Size Small Toddler School

Community Subscriber

Berkeley, CA

To see Department of Social Services records on this facility, click on its DSS Facility License # below.

Home-Based Daycare/Preschool
DSS Facility License #: 
Bari Nelson
510 526-8747
berkeleybari [at]
North Berkeley/Albany
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
Ages Served: 
20 months - 36 months
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
8:30am - 1:30am
Additional Services & Features: 
Part-time available, Snacks provided, Special diet support, Cloth diapers accepted, Potty training support
About Our Program: 

Size Small Toddler currently has openings for children 20 months-3yrs old.  We are a play based school located in the North Berkeley Hills offering quality care for children for over 20 years. We are open 8:30-1:30 Mon-Friday.  Our day consist of lots of play time,art,literature,music, movement and outdoor play in a large yard with built in sand box,swings,balls,bikes and gardening.  Our program puts an emphasis on social and emotional development through creative play.

Parent Reviews

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We love Bari's! We feel so lucky that we found her 3 years ago and that she had openings. My oldest son went went to Bari's for 2 years, my middle son is currently going to Bari's and we plan on sending my youngest son in 2018. Bari is a very warm and gentle woman who works magic with kids in this age group. My kids adore her! Both my boys came out of their shells and developed socially when they started at Bari's.... not to mention their language skills took off! Each day is filled with indoor playtime which includes art, story time, music, dancing etc. The kids have snack time every morning and then weather permitting they go outside to play. Her yard includes all kinds of outdoor toys and age appropriate play structures, a sandbox and swings.  After lunch, the day ends with homemade healthy popsicles and a story. When I think of Bari's home, "cozy" comes to mind and I see it as the perfect space for kids in this age range. I can't recommend Bari's enough!

I couldn't be more happy with Bari and Alison. As a first time mother, I admit to being super picky about childcare for my daughter. I visited countless schools, but as soon as I walked into Bari's Size Small Toddler School, I knew this was a great place for my daughter. Since being in the care of Bari and Alison, my 2 year old daughter has blossomed, she talks constantly about Bari and Alison and all her friends at school. Bari and Alison have do so many activities with the kids, they have story time, art, singing, dancing, and lots of outdoor play. I love never having to worry about the care my child receives while at school. I highly recommend Size Small. 

We have had an amazing experience with Bari at Size Small Toddler School! We weren't thrilled with our previous daycare arrangement and lucked out that there was a random opening last year. We're back for another year and are already crossing our fingers that she will have availability for our newborn daughter in a few years! Our 3 year old son absolutely loves going to school, and we love that we never have to worry about him when he is there -- he is learning, trying new things, and having fun while being very well looked after and cared for by Bari and Alison. There is an amazing collection of toys inside (kitchens, train table, dress up, cars, dolls, legos, puppets, puzzles, playdough, the list goes on...) and outside is fabulous as well (large sandbox in the shade, swing set, ride-on toys). The kids do tons of cool art projects and there is a music group each week. Toys are rotated so the kids are always finding something new. Each day ends with books and homemade popsicles while the kids wait to be picked up. When we first visited, I thought there was no way that my super active kid would sit at the table with everyone and listen quietly -- but he does! He also tells me he loves cleaning up at Bari's house, but it's usually a struggle to get him to help out at home. She must be magic! Bari helped support our son in the transition from diapers to using the potty, and also gave us recommendations about preschools for next year. She has a "meet and greet" in the fall before the year starts so the kids and parents can meet, as well as an end-of-the-year picnic in the early summer -- such a nice opportunity to gather and meet the other families. Bari has it down to a science and our son has thrived there. We recommend Size Small whole-heartedly! 

We don't have enough GREAT things to say about Baris!!! Our third child is currently going there and all through the years Baris school has been an unbelievably sweet, loving, fun and engaging place for our children.  She is endlessly kind and patient and attentive to the children. Her assistant Alison is the sweetest and the children adore them both so much. 

All 3 of my children have loved it there and always ask when the next "bari" day is.  As a first time parent with my oldest I was so comforted by the attention and love given to my child when he started his first school experience. Now with my third, I still have that knowledge that my child is safe and loved and cared for and also appreciate all the art and activities they get to do every day.  My two older ones thrived after entering preschool and had a great transition from the foundation at Baris. 

Bari is such a kind, honest and personable woman, we feel so so lucky to have found her and the school. We highly recommend it to everyone.  

