Duck Soup Family Playschool

Community Subscriber

Oakland, 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 #: 
Rebecca Rae Calato
ducksoupfamily80 [at]
Upper Rockridge
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
Ages Served: 
18 months - 42 months
Monthly Cost: 
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu
8:30am - 5:30pm
Additional Services & Features: 
Lunch provided, Snacks provided, Organic options, Vegetarian options

Parent Reviews

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Beccarae and her daughter Jamie are absolute gems. Our daughter was with them from the age of 1.5 to 3. We were nervous about her ability to transition from being at home with her parents or a nanny, but she blossomed in their care. We enjoyed the way in which Duck Soup integrates learning with play in a relaxed and positive way. I myself learned a lot about how to talk to young children from watching how Beccarae and Jamie would address them in a thoughtful manner. They have regular outings to the library and have ample time for both free play and more structured activities, such as crafts. If you want a daycare experience that provides warmth, structure, and delicious home-cooked meals, look no further than Duck Soup. 

This Thursday is my daughter's last day at Duck Soup as she is transitioning to a preschool! I hate saying goodbyes and I found no better way to thank Beccarae and Jamie than sharing our experience here with other parents! My daughter has grown so much during the last 18 months going to Duck Soup. Her Social and communication skills have developed so much thanks to Beccarae and Jamie. She can easily use her words to express her emotions and she is one little miss independent, taking care of her personal tasks all by herself. She had a rough start as change is usually not so easy for her. She was one of the youngest kids at the time and most of other kids had been together for more than a year and friendships had already been shaped so she wasn't that much involved in the beginning. Now she is the oldest and a little helper to Beccarae and Jame. Almost all the kids are bw 18 months to 2.5 years old. Perfect timing for kids that age to join as they will grow together and make long lasting friendships. I am so happy that she can still join her Duck Soup friends once a month for movie nights. Movie nights have been her favorite since the beginning and she feels so special every time she goes (needless to say that mama and papa enjoy their date nights while she enjoys hanging out with friends and watching movies). Duck Soup has also helped her being open to try new foods as they are exposed to a wide variety of foods for hot lunches and snacks. overall, we had a very positive experience at Duck Soup and are confident that with the skills she developed there, she will have an easy transition period at the new preschool. Thank you Beccarae and thank you Jamie.

Duck Soup’s Director, Beccarae, is a toddler whisperer. Our son had a wonderful experience there and I highly recommend it. Duck Soup is a family style group care, which was a great fit for our almost 2-year-old son who had only been cared for at home by parents and grandparents. When we were considering different child care settings, Beccarae gave us the time and space we needed to explore all our options. What sold us on Duck Soup was the clean home setting, Beccarae’s kind but firm approach with the children, and her ability to clearly articulate her child care philosophy. And it turned out to be an excellent choice! Beccarae helped us navigate the uncharted waters of first time parenthood, from binky weaning to potty training to positive discipline. The children always seemed engaged and happy with the different activities, and our son loved playing outside in the beautiful backyard, listening to the storyteller’s engaging tales when she visited, and venturing as a group to the local library. Beccarae encouraged the children to respect one another, communicate their feelings, problem solve tough situations, and form strong friendships. Our son’s maturity, manners, and emotional intelligence skyrocketed after his time at Duck Soup.

Our daughter just 'graduated' from Duck Soup and almost every day tells us how much she misses being there.

Our daughter started at Duck Soup at 18 months old in 2013 when we moved to the Bay Area. Under the excellent guidance of the director, Beccarae, she developed from a toddler into an amazing pre-school kid with good manners, excellent use of her words in emotional situations, and a cooperative playmate with her peers. Our daughter thrived at Duck Soup.

As another reviewer mentioned, the kids go to story time at the nearby library and get monthly visits from an amazing story teller. Beccarae provided excellent lunches and snacks to the children and really exposed the kids to an impressive range of foods (I never would have thought to offer my kid seaweed salad!). My favorite days were when she asked the kids to bring a vegetable and they made homemade veggie soup for lunch. There is a nice outside play area in the back yard too.

As a first-time parent, I valued Beccarae's guidance and suggestions on our child's development. Most importantly, I valued how she developed our daughter's ability to do tasks without help (putting on shoes, jacket, toilet training (!), putting dished away, cleaning up her own spills and messes). Duck Soup has built a solid foundation of emotional skills, physical development and happiness for our child.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Oct 2012

I've noticed the comments about Duck Soup are out of date, so I thought I would post info about our positive experiences.

Our first interaction with Duck Soup was when our 3 nephews attended back around 1999-2003 (separately over several years). I was so impressed with the good manners each of the boys had after starting part-time at Duck Soup. They took their plates to the counter and said please and thank you at mealtime. I also interacted with the director, Beccarae, when I occasionally picked up one of the boys after school. She was generous with her time and offered info about the activities of each child during the day.

Fast forward to Summer 2011, we were fortunate to get a placement for our 18mo twins at the school. Now the school has a maximum of 6 kids at a time (a mix of part-time and full-time kids), which is perfect for our twins to get more socialization with other kids while not being in a larger facility. The school is open M-TH, which was a challenge for us at first, but we've made it work to have one of us at home on Fridays with the kids.

The transition period when we first started was paced for each child rather than suddenly dropping off and leaving them full-time. It took a few weeks to lead up to full-time and that was perfect for our family. Beccarae is warm, friendly, loving and kind to the kids. She's patient and helps each child work through whatever toddler issue is at hand. She provides snacks and lunch that are organic and wholesome. Fruit/veggie smoothies are a big hit with our kids. She's been a huge support with potty training as well!

