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Rockridge Little School (Oakland, CA)

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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Preschools & Daycare > Rockridge Little School

College Ave. Site
  • Owner: Rockridge Little School, LLC
  • Phone: 510-420-1200
  • Email:
  • Neighborhood: Rockridge on College Av.
  • Zip: 94618
  • License #: 013418056 (view)
  • Capacity: 41
  • Website:
  • Bilingual:
  • Ages: 2 - 5 years
Taft Ave. Site
  • Owner: Rockridge Little School, LLC
  • Phone: 510 658-2034
  • Email:
  • Neighborhood: Rockridge on Taft
  • Zip: 94618
  • License #: 013420925 (view)
  • Capacity: 30
  • Website:
  • Bilingual: Spanish, French
  • Ages: 2 - 6 years
  • Editor Note: this site was occupied by Rainbow School prior to 2012

Oct 2014

Re: Preschool near Park Day School, Oakland

There's an opening at Rockridge Little School for a 3 - 5 year old (full time). My son has been at RLS since he was 2 years old, and now at 4 years, the school is family to us. Our family, however is moving to Portland, OR and my son's spot will be available as early as mid-October.

The teachers at RLS nurture each child as an individual, and celebrate their growth and learning. Decades of experience are shared among the teachers and I just know my son is in the best possible environment to learn and be cared for. Also, I love that the school is mixed age so the 2 year olds are in circle with 5 year olds versus separating kids. It really helps the little ones develop socially—faster—when they have the older kids to emulate. It's also fun to follow along on the school's blog (for parents) and see what the kids are doing throughout the day.

I've seen my son grow into an independent, confident and thoughtful little man in the time he's attended RLS. I am so grateful for the experiences he's had and the opportunity to learn from the talented teachers at Rockridge Little School. Temescal Mom

Aug 2014

Re: Small Preschool or Daycare that still has openings?

A spot just opened up (age 2-5) at Rockridge Little School and I'd highly encourage you to check it out! Our daughter started at 2 yrs 9 months and is just about to finish her first year. We've been so happy with the school that we're sending our 2 year-old son there in September. The teachers are warm, caring and creative. While not everyone lives in the immediate neighborhood, it does have a neighborhood school feeling to it. We often run into my daughters classmates at Frog Park or walking down College and it's great to see the friendships that have developed over the year. The facility is nice -- there's a great outdoor play area in the backyard and kids get outside frequently, even during the winter months. It's also fun to follow along on the school's blog (for parents) and see what the kids are doing throughout the day. The program's play-based and I appreciate how organic the curriculum is -- often the art projects and classroom activities will grow out of something the kids are interested in (trees, a classmate's recent travel, etc.). Play, creativity and developing strong social/emotional skills are all encouraged and fostered. If you haven't already, look at Happy RLS Family

Rockridge Little School (College Avenue)

March 2014

This is our son's first year attending the College Avenue location of the Rockridge Little School. We honestly could not be happier with the experience he has had. We truly love RLS and the amazingly talented teachers there! It is such a fun, loving, happy, nurturing and creative environment. The Monkey Room teachers, Adrie, Mariana, Tracy, Debbie, (plus the afternoon teachers, Tatiana and Sarah), are all amazingly wonderful and have so much love and creativity to offer the children.

When we were looking for a preschool, our top priority was that our son was in an environment that was supportive of not only his educational needs, but more importantly, an environment that would support his social and emotional development and well-being. We felt it was very important that he felt safe, both physically and emotionally. The teachers at RLS provide such nurturing support to the children in so many ways, and our son has built incredibly strong and trusting relationships with each of them.

The curriculum at RLS is hybrid of many emergent, play based learning philosophies, including Reggio Emilia and Montessori. The teachers observe, listen and engage with the children in order to find out what their interests are. They understand the way children learn best, which leads them to plan the most engaging, interesting and hands-on activities and projects. The children are always focused in what they are doing, because the teachers are thoughtful about the activities they plan and the materials that they set out for the children to explore. Each day, there are usually three different activities the children can choose (or not choose) to engage in. Kids can also choose to do their own thing - read, play blocks, cars or hang out in the cozy loft area. The teachers have a special talent for planning for the whole group but also respecting each child's unique abilities and learning styles. They respect that some children are slow to warm up, while others are more outgoing and rambunctious. It's easy to see that the children feel at home in their school, and that they have a true sense of ownership and belonging.

The school has a lovely physical space –with a cheery and sunny indoor space. The teachers are very thoughtful about the way they display the children's artwork - it's very apparent how much the children's work is respected. I get such a warm and happy feeling each time I enter the classroom. The outdoor area is also wonderful, especially since they added the amazing deck. Now, the children are able to play in the elevated sand box (which sits on top of the deck), or draw pictures or play games at one of the two tables that are set up on the deck. There is also the option to play on the large play structure, ride a bike, play with balls or paint a picture on the large outdoor easel. The children are also gardening with the afternoon teacher, Sarah (they recently planted potatoes!) The outdoor space has a little bit for everyone and again, the way the teachers set it up every day is very thoughtful and shows an awareness of the children's abilities and interests.