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Oct 2014

Bari Nelson and her sweet little 'toddler school' were such a blessing to our family! Our 2-year-old son had the opportunity to socialize, play, and learn in this relaxed and active environment for 12 2-year-olds, 3 to 5 days a week, 8:30-1:30. Bari keeps her beautiful Berkeley Hills home converted into a neat and magical space perfect for busy 2-year-olds. She has been running the school forever and has such a passion for this age group - books, crafts, outdoor sand and water, fresh produce snacks, and a home-made fruit and yogurt treat to end the day. Our son developed great character, learned to flow with a group of kids, and became well prepared for a 'full' preschool experience at age 3. Bari and her special school were a real highlight of that year in our son's life!! We miss her so much! Diana and Allison are just wonderful as the assistants too. Ayesha

March 2014

All four of my kids (ages 6, 4 and 2 year old twins) attended Bari Nelson's Size Small Toddler school and I cannot recommend it more highly. We LOVED Teacher Bari's! It is a warm, caring environment where my kids learned to make friends, share, listen and be more independent. My daughters left feeling comfortable and ready for pre-school and my sons are well on their way. All four of my kids were thrilled to go to school each day and it made me very happy to start them out with such a positive connotation of what ''school'' was like. I found the other parents to be relaxed and easy going and have made some great friends both for me and my kids. Bari is energetic and knowledgeable, her assistant Allison is warm and comforting and they both really love and know the kids. They have an amazing ability to keep 12 2-year-olds happy, calm, safe and entertained while producing lovely art projects, reading books, changing diapers and keeping the peace. Bari's house is safe, well cared for and the ever changing line up with toys kept my kids busy and happy. We are very happy with our choice! Abby

March 2013

I am looking for a twos program for my daughter, who will not be two by the Sept. 1 cutoff that many larger preschools have. I am considering both Size Small Toddler School and Keiki's Corner. I love them both! Can anyone share their experiences at these places? My one concern about Keiki's is the limited outdoor space. Both places seems to have excellent staff, fun toys/play, and a loving environment. Thanks! Anon

My children (ages 10 and 6) went to Size Small and it was great. I know people who also enjoy Keiki's Corner. Pick the one that feels right to you or has the best schedule for you or the best price. They are pretty near each other, so location is similar. Our family loved Size Small but I think there is no wrong choice between the two. Cheers, -- Mollie

My daughter attended Size Small but both are in our neighborhood so I looked at both. The reason I chose Size Small is inconsequential--they were so close. Bari is super--energetic and has tons of experience. It was a great environment for my daughter. If I had any complaint, it was that I thought that some of the crafts projects were a little sophisticated for that age group. But my daughter loved it and we're still in touch with some of the people we met there. One thing I learned that surprised me, but might also be true of Keiki's Corner: Size Small is a ''feeder school'' for Berkeley Hills Nursery School. BHNS has had a lot of good experience with Bari's ''kids'' and that gives you a leg up if you want to send your child there. mother of Size Small alumna

My younger daughter went to Size small School when she was 2 years old. She is now 7. We loved it there. Bari is amazing. She gets on the floor with the kids and plays at their level. She was always making up games with the kids and playing. Her music program on Wednesdays was wonderful. Having a professional music instructer come in and sing with the kids was great. My daughter loves singing and would come home with the best songs. Not only was there singing on Wednesdays but Bari would sing everyday with the kids and read to them and snack and lunch and actually when ever a child would ask. Her yard is delightful and large and my daughter loved to swing and play in the sand box and ride on the cars. We also still have much of the wonderful art she made and I rememebr how much she loved to show me what she created. ALso homemade popsicles everyday before going home, my daughter still remembers that.

What ever school you pick either would be great. I know from my experience that Size Small is fantastic. If I were to have another child I'd go there again. Bari and her staff were so caring and wonderful and thats what I want from a place my child goes someone who loves them and cares for them. I hope this helps. Die Hard Size Small Fan

We absolutely LOVED Bari's!! Both of my daughters, (now age 4 and 6), attended Bari's when they were two. It was the perfect set up for our family and the perfect introduction to a school setting. Bari's is play based, child driven - with awesome rotating toys, a beautiful yard and garden and fabulous snacks and art projects. Bari knows her two year olds. She is loving, kind and very nurturing! She totally helped both my girls potty train (huge relief for me!) and they loved everyday they were there. The also made great friends. I felt safe, confident and so happy to have a place my child could go at age two that was so developmentally appropriate and fun! Cannot say enough wonderful things about Bari and her program! -corrie

June 2012

Re: Any preschool openings or short wait lists?
Size Small Toddler School in the North Berkeley hills is a lovely small home-based preschool for 2- and 3-year-olds. They might still have openings for the fall. The owner, Bari Nelson, has been doing working with small children for years. There are 12 kids with Bari plus an assistant teacher. Check for previous reviews on BPN. Both my children (now 6 and 9) went there and had great experiences. It's a cheerful environment, they do lots of art projects and have fun. Give Bari a call at 526-8747. Mollie

