out'' of their district. sorry I don't know if there are such programs in Oakland. There is one in Point Richmond's Washington School (public) which seems excellent and is not so hard to get in as Berkeley; if there is room they would probably take an out-of-district transfer, but again, it is in pt. richmond- probably quite far for you. anon
    Getting into Berkeley dual immersion program requires the same process as getting into any of Berkeley's public schools - you have to live in Berkeley and apply through the lottery process. Since there is a waiting list for all the dual immersion programs, I doubt there would be much chance for an out-of-district applicant. berkeley parent
    There is a new Oakland public Spanish dual immersion school called Manzanita SEED located at the Manzanita Elementary School campus - East 27th off of Fruitvale. They do a 50-50 model. It's a new up-and-coming school with a lot of promise. The principal is Katherine Carter. Check it out. Oakland parent
    Hi- I didn't see the original posting, but if you are looking for a Spanish Immersion program in the Oakland public schools, Piedmont Avenue Elementary has one starting next week, as an after school program,provided by ''Viva EL Espanol'', for the students. For more information,you can contact, Piedmont Ave. Elementary school's office(510)879-1460 or call'' Viva El Espanol'', #(925)962-9177 or visit www.LamorindaSpanish.com Denise
    Now in its third year, Esperanza Elementary in Oakland is a dual-immersion program. Native English and Spanish speakers learn together in the same classroom. In K-2, literacy and math are taught in Spanish; science and social studies in English. In 3-5 it is the opposite. The school is located in a low-income area, with many of the associated challenges, but as a teacher there last year, I must say that it is a gem of a school with a smart, dedicated, hard-working staff and wonderful children. Esperanza Elementary 10315 E St. 510-879-1551
    --A proud Oakland public school teacher
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