We couldn't be happier with our experience at RLS. The teachers and director, Holly, have become trusted partners in the education of our son. He absolutely loves all of his teachers and friends and looks forward to going to school each and every day! We are lucky to be a part of the RLS family! bj

Taft Street Location

Feb 2014

We have had our daughter at the Taft Street location of the Rockridge Little School since she was just over 2 years old and she is close to 4 years old now. We really love RLS. It is such a fun, loving, happy, creative environment. Teachers Ben, Gabby, Jim, Maryam, & Nicole are wonderful, each with their individual styles and gifts from which the kids get to benefit. The director Erika is fantastic and a great listener, and Holly, the owner, has a great learning philosophy, and deserves a medal for the team she has brought on board, a combination of the old Rainbow School staff with new staff. When I was looking for a preschool, my top priority was that my daughter was and felt safe, both physically and emotionally. We get that at RLS, and so much more. The director and teachers have the kids safety and well being top of mind, always. In addition to that, they really care so much for their young students, and they work so hard to make every day fun. The teachers make learning seemless with playing - which is how I feel ''education'' at this young age should be. There are usually 4 different tables going each morning, with 4 different activities a student can choose (or not choose) to engage in. Kids can also choose to do their own thing - read, play blocks, play with plastic animals. One recent activity was about ''emulsification,'' with the kids mixing different ingrediants with water to see what would emulsify and what wouldn't. Another had the kids put two flat boards up on the counter and see what objects rolled down it faster than others. They learned that heavier items tended to go faster. It is just so neat. I am amazing how much my kid is absorbing; from her vocabulary and ability to express herself, to her letters, numbers, love of books and puzzles, her understanding of the world around her and her physical confidence (dancing, singing, etc.) The director and teachers are masters at this. They have the most unique, awesome activities - I mentioned a few above, but I'm sure you can ask to see some of their blog entries (oh, and they have a daily blog that gives you an idea of the sorts of things the kids did that day). The school has a lovely physical space - a converted one-floor bungalow home in the Broadway Terrace neighborhood, with a cheery and sunny indoor space, and a lovely, partially shaded outdoor space with a good mix of a playset, playhouse, picnic tables, trees, plants, etc. The school has all the equipment and toys you expect and want - including books, blocks, plastic animals, soft animals, a tactile table, dress-up station, play kitchen station, and a very active art studio section. They have several types of pets at the moment (lizard, frogs, and fish) and sometimes other crawlies get in the mix, like worms, crickets, and rolly-pollies. The teachers are not only fun, kind, smart, warm and engaging: they are also inately aware of where each child is at and what they are ready for. A few months after I tried unsuccessfully to potty train my daughter at home, the director approached me to say she thought my daughter seemed ready, and that she and the teachers were on board to take her with just underwear for the day and see how she did. The teachers were so great and encouraging through the first few days (and several) accidents, that our daughter quickly got the hang of it (mostly) that first week, with just a few kinks that we all worked on over the next three weeks. To sum up, the directors and teachers have become trusted partners in the raising of our child. We are lucky to be a part of this family! lisamarie

Jan 2014

Rockridge Little School has just begun tours for the '14-'15 school year. My daughter has been at RLS since September and she LOVES going to school. Every day she asks me to pick her up as late as possible and every day she continues to thrive. We have been very happy with the incredibly rich curriculum that relies heavily on the arts, creativity and play. Contact the director, Holly Gold holly(at) or 510-420-1200 to schedule a tour. Jennifer H

Taft Street Location

Aug 2013

RLS (Taft) is a fabulous school that our daughter has truly enjoyed since she started at age 2 this past year. It offers a stimulating, light-filled playspace (indoors and out); rich, widely-varied and imaginative art projects that often originate from the whatever tickles the kids' fancy that week; a range of enrichment activities such as yoga, story-telling, dance, and circle time in different languages; and activities galore. It's a happy place. We like that the younger and older kids spend the day together, but also have separate age-focused group time during the day. The daily (private) blog gives a valued peek into the kids' lives at school. Best of all are the wonderfully-engaged teachers, who care for the kids with much humor, patience, and imagination. We've picked up from them a number of tools for coping with toddler-isms, not to mention some of our now-favorite songs and sayings. They are a well-rounded and diverse group in interests, ethnicity, and age - and even two male teachers. Our daughter benefits greatly in connecting with each differently, and depending on what kind of toddler-mood strikes her on a given day (hour/minute). She is enamored of them all, and we know she feels much loved there. Plus she has a ton of fun. Recommend it highly. Beth

My almost three year old daughter started at RLS in January. We are so incredibly happy with Rockridge Little School. Our daughter is thriving both at school and home. Everyday, when I drop her off in the morning there are at least three craft tables set up with various activities. We are welcomed with many smiles and joyful salutations. The teachers there are bright, considerate, and helpful. My daughter is a bit shy, so it's such a delight for us when she says, ''Mama I want to go to ''my'' school now''. I highly recommend this school to anyone who is ready to start the process. There are a few openings available for this coming Fall. Check it out! Niki
March 2013

Re: New 2 area -preschool & transitional K - help!
We are currently in Rockridge Little School but moving to Sacramento on April 1st which will leave an opening in the Monkey Room (ages 4-5). What timing! RLS is a fantastic school with many wonderful facets: art, reading, nature, outdoor play, water play. All the teachers are creative, calm and personable. It's always all smiles when you go into RLS.

I don't believe they have room for a younger sibling but if you want to explore options, this may be a good one for you. Perhaps we can work together to make the schedule work for everyone.

Contact me if you would like to discuss more. K.

