Diverse Play-based, Outdoor Focused Daycare for 2 yrs

Hi friends,

I have been searching the site for daycares for our 2 year old that takes part-time initially to full-time in the Fall 2021. We are looking for a diverse environment focused on play and outdoor activities with a smaller pods. If you have any good recs for me, please send them my way. We love art, music, sports, reading and it would be great to find a play-based, socially conscious environment for our toddler to thrive and socialize.

We'd like it to be as close to Richmond (north and east) or Oakland (47th and Martin Luther King Jr Way). BIPOC, Queer-friendly preferred.

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

I would recommend contacting Kathy at Applejacks daycare on Hill St in El Cerrito, google says it’s closed but that’s not true! 510-253-9155. My daughter attended there and it’s play based, beautiful outdoor space and kind loving staff. Home cooked lunches, WOC owned, always a diverse group of kiddos. 


We have our almost 2 year old son at Good Earth School in El Cerrito and we're loving it! Happy to answer more questions. 


I would look into Skytown. It is a co-op. Affordable. Tons of outdoor time and play based. In Richmond. In our experience, it has a lot of heart and community. 


In our experience, Big Trees Play School has everything you’re looking for. The website is pretty bare bones, but don’t let that fool you. The director is wonderful.


I wanted to give the strongest of recommendations for Semillas School in Richmond, and it seems like a match for what you’re seeking.  It is a truly wonderful play-based in-home preschool. They have been based in Oakland but are relocating to Richmond near the Arts Center in May 2021. My daughter was 1.5 when she started, and she felt so safe and happy there. She was excited to go to school every day.

The children spend loads of time outdoors - exploring and playing and learning and going out on adventures -  in a way that feels wild and free. The school’s founder Elisa and her mother Paula are an amazing team and have put together a group of loving and supportive teachers. Their philosophy is play, and they gently support children in navigating social and emotional learning. The teachers and children are diverse and the school is socially-conscious.  I can’t recommend them highly enough and I’m so excited for the families in Richmond area who will be discovering the gem that is Semillas!

You can reach Elisa at: semillaschool [at] gmail.com

Pine Crest School in Kensington is a good choice. My children go there and it's very outdoor play-based. My children have thrived. 


Thank you everyone for the great recommendations! I am so glad I asked and will continue to research these suggestions!