St. Mary’s Center Preschool


The original programs of St. Mary’s Center grew out of a community organizing project to identify needed programs for the neighborhood surrounding St. Mary’s Parish. Besides programs for older adults, community members prioritized a preschool for their children. Our preschool has grown and flourished since its inception more than forty years ago. With a large school building and play yard, a dedicated and qualified teaching staff, and a curriculum which meets or exceeds the California State educational standards, St. Mary's Center Preschool is well equipped to prepare children for achievement in kindergarten and beyond. All low-income families from Alameda County are eligible to apply to St. Mary’s Center Preschool but most of our children live near our West Oakland site.

Director Quinetta Lewis has created an inviting, stimulating classroom in which children can learn, explore freely, work alone and together, and develop social skills and positive self-image. The classroom is divided into learning centers. In these centers, children learn to read and write letters and sight words, listen to stories, count objects and playing math games, sing, play instruments and move to music, create artworks, and learn computer skills. We also encourage children to develop an interest in science as they learn about animals, insects, plants, and the weather in our science exploration area. In our large enclosed play yard, children develop their large and small motor skills by planting seeds in large planters, riding tricycles, running and climbing on structures, playing ball games, painting at easels, and experimenting at the water table.

St. Mary’s Center Preschool is certified by the state of California and offers two sessions each weekday. Children attend either the morning session from 8:30-11:30 am or the afternoon session from 12:30-3:30 pm. We have a ratio of one teacher for six children in each session, along with volunteers who help in a variety of activities. Our preschool offers a play-based curriculum, which provides educational enrichment within a safe learning environment. Most of our children are African American, Latino, or Asian; English is often not the language spoken at home.

If you are interested in enrolling your child please call 510-595-4030 to arrange a meeting.