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I can't say enough wonderful things about Sunshine Play School. Our son started when he was 2 years and 3 months, and he is now completing his second year there. It's play-based with a beautiful outdoor space (including access to Alvarado Park) and just enough structured routine and activities to provide an overall program that our very active son thrives on. Every month the children learn about a different theme: ranging from the Olympics to polar animals to fairy tales to recycling. There is also either a field trip or an organized event at the school or neighboring park each month to provide additional experience with that month's theme. The teachers are amazingly thoughtful and nurturing and are incredibly gifted at facilitating conflict resolution in a calm and consistent way to allow each child to find his or her own voice. We have also found the parent community to be incredible and have made friends that have tied us even deeper to a neighborhood we already loved. We look forward to another year at Sunshine! Happy Sunshine Parent
We are really happy with Sunshine. We were on the waitlist for probably 6 months before our son started there last June and we toured a number of other preschools while we were waiting. We liked that Sunshine was smaller (20 kids max, and some are part-time). Our family daycare recommended that our son (who is quieter, and can be slow to warm) attend a smaller preschool. We also needed hours that went to 5:30 rather than 5pm. What we love about the school is that it feels very out of the city... right across the street from Alvarado Park near Wildcat Canyon. Just this morning when I was dropping him off it was misty in the canyon and smelled like the outdoors. This is pretty amazing for a school that is 5 minutes from the freeway. It's a lovely community of parents and the teachers have been there a long time, which seems like a good sign of stability and consistency - that it's a nice place to work. We also like that it's play based and not overly focused on academics. Preschool is a time to play!! AKD
My daughter has been attending the Sunshine preschool program for almost one year. She is now 4.5 years old is has been thriving there.
What helped us choose Sunshine over other schools is it that it is play-based. You won't see kids mindlessly doodling on worksheets. Children are engaged in learning colors, letters and number concepts through singing, stories, art and use of manipulatives. What's more, is that while children are learning the academics they are having so much fun! They really promote a love for learning. Even more important, at least in my view, is that Sunshine is creating great little citizens by continually fostering social skills such as sharing and positive conflict resolution.
The four teachers there are amazing! I am in awe of how patient and kind they treat each of the children. I was initially worried about my somewhat shy daughter transitioning, however, she took immediately to Miss Heather and now says they are all her favorite
Sunshine is really a community of amazing parents, children and teachers. We have made some great friendships which I expect to continue even after my daughter graduates this summer.
Some pertinent info about Sunshine:
Attendance can vary from part time to full time M-F 8AM-5:30PM with tuition based accordingly.
Children who stay for the afternoon bring their lunches. Morning and afternoon snacks are provided. Breakfast is provided for those that get there around 8-8:30AM.
Tuition is very reasonable in comparison to similar schools.
The site is located across from Alvarado park, very close to the beginning of the Arlington, a short distance from the freeway. We commute from El Sobrante and it takes ~10 minutes. Renee M
I am considering enrolling my daughter in Sunshine Playschool this Fall. Can you please share your experiences? Did your child thrive emotionally, socially, physically and academically? Are the teachers nurturing? Will they give my daughter a hug if she needs one? Do you feel your child was well prepared for kindergarten? Curious, could your child read or almost read when s/he graduated? Thank you so much for any feedback you can provide. -ML
The directer Brianna, her sister Heather and Jocelyn are GREAT!!! They are patient, nurturing, caring and really let each child develop individually at their own speed. Although my son was not able to read when graduating I think he was well enough prepared for kindergarten. Their new space near wildcat canyon is awesome, yes a bit small but I think worth it for the garden, nature walks, and outdoor art area they are able to take advantage of...not to mention the school bunnies. One year they even hatched chickens.
There are always fun seasonal/family parties and Brianna does a great gob of organizing field-trips. Oh and last but not least we LOVE grandma and grandpa.
I feel so blessed to have found such an wonderful program. My son is constantly asking when we can go visit, so he definitely gives Sunshine two thumbs up. Please let me know if you have any other questions. hr
Re: Preschool with a low student/teacher ratio, willing
to work with a child with behavioural issues
Hi. I would recommend Sunshine Playschool in Richmond. Its at the end of the Arlington. They have about 20 students and 3 teachers, but they specialize in social development. I have known kids who have done poorly at other schools, gone there, and thrived. The teachers, are quite amazing. I do not know if they have space. April
Re: Preschool/Playschool in El Sobrante Area
I would highly recommend Sunshine Playschool. It is located right at the entrance of Alvarado Park/Wildcat Canyon. The school is play based and has a wonderful staff who create a great community. Please check it out, it will be worth your time/effort. sunshine parent
Re: Preschool recommendation in El Sobrante area
I would recommend looking at Sunshine Playschool it is a fantastic school. I looked at 7-8 schools before I found this jewel. My son is so happy there he is having a great time. www.sunshineplayschool.org (510) 307-4365 Brianna is the director. happy parent
Re: Cozy, fun preschool for 2-year-old
Great school, a nice number of kids in the age range you are looking for (2-3 yo along with some older-they take up to 5), really attuned to the needs of the little ones- always have fun activities/themes for the month along with field trips. Rates and other info on website www.sunshineplayschool.org...It is about 6-7 miles from N. Berkeley-off the Arlington or if you take 80 E- it would be the Solano exit. It is really worth checking out! Good luck:) anon
Re: Preschool suggestions near El Cerrito or Albany
Sunshine Preschool in Richmond near the El Cerrito border is fantastic. My daughter has been there for a year and a half. Before I became a mom I taught preschool for several years and I have a good idea of what a preschool should be like. Sunshine is one of the best. The director and head teacher, Brianna Ofill, has this incredible balance of warmth and firmness that children crave. Prior to Sunshine my daughter attended a preschool that could not give her the attention she needed and she was not feeling good about school or herself. Within days after moving her to Sunshine she fell head over heels for Brianna, became enthusiastic about learning and a more confident person. I see the same enthusiasm from the other children there. The other teachers there a really great too and they work well together as a team. Not to mention Grandma Diane whose visits are always something to look forward to! A warm and wonderful family atmosphere. Happy Sunshine Parent
We placed our son at Sunshine when he was 2.5 years old and he
has really blossomed in the last year.