Jan 2012

I've heard only glowingly wonderful things about Bari Nelson's Size Small Toddler School in Berkeley. Can anyone comment specifically on the diversity of the families/students? New Mom

My daughter was there 7 years ago but it probably hasn't changed--diversity is fairly low. Most of the kids come from the surrounding neighborhood, or their parents had a car to get them there. It's near a bus line, but I don't believe it's open enough hours to make it worth while taking the bus. If you want diversity, I suggest you look for a similar place in a neighborhood with greater diversity. Otherwise, it's a great school and Barri is an amazing person. Francesca

Oct 2010

Hi, We're looking at Size Small Toddler School for our two-year-old. There are past reviews, which are great, but I'm wondering if folks out there have further comments. Any areas of concern? Twelve two-year-olds sounds like a lot -- does it feel too busy, or does it still feel intimate?

I'm looking for a play-based school with free choice but predictable routines, where there's a focus on supporting children's social and emotional development. I want a setting that recognizes children need structure and support at certain times of day (meals, transitions, etc.) and that doesn't feel chaotic for the kids. Thanks so much!

We had a great experience at Size Small (Bari's). My son went for 1 & 1/2 years. Twelve 2 year olds does seem overwhelming, but not to Bari and her great assistant Cynthia. The day is very scheduled as far as inside play, outside play and mealtimes, which is great for little kids, they know what to expect. But during inside and outside play time the kids get to choose from lots of different areas and types of activities. During inside play time there is always an art project going on, puzzles, home-made play dough, and 2 fully stocked play areas. Her backyard is great too. There is everything a 2 year old could want to do. I think the most impressive part to me was how Bari & Cynthia are able to get these little kids to sit and eat together! It is so cute seeing them all sitting, eating their snack or lunch and listening to stories. Overall, a great experience. Betsy

I cannot say enough great things about Size Small School. All three of my children attended this program and each one had a tremendous experience. I think one of the secrets of success of the place is how the kids felt like they had tons of choice time all within an overall consistent daily structure. There was plenty of free play and socializing as well as art projects and other age appropriate activities. Pick-up time seemed miraculous to me: all the kids gathered at picnic tables listening to a story and having a snack. One of the consistent events of the day providing a nice transition home. Pictures of my three boys taken during this lovely experience still hang in my kitchen. Our family still talks about cozy, loving and fun Size Small School--the perfect first ''school'' experience. kelli

March 2009

I've heard great things about Size Small, run by Bari Nelson, in the Berkeley Hills, but I haven't seen any current posts on BPN. I'd love to hear from former/current parents about this school. Thanks! anon

My daughter, now in first grade, was at Bari Nelson's toddler school for a year. Bari is utterly organized and terrific, and has been doing this for MANY years. I would recommend her without reservation. One bonus is that she is totally up on all the local preschools and was a great resource when we (and the other parents) had to make that momentous decision.

It was just one year out of our daughter's life, but it made a big impression on all of us. We're still in touch with many of the families who were at Bari's that year. Some of those families have since sent younger siblings to Bari's. Francesca

Our 2 year old son has been at Size Small this year and has had a wonderful time. Bari is a very consistent, caring and creative teacher and her assistant Cynthia could not be sweeter! There is wonderful outdoor space where the kids play every day, she has every imaginable toy and each week two rotating new toy ''stations''. He comes home with art projects each week -- different things every time. She always does fun ideas for the seasons -- cute Valentine's, fun leaves and painting in the fall etc. and has all sorts of different ideas with rollers for painting, gluing different thread spools, popsicle sticks, making necklaces etc. She makes new play dough each week a different color etc. He loves it there and talks about his friends and Bari and Cynthia all the time -- sometimes even crying and hiding when I come to pick him up. It's wonderful! kg

I canmt say enough of great things about Bari Nelson and her Size Small preschool.

My son Sergei went to Bari for 2 years. Itms very warm, loving and creative place for any child, full of toys and great activities for kids. Barry is simply wonderful, very nurturing, all kids just love her; she really takes time to know each child and family.

Her place is great for kids, extremely clean and safe, with very nice outdoor area. The kids do really amazing art and crafts daily, there is a music teacher that comes once or twice a week.

Bari has been working with kids for more than 20 years, she is very experienced and can offer a lot of advice for new parents. My son is 6 now and still wants to visit her. He really loved being there. If you want more information, you can contact me directly: Lola

I gotta tell you, Bari Nelson's (Size Small) is Berkeley's best kept pre-school secret. Well, Bari is very well known and loved by all alumni (and a GREAT place to return to for trick or treating), but she runs an amazing pre-school program out of her home nestled on a quiet street in the Berkeley Hills. Both of my children went through her program and completely thrived! We tried to convince her each year to extend the age limit, but alas, our kids do grow up.