Jan 2013

Re: Need a full-time preschool near Rockridge
I think we were in your shoes a year ago. We had just moved to the area, didn't want to add to our commute, and wanted a good preschool experience with warm skilled teachers, outside time and healthy snacks. After a lot of time searching, I found a great preschool and maybe it will work for you too:

Rockridge Little School is in a great location right near Rockridge BART, the 24 and the 13, with easy drop off spots right in front on College avenue. It is a very warm and inviting atmosphere. All the teachers are very engaged with the children and also in teaching. I think almost all of them studied at Mills, which has a great education program. The director, Holly Gold, puts all her energy in supporting the teachers and creating enrichment programs (such as music, dance, storytelling). They offer both part-time and full-time programs, and are surprisingly flexible with changing number of days, or extending hours during the year. (Many other preschools want you to sign contracts for the full year, with no chance of changing the hours or days).

I'm not sure about the filtered water/organic snacks, but the children all bring their own water bottles and lunch from home, and the snacks have been quite healthy. Often the kids participate in making the snacks together (for instance they made cornbread together this week). I appreciate that they encourage families not to send dessert at lunch. The teachers really seem to enjoy being at RLS. They are very attentive to helping children feel included and good in the group. When we joined RLS, our little guy did not have any experience with daycare, and he was pretty shy. They were super helpful in the transition to preschool, and much to our surprise and delight, he loved preschool in no time and was asking to go for more days.

The teachers have strong skills at teaching children to work together, and get along. They strike the right balance with problem solving for the kids and helping the children problem-solve. Holly and the teachers are very present and available. The best recommendation I can give is that our shy guy runs up to school every day, and gets annoyed if I don't get the alarm code punched in fast enough: ''What is is taking so long? I want to go to school!'' Happy RLS Mom

Nov 2012

RLS will have an opening in the Penguin Room (4 year olds) in December 2012/January 2013 because our family is moving out of the area and, sadly, we are leaving the RLS family. My son started at RLS in the Monkey Room (3 year olds) last year and has thrived there. He has made great friends with both the teachers and children alike. The school has been a happy and inspiring place for him with lots of creative art, science and craft projects to choose from. They also have wonderful music and movement classes that our son really enjoys. The teachers really connect with the kids and seem to truly love their work. We are sad to leave RLS, and know our son will really miss his teachers and friends. If you are interested in learning more about RLS, please contact the Director, Holly Gold, at 510-420-1200.

Sept 2012

Re: Spaces left in a nursery school that accepts 24 mo
Rockridge Little School on Taft is a charming pre-school that accepts 24 month old's. My son is 3 and is having a wonderful time at the school. The teachers are gems - they are very warm and diverse. The space is cozy and ample, toys are multi-sensory. There is always art, sports and circle time; they had near daily science projects going a few months ago which i hope continue. You might want to talk to the owner Holly about affording tuition It's worth it if you can swing it. happy mom

Aug 2012

Our twin toddlers began attending Rainbow School on Taft Street in 2010. It was a great facility run by an experienced woman who had been there for several years. She had established the program as one if the best in the area. Following her retirement earlier this year, Rockridge Little School assumed control, and my wife and I are thrilled with the new management and their approach to early childhood education. Heather, the new Director, has an enthusiastic, warm, caring and engaging approach that our children have responded to extremely well. There are a multitude of creative and educational activities going on throughout the day, and the teachers (some of whom remained from the former program) are diverse, talented and compassionate. I can't recommend the school highly enough, and by all means shoot me an email if I can provide more information. Thank you.

July 2012

Hi -- Please let me know your opinion/thoughts on the Rockridge Little School. I'm interested in hearing about experiences on both campuses. For those of you at the Taft location, has there been any difficulty with the transition? Thanks! Liz

We've had our daughter at the Taft campus of Rockridge Little School for the last two months and have been extremely pleased with our experience there. The teachers are creative, supportive, and just fantastic all around. The kids get a really enriched environment from the art projects they work on to the animals they get in school. The other parents at the school are also really cool and have created a wonderful community. I wholeheartedly recommend RLS. Erik
The transition from Rainbow School to Rockridge Little School was difficult for us. The tuition was raised 30% (from $1,200/mo to $1,575/mo) and the number of days when the school is closed was increased, not honoring the contract that had already been signed. Many changes were made that came out gradually and without warning, causing a lot of anxiety. Writing groups for the older children were eliminated (which my child loved, and was fantastic preparation for Kindergarten), as were field trips and walks around the block and to the nearby park. This was a dramatic change from before, when we enjoyed a loving, stable, clean, and organized school. Parent
i will say this right off the bat - as one of the parents who was part of the transition from Rainbow School on Taft Street to Rockridge Little School, i couldn't be happier. i knew RLS had a good reputation coming in and offered the type of activities, philosophies, values and care that i was looking for in a preschool. My level of commitment to Rainbow was waning and RLS came in right at a perfect time for me and my daughter. I have an excellent rapport with Holly, the owner, who i find open and excited to be doing this career and just today our new director began her position and from what i have seen so far, believe she will be an excellent fit. the children are all very engaged in the multitude of projects offered and the teachers are very loving and creative. Snacks are healthy (a lot less sweets, thank goodness!) and all in all, a wonderful school which i would highly recommend. if you want to speak further, please feel free to contact me directly. Good luck! vanessa
I visited both campuses of Rockridge Little School recently and was extremely impressed. It just feels really good in the classrooms - there is lots of good energy, bright and interesting artwork, a feeling of the outside/nature being incoroporated inside... Both campuses also have wonderful outdoor spaces, especially the new Taft location - it feels magical, like you're in a treehouse.

