The Orange House

Community Subscriber

Berkeley, CA

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Home-Based Daycare/Preschool
Helen Alvarez
novemberhelen [at]
N. Berkeley/ near UCB's Northside
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
Ages Served: 
17 months - 47 months
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
8:00am - 5:30pm
Additional Services & Features: 
Year-round, Sibling discount, Snacks provided, Organic options, Vegetarian options, Special diet support, Potty training support
About Our Program: 

The Orange House family child care offers a safe, fun, enriching home environment for toddlers, 2's and 3's. Our engaging, play-based program includes daily indoor and outdoor playtime, art projects, music and movement activities, lots of children's literature and continuous learning through creative play and social interaction. We are a full-time program for 12 children. Our regular day runs 9:00-5:30 M-F and we offer optional early care 8:00-9:00 on both a regular and drop-in basis. Please call or email for more information and to schedule a visit. Thank you!

Parent Reviews

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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 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