The Orange House

Community Subscriber

Berkeley, 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 #
Helen Alvarez
helen [at]
N. Berkeley/ near UCB's Northside
Maximum Capacity:
Language(s) Spoken:
Ages Served:
20 months - 66 months
8:00am - 5:30pm
Additional Services & Features:
Pre-K program,
Snacks provided,
Organic options,
Vegetarian options,
Special diet support,
Potty training support
About the Program:

**Please see our website for further details**
The Orange House offers a safe, fun, enriching home environment for children 2-5 years old (toddler openings available infrequently, please inquire). Our engaging, play-based preschool/TK program includes daily indoor and outdoor playtimes, art projects, music and movement activities, lots of children’s literature and continuous learning through creative play and social interaction. We are a full day, 5-day per week program (M-F 8:00-5:30). We are here to support families with full-time work schedules by providing a stable home-away-from-home community for the children in our care. Please email helen [at] for enrollment details. Thank you!

Parent Reviews

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Our son attends the Orange House since he was 20 months from Oct. 2019 to present. We all love the atmosphere and environment and would highly recommend. Our son has truly blossomed and developed while there and it has been a fantastic experience through this on-going pandemic. Helen and staff do a wonderful job teaching the children life-lessons and also giving them the freedom to explore.  

My son attended Orange House, from turning two to turning three. I believe Helen, the director, has also expanded her offerings to children up until Kindergarten Helen and her staff do such a fantastic job with the kids! She has been open continuously since the pandemic started and it was our trust in Helen's ability to follow protocols and, well, be on top of things that allowed us to have our son return in the summer. (This was before he started at MFS this September.) Helen runs a tight ship, but ultimately this results in happy, extremely well cared for kids who make sweet friendships even at such a young age. A vibe of intelligence, warmth, and reliability pervades Orange House and man are those kids prepared for their next step.  

We cannot say enough wonderful things about the Orange House.  My husband and I are both physicians and needed childcare for our 3.5 and 5.5 year old girls in a pinch during the pandemic.  Helen and her team stepped up immediately and we had one of the best childcare experiences we've ever had here.  The folks at the Orange House are warm, loving, and so experienced.  They set gentle limits, encourage kids' potential, teach kids to maturely play well together, and engage in multimodal learning and fun with songs, art, movement, musical instruments, and play.  My children have never come home in such good moods and so well-bonded with each other as during the two months they spent at Orange House.  My 5.5 year old wrote a chapter book while she was there! My 3.5 year old came home singing songs and saying rhymes she'd learned there till she fell asleep at night.  This was the only place we've ever been that my kids didn't cry at drop off.  Both the indoor and outdoor play spaces are beautiful.  They are also doing a great job during the pandemic of keeping kids safe, with outdoor drop offs, masks at drop off, strict sick policies, and frequent handwashing throughout the day - but they are also keeping the environment during the day as normal as possible for the kids.  Thank you Helen and Orange House family!

The Orange House has been a very nice place for our 2-year old daughter, safe, cosy, toddler-friendly. Helen and her staff were very nice; the days and activities were well organized. We could see our daughter was happy to go there every morning. 

If you don’t have time to read more: we love the Orange House! Our daughter started there when she was about 18 months old. She always seems excited to go, and typically runs into the main room not even waving good bye to me. She learned a lot of skills, the biggest one for me is how to behave in a group. Helen is very insightful, she tells me every day how my daughter’s day went (mostly fine), what behavior she sees developing, and even shares her own experience of a mother -- she is a mother of 3. Yes, the kids are sick sometimes, but that’s just unavoidable in a daycare, but every time it happened she sent text messages and useful information about dealing with the illness. The place is clean, tidy, and toddler-friendly. The kids have a lot of activities during the day, they dance, sing, look at books, play LEGO, do yoga, etc. They also have a schedule of moving in and out of the house, so they get to be outside as well quite a bit. Helen has several helpers, she always introduced them to me when they came for the first time. They are all very nice as well. There are some rules you have to stick to as a parent, but they are all understandable given it’s a daycare with about a dozen children, but frankly doesn’t require much adjustment. I highly recommend the place to everyone who is looking for a safe, fun, educational, and loving place for their small children!