They have a storyteller visiting often and also walk to the Rockridge library each week for story time. They do crafts, water play and lots of different activities each day. There's a nice, new, play structure in the backyard too. Once a month she offers Saturday night babysitting. The kids play, have dinner and watch movies while we get a date night. This was HUGE for us when the twins were little because we didn't have any family that could handle bedtime with twins.

Our kids love going to ''school'' each day to play with their friends. When they come home they are excited to tell us about their activities of the day. They have good manners and know how to share (most of the time . We will be sad to ''graduate'' in the fall next year (1.5yo-3.5yo is the age range).

If you're looking for a small, home-based, play-based daycare in Rockridge/Temescal Duck Soup is the place. Mom of boy/girl twins

Oct 2012

When I walked into Duck Soup I knew I had to adjust my budget and my work schedule to make sure this was the place that my daughter had her first school experience. I happend to walk by it after an eye appointment and scheduled a visit. Healthy organic meals and the 20+ years of experience of Beccarea, the director, in addition to the cozy and warm layout were all attractive to me. My daughter is now 4 and her precious experience at Duck Soup is something that we both cherish. Duck Soup is wonderful, my daughter met her first chosen friend there, and I have become very close to some of the parents that I met there. I would highly recommend it as an excellent play based school/daycare. I appreciated the diversity of the kids and parents and as a single mom I appreciated the inclusiveness of all families and types of families. Colleen

Oct 2008

Duck Soup is a wonderful family daycare, and the teacher, Beccarae, is outstanding. With only six children, Duck Soup is a gentle & comfortable transition from one-on-one care to a daycare environment. We can't say enough good things about Beccarae, as it is the teacher that makes the school great. She is truly an expert on children & has been a great resource for parenting advice. Because of her, our child is potty trained and can dress himself now. The kids eat healthy meals & learn about safety awareness, the calendar, and conflict resolution. They learn to take responsibility for their actions, express compassion & respect for others, and to speak up for themselves. They dance, do creative art projects, learn about gardening and where healthy food comes from, make frequent visits to the library, & have special guests come for storytelling and music. Duck Soup has a lovely, grassy backyard with a play structure. When it rains, there a tumbling mat-filled rompus room. Our son loves his daycare. Email me if you have any questions from a parent reference perspective. Contact: Beccarae, 510-653-7430

Sept 2008

Duck Soup, a 6-kid family daycare in Rockridge, came highly recommended to us. The teacher Beccarae is amazing. Our first week at Duck Soup, our two year old came home singing the days of the week, helped clear the table, and had started early self care and potty training skills. Now he can almost independently dress himself, has close friends, and loves going to daycare. We had been on the waiting list for over a year and felt it was worth the wait to be in this wholesome environment with healthy food and an intimate, pacifist social setting. They dance, do creative art projects, learn about gardening and where healthy food comes from, make frequent visits to the library, have special guests come for storytelling and music. Duck Soup has an indoor gym for the kids to romp when weather does not permit them to play in the grassy backyard, equipped with swing set, climbing structure and slide. Duck Soup has one full-time & 2 p/t openings, a rare opportunity in such a small, highly- regarded daycare. Duck Soup # 510-653-7430

May 2008

I am writing to put out the word about a wonderful daycare, Duck Soup Family Playschool, which currently has openings. My three year old daughter is there and we are so happy with it that I've decided to defer her going to preschool another year. The director, Becca Rae Calato, is caring, calm and consistent. She is very committed to the kids' learning and experiencing new facets of the world and designs activities I associate more with school than daycare. She serves healthy meals and snacks, teaches life skills, and insists on everyone treating each other with respect and kindness. I can't say enough good things about her. Give her a call!
Contact: Becca Rae Calato, 510.653.7430

Jan 2004

I'm looking at preschools in Rockridge for my soon-to-be two-year-old daughter, and I'd like to hear about people's recent experiences with Duck Soup on College. I'm particularly interested in hearing from parents whose children attended before and after this change or from those whose children began there in the last few months. Thanks very much. Looking for Preschools

My daughter attended Duck Soup from age 2 1/2 until almost 5. The director (who is still Beccarae Calato, as far as I know) does a great job creating a loving environment for little kids and teaching them social skills. A lot of the expressions she uses with the kids have made it into my everyday vocabulary. My daughter entered kindergarten with very little academic preparation, but confident, enthusiastic about learning, and able to be compassionate yet hold her own when dealing with other kids. Duck Soup gets a lot of the credit for that. Even so, my daughter and a number of other kids seemed to outgrow Duck Soup between 4 and 4 1/2 (at which point it can be difficult to find an opening somewhere else, since the 3-and-4yo preschools have very few openings for that second year). There were some organizational issues that really could have been handled better, too. If you would like more detail, you can e- mail me directly. Jennifer

August 2003

Re: looking for preschool openings
I am in the same boat. I just looked at a preschool yesterday that I liked-- Duck Soup in Rockridge. It is a play-based program, and she does offer a little Spanish in her morning group session. She has openings for Sept. Good luck! Elizabeth

Nov. 1996

I remember a lot of parents asking for good childcare places in the College area I know of Duck Soup!!

They are a "family" day care, in a beautiful old house in Rockridge. Great play areas, organic foods, loving environment, fun learning activities. They focus on social skills and conflict resolution. Please call Becca Rae Calato for more info - she is the owner - such as ages, hours, etc. 653-7430 Mary

To the folks who were looking for childcare in Rockridge: about a year ago I visited Duck Soup (near College and Broadway), which is a small in-house daycare, and really liked it and Becca Rae (the caregiver/teacher) alot. She does lots of activities (cooking, gardening, art, etc.) so it's like a preschool in certain ways. We ended up going with something different, in part because I didn't want full-days and she only took kids for full- days. Anyways, you might want to contact Becca Rae if you haven't already. Judy