April 27, 2017

Updated DTLA Preschool/Daycare Guide

The search for a decent preschool for our son turned out to be way more stressful than I ever expected. The good news is that because of all the government offices in DTLA, there are a ton of childcare options, especially near City Hall. The bad news is many of them give preference to government employees, which means if you’re someone walking in off the street, you can expect to wait six months to a year before getting in.

My advice: Start early (before your kid is born if you need infant care), visit the facilities, get on as many waiting lists as you can and talk to other parents to get the scoop on daycare openings.

Below is a partial listing of daycare centers and preschools in and near downtown Los Angeles, along with some comments from parents.

Le Jardin des Enfants
400 W 9th St. between Olive and Grand

The newest addition to the DTLA preschool scene offers a French immersion program for toddlers. From their website: “Le Jardin des Enfants is the first expansion of the incredibly successful language programs created by Pascale Setbon at the Language and Laughter Studio (LLS) in Brooklyn, NY (www.thelanguageandlaughterstudio.com). We promote the social, emotional and cognitive well-being of children through the creative exploration of a foreign language. Taught exclusively in French, our integrated approach seeks to stimulate a child’s natural impulse to learn and explore through play while meeting the educational standards of France’s Curriculum nationale.”

H. Pregerson Child Care Center
255 E Temple St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 894-1556

DTLA parents say: My son attended this facility for a year and we loved it with some caveats. There has been staff turnover and some of the new teachers aren’t as strong as the people they replaced. Teacher Marissa is terrific and if your kid is in her classroom you have nothing to worry about. The other classrooms are a bit of a crapshoot.

Joy Picus Center
City Hall South
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 978-0026

DTLA parents say: My daughter is at Joy Picus and we love it. Great teachers and a responsive director.

County Kids Place
2916 Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 744-6241

DTLA parents say: This one is close by and seems to have a lot of space available for kids. It’s located just across the freeway. The only thing we didn’t like about it was that it was in a sort of strange location.

Mount St. Mary’s College Child Development Center
10 Chester Place
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 477-2500

DTLA parents say: The daycare is located in a beautiful Victorian building. The facility is attached to Mount St. Mary’s College, which means all of the staff either have degrees in child development or are students in an accredited degree program. I liked it a lot, but the waiting list is long (we never got called) and the location is kind of hard to get to during rush hour even though it’s just south of downtown.

Cal Trans Tiny Dots Early Education Center
100 S. Main Street, Suite 130
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 897-0049

DTLA parents say: I absolutely fell in love with this facility. It is big, clean, and orderly with plenty of toys, different activity areas and even a fish tank. I spent a morning there and saw the kids getting lots of loving attention from staff. But this is another place where we never made it off the waiting list.

Both of my kids are at Tiny Dots, and we love it! It’s clean, the outside area is HUGE, and the teachers are really caring. The only drawback is that Lupe, the director, seems to be a little overworked (she has twin boys of her own, so I think she is a little distracted sometimes) If you want to visit the center or get your child on the waiting list (and yes, it is a rather long list, unless you are looking for part time) I suggest calling in the morning before 10 am, and don’t leave a message. Just keep calling until you get through to her. Otherwise, you just get added on to the pile of messages 🙂 They start at 6 weeks, and go all the way through preschool.

Union Station Gateway Child Development
1 Gateway Plz
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 922-4453

DTLA parents say: This one is located at Union Station. I toured this facility three years ago and didn’t like it. But three years is a long time in daycare land, and I hear it’s better now. I understand that this facility is now under new management. Worth checking out since the location is so convenient.

“I’m at Gateway Metro and neighbors are too. They have a list but there is a lot of movement and I think they’re great! Well priced for area too. At Union Station”

Nishi Hongwanji Child Development Center
815 E. First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 680-9130

DTLA parents say: This school is one of two in Little Tokyo affiliated with a Buddhist temple. Gets terrific reviews from parents on GreatSchools.org. I toured the school and really liked it but I got called for another preschool before I could get off their waiting list.

Pilgrim School
540 South Commonwealth Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90020
(213) 385.7351

DTLA parents say: They have an amazing preschool and kindercare and they are also a K-12 school. Gorgeous facility, amazing people and staff.