We highly recommend the Orange House (OH). Both my daughters have attended daycare there and have had a wonderful experience. If I had a third child he or she would also attend OH. I have always been impressed by how organized and caring Helen is and how she has so much knowledge about childcare. She runs her daycare like a little school. Kids have lots of activities throughout the day, their day is very structured and they are taught the basics skills that prepare them for preschool. The OH is very tidy,  clean and very cozy. Drop offs and pickups are very easy. Big thumbs up for the Orange House !

By the time my son transitions to pre-school in September, Helen will have cared for my kids for 3.5 years. 

Ever since my daughter started going to The Orange House in 2014, Helen’s house has seemed like home. We are so glad that we found such an amazing place where our kids could make friends, learn, play, laugh, and bond with truly caring adults.

My kids have been both the youngest (14 months) and oldest (48 months) kids at The Orange House. No matter their age, they were always happy, safe, engaged, and attached to Helen and her wonderful assistants. To my daughter, who went to Helen’s from 25 months to 48 months, Helen’s home felt like a continuous playdate with her 10 best friends. But it also prepared her extremely well for pre-school. As she became older, she enjoyed helping the younger kids, which taught her both patience and compassion. It was also great training for her future role of big sister.

When it was my son’s turn to start at The Orange House (at 14 months), my daughter counted down the days. She was bursting with excitement for many reasons. She wanted to see Helen. She wanted to see Helen’s own children and her husband, because they were also like family to her. Finally, she wanted to see one of her favorite assistants, Emily, who had been working at The Orange House before we even started in 2014. 

To me, Emily’s longevity at The Orange House epitomizes so much of what is wonderful about this daycare. Helen and her assistants truly care about the children and love interacting with them, and also seem to enjoy working with each other. Given the longevity of many of the assistants, Helen appears to be a great manager and The Orange House, a great place to work. Helen’s management skills extend to the many aspects of running The Orange House. Helen makes the whole operation seem painless and fun, while most parents have, on occasion, been secretly excited on a Sunday night to know that their little terrors will be in someone else’s care in the morning.

When I count my blessings, I often think of the positive starts my kids have had. Positive starts that are due in large part to the experiences both of them have had at The Orange House. While we’ll be moving on in the fall, Helen and the rest of the OH team will always be family and we’ll forever be grateful.


We are winding down to our last month at The Orange House, we’ve been enrolled for about a year.  My daughter is going to move to a Pre School closer to our house in SF. If you have a chance to walk in the door at The Orange House, you’ll get the immediate vibe of home..  It’s a great place to be a toddler and we’re going to miss it greatly.  If I could have Gia under Helen’s care for another 3 years, I’d do it!  Helen is an amazing caretaker. She has taken care of me as much as she has Gia. I’m a first time mother, so I had lots of anxiety about leaving Gia at a daycare. Helen has always been just a text away with the right answer to put my mind at ease. She gives me consistent reports on how my daughter is doing and always addresses my concerns with openness and compassion. Her program has Gia doing art projects, learning songs, reading new stories and gives her lots of fresh air outdoor time. I’m not sure if Gia was a busy body upon arrival or if Helen’s environment has nurtured an exploratory nature.  Regardless it’s a great fit for a busy child.  I love that my daughter uses the word ‘Please’ which she learned from Helen, I love that she loves to wrap her babies up in blankets, another thing she learned with Helen and I love that Gia loves music, which is always in the background at Helen’s. It’s not my personality to be overly supportive of something unless I truly believe in it. I truly believe in what Helen has to offer families and consider myself lucky to have found her. My daughter will forever be imprinted by this positive environment and for that I am grateful. 