The kids were all happy in both locations too, no doubt because the teachers are so wonderful. The Taft location also has the wonderful benefit of having a male teacher, who was lively and sweet and clearly adored by all the little ones. There's a good mix of older and younger teachers, too, which provides a well-roundedness. The ratio seems pretty high too - each of the teachers was able to take some time to speak with me, calmly and thoroughly, without their kids being unattended. I was impressed by their thoughtfulness and experience, and an overall feeling of calm - everyone just seemed really happy to be there.

I know there are openings at the Taft location, and I would highly recommend the school. Good luck! RLS fan

June 2012

Re: Any preschool openings or short wait lists?
Rockridge Little School, a dynamic play-based preschool, has added a second school - also in Rockridge, which has some openings. The original school is on College Avenue (next to Dryers) and the new school (Formerly The Rainbow School) is located on Taft right off Broadway.

Both schools are happy and inspiring places - the kind you don't ever want to leave. They are comfortable and inviting, and the teachers (and kids) are interesting and engaged! There is a great selection of creative art, science and craft projects to choose from. Both schools have wonderful music classes, great dramatic play areas, sand play areas (indoors and outdoors), all sorts of building materials, great libraries, nice play structures with slides and gardens. The teachers love the kids, and they love their work, and their approach is consistently inspired. The kids are never bored. The teachers encourage kids to stand up for themselves and identify their feelings and needs and feel a sense of belonging with their friends at school.

Please check out the website at College Avenue School (420-1200)takes ages 2.8 yrs to 5 yrs. Taft Avenue School (658-2034) takes ages 2 yrs to 5yrs (and may have limited immediate openings too). A Former RLS Parent

March 2012

I am writing to recommend Rockridge Little School on College Avenue which has a few openings for the 4 year old Penguin room in the fall.

My daughter was in the Monkey room (3 year olds) last year and is a Penguin (4 year olds) this year. Since the second day of school, she leaps out of the car each morning to run inside. School days, she says, are her favorite days of the week. Why do I think that is? Based on what I know from my visits to the school and compulsive reading of the daily blog the teachers maintain so parents can learn about their kids' days, it's a combination of the creativity the teachers inspire, the variety of activities available and focus on letting each kid shine in their own unique way.

I chose the school because upon visiting for the first time, it felt like our home. Bright, busy, the right combination of neat and mess (the kind that shows there is a lot going on under supervision), happy children and engaged adults. The teachers across the board have been engaged and friendly and brought out a level of confidence I am proud to have seen blossom in my daughter. The curriculum is play based and it's fun to read on the blog the origin of each project. One week the kids are building a city based on a recent vacation. Another painting their own museum based on a book someone else brought in. The school has also had a steady stream of visiting teachers who bring dance, yoga and language to the kids. Our family couldn't be happier with RLS! Stacy

Jan 2012

I would like to hear updated reviews about Rockridge Little School, particularly the 3-year old classroom, as I understand that the teachers there are new this year. Thank you in advance. Anon

My three-year-old daughter was enamored with the teachers in the 'Monkey Room' at the beginning of the school year and we were saddened by the idea of the change. However, the director and remaining teachers made sure the transition was seamless - from evening and Saturday Q&A sessions with concerned parents, to circle time conversations with the kids, and homemade goodbye cards for the parting staff. Best part, they had hired a warm, talented, and interesting team of new teachers who focus on expanding our three-year-olds' imaginations through creativity while teaching them appropriate social skills. I am an elementary school teacher and the RLS alum at my school are thriving. A perfect first-year of preschool; I couldn't be more impressed. -stacey
March 2011

I am writing to recommend Rockridge Little School in Oakland's Rockridge area which has a couple of openings for the fall of 2011. My four year old son has been there for a year and a half and he has loved his experience there. He is always happy to go to school in morning, and I attribute that to the warmth of the teachers and the variety of activities he can engage in on a daily basis. Being an elementary school teacher myself, I have high expectations for my son's teachers. At RLS the teachers have definitely impressed me. They are friendly and patient. They engage the students in fun and educational projects that stem from the interests of the kids. For example, many of the students have been interested in building, so one teacher has helped them to create buildings, towns, bridges, etc out of recycled materials. Other teachers have them planting, looking at insects with magnifying glasses, or creating art collages just to name a few. Everyday there are new creative opportunities. They also have rotating guest teachers who come in to teach the kids various types of dance, music, yoga, and more. Parents and grandparents are encouraged but not pressured to come in to read a story, lead a project, or share a cultural tradition. My family has had a wonderful experience there and will be sad to say goodbye at the end of this school year. Kate

Feb 2011

Re: Oakland/Berkeley Preschools with Caring Teachers
Dear Carrie, All of your requirements sound reasonable! I would suggest that you check out Rockridge Little School located on College Avenue near Claremont Ave. Our son attended for two years, he is now in 1st grade, and our daughter attends presently. There is a lot to love at RLS. The teachers are caring and funny, and promote independence for our toddler. They are also always ready to provide loving comfort when needed. The school is small, so it is not loud and chaotic and your child will never be lost in the fray. The size of the school- two classrooms of about 22 kids allows you to get to know the other children in your child's class and their parents. Every morning the little ones do fabulous art and sensory projects, and there is a lot of creative play- dress up etc as well. When I pick my daughter up she is well rested from her nap, and always deeply engaged in play with a group of children outdoors. I cannot say enough about how much fun our daughter has at this school, and how happy I have been, (now in my third year there!) with our kids level of engagement in all of the activities at the school. There is also an enrichment program which adds dance, mandarin and yoga to their curriculuum on a rotating basis. Lastly, the school has a super blog which is updated daily to include the books your child read, the activities they did and photographs. This has transformed the question of 'what did you do today at school' to a richer conversation that begins with 'so you read about scuba divers today, what did you think about that?' etc. At least three of the teachers speak spanish, and sing in spanish as well. Best of luck with your search! Elizabeth