The staff is stable and confident. The turnover is low, In fact,
the same aids have been there for the at least a year while
getting their degrees in ECD. The director, Brianna Offill, has
amzing energy, patience and an innate skill dealing with each
individual child. Her sister Heather is an experience preschool
teacher and their mother, Gramma, comes in every Friday to play
and sing with the kids.
It's a great place for learning and fun! The staff is warm and
friendly, the parents are involved and the fieldtrips are fun.
One Saturday night each month, the teachers host Parents Night
Out where for $20 per child (all kids in the family are welcome)
you drop off the kids at school for four hours. Parents have a
relaxing evening out knowing the kids are safe and having fun
(dinner served!). We visited other preschools in the area and we
are more than glad we chose Sunshine. It's a nice neighborhood
The school is accepting for fall 2009 and can be reached at 510-
307-4365 or email Brianna at firstname.lastname@example.org
Re: Preschools with FT schedules/childcare?
Sunshine Playschool has full time. My son will begin in Sept and I was very pleased with the program. I had looked at 5 other preschools/home daycare. They offer full and part day programs between the hours of 7:30A.M.-5:30 P.M. Monday-Friday, year round. Please call Brianna at 307-4365 or email her at email@example.com for more information. anon
I am interested in Sunshine Play School for my 3 year old son located in Richmond on Sonoma Street--any feedback about the program would be great the director is Brianna Offill. Thanks anon
My son has been at the Sunshine House in Richmond for about 6 months now, and we love it. It's a home-based daycare run by Brianna Offill, and she is wonderful with the kids. She's infinitely patient, caring, and she obviously loves them. She's very skilled at conflict resolution -- you can learn a lot just by watching her. The other women who work with her are also great; one is Bree's sister. Bree is totally organized and the house is always spotless. There are no unexpected closures and no drama, totally professional. She provides healthy meals and takes the kids out on field trips. This is my third kid and I've used many different childcare facilities ranging from big commercial daycares to nannies to home daycares. Bree is the best (well, she ties with my last home daycare provider, who sadly no longer provides childcare :-). I wish all of my kids had been as lucky as my third. Sometimes you don't realize what's missing from other daycares until you find one that's really exceptional. Their website is http://www.sunshineplayschool.org. jennifer
Im writing to recommend a fantastic family daycare in Richmond, Sunshine House Daycare. My daughter just graduated and is off to preschool, so they have one available full-time spot. Brianna Offill and Heather Lee are sisters who run the daycare; both are trained in early childhood education and have many years of experience working with children (in fact, their mother, Grandma, also ran a family daycare while they were growing up!). They are extremely loving, nurturing, patient, and supportive teachers, and the children clearly love them in return. The school is play-based, and they also take the children on terrific fieldtrips: to visit a pumpkin patch, a family farm, a tree farm, the East Bay Vivarium, Lawrence Hall of Sciences, and so forth. They have a wonderful program and my daughter really benefited from the safe, respectful, and gentle environment they provide. Feel free to email me with any questions. Heres their website: http://sunshineplayschool.org/ Contact: Brianna Offill, 5106200785
I am recommending a daycare/preschool Sunshine House in
Richmond hill, (tel: 510-620-0785. My 3YO son started
Sunshine House 4 months ago, and we LOVE the school!
Sunshine House is run by experienced staffs. One teacher
was a preschool teacher, and another teacher has extensive
experience working with children. It is in a clean, safe
home with nice backyard with play structure, sand box, and
out side art play area. Staffs are very gentle, loving and
caring. They do circle time, show and tell, singing,
reading, monthly newsletter, field trips, etc, etc. My not-
yet-English speaking son is quiet and reserved. We wanted
his school to be small, with caring staff, and wonderful
teacher/child ratio, so that he would get enough love and
attention he needs, learn to trust others and feel safe and
happy while away from us. Sunshine House met our needs and
so far has exceeded our expectation. I highly recommend
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