Blue Leaf School

Berkeley, CA

No longer in business

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

Home-Based Daycare/Preschool
DSS Facility License #
Cassandra Ford
Director [at]
North Berkeley
Maximum Capacity:
Language(s) Spoken:
Ages Served:
4 months - 39 months
8:30am - 5:00pm
Additional Services & Features:
Lunch provided,
Snacks provided,
Organic options,
Vegetarian options,
Cloth diapers accepted,
Potty training support
Editors' Notes:
  • Nov 2023: Their website says they are now located in Boulder, Colorado
About the Program:

Inspired by RIE® principals and the Educaring® Approach, respect is a core value at Blue Leaf School. We believe in hearing children, valuing their feelings, and respecting their needs. Every child is unique, and we carefully observe and interact with students as individuals. We help children feel secure, welcomed, confident, and autonomous. Communicating our actions, intentions, and expectations, we support a child’s growth through their own whimsical exploration and curiosity for the world around them.

Cassie is currently a RIE® Pathyways® student who has been a preschool teacher and an Executive Director of three Preschools. 

Visit our website to schedule a virtual tour today!

Parent Q&A

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  • Blue Leaf School

    May 2, 2019

    Has anyone had experience with Blue Leaf School home daycare in North Berkeley? TIA!

    Hi! This is a new school so I don't think anyone in the area has experience with the school but I can't say enough wonderful things about the director- Cassandra Ford. When my daughter was about 15 months Cassie would watch her with her son at their house. My daughter would look forward to those days with Cassie so much and still talks about her now (she's almost 4). Cassandra is so knowledgeable about knowing right where children are at and what they're needing and is also great about talking to and with parents. I am really picky about who I let take care of my children and I never felt an ounce of hesitation leaving her with Cassie. I'm considering sending my son there when he's a bit older as well. So much love for their whole family!

    My daughter (13 months) is currently at Blue Leaf, and we all LOVE it. Prior to the opening of the official space earlier this year, Cassie looked after my daughter with her son in their home. My daughter LOVES Cassie (and, actually, Cassie's younger son - they are truly buddies already!). I have an older son, and we've had our share of (first world) problems in getting care that we feel good about for him. But leaving our daughter with Cassie has been a dream. Nowadays, my daughter welcomes me enthusiastically at pick-up time, but often she will keep checking-in with Cassie as we talk about the day - cuddling in her lap or tackle-hugging her from behind. My daughter is a happy, resilient, equanimit-able soul, but she is undeniably a bit of a momma's girl, so it makes me feel incredibly warm to know my daughter harbors that level of affection for Cassie.

    Cassie herself has had a significant career in early childhood education and care, as she was a preschool director in Chicago before she moved out here to start her family. At Blue Leaf, she has created a lovely, highly considered space. Cassie's RIE philosophy and thoughtful approach to caregiving have made her an amazing partner in raising our daughter. I'm endlessly inspired by her ideas for space and toys, and I love seeing how much the babies (--wait, toddlers! Yikes!) grow and rise to the challenge when given clear expectations and the responsibility of managing themselves (with plenty of support, of course), in a bubble of love. My daughter is constantly suprising me and outstripping my expectations. When we go for pick-up, even my son is desperate to go in and spend time there!  All in all, Blue Leaf gets a wholehearted recommendation from our family. 

Parent Reviews

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Cassie has created a beautiful community for infants and toddlers. They are excited to see each other in the morning and say goodbye in the afternoon. They hang out, invent and play games, get into disagreements, and through it all, grow together.

The Blue Leaf caregivers are, in a word: amazing. Each of them is a uniquely nurturing and caring professional. I cannot say enough good things about them. Under their care, we have watched our son grow from a pre-crawling observer into a strong and independent toddler. Still an observer, but also a group adventurer and a sand-digging aficionado.

Last, but not least is the environment. It is a playland. Safe, magical, and thoughtfully created and curated. If Cassie thinks that something is missing or could be improved, she acts quickly and makes the change. Outdoors and indoors, Blue Leaf is a wonderful setting for the kids to explore, play, and develop.

My child was at Blue Leaf from 8 months of age to 2.5 years of age - almost two full years! This review has been a long time in coming because I can't really fathom being able to condense how much I love the Blue Leaf School into a few puny words. But here goes. 

Blue Leaf is a magical, beautiful place. It is tailored perfectly to the interests of young children, but manages to impress even the most discerning adult eye. Wooden toys, open-ended toys, pretend play, process art, and opportunities for gross motor play all abound indoors as well as out. There are plenty of opportunities for children to discover, learn, and grow at each child's own unique pace.

