Home Away from Home

Oakland, 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 #: 
Lauren Larsen
laurenlarsen5861 [at] aol.com
Rockridge on Birch Ct.
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
English, Spanish
Ages Served: 
24 months - 60 months
Editors' Notes: 
  • Nov 2022: BPN assumes this daycare has closed since the license is no longer active

Parent Reviews

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

May 2013

My son has been at ''Home Away From Home'' for nearly two years, and he has loved it there. I think this family-owned daycare environment is an ideal blend of warmth and play with learning, lots of reading, great food, and outdoor play. I found the place through a friend (whose teenage daughter was in daycare there years ago and now works there in the summers), and we have been happy with everything about it. My son is very fond of the people who take care of him (the owner, Lauren, and her two adult children, plus other caregivers, some younger, from time to time). They have all kinds of toys; they read lots; they do crafts and other projects; they have a visiting music teacher; and more. I have been happy with how discipline and rules are handled (they have experienced my son's willful 3-yr-old- ness): they encourage fairness and kindness in the kids in ways that really stick. I would recommend this daycare environment to parents of any child, regardless of temprement: the team is very good at accommodating all children, regardless of personality.

August 2008

Re: Preschools in the Rockridge/Elmwood/Piedmont Area
My older children both went to Home Away From Home on Birch Court. It is fabulous, and the woman who runs it (Lauren Larsen) is truly an amazing person. Many children stay there all the way until kindergarten, and they are completely prepared and do wonderfully. That said, you seem to be looking for a structured more traditional preschool. Home Away From Home is more of a home daycare than a preschool. There are 12 kids a day, and three adults. They are in Lauren's home. There is more structure than many home daycares (they have inside and outside time, breakfast, lunch, nap and snack, and over the years they've had art teachers, music teachers, yoga teachers, and/or dance teachers come at set times for one or more days a week). But it's a pretty open, mixed age, free play environment. By the way, she traditionally has a long wait list, but may have a two day a week spot opening up, so if you're interested you should call asap.

Nov 2007

I'm considering Home Away From Home on Birch St. for next fall. Can't find any recommendations on this site, and I'm wondering what current parents think of this daycare. My child will be there 3-4 days/week and I'm curious about the general flow of the day- how parents feel about the lack of ''structure'' in the day. I like the informal and family-like feeling about the place, but wonder if it ever gets too chaotic in such a large space. Generally we really like the place and the staff, but would really appreciate hearing any feedback, positive and negative. Thank you. anon2

my second daughter is currently at home away from home, and we have been a family there for four years now. in fact, we feel as if we are part of lauren's family. since my older daughter began, we have seen older siblings, younger siblings, children whose parents attended themselves, and young teens who come back to visit. we love how lauren and the other daycare providers are very aware of each child's personality and dispositons, how they explain things to children, and how they are never impatient or rude to the children. lauren is also extremely flexible and accomodating when unforeseen changes come up, which can't be underestimated when both parents work.

what appears as ''lack of structure'' is really just self-selected play, which is exactly what children need to exercise their brain and imagination. the day, however, is structured into a routine the kids understand: breakfast, indoor play (which includes music or art), outdoor play, wash-up, lunch, storytime, nap time, snack, outdoor play. in addition to the great outdoor toys (swings, sandbox, trikes, scooters, wagons, playhouses), kids also paint, draw, play with playdough, blow bubbles, and do art projects. i've known rambunctious kids there, but i think they do a great job at helping those kids burn off energy and act socially appropriate; i've never ever experienced a chaotic moment there. hope this helps. pamela fong

My 9 year old went to Home Away from Home, and I can't say enough good things about it. Even years later, she will ask if she can go back and visit, and she ''interned'' there this summer for a week, helping with the kids. It is a warm, nurturing environment for children. I found myself dropping her off and wanting to stay because it was such a great place to be. I do not think it lacks structure -- at least the kind of structure that is important for that age, when socialization is the primary goal (or at least it was mine). Lauren and her staff provide gentle guidance in developing whatever each child is ready to develop (art, reading, whatever). This is a safe, loving, and supportive environment to which I'd happily send my kids again. Ask Lauren for references too. I'm sure you'll get similar comments. kyra

Oct 2007

Re: Looking for small home based preschool next fall
Try Home Away From Home run by a woman named Lauren. It is based in her home on Birch street off of College. Very sweet, attentive, seasoned, enthusiastic staff (usually 3:1). Satisfied Parent