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Archived Q&A and Reviews
I want to add a resoundingly enthusiastic recommendation to the ones for Keiki's Corner. We've had two boys there of opposite temperaments (most recently last year) and both thrived. Others have mentioned the many great things about Keikis and I heartily agree with them but I want to emphasize two of my favorite things there: wise, experienced, loving staff who have both my kids wanting to keep in touch with their former caregivers, and the terrific indoor-outdoor flow of the place which makes it very easy to enjoy both spaces. There are many more things I could say and I'm happy to answer any questions about our experiences there. Contact: Bizbea
If you are looking for nursery school options for your 2 year old next fall, you should look no future than Keiki's Corner. Keiki's is a longtime well-established toddler school in the North Berkeley Hills. The program is designed for 2 year olds, with most graduates heading off to preschool after their year at Keiki's. My daughter has been a ''Keiki'' this year and has absolutely loved it. This was her first exposure to being in a school-like setting, and I have been delighted to see her language skills and confidence grow exponentially. She is excited to go to school each day and loves telling me about her activities and showing off her art projects each afternoon. Dianne, Hildy and Shamilla, the teachers, are each warm and friendly women and clearly have a passion for early childhood education. Working effortlessly as a team, they have created quite a magical little place for children and I will be sorry when our daughter completes her time there this summer. The program is housed in the lower floor of the home of the director, Dianne Ruyffelaere. There is a large sunny playroom, a kitchen and a smaller playroom. There is also a large outdoor yard with a wonderful mix of toddler-appropriate play structures and vehicles as well as a big lawn. There is a garden area as well where the children grow vegetables. The children have music classes and have the opportunity to do art projects each day. Parents can select a schedule that works for their family, ranging from 2 days to 5 days per week. While some children leave at 1:30, some children stay for aftercare that is open until 5:30. There seems to be a good of ''full time'' and ''part time'' children. If you are at all interested, I would suggest that you contact Dianne and schedule a visit at this gem of a toddler school. Signed: Happy Keiki's parent
I highly recommend Keikies Corner preschool for 2 year olds. It is a small school full of love. There are frequent art projects and weekly music classes. My daughter has thrived there. We started with a few mornings a week but quickly increased our time because my daughter loved it and it was so great for me to take a break. I know they have openings in September. Check out the website. Happy parent
My son is on the shy side and Keikis was our first preschool/daycare setting following part-time nanny care. Keikis' staff are very intentional about building trust and a bond with children as they start. My son started at 2 years and for the first few weeks when I picked him up, I would find him cuddled by Sharmilla. As he warmed up he became more independent but still largely observed other children. When we were looking for a new school as he turned 3, Dianne encouraged us to keep him at Keikis another year to build his confidence and let him experience a leadership role amongst the younger incoming children. This advice was invaluable. He has flourished in his second year. He's interactive, confident and talks about his friends. Dianne, Hildy and Sharmilla's, experience, observations and genuine affection for the children in their care make Keikis what it is; an exceptional place where children are held close and supported as they gather their wings and make ready to fly. Ashley
My daughter has been attending Keiki's for the last year and I can not say enough good things about the experience. She loves it there and I have so enjoyed being part of the community. The teachers are great and the environment is wonderful. The website is: http://www.keikiscorner.net/about.html. Anyone looking for a place for their 18 month - 3 year old should check it out.
For a terrific in-home daycare, I can't recommend Keiki's Corner enough. Our 3 yro daughter has attended for a yr, and we'll be very sad to lose this little family come fall.
Our daycare criteria included 12 kids or fewer, high child to teacher ratio, experienced teachers, great outdoor space, light-filled indoor space, balance of free play and structure, flexible hrs and affordable. I knew within 5 minutes of visiting that Keiki's was the right place.
In the subsequent yr we've felt grateful for the genuine love the teachers have shown our daughter. And we've been a little blown away by the quality of art she brings home and the emphasis on introducing the kids to various cultures and traditions through art. There's also a weekly visit from a music teacher and story reader. Our daughter started out very anxious about music time and the teachers banded together to help her overcome those fears.
