Research shows that children who attend quality preschool programs are more likely to succeed in school than those who do not. We offer you resources to help in your search for quality care.
Children's Council of San Francisco offers FREE Choosing Child Care Workshops to individuals, businesses, public agencies, and community organizations in San Francisco. These workshops assist parents in making informed choices about child care options. Regular free workshops take place at Children's Council's office, 445 Church Street (between 16th and 17th), in San Francisco. They are held from 6 to 8 pm on the second Tuesday of each month.
Special free workshops can also be scheduled at other San Francisco sites during employee lunch hours or at any convenient time. They will send one of our trained Family Service Training and Resource Specialists to conduct a workshop. They usually last about an hour, but can be timed to suit the convenience of the organization or company. For more information, please call (415) 276-2900. Information/workshop registration: (415) 343-3300
Seeking Preschool Placement?
THE PRESCHOOL FOR ALL PROGRAM CAN HELP
Preschool For All is a city-funded initiative providing a free or discounted tuition at over 100 participating preschools. Eligible children are city residents who turn four years old by November 2nd.
It’s not too late to enroll at some PFA sites. If you or someone you know is seeking a preschool for your four year old, PFA can help. Contact the PFA Parent Info Line for more information: (415) 354-3873.
The Preschool for All (PFA) program provides free half-day preschool for ALL four-year-old San Franciscans who'd like to attend, regardless of income. Children living in every neighborhood and every zip code in San Francisco are now eligible. Find a list of preschool locations around the City. Choose from over 100 sites sorted by neighborhoods in the City. There is a Google Map link so you can see where they are located.
A Parent's Guide to Finding Quality Preschool
by First 5 San Francisco
Confused as to what questions to ask or what to look for? This helpful guide filled with tips on Choosing a Preschool. English, Spanish, Chinese
A Parent's Guide to Starting Kindergarten
by First 5 San Francisco
A helpful guide created in 2010 offers a variety of tips for parents. English, Spanish, Chinese
Preparing Your Child for Preschool
by Irene Byrne, SF Parent
Preparing your child for preschool is a very important step in helping your child become independent. Quite often it is the child's first time away from home and parents as well as the first real contact with adults who are not members of the immediate family. Your role as parent or guardian is to plan a smooth transition from home to school. The following suggestions will assist you in preparing your child and yourself for school. Read more...
Choosing Childcare for Your Baby
When deciding on childcare for their infants, many parents struggle with questions about quality. Recent childcare research shows that the setting (in-home, family or center) matters less than what happens within that setting. Babies need to be able to form a trusting relationship with providers that allows an emotional bond to form. Read more...
San Francisco has many options for preschool from Montessori to Waldorf to cooperative. Below you will find resources and information to help with your search and hopefully make it a little less stressful.
San Francisco Children's Council offers a FREE directory of child care and preschools for families. For San Francisco child care referrals call (415) 343-3300. They can also provide information on sharecare, playgroups, and co-ops. To receive their quarterly newsletter, call (415) 276-2939. The Children's Council has two locations: Castro/Mission Street office at 445 Church St., (415) 276-2900, and Bayview-Hunters Point Office at 1319 Evans Street, (415) 920-7280. Information is provided in Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Russian, and Tagalog in addition to English.
Family Child Care Association of San Francisco are small business owners who care for and educate small groups of children in their homes. They are licensed by the Community Care Licensing Division of the Department of Social Service. The main office offers computers for parents to use. The website has direct links and phone numbers to call providers in divided zip codes.
Wu Yee Children's Services can also assist in finding a preschool near you. Call (415) 391-4890. English, Cantonese, and Mandarin speaking counselors are available.
Cooperative preschools are abundant in San Francisco and they vary quite a bit in terms of flexibility, cost, and the amount of commitment involved. Parent education is an integral part of the daily experience, in addition to more formal parent education workshops. Co-ops aren't for every family, as some need a flexible schedule and the programs aren't normally all-day care.
- The San Francisco Head Start Program is a free, comprehensive child development program for children ages 3 to 5 years old and their families. Low-income families, foster families, and children with exceptional needs are eligible.
- The Savvy Source for Parents is a free online guide to preschools in San Francisco. The site covers over 130 schools in San Francisco and gives you the inside scoop. You can search the site by neighborhood, schedule, tuition, and much more. You can also save your searches and compare and contrast schools.
- Greatschools.net is a national site that offers a variety of resources including finding preschools and other schools by zip code with parent ratings and comments. They also have a section on developmental milestones and video clips of helpful Social and Emotional Development tips.
- Momtrusted.com is a free resource for parents to find early education and care providers. Search by zipcode.
Pince-Nez Press publishes several guide books to schools in San Francisco and the Bay Area.
Childcareshare.net is an online service for parents to connect with other families for child care, play dates, carpooling and more. This is like the old days of babysitting co-op clubs in which you collect points for your efforts and redeem when you need them. There is a fee attached.