Spanish-Speaking Schools & Preschools
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Questions about Preschools
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Our 3 and 5 year old sons just started at
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
We love EBI
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
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.
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
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
I'm having a tough time locating one myself, so your
recommendations are greatly appreciated!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Pre-school Recommendations received:
Monte Tavor Preschool
The Renaissance School
Questions about K-12 Schools
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.
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
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.)
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
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,
the feeder for our Spanish immersion kids but their program is in its
infancy, just started this year.
The only Spanish Immersion Middle School that I know of is
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
You are welcome to visit Longfellow and the Dual Immersion classrooms
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
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.
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.
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'
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
One last thing about EBI -- it's a very international community (not
surprisingly) which is very fun and, I think, broadening.
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.
I am a mom of a second grader in the dual immersion program at
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
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!
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
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.
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
There is a new Oakland public Spanish dual immersion school called
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.
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
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
area, with many of the associated challenges, but as a teacher there last year, I
say that it is a gem of a school with a smart, dedicated, hard-working staff and
10315 E St.
--A proud Oakland public school teacher
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