As we've looked at preschools, it's been nice to hear those teachers say such good things about the kids who come from Keiki's they're ready for group activities, know how to express themselves and are excited to be there.
We've been so lucky to find such a rich home away from home for our daughter, especially at an age when it's still hard to leave your child with others. Happy to answer questions.
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
we loved keiki's corner! i chose it over another, closer '2's and up' school because i liked that for a certain time each day, the children could be inside or out, their choice. my girls (twins) are 5 now and still have fond memories of keiki's and the wonderful women who looked after them: dianne, hildy, and sharmilla. For me, i really enjoyed chatting with these experienced moms about typical parenting dilemmas. I personally don't think little ones need BIG spaces - the play yard at keiki's is just the right size and the homelike environment very cozy and a good introduction to ''school'' for 2 year olds. happy to recommend keiki's!
Keiki's Corner, if you can get in, would be my first choice. One of my children went to Small Size because there wasn't space at Keiki's. My second got into Keiki's. We had experiences at each place. We had a few issues at Small Size: staff burnout, didn't like the kids going downstairs on their bottoms to the back yard, unsupervised play on the deck/potential hazard, art projects were crafts with prescribed instructions instead of open-ended, biting issues not reported upon pick-up. Keiki's has wonderful, consistent, more professional staff, kids can go in and out as needed, art is much more developmentally-appropriate, play space is lovely. Our experience at Keiki's was significantly better. We intended both of our children to go there. Small Size wasn't a horrible experience, just not as great as Keiki's. Anon
My daughter attended Keiki's Corner from the age of 20 months until she aged out at 3 and moved onto preschool. I couldn't more highly recommend this wonderful program - the teachers are kind, caring and hugely experienced with this age group. I have four children and only discovered Keiki's with my fourth - I only wish I had found it earlier for the other three. My daughter had a hard time transitioning to begin with and the teachers were so understanding and helpful - and once she had settled in we never once heard her say she didn't want to go. In terms of the side yard, it is the perfect size for these little people! There is grass for them to run around on, and nooks and crannies to play in and out of, small structures to climb and a house to play in - the size is perfectly adequate and actually a good fit for this age group and the number of children that use it. I will always highly recommend this lovely playgroup - it gives your child a great start in a more social environment and makes the transition into preschool much easier. Kirsten
our daughter attended keiki's corner for 2+ years and LOVED it! i never for a minute had a second thought about the size of the yard and thought everything about their setup inside and outside was perfect. i loved their schedule, the healthy snacks, the detailed reports i received about her day, all the snuggles they gave her, fun activities, etc. and she clearly loved all of them. in fact, since leaving over 6 years ago she still frequently asks when she can go back and be a *helper.* dianne, shamilla, and hildy welcome her back with open arms and genuinely love her and all the kids. we really felt like this was a second home for her and felt 110% comfortable with her being there. feel free to contact me directly if you have any other questions. emily
Our daughter attended Keiki's for about 18 months before heading to preschool. We ABSOLUTELY loved Keiki's and recommend it very highly! The caregivers are warm and loving, and so helpful with toilet training, eating, sharing... as a parent, I felt so supported. The indoor/outdoor space was magical for our daughter. The kids found so many places to play both independently and with each other, and as they get older, are so creative with their pretend play in the structures and spaces provided. The teachers at our top-notch preschool have toured Keiki's and praise the program for preparing children so appropriately and wholistically for further preschool and school experiences. If you can get a spot, I'd take it without reservations! Happy Keikis Graduate