We are a family from New Jersey (originally from China) with a three-year-old Toddler.
Our daughter went to the Orange House through our 6 months stay in Berkeley. 
We all love the Orange House very much and will gladly recommend it!

The place is cozy and clean. There are plenty toys in the house, and lots of activities in the backyard.
Ms. Helen and all her stuffs are always nice, caring and helpful. 
To be honest, I did not expect any teaching from daycares.
But I was amazed by my daughter at library the other day. She was able to 'read' the ` brown bear brown bear what do you see' book all by herself. And she told me that she knew several other Eric Carle's books because her teacher taught her:)

Comparing to the old daycare we had at New Jersey, our little girl definitely loves the orange house much more. She used to cry about going to daycare. But for the orange house, she is always happy to go. In her opinion, it's more like a friends' lovely house rather than 'scary' strange place. She told me multiple times that she did not want to go back to New Jersey because she did not want to go back to her old daycare.  Of cause, we had to leave regardless how sad we were (but, yes, I did pick a new place for my little girl according to the standard of the orange house). 

We are missing the orange house a lot !! 

We are a current family at Orange House and give it our highest recommendation. Our son has been happily attending since just after his 2nd birthday, and he's 3 & 1/2 now. We were drawn to the space because it is clean, calm, and joyfully child-centered, and Helen in particular is incredibly focused on providing a loving environment based on respect and dignity for the child and providing a relaxed but consistent structure for the day so the child feels safe and always knows what to expect. We are big fans of her positive discipline and peaceful peer-conflict resolution strategies, and it is my great wish that I will be able to glean some of Helen's practical wisdom for my parenting as well. Orange House is full of lovely wooden & imaginative toys, books, and living plants to make the space bright and inviting, and it smells and feels like a happy home. We love Orange House because there are no extremes—it is simply a great place to be. Our son has made close friends there and comes home every week with new songs and nursery rhymes to share, and points out books at the library that he's heard at Orange House. If I designed my dream daycare for my son from the ground up, it would never approach what Helen has made out of her home. She has earned our utmost trust, which we don't give out lightly, and we will be sad to leave when it's time for our son to go to preschool!

We are a family of two Visiting scholars from Germany with three sons altogether, and our second son Friedrich (just turned 3) spent the last 9 months in the Orange House. We were extremely happy with the Orange House and will gladly recommend it! Our son just loves it! For us as parents, it was very helpful that Helen is extremely well organized and so supporting to find the best solution for the whole family situation: With her huge experience and her warm and respectful way of communicating, she helped us to find the best transition schedule (and even had time for a long phone call to help us finding a decision on a weekend). She is warm, respectful and clear in her communication with the kids, too - and even asked us to teach her some words in German that would help our son (who spoke no English at the begining) to adjust to his new daycare (e.g. the german word for "gentle" and potty training related words).

Friedrich loved going to the Orange House and he couldn't wait every morning to tell Helen or the staff what he had for breakfast or what he did the other day. Also it was great to see him finding friends there and he talked about the amazing art projects, about the songs he learned there and the books they read a great deal.

From the first day we felt that this is a wonderful place for kids and we are glad that our son could be a part of it and can take this good experience back to Germany. We'll miss the Orange House family a lot!

We are a family from Scandinavia, and our 2-year-old daughter has been going to Orange House through our 6 months stay in Berkeley. Coming from abroad we didn't visit the Orange House before our daughter started there and just went on recommendations from our contacts in Berkeley. Upon our first arrival to the Orange House we immediately felt welcomed and confident that we had made the right decision. The place is beautiful, super-clean to anyone's standards, and the overall atmosphere is graceful and stress-free. Our daughter loves the wide collection of books and toys and really enjoys the daily activities: music, dancing, playing outside twice a day and learning arts and crafts.