Jan 2011

Re: Son's dairy and gluten allergies at preschool?
Hi, I saw your post and wanted to respond. My son has severe allergies to tree nuts and eggs. I would like to recommend his preschool, Rockridge Little School on College Avenue in Oakland. We are in our third year there (as my son has late fall birthday) and am extremely pleased with the way they have handled his food allergies. No nuts of any kind are allowed on the premises, and all the parents, grandparents, caregivers are notified of this. The teachers are very sensitive to his allergies. They go out of their way to make sure he never feels left out. He has special treats in the freezer for birthdays. He is able to eat the snacks they provide for morning snack and I provide his lunch. Please feel free to email me if you'd like to discuss further. I give Rockridge Little School the highest praise for their sensitivity, open communication, and most of all, the opportunit for my son to be able to have a ''normal'' preschool experience. Elena

March 2010

Rockridge Little School is one of the options for our 3 year old son for next fall. I have not had the time to do a ton of research because we were out of the area, but I wanted to get some feedback on Rockridge Little School. Thank you Anon

My son has attended Rockridge Little School for the past two years and we could not be happier. He has really flourished and learned a lot. It is a play-based school so the kids are allowed to be kids. They have a good balance of ''boy'' type activities and art and dance. The teachers are all incredibly dedicated and really know how to work with kids. We like RLS so much that my daughter will be attending in the fall. Happy RLS Mom
March 2010

Re: OAK Pre-school recommendations for confused mom
Our son went to Rockridge Little School, a play based preschool located on College Avenue across the street from Barclay. They are renting a section of a church including a small backyard, where kids can have access to outdoor. Being at the church was great, since it allowed them to use a much larger room upstairs time to time. However, the church regularly provides some kind of service to homeless people, who at times sit/eat/sleep right at the entrance of the preschool when kids arrive and leave. Some of them would use the front yard area to relieve themselves occasionally. But we did not hear any of them being a real threat or disturbance to kids/staff/parents while our son was there.

Overall, we had a great experience there.

Dec 2009

Re: finding a preschool in December
Hi Anonymous parent of 2 year old twins,

I am writing to let you know that my son attends a wonderful preschool, Rockridge Little School and that you have not yet missed the deadline for fall 2010. Tours are beginning this week and I would very strongly encourage you to visit the school, or at least call the director, Holly Gold, at 510 420-1200, so that she can address any questions you might have. I clearly remember that choosing the right school for my son was a daunting process. I went on several tours and saw a number of places that for a variety of reasons, did not seem like a good fit.

This all changed when I walked through the doors of RLS. I immediately got a god feeling about the school and the way it was being run. My son is thriving there and I am really pleased that my first impressions have translated into such positive experiences for our whole family. Holly is an approachable and engaged director, the teachers are lovely and genuinely care about the children and in addition to all the inspiring art projects and imaginative play, there is singing, dancing and storytelling galore, not to mention a gaggle of very happy kids and their parents.

I hope this helps and good luck with making the right choice.

Dec 2009

We are writing in to recommend Rockridge Little School for pre-school. In the frenzy for finding the right preschool for our very social, outgoing 2.9 year old boy last year, we looked at a lot of schools in the Berkeley/North Oakland Area. Some were too serious for us, some not structured enough. Of all the schools we looked at, my partner and I soon decided that RLS was our first choice. We like the atmosphere, the way that the teachers and staff interacted with children and the way they communicated with parents. Also, the schedule options worked really well with my part-time work schedule(and the price-well, they are all expensive, what better to spend money on than your child's education and well-being). Anyway, our son has been there for a year plus now and he is thriving and happy. I really appreciate the way the staff comes together with families to address social and community issues and I really like the approach teachers and staff take to helping children navigate social and emotional issues. The BLOG is a great way to find out what kids are doing everyday, the music classes, drama classes and extra activities are exciting and stimulating. As a side note, we had a major injury which left my son in a body cast for 6 weeks at the beginning of the school year. The school staff was flexible, caring, supportive and helped us through that time-letting us come as aides for my son with family members in tow whenever we wanted.
Thats enough, you get the picture. We love the school- the complaints we have are the same at all the schools we looked at: some of the closure days are hard for two parents who work, individualized communication from staff is hard if you do extended day and the class sizes are about 20 but you can always get a call back from staff the same day you ask a question. cc

Nov 2009

Another school on College Ave. to look at might be Rockridge Little School. It is near College & Chabot (close to the Dryer's building). I have had 2 daughters attend. It is smaller than other schools, mixes together different philosophies, and the teaching staff is great. My daughters have always felt loved and been very happy to go. They have a safe back play area, and one of the best options I have seen in terms of flexibility. You can send your children 3, 4, or 5 days a week, 1/2 day, 3/4 day, full day. They bring in nice enrichment programs, and it is also year round which is great. One of my daughters who attended is now in 1st grade and the transition to elementary was easy for her, she now loves school and is doing really well. I would recommend it. Kristil