We have gone to both schools one with each of our children. They are both very sweet little spots and we enjoyed being with Bari @ Size Small, but have to say we just absolutely adore Keiki's! Dianne, Hildy & Shamilla are the sweetest, most loving, calm, experienced wonderful team. They've been together for many, many years and the stability and experience they offer just seems remarkable to me. They can handle just about anything, I've never seen one of them every show anything but calm, loving reassurance -- to children and parents. My daughter was very shy and clingy to start and she just loves it there so much. She waves every time we drive by and asks every morning if it's a school day. She's made good friends, and truly loves her teachers, it makes me so sad it's only one year. The outside space is lovely -- beautiful garden, play area with playhouse etc below, sweet lawn, lemon tree, birds & flowers -- pretty dreamy. On a logistical note, Keiki's is also very flexible, you can drop early and leave as late @ 5:30 if you need longer days they are so accommodating on drop ins. I really can't think of a sweeter place to enter the wider world than Keiki's. Keiki's Fan
Huh. I'm on my second toddler at Keikis (a very active boy who loves to be outside) and have never felt that the yard was too small. There are the two adjoining play areas (grassy area and wood chips with climbing structures, sandbox etc). There are gardening projects and 'picnics'. The kids are well-supervised outdoors and in by a very caring, capable, and experienced staff who have worked as a team for nearly a decade, and who come to know the children very well. My two boys couldn't be more different in temperament and both have been very happy at Keikis Corner. And their parents are very particular Feel free to email me through the moderator if you have questions. Parent of an outdoor type
Keiki's Corner has been an important part of our lives for more than five years now. Both of my daughters (now 6 and 3.5 yrs) spent several wonderful years there. The caregivers (Dianne, Hildy, and Sharmilla) are exceptionally warm hearted, emotionally generous, and highly experienced. Together, they run a top-notch toddler program. We drive by Keiki's daily on our way to kindergarten and pre-school and both girls in unison say ''Hi Keiki's!''. We miss Keiki's and feel so fortunate to have had these three amazing women in our lives. We felt the yard was perfect and larger than other daycares we considered. It has several different areas in which to play (grass lawn area, play structures, sandbox) and the blossoming flowers and trees make it a wonderful space to explore and a lovely place for parents to greet their little ones in the afternoon. Kind regards, Carrie
I can tell you about my experience at Keiki's. My second son is currently there and my older son went there as well. I can't say enough about the warm, nurturing environment that my boys have had there. Both of my boys are extremely busy and energetic and I truly feel that they had more than enough outdoor space to run and play in. Sharmilla, Hildy, and Dianne have all worked there together for a long time and they really have an understanding of these little people. I have had several friends who have sent their children to Keiki's and have also been very pleased with their experiences. S_r
I'm writing to share the strongest possible recommendation for Keiki's Corner.
My daughter was in the care of Dianne and her team for the past 18 months ... half of her life! I truly believe that she is a more confident and happy child as a result of the care and attention she received at Keikis.
Keiki's (meaning ''child'' in Hawaiian) is in the lower level of Dianne's home on Euclid just above Codornices Park. The setting is idyllic for any 2-year-old... organic gardens surrounding the children, outdoor space that blends with the indoor, snuggly couch surrounded by well-loved toys and costumes, a kitchen and big dining table for meals, group potty space....
The caregivers make it so outstanding. Dianne works with 2 long-term Keikis women who are so loving... filled with songs and rhymes, gentle guidance about socializing and emotions, and plenty of hugs and books and giggles. Not to mention the welcome parenting support!
Great communication in-person, by phone and email. Competitive rates, with hours til 1:30 plus after-care.
Keikis takes children as young as 18 months, who exit before a ''3-year-old'' preschool. Getting a personal referral helps your chances, and they maintain a strong community of like-minded families. A sweet transition from home to preschool. It's been magical!
Re: Nanny v. daycare/preschool for young toddler
So, our family worked with both a nanny and had our 2 year olds in Keiki's due to unpredictable work hours...so my two cents. We loved both! We started with a nanny, but prior to both children's 2nd year birthday, they seemed like they might benefit from the social interaction of a small group situation. We visited Keiki's and had heard wonderful things about it from a few friends - it felt so right. Indeed, it was a fabulous experience. So hard to leave and move-on to preschool. The 3 care providers are incredibly nurturing, loving - just amazing people. The small setting was ideal and really appreciated the fact that it was a two year old program, so children are quite similar in developmental stages. When the time for preschool did roll around, I believe the children's transitions were that much more comfortable due to their 2 yo experience.