The staff have always been warm and caring and Cassie, the director, is amazing. Blue Leaf is a RIE school, but it is no way strict or dogmatic. At Blue Leaf, respect for children looks like allowing them to follow their interests and a belief in the competence of even the youngest child. That being said, children are always given the scaffolding and support they need to be physically and emotionally safe, and to grow and thrive.

Speaking of safety, I have never seen such conscientiousness for health and safety. Even before COVID, Blue Leaf's sanitization and health policies were extremely thorough. In my child's entire first year of attendance, she became sick a grand total of ONCE. My confidence in Blue Leaf and its staff was so profound that when COVID hit and I first heard of the closures and lockdowns, my first thought was, "Oh, good. F is at school with Cassie. I don't have to worry about her right now." That confidence never waned through the entire pandemic, as Blue Leaf staff continued to keep my child and all the other children safe - without exception or compromise.

The best part of Blue Leaf School was watching what it did for my child. Watching her come into her own from baby to toddler to pre-schooler in a way that was just so quintessentially HER was one of the most beautiful things I've ever witnessed. Blue Leaf didn't MAKE her the remarkable individual she is, she did that all on her own. But in a society that so often seeks to control, teach, and mold children, Blue Leaf stands out as a place that appreciates children just as they are. In all of my child's rough, messy, wonderful moments, she got to be herself. ALL of herself. I think if more children were given such gifts, the world would be a far better place.

Cassie and her team are phenomenal. I can’t say enough good things about Blue Leaf! My daughter started there when she was 16 months old. Now she’s ready to move on to a preschool. Cassie has been not only patient and loving, but also gave her so much help to learn to self-advocate, establish body boundaries, and learn to resolve conflicts by herself. She’s really an expert in RIE philosophy. Absolutely respectful to the kids in all the details of daily interaction with them you can think of. That’s the main reason we choose Blue leaf, and it certainly delivered beyond our expectations. Cassie’s also been super approachable to new parents like me, whenever I’m at my wits end in parenting at home, I can always reach out to Cassie, and she always listened with compassion and gave me lots of useful tips.

Other things I love about Blue Leaf are the beautiful environment, indoors and outdoors, Cassie is an avid gardener, and the schoolyard is so beautiful, which I think is super beneficial for kids to learn to appreciate nature. My daughter really enjoys gardening with her and looking for bugs and salamanders under the rocks.

We also love the pictures and videos we frequently receive through the app, It really helped me to learn about my kid’s day, and help me to connect with her when she came back. This is especially calming in the days when she first started and wasn’t able to speak yet. The app also tells us about the food she had, bowel movements, etc. Only through the search for her next preschool did I learn how lucky we were, apparently not all providers have embraced technologies like this yet.

During the 2 years we’ve been there, Cassie has been so diligent about Covid prevention, with clear communication regarding policies and action plans, the school never had to shut down once. We feel very safe in this community.

I highly recommend Blue Leaf Day Care to any parents with small kids.

Our daughter went to Blue Leaf as a brand new two year after having spent almost a full year at home with mom and dad due to the pandemic. Cassie and the rest of her staff treated our daughter with kindness, patience, and respect. They taught her how to adventure safely, engage with others, and learn how to express her own boundaries (while asking others about theirs). She was given the space where she felt safe and secure to grow into her personality. The setting and space near Tilden is pastoral and quiet - it allows the kids to engage with nature in new, exciting, and safe ways.

Cassie and Blue Leaf are amazing!

I realized I was long overdue in posting a glowing review for Blue Leaf School- I can’t say enough how much we LOVE this place! My older daughter started here at 18m and stayed until she was almost 3. In that time, she blossomed into a fierce explorer who climbs trees, notices tiny creatures, can name every bird she sees and loves to garden. Cassie and the caregivers at Blue Leaf helped her to trust herself and her body and to care for others and her environment.  We were so amazed that we booked a spot for our son before he was even born. He started Blue Leaf at 5m and has been there for a year now. He is showing the same strength, curiosity and trust in himself that our daughter developed.

In addition to everything Blue Leaf has done for our kids, Cassie has built a community among the parents. She has hosted calls where we share our wins and frustrations with parenting, and brainstorm together. She has given us books on the various stages of parenting. And, she and the other caregivers are always available for a chat and support at drop off and pick up time. I can’t express how much this has meant to us during the stressful years of the pandemic. 

Blue Leaf is everything we could have asked for - a beautiful, clean and safe indoor space with enriching toys and books, a spectacular garden where the kids spend most of their time exploring, healthy warm meals, and the most amazing and thoughtful caregivers. I have to admit to being relatively uninformed about RIE when we started, but it has done wonders for our kids. I could not recommend Blue Leaf more. Your kids (and you!) will thrive!