Oct 2009

Re: Need Recent Reviews of Oakland Preschools
Hi - I noticed that the one school you left off your list of Oakland preschools is Rockridge Little School on College Avenue. As a parent to a current Rockridge Little School student, I am thrilled with this nurturing and dynamic school that has fostered creativity, pride and a bit of spunk in my little one. Like you, I visited these same preschools as I navigated the 3 year old preschool process and from my perspective, Rockridge Little School was the one place that emphasized preschool is time to love learning and school. The teachers are less concerned with what they teach but focus instead on how they teach -- do the children like to be there? do they thrive? do they like school? I embrace this approach because it's teaching children to like school which will hopefully translate into years of strong education down the road. Not to mention that Rockridge Little School is just a wonderful environment with a vibrant staff, eye on creativity and good-natured fun. I strongly recommend you consider Rockridge Little School.

Feb 2009

Re: Preschool in Temescal/Piedmont Avenue/Rockridge
For those of you who have inquired about preschools in the Berkeley/ Oakland/ Rockridge area, I wanted to make sure you knew about Rockridge Little School (RLS). Two of our daughters have attended the school. We have had such a positive experience in their small family-like environment. RLS stands out from other preschools in the area by their commitment to helping the children learn, grow and express themselves through many creative outlets. Our family has found RLS to be a safe and happy place for preschoolers to explore and understand more about themselves and others. The teaching staff have a remarkable way of applying what they know about child development through unique and fun learning activities. For more information go to their website: Katie

May 2008

Re: Full-Time Preschools in Oakland
Our preschool, Rockridge Little School (RLS), has one last- minute opening for a three year old, on a full or part-time schedule. Before choosing RLS, we looked at several schools in the area, and, after 3+ years at the school, I still believe the quality of care at RLS is outstanding. The classroom environment is very warm and relaxed, but also well organized. I don't have to worry that my children's needs (physical, emotional or social) will ever go unattended or slip lunder the radar.n The school's educational approach is play-based, with a great focus on interacting with others, and I am thrilled to find that my initially shy child has grown increasingly confident in her social and emotional self. Imve also observed that the RLS classroo's work well for many different kinds of kids because the teachers pay special attention to the temperament and personality of each individual kid, so the experience can be successful for that particular child. Wemve seen a great variety of enrichment opportunitiessmusic, dance, drama, language, and great parent participation (which is welcome, but not required). Feedback from the teachers is also excellentsany behavioral or developmental issues (or potential issues) were always brought to my attention in a timely, positive and supportive manner. In our experience, all the teachers have worked very well as a classroom team, each with something special to offer the kids, but note that Jackie, head teacher in the 4 year-old room, is truly exceptional-- a gem if ever there was one! As we prepare to move on to kindergarten, we are deeply appreciative of the time our child spent at RLS, and the individual attention she received there. (While it wasn't our family's focus, we are also completely confident that she has honed the lacademicn skills necessary to join a kindergarten class.) One final, noteworthy thing about RLS is that neither the parents or the children are asked to fundraise for the school. The focus stays on the kids, and the RLS community enjoys social events without pocketbook pressure. I highly recommend this school, and I am planning to send my youngest child there next year., 510.420.1200 RLS mom of two

March 2007

Re: Preschool spots for 4 year-olds?
Just wanted everyone to know that Rockridge Little School has some openings for fall (for kids aged 3.5 and older). RLS is an amazing play-based preschool with incredibly talented, loving, creative, and communicative teachers. My son has been enrolled there several months now and is thriving like never before--inspired, curious, and very comfortable in his environment. He and I are both secure in knowing that his teachers deeply care about him, and he is also gently challenged every day--they truly care about his future and go out of their way to help him grow. And the art projects at RLS are out-of-sight--once you walk through those doors, you'll never want to leave! I highly recommend the school for anyone looking for a loving, inspiring environment for their child---and you can learn more from RLS's wonderful website,, or by contacting me with any questions. Good luck! Tiffany

February 2007

I visited Rockridge Little School and was impressed on the tour. I'm interested in reviews from parents in the 3 year old class. I know it's a new school so there's not too many parents out there, but would appreciate any feedback. I'm especially interested in finding a preschool where the teachers are really warm and loving, having had my child in one where there a little too much focus on discipline and not enough on giving hugs. Thank you! curious mom

My child currently attends Rockridge Little School. We have been very happy with our experience. The class size is a little on the large side (can be as much as 20 kids, depending on day of week) but there are 3 teachers in each room, which seems to work well. Kids can choose from a variety of projects and playmates, instead of the class being dominated by one or two outgoing children, as I have observed with smaller class sizes.