We couldn't have been happier about the teaching staff. We truly admire their professional skills. The individual transition schedule that was planned according to both our schedule and Helen's experience and professional knowledge, helped to make the transition comfortable for our daughter. All the staff is so loving, caring and communicative about our daughter's experience that we have from the very start had no concerns whatsoever, even though it was her first time in day care and she didn't know any English in the beginning. Any questions we have ever had to the staff have always been answered promptly, warmly and detailed. We feel grateful to have had our daughter go to Orange House where her personality and needs are genuinely respected and she is gently and carefully guided to acquire new skills. The Orange House certainly is among the things we will miss the most from the Bay area and we highly recommend it.

Our son Ben has been at Orange House since he was 18 months old - he just turned 3 and we are so sad to leave our Orange House family (we are moving back to the east coast).

Ben flourished at Orange House and we were so grateful for the warm, caring, and supportive environment we found there. He made wonderful friends with other kids and families and developed fantastic relationships with Helen and the teaching staff. Helen was always very communicative about normal days as well as any bumps (illness, behavior, etc) and supported us with transitions (new sibling arrived, upcoming move). Ben raced in to Orange House each morning and always had lots to share with us at the end of the day about song circles, outside time, arts and crafts, or birthday celebrations.

We are very grateful for our time at Orange House and would highly recommend it to any Berkeley families!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Aug 2014

We LOVE The Orange House!

We lived this summer in Berkeley and were so lucky to find a place at The Orange House for our son Mateo (17th month old), he has really enjoyed his time there. Helen has been very communicative, loving, understanding and collaborative in every sense. All the staff that works there have been nothing but attentive and loving with my son

During Mateo's transition she is been SO great at telling us how he is been and dealing with a sad mom that has to leave his son for the first time. Took only a couple of days for Mateo to be happily running up the stairs to go there every morning. We had to walk for 30 min to get there (so 4 times a day!) but it was worth it because for us it was more important that Mateo was in a safe and loving place (and will miss it for sure). You can see that all the kids there are very happy too. There are in warm environment and get plenty of outdoors indoors activities.

We found The Orange House thru BPN so I felt I should return the favor and recommended my self as well. Contact Helen, she is great!
Michelle B

Dec 2013

I am writing to highly recommend the Orange House in North Berkeley. Our son will be 3 in January and he has been there since he was 19 months old. I am confident that he will be ready for preschool in the fall and we are so pleased with the program that we will send our daughter as well.

The care Helen, Silvia, and the rest of the care providers give our son is excellent. They provide a loving, nurturing, SAFE environment for toddlers. The space is also beautiful. Helen keeps it super clean and there is tons of natural light. The children are engaged and do things like singing, dancing, and artwork. And they play outside twice a day. The outside space has a big sand box, cars for the children to ride around on, and lots more! My son comes home exhausted every day telling me how much fun he had.

Our son has grown so much there. Most recently, our son has been amazing with the ''May I...''s and talking about his feelings as well as others' feelings. Helen has also been supportive with the more practical kinds of things like potty training. We love the Orange House and feel lucky that both our children will attend.

Oct 2013

Orange House is Wonderful!

I wanted to share our absolutely fantastic experience with Orange House. My son was there from 1.5-3 years old and he couldn't have been happier. The space is beautiful, the environment is incredibly calm and loving, and Helen is fabulous. Even now after starting preschool my son talks about his Orange House friends and teachers all the time. In fact he recently told me that the only grown-up besides family members that he feels completely comfortable with is Helen. Helen is an incredibly special person and has a very deep understanding of young child development and really helps the children navigate their world. I feel so lucky to have been a part of Orange House and give my highest recommendation.

Aug 2013

We love the Orange House!