Let me give some of the highlights:
* Excellent child:caregiver ratio, and the layout of Bari's place allows for excellent attention at all times.
* Bari's home is a clean, well lit, bright and cheery environment for the kids.
* AMAZING art projects. Bari is a real pro. We still have many of our kids' projects from Bari's adorning our home.
* Bari is incredibly loving, nurturing, playful (she looks great in fireman outfits!), funny (great sense of humor with the kids).
* Bari is respectful and supportive of all parenting styles and will work with you to ensure smooth transitions for your children and help with family issues (new baby, potting training, etc).
* There is a wonderful, consistent routine with indoor play that involves changing play centers and art projects every day, a fun train room and library nook, playdough table (great colors) followed by outdoor play in her gorgeous yard/garden. Kids can harvest tomatoes when ripe, play in the sandbox, grassy area, swingset. Bari has great outdoor actvities on hot days (like boat washing & sprinkler fun). She takes little walking field trips (my kids still remember walking past the cow mailbox).
* Lunch is absolutely adorable, and before the kids go home they get nutritious popsicles (juice or yogurt).
* Bari brings in community members & an amazing singing/movement teacher for the kids for diversity.

I can't say enough good things about Baris! In fact my kids (7 and 4 now) still ask when they can go visit Bari!

Hope that provides you with a bit more up-to-date information! Jennifer

My older daughter went to Size Small for 2 years and my 2.5-year-old son currently attends and we have been very happy with it. It's in a woman's home, and there are 12 kids there a day, 2- and 3-year-olds with two teachers. The environment is very warm and inviting and very clean, and there are many toys to choose from. Bari Nelson has been running the school for years and has always had a nice assistant teacher working with her. Every day there is a fun art project and there is an outdoor play area in the back yard. When the weather is nice they do water play, bubbles, shaving cream etc. The hours are 8:30-1:30, which is a good chunk of time and the teachers assist with potty training if that is what your child is doing. We couldn't be happier with the program. Apparently Bari has openings still for the fall. --Mollie

We think Size Small is great. We are current parents and we're very happy with Bari and her assistant Cynthia. They are both very warm and caring and highly experienced with these ages (2-3 year olds). They really care about and know each kid, although their ratio can be up to the maximum, 1:6.

My daughter is at Size Small now and I gush about it at every opportunity. Bari and Cynthia are caring, creative, and responsive, and--though I'm the most paranoid mommy in the known world--when my daughter's at school I don't worry about her at all. When we discovered that she has a severe food allergy, Bari and Cynthia were ready to deal with it. The art projects are a lot cooler than you would think possible; there's an endless supply of great toys and books; the music teacher is wonderful; the kids are neat; and, the outdoor play area has everything you could want. My daughter enjoys every day there and has made notable progress in learning how to be a friend. As soon as her baby brother is old enough, he's heading to Size Small, too. Kristin

Oct 2004

Size Small Toddler School has a few openings available for children aged 2 and up. Hours are 8:30-1:30 Contact: Bari Nelson berkeleybari at or 526-8747


I enthusiastically recommend Bari Nelson's daycare for 18 mos to 3 year olds in the Berkeley Hills. In the words of my 2 year old, who has just started to talk, "Fun at Bari's House." I think that says it all! Bari may have an opening right now because a family just moved away from the area. She will welcome your visit to her amazing toddler-oriented home. Her phone number is 526-8747. Maria

My just 3-year old twins, a boy and a girl, currently attend Bari's. They have had a great experience there and so have we. They look forward to going, they love both teachers, and also enjoy the music teacher who comes weekly and sometimes twice a week. There seems to be very little conflict among the kids, and there are lots of fun, creative and varied activities to do. Lots of art. Bari and Tasha are both warm and caring, and care to be in tune with the kids each day. We have been very happy there. Melissa

My son has been at Bari's for 1.5 years now. I can't imagine a better place for him. Bari gets to know each child's individual needs (and the family's, too!), and tends to them. She creates a nice routine for the kids, with both indoor and outdoor time. She has different art projects each day, and puts out different toys each day, too. And there are a ton of toys and books, of a great variety and all very clean. The kids all get to know each other and have real fun together. I can't say enough good things about her care, but the best is that Bari is truly loving with all of the kids. Daryl

We loved Bari's family day care and only wish we could have had our son there longer (had we known about it earlier, we would have). She's loving, attentive, very skilled with children, reliable, well organized, playful, you name it. Miriam