All the teachers at RLS are very warm and kind people, and their love of children shows. I continue to be impressed with the quality of activities that they provide - the art projects are outstanding (a wide variety of materials and mediums) and the environment is rich. I have visited a lot of preschools, and have personal experience with other types of programs. If you are turned off by the strictness/rigidity of some other preschool programs, you will probably be very pleased and comfortable with RLS. The children are free to explore whatever activities they choose, and at circle time they gather quietly and pay attention... it is a nice balance. My only gripe is that for some reason, they don't serve fruit for snack, just dry crackers and juice... which is less than I'd expect considering the relatively high tuition. mom of happy child

Rockridge Little School is an amazing play-based preschool with incredibly talented, loving, creative, and communicative teachers. My son has been enrolled there several months now and is thriving like never before--inspired, curious, and very comfortable in his environment. He and I are both secure in knowing that his teachers deeply care about him, and he is also gently challenged every day--they truly care about his future and go out of their way to help him grow. And the art projects at RLS are out-of-sight--once you walk through those doors, you'll never want to leave! I highly recommend the school for anyone looking for a loving, inspiring environment for their child---and you can learn more from RLS's wonderful website,, or by contacting me with any questions. Oh, and they have some openings for fall (for kids aged 3.5 and older). Good luck! Tiffany
I started my 3 year old son there in November. After 3 half days, I pulled him out of the school and had to ask the daycare provider to take him back. This was after he experienced closure at the daycare, with a goodbye party and gifts, etc. and prepared him for what I hoped would be an exciting and happy experience at the new school. My son had some adjustment problems - he was moving from a small, intimate daycare into a larger, more stimulating environment. The school was unable or unwilling to deal with his normal preschool adjustment behavior. My son had problems napping and a few other problems. The director called me to pick him up on all 3 days! He was very upset when I picked him up. This experience was very confusing for my son, although he was happy to be back at his daycare. By the way, he had no problems adjusting to the daycare when he was 2 years old - my daycare provider remarked that he had the easiest adjustment she had seen in 30 years! Neither the director of Rockridge Little School, or the lead teacher, met with me to discuss these issues!! I got very little information about what provoked the bad behavior.
I was quite surprised to read the recent negative review of Rockridge Little School. Our son started in the 3-4 year old classroom in September and it was his first experience with preschool. He had a hard time adjusting for the first few weeks (crying, not interacting with other children, etc) and I felt his teachers handled the situation very professionally. They did not baby him, but watched to see what activities he especially enjoyed and steered him in that direction. They were gentle and caring throughout the process. I would call the school a few hours into the day and the director would give me an update on how he was doing (and it was obvious she had spent time in the classroom) and let him know I called. The communication was excellent.

After a few weeks my son adjusted and now loves going to school. In my opinion, and it seems to be shared by all the parents I've talked to, Rockridge Little School is a gem, and I feel very fortunate to have found it. I can't imagine a more nurturing, creative, joyful place to send my child for preschool - he has blossomed and gained so much self-confidence over the last 6 mo. I have never had a reason to question the competence or professionalism of the staff; they are truly dedicated and it shows. We have been incredibly happy with our experience at Rockridge Little School and I would recommend it without hesitation to anyone. Christa

I wanted to post another reply to the Rockridge Little School review as I had a completely different experience than the parent that replied negatively. We have been a part of the school since it's inception and have had a very positive experience. My child has developed positive relationships with the teachers and the other children. I was nervous about when my son started as he's a slow to warm/shy child but he was encouraged and made to feel welcomed. We went thru a difficult time while I was hospitalized with my second child and my son had a difficult adjustment and they spent time and accomodated my sons needs.

Communication is something the school is always working toward improving but I have found the director to be very open to feedback. She has insituted parent ideas that help make parents more informed and that also improve the school. I'm sorry the other parent had such a negative experience but there are those of us who have also had very positive experiences. Good luck in your search! Happy RLS parent

Oct 2006

I took a tour of Rockridge Little School and was very impressed by what I saw. We are considering sending our child there. However there aren't any recent reviews in the archives. Any impressions of the school from current parents? Thanks in advance! Oakland mom

I wanted to reply to your request for a recent review of Rockridge Little School from a current parent. My daughter has been at the school since it opened last September. We have had such a wonderful experience. The children just thrive with the art and play-based curriculum. Enrichment classes (dance, gymnastics, story telling, etc.) are an added bonus at no additional cost! Several of the teachers are bi-lingual so language is shared/taught in an informal manner. The play structure, sandbox, tricycles and playhouse in back are bit hits with the kids as well. I have included my e-mail address so feel free to contact me should you want any more information.
Oct 2005

Our family is considering applying to Rockridge Little School for our preschooler, but it has only been up and running for a couple of months. Can any current parent comments on their experiences there so far? parent of a preschooler

Our daughter (age 3) started at RLS this fall and is loving it. It is her first-ever school experience (we didn't have day care) and I was apprehensive too, since it was a new and unknown quantity. So far I'm really pleased with the place. I think the director has done a terrific job of hiring outstanding teachers. Things were a little hairy at the start as everyone settled in, and there has been some shaking out of staff (a couple of part-timers were replaced in the older class), but I can't say it's adversely affected my child in any way. From what I've seen of the younger (2-year-old) class, they have extraordinarily fun and loving teachers. Everyone seems very happy in both classrooms when I visit. Cons? It's more expensive than several older, established area preschools. I imagine there's a lot of overhead in starting up a new school. But so far for us, the pros--especially an eager, enthusiastic staff full of ideas and goodwill--outweigh the drawbacks. happy mom
Our daughter is currently attending RLS. She absolutely loves it. The school is very well kept, there is a low teacher-student ratio and all the teachers are caring and warm. Two of the teachers in the 3-years-old class speak Spanish to our daughter (one is native speaker), which we appreciate, since our daughter is bilingual. There is also very good communication between the school and the parents. Happy RLS parent
We have nothing but good things to say about Rockridge Little School. Our daughter, in the three year old class, actually started crying when I came early one day- she was having such a lovely time and didn't want it to end. At home, she now pretends to be the teacher, and I and all of her stuffed animals are students. It's been sweet watching her grow just in the short time she's been there. The teachers communicate clearly with me and my daughter, and they and Holly, the director, have been very flexible with us, a good thing since my daughter had a little trouble adjusting in the beginnning. Hope this helps! Thanks. Michelle
March 2005

We are thinking of sending our child to Rockridge Little School and are curious what other parents impressions are of the school. We think the director seemes very nice and the space is very clean, bright and welcoming. The scheduling options are great too. Our concerns are around the newness of the program, the fact that there aren't teachers hired yet and the lacking of years of preschool experience that the program will have. It would really help our decision if we could get feedback from others who are considering the school as well. Thanks in advance!