The Orange House has been a wonderfully caring, safe, and warm environment to send our son for the past year. Helen keeps the Orange House clean and organized - the books are lined up, the dolls in a row, the legos in their proper bins -and she has a gift for hiring kind, patient people; we have loved all of the caregivers at the Orange House. Helen is a wealth of information. I have asked her for advice on matters ranging from our son's itchy scalp to potty training. Each morning our son brings her things from home (or from the walk there) that he wants to show her - rocks, leaves, cars, fire helmet - and he runs up the stairs and zips straight through the gate without looking back. Helen is great if behavioral challenges arise: our son has had some fairly standard two year old behavioral issues. Helen deals with these challenges in a calm and consistent way using carefully chosen language. The other night my son was talking to himself as he fell asleep and I could hear the effects of Helen's kind word choice as he had a (one-sided) conversation with his Elmo doll: ''Elmo did you hit? We don't hit. Do you need to take a break on the couch? Are you ready to try again? Oh you are ready? OK.'' We love the Orange House and we cannot imagine a better place for our son to have spent the past year!

July 2013

The Orange House is a fabulous day care

My two and half year old son has been going to the Orange House since he was 18 months old. There are three reasons why I think it has been the most fabulous place for him and our family:

(1) Helen Alvarez, who runs the day care, is so organized and communicative. She keeps a pulse on everything, from who your child is playing with, to how their potty training is going, to each kid's toy preferences. Even when our son had a nanny prior to being at the Orange House, we didn't get as many details as we do now, and Helen is charged with taking care of 12 kids!

(2) The other kids at the Orange House are wonderful. They greet my son when he walks in the door, they play with one another, and they develop some very important social skills at the Orange House at a very early age. The older kids take care of the younger kids, and then the younger kids get older and start taking care of the new kids that enter the program.

(3) The actual house is clean, well-run, organized, and safe. When you walk in, you can immediately tell that your child will engage with the toys and be comfortable in the space. There is a nook for reading, tables for arts and crafts, and a secluded outdoor space for kids to play with sand, water, tricycles, cars. Delphine

March 2012

Our daughter has been at the wonderful Orange House the past year and we love it! She is alway eager to go to school in the mornings and always has colorful stories of all the things she does there--art, games, songs, circle times... Shortly after we started there (she just turned two at the time), she began singing new songs, little rhymes (of days of the week for example), and stories we had never read to her before. Since then, we continue to be impressed with the richness and variety of activities she gets to do there. And she seems to be getting better at her ''toddler skills'' too--sharing, washing hands before eating, eating at the table, napping, etc. Even at this age, the kids are learning while playing! We also love the space--it's a beautiful big house just a few blocks north of the UC campus (very convenient for parents working at UC) and the rooms are bright, clean, and well stocked with large range of toddler activities. There's a also a lovely outdoor play space with sandbox and lots of toys. Helen (and her equally effective assistant teachers) is very warm and loving and somehow seems to remember details of each child's little quirks and habits. Even with so many kids in the program (around 12, just enough to be interesting and fun for this age group we believe), we feel like our daughter always gets enough individual attention and care. We came to Orange House from another Berkeley daycare that was more expensive but offered far inferior care compared to OH. In our search for schools, we looked at many many programs in the area. OH is a truly special place and we feel fortunate to have secured a spot when we did. We couldn't be happier and highly highly recommend it! Happy OH parent

June 2011

For the past year, my son has been attending The Orange House, a lovely home-based toddler program in North Berkeley, and both he and my family couldn't be happier! He bounds up the steps each morning, and has flourished under the care of Helen and her very nurturing crew of assistants. The Orange House is beautiful, clean, and safe, and Helen knows my son well, is very positive, and always has warm words and stories to share at pick-up time. You would be fortunate to land a spot in this truly wonderful, absolute gem of a program! Signed, A Very Satisfied OH Parent Inquire about available spaces soon!

May 2011

The Orange School House - fantastic!
My daughter has been going to The Orange House for the past year and it has been a wonderful and comforting experience.

We had her in other day/care - pre-schools with mixed experiences, it wasn't until sending her to the Orange School, that I knew what it was like to send my child to a place where I could fully trust that she was being cared for appropriately. In addition to the affection and support she gets from Helen and others who work there, they communicate clearly and warmly with me as a parent as well.

The beautiful sun-lit space and yard nourish all the kids at their various developmental stages and they manage to set limits with out being harsh or punitive.

You are welcome to contact me if you have any questions. Daniella