My son is at Kindergarten there, takes 5 min from center city.

Lumbini Child Development Center
505 East Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 680-2976

DTLA parents say: Affiliated with the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple. I’ve heard many good things about this facility though I haven’t toured it myself.

My daughters are very happy here.

USC School for Early Childhood Education
Contact: Phillipa Johnson
Assistant Director
(213) 821-2723

The USC School for Early Childhood Education provides instruction to about 600 children under the age of 5. The program has been serving low-income children and families in south Los Angeles since 1970. USC operates five fully licensed Head Start State Preschool child-care and development centers serving children from three to five years of age, as well as an Early Start home-based program for parents, parents-to-be and children from birth to three. Open five days a week, September through June, the centers offer full-day, part-day, twilight and extended-evening programs.

County Kids Child Development Center
2916 South Hope Street
(213) 743-1777
Opened 2007; full-day program

John W. Mack Child Development Center
3020 South Catalina Street
(213) 730-7620
Opened 2007; home-based programs

University Gardens Child Development Center
1250 West Jefferson Boulevard
(213) 733-1650
Opened 2003; full-day and twilight programs

University Park Child Development Center
741 West 27th Street
(213) 743-2466
Opened 1973; part-day, full-day, twilight and extended-evening programs

USC Trojans Child Development Center
1664 West Adams Boulevard
(213) 743-4728
Opened 2007; full-day programs

Troy Child Development Center
1276 West 29th Street

Early Head Start Home-based Program
3716 South Hope Street, Suite 386
(213) 743-4650

John Tracy Clinic
806 West Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA  90007-2505
(213) 748-5481

“Building on our 70-year experience of teaching children to listen and speak, JTC is now expanding our services in the newly renovated Dickinson C. Ross Center for Education and Innovation.  This new classroom will be open to all children and will provide the highest-quality preschool education and wrap-around child care. Children will benefit from JTC’s expertise as they engage in a child-centered, Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum, taught by experienced teachers on our beautiful and historic University Park campus.”

St Anne’s/Bogen Family Early Learning Center
155 N. Occidental Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 381.7804
DTLA parents say: They have expanded their need based infant care/preschool programs to the community. Large, affordable center (Beverly/Rampart area–about 3 miles west of downtown). Infant care is $1000/month (I can’t remember what the preschool was). If interested, please contact the Early Learning Center Director Laura Hernandez, 213-381-2931 x451 or email at lhernandez@stannes.org.

Pinetree Preschool
311 S Normandie Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Neighborhood: Koreatown
(213) 365-0909

DTLA parents say: My daughter had been there for almost a year and loves it. They provide 3 meals a day AND are $600/month. Currently they take kids from 2 years but will soon be taking 18 month olds.

Hope Street Friends
330 South Hope Street, Suite 3-010
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 787-2006

I have no inside scoop on this facility, so if you know anything, please share in the comments!

Good Samaritan Hospital Preschool Center
1350 Shatto Street
Los Angeles CA 90017
(213) 977-2355

I have no information on this facility either. In fact, they don’t even seem to have a website. Anyone know what’s up with this one?

Little Flower Educational Child Care
2434 Gates Street
Los Angeles, California 90031
(323) 221-9248

DTLA parents say: We loved Little Flower Early Childhood Center. They take 6wk thru kindergarten. Both our kids went there until we moved out of state.

I just got a note that little flower missionary house in Lincoln heights now has infant care–6weeks old to 6 years

Grace Iino Child Care Center
231 E 3rd St G103
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 617-8596

Located in Little Tokyo, this center offers subsidized and non-subsidized infant and toddler care. Immediate openings available as of July 2013.

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About Alisa Rivera

Alisa is a writer whose work has been featured in the Oregonian, the Syracuse Post-Standard, Latina magazine and other publications. She has also had her short fiction published in the Berkely Fiction Review and Iris: A Journal About Women. Alisa and her husband, James Hightower, have been happily raising their son, Nathan, in downtown Los Angeles since 2008. You can learn more about Alisa's work at www.alisarivera.com.

  • alice

    The Hope street center is located next to California hospital on Venice and Grand. in order to qualify for day care one must be low income and one “must” sign up for social service home visitations twice a week. yup not optional is a must.