We are currently considering the Rockridge Little School. We were very impressed with both the Director and the facility. There are a couple of issues that we keep turing over as we make our decision. One, they have not hired any teachers yet. It is hard to know what a program will look like when you can't meet any of the staff. We liked Holly and are trusting that she will hire staff like herself. Second - the tuition for the program is very high. They do not include lunch. This may be a deciding factor for us in whether or not we choose to attend. Interested in thoughts of others that are considering the program. anon
I had a similar experience with RLS and liked the director very much as well as the indoor space. I think the outdoor space still needs some work but it seems the director is willing to spruce it up. I am going to trust that the director will hire quality individuals to work at the school. One of the drawbacks for us is that it is quite expensive compared with most other preschools and doesn't offer a lunch program, field trips, or additional enrichment activies built in to the program. anon
We looked at several preschools for our 3 year old. Rockridge Little School really excited us for several reasons, mostly because of the director's philosophy on early childhood education. My husband and I really liked the idea of allowing the kids to show what they were excited about, what their interests were and that the educators were there to help them with those passions- discovering and learning the whole way. We did get into another more established school with a good reputation, and we thought long about our decision and the newness factor. But when it came down to it, we were really looking forward to the energy of the school. And we wanted to be apart of helping to build something- something vibrant. We feel we can really be included in starting this school. And, I'm happy that the director is encouraging healthy snacks and treats, especially for birthdays, (how many cupcakes can a kid have every month?) I like that she is flexible, taking parts of Waldorf, Montessori, etc., and she has opened other schools before this one. She knows what goes into the entire process, and I trust, as I would at any other school, that she will hire teachers that are in line with her philosophy. The director's attitude with children and the school is not 'This is how it is,' it's 'Let's try that.' And that is exciting. Hope that helps. Thanks. Michelle
I am currently a Head Teacher at a preschool in Oakland. I know the director of the Rockridge School, from when she hired me to teach dance to children and teens with developmental disabilities at an after school program in Berkeley. She was the program director for this site.

She is a well-respected, intelligent, compassionate and straightforward individual. I have seen Rockridge Little School and find it to be developmentally appropriate with the various tools she provides for the children to promote learning as well as emotional and social growth.

I also intend on coming in to teach yoga and creative movement at Rockridge Little School this year. I understand your concerns as a parent. I am the parent of a three year who attends the preschool where I work, in a different classroom. Of course one of the greatest concerns are the teachers. I know Holly will personally ensure the quality of her program and hire capable and experienced staff. Since I am a teacher, I especially understand what makes an excellent school. The director of Rockridge Little School shares my values and will bring great energy to this school in which she has made a personal investment.

I have a previous commitment at my current school, but I am also making a commitment of time and support to this director in any way possible. Michelle

I also looked at the Rockridge Little School and am excited to be enrolling my child. I met with the Director and was extremely impressed. I guess I can understand someone's reservation about the newness; however, I am looking at it a whole other way. The fact that it is new and that my input is being considered is very inspiring.

I have an older child and still have nightmares about how she was treated at a pre- school that was older and suppose to have been well established. I am pleased to know that my thoughts and experiences are being heard and I am able to help create the best environment possible for my child. I looked into the Director's background and found out that she has won awards for her leadership, one from the city of Berkeley. She has a masters degree in the field, is a mother herself, and obviously has a heart for children. The school may be new, but she has over 20 years of experience working with children. The facility couldn't be better, it's not tired and worn like a few others that I looked at. From what I was advised the key staffing is underway, and it's a huge priority to hire the right people so I'm glad they are taking the time to do so. I am relieved to have a better option for preschool this time around. anonymous

Feb 2005

hey all you fabulous moms out there:

It's preschool season, and if you're like me, you've been visiting tons of schools and signing up for waiting lists and paying application fees. Ack!!

I wanted to let you know about a fabulous new preschool, The Rockridge Little School, that is opening this fall, and still has spaces! The school is in the heart of Rockridge on College Avenue, and I highly recommend the program.

Here's a little more about the school - It's an enriched preschool for kids 2.5 through 5, that offers 8:30-5:30 hours (or fewer). There are two classrooms with 20 kids each, and each classroom has three teachers. The space is beautiful - located in an old Julia Morgan building with big windows, a nice outdoor area, tons of toys and art tables and a kitchen area and cubbies.

My good friend Holly is the owner/director, and under her leadership, I'm sure this place is going to be incredible. Holly is a smart woman with a generous heart, a wonderful mom to Bella, her three year old, and one of my best friends. She is currently the director of Ala Costa, a program for disabled kids, and has worked in non-profits for 20 years. I absolutely trust her ability to create an ideal preschool!

The Rockridge Little School will have a few open houses, and I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, if you want to check the school or it's website out, please contact:

Holly Gold, Director, Rockridge Little School
holly AT
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