Cottontail Cottage

Richmond, CA

No longer in business

To view the State's license info—inspections, citations, and complaints—click the License number below. Also see About Childcare & Preschool Reviews.

Home-Based Daycare/Preschool
Carissa Goebel & Allyson Beshears
510 669 0477
carissayes [at]
Stephen Dr. near El Sobrante
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
Ages Served: 
0 months - 60 months
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
About Our Program: 

Editor Note, April 2017:  This daycare appears to have closed. The license number is no longer valid and the website is no longer online.

Parent Reviews

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Archived Reviews: 

July 2012

I would like to warmly recommend my son's preschool Cottontail Cottage. It is a small Waldorf setting, run by Lyssa Beshears. She is a very sweet and warm person and the kids love her! The school is located in a house in El Sobrante, with nicely set up front and backyards. My son comes back talking about birds and snails and of course his friends. Meals are provided for the children and they are even included in some of the preparation for them. Who wouldn't like to knead the dough for their own little lunch roll? Most activities are accompanied by song and stories, which my son also loves very much. Cottontail Cottage is a very special place and we are super happy that we found it! Check out their website for contact and more information: Heidi

July 2012

I would like to recommend Cottentail Cottage pre-school in El Sobrante. It is a Waldorf inspired pre-school for children 18months - 5 years, run by Carissa Thiel. Regular hours are from 8:30am - 1pm or 3pm. You have the option to leave your child until 5pm if needed. My daughter went to Carissa for over 2 years and our family loved it. Recently she told me that she never wants to go to another school. The place feels home-like and cozy. Carissa bakes and cooks with the children at least once a week. The food tastes so much better if you cook it yourself. The meals are mostly organic and whole grain, no processed foods. Carissa provides all the meals and you don't need to worry about packing lunches. The children play outside whenever possible, hikes are on the weekly schedule. Keep warned, your child will get dirty! The children sing, draw, paint, make crafts etc. I want to say again how much we loved this warm and nourishing place. Now it is time for us to transition to kindergarten. Carissa has openings for the fall. You can reach her by phone: 510 669 0477, or email carissa thiel: carissayes [at]

July 2012

Hello Preschool parents, I am writing to recommend Cottontail Cottage Preschool in El Sobrante Hills. I was looking for somewhere special for my son to spend his early years, and found it here. From the moment you enter the handmade wooden gate, you feel like you are entering a place filled with wonder. Carissa Thiel brings years of experience as a Waldorf teacher to create a world of natural experience for children.

Children experience childhood's magical moments with puppet shows, dress up, seasonal festivals, baking bread, and caring for each other. Toys are all natural, no plastic or the usual character branding. Children enjoy their days surrounded by mountains and trees, participating in the rhythms of the seasons, and daily social activities. My son had difficulties listening, had few social or practical skills, when we first arrived. Now he has gained a sense of himself and others. I am really pleased to see how much he has learned and grown. He was well cared for, and despite his being accident prone, we had no incidents. There were also amazing activities like the lantern walk and Easter feast which brought parents together. I feel truly blessed for what we experienced there. For more info, call Cottontail Cottage, 510 669 0477.
Sheri B.

May 2012

I've had two kids go through Cottontail Cottage in Richmond/El Sobrante. It's a small, home-based Waldorf-inspired preschool and we've had a wonderful experience there. The teacher, Carissa, has a very nice gentle-but-firm style that worked well for both my quiet, shy child and my very energetic, sometimes mischievous child. They spend a lot of time outdoors, climbing trees, taking long walks, digging up things in the sandboxes, etc. They bake homemade bread at least once a week (even grinding up the grains in a mill) and the food they eat is very healthy, mostly organic and whole grain. Throughout the year there are a number of events parents can attend to become part of the community, and it really does feel like a community. One thing my kids especially enjoyed was the changing of the months and seasons, which are reflected in the different decorations, stories, themes, etc. There's a lot of time for very free play and exploration, although there is also circle time with finger plays, stories, songs, etc. This is not the sort of preschool where kids will be practicing their ABCs or working on work sheets. But they will be practicing living life and learning with all of their senses. --cottontail parent

August 2010

Re: Preschool recommendation in El Sobrante area
The East Bay Waldorf school in El sobrante has a wonderful program for preschool and is possibly still enrolling. 510- 223-3570. Carissa Thiel at Cottonwood Cottage (some similar name) is also in El Sobrante at 510 669-0477. My daughter attended both Carissa's preschool (wonderful) and the East Bay Waldorf School. She really benefitted from both and cried fo 2 hours after graduating from 8th grade...she was so bonded to her class. It is an approach to preserving childhood in the early years and eventually graduating very capable, well rounded individuals - that we loved having for our two children. Denise

June 2009

My son's wonderful, warm, & loving Waldorf preschool is accepting kiddos(ages 2 and up)for the 2009-2010 school year. I cannot recommend Cottontail Cottage highly enough! The director, Carissa Thiel, gently guides the children through their days as she plays, bakes, builds, gardens, sings & dances with them. A healthy, whole grain, organic snack and hot lunch is provided each day. Carissa has a wonderful front yard with a big sandbox and a magical garden that the kids can explore. AND she has a fabulous back yard with a rope ladder & swing and another sandbox. The kids spend alot of time outdoors and love it. The best thing is that Carissa truly cares for and loves the kids--and the kids can feel it. She is patient & kind and my son has really blossomed there. Cottontail Cottage is in El Sobrante, very near the East Bay Waldorf school. We're in Berkeley and it takes us about 15 mins in the am. 510-669-0477 is her number. Julie

June 2009

When we were looking for a preschool for our then-3-year old son Daniel, we wanted a teacher who was like family. Carissa Thiel of Cottontail Cottage was just that kind of teacher. Daniel was a preemie, small for his age, had eating issues, and was slightly speech-delayed. We were anxious about having someone other than us take care of him, but he immediately took to Carissa. She is warm, nurturing, extremely patient, and kind. Her primary disciplinary method is a predictable routine, so that very young children know what to expect. Imagine going on a trip and not knowing your airline, departure time, and destination. That stress of not knowing is what young children feel when the events of the day keep changing. Almost 6, Daniel is happy, healthy, and curious, due in large part to Carissa's loving guidance. Please feel free to call me or my husband David if you have any questions.