Naptime is darling. The children sleep on the sofa or a mat/sleeping bag on the carpet and are constantly watched. At Keiki's believe naptime began around the time the majority of the children would leave (1:30p), so the room was quiet, but if a child would need to nap in the morning or earlier than 1:30p, there was a small, comfortable back room they could use. Think most of the children become so engaged that they don't nap in the morning, but I may be forgetting something.
Sounds like your child will be about 2 in April. One issue may be getting a place at a small family daycare in the Spring rather than the summer/fall, though do know it happens :-) Also useful to consider (though I'm stating the obvious): 1) Cost - daycare is typically a bit more affordable 2) Hours needed - if you have a set job, look closely at the hours of availability of the daycare. For example, some may close earlier on a Friday, etc. Typically a nanny offers more flexibility. That being said, if the hours work for you, certainly wouldn't pass up the opportunity to have your child in a small family daycare that you feel good about. We feel so fortunate to have had our children at Keiki's for two consecutive years and wouldn't change a thing in retrospect. Pleased Former Keiki's Mom
I've heard about a great daycare for toddlers called Keiki's Place and would like more information. There is one brief listing about it on the website, but no location or contact information. Does anyone know of this preschool? Any comments/recommendations? Thanks! Nancy
Keiki's Corner is a family based daycare run in the home of Diane Ruyffelaere, her number is (510) 525-1919. We're new to the program with our second son and have been very happy with the care he gets. It is mostly 2 year olds from what I've seen and our son is one of the bigger kids at 2ys, 8 mths. Ed
Keiki's corner is a wonderful place. My daughter went there when she was 2,5 but they take children from the age of 18 months. Dianne Rufayler, the director, is a wonderful person. My daughter loved it there so much, I had a hard time taking her home at 1.30 pm almost every day. Her assistant Heidi whom we loved too (and babysat for us regularly) just left but apparently her successor is wonderful too and Heidi still comes back for science projects. My daughters love for art and nature comes from her time there. Phone: 525-1619, 1132 Euclid Ave, Berkeley. Anneke
Keiki's Place ("Keiki" means "child" in Hawaiian) is on Euclid in North Berkeley and is run by a wonderful woman named Dianne. I sent my daughter there from age 17 months to age 2 1/2 and absolutely loved it. It's like a pre-preschool with lots of activities, music, storytime, etc. Dianne and one other woman (whom I don't know, since she's new) care for up to 12 kids, age 18 months to about 3, at Dianne's house. I completely trust Dianne and wholeheartedly recommend her for daycare. The phone # is 525-1619. - Sarah Smith
We are in our fourth year with Dianne at Keiki's Corner on Euclid (two girls for two years). It is a wonderful place and my children have grown in special ways there. all i can say is that we will visit often once our last child has "graduated" and i will shed big tears when i leave for the last time. Susan
My two-year old son spent the last academic year at Keiki's Corner (on Euclid just above Cordonices Park), both he and we loved it, without reservation! It's a licensed day care in a home, 8:30 to 1:30 time frame, 18 mo. to 3 + years. The owner Dianne is wonderful, as was her assistant (there is a new assistant this year I don't know, but I totally trust Dianne to find an excellent one). It's cozy, clean, appealing, has a lovely outside play area, plenty of toys and interesting things for the kids to do, they did lots of great art projects. We were all ready to go back this year, but got a last minute acceptance at a full time pre-school which suited our needs better. The overall feeling was gentle and nurturing; we had a wonderful experience there, met lots of very nice people, and I would heartily recommend it. Phone is 525-1619 Amelie
My son is there, too, and I agree that it is a great place. In addition to the music and movement mentioned, they have a gardening day (my son is thrilled about the compost and especially the worms) and they do lots of art, they have a turtle, salamander and fish, very nice indoor and outdoor play spaces, sandbox, etc. My son had some problems with separation when we first started and Dianne and Heidi were so warm and patient helping him get through that. Now he is always asking to "go to school...see Dianne and Heidi and kids!" And once we saw Dianne at the grocery store and he said to me "Oh, that Dianne...I love her a lot!" :) Anyway, I recommend Keiki's Corner very highly.