Pickles Family Preschool

Albany, 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 #: 
Maria Scatina
off Solano
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 

Parent Q&A

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  • Pickles Daycare - still active?

    (0 replies)

    Hi! Does anyone know if Pickles daycare/preschool in Albany is still active? I cant seem to reach them on the phone. Thanks!


    [Moderator Note] Their license is still active in the state's database as of May 2020.

    No responses received.

Parent Reviews

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Pickles has been the best possible experience for our daughter, who started as a 2 yo and is about to enter K in the fall (all of my covid-era parental fingers crossed).  We went back and forth between Pickles and Nomura.  Nomura was the "academic" choice that would "best prepare" our daughter for a life in the educational system.  Pickles was the "play based" choice that would develop her emotionally, but made no promises in terms of "Kindergarten readiness." We've done our fair share of hand-wringing over this decision before and after officially enrolling her at Pickles, and now on the "other side" of the decision (she's about to enter K), I can happily reassure everyone that she's 200% ready for K...yes, she is advanced in terms of reading and math, but more importantly Pickles has fostered emotional sensitivity, confidence (our daughter is naturally more introverted, so this is a big deal for us), persistence (she doesn't give up when faced with challenges), and curiosity (Pickles is small enough that kids get quality attention when it comes to their personalities and interests, and because it's family run the teachers aren't shifting all the time).  This is a loving community of teachers (sisters Amber and Maria), and families that share a joint belief in a relaxed, play based, kid-centered learning and growth strategy.  It's all about art, music, theater (kids put on several plays each year), more art, and caring about the world and each other. It's not fancy-shmancy but it has heart, soul, huge imagination, a turtle, a couple of guinea pigs, and a ton of love.  Other huge selling points:  high-quality lunch and simple snacks included, and a very reasonable price-point.  The only reason Pickles doesn't have a massive waitlist is because it doesn't have a strong web-presence.

We have been so happy with the care our two boys (ages 2.5 and 4.5) are receiving at Pickles. It is an incredibly warm, creative, diverse, and supportive little preschool in Albany. The teachers, Rainey, Amber, and Maria are so respectful and loving towards the kids and have been very supportive of our family as we negotiate the challenges of raising two boys. Pickles celebrates diversity, has an amazing Chinese New Year Parade, Halloween party, performances, and craft projects. They have a sweet turtle and Guinea pigs which my boys adore. Extra bonus: they provide a healthy hot lunch, snacks, and water bottles which makes my morning so much easier.  I would highly recommend Pickles if you are looking for a cozy, creative, flexible, and nurturing spot for your toddler. My boys love going to Pickles and I'm so grateful we found them.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Sept 2011

Re: Full day preschool that closes in the summer?
You didn't mention where you live, but my twins went to Pickles Preschool in Albany, and loved it. It is a full day 8:00-5:30 program. The summer is a separate session. It's a very sweet place. LK

Jan 2011

Recent reviews of Pickles Family Preschool wanted ... Tell me all: the good, the bad, the so-so. I'd love to hear from current or recent parents. Albany mama

My daughter is in her third year at Pickles and we absolutely love it! It is a very warm, loving, nurturing environment full of songs, art and stories. The school is run by Maria, her mom Laraine and her sister Amber. On the very rare occasion two of them can not be there together, sister Debbie has subbed, who is also an early childhood educator in Berkeley. Staff turnover NOT a concern! Maria cooks everything from scratch and the majority of produce is from her CSA box so the kids are constantly getting local, organic veggies. They were amazing about potty training and always super flexible about almost everything. Discipline / conflict resolution all done with great respect. The kids (and families) are all loved and appreciated. This was the perfect choice for our family and I know we'll be back to visit often once we move on to K. Feel free to contact me for more info if you have a specific question. jessica

Feb 2009

I would love any recent feedback on Pickles preschool. We are looking into options for Albany based preschools, and I noticed that a lot of the reviews are a bit dated. Any recent comments would be greatly welcome. Many thanks

I wholeheartedly recommend Pickles preschool to any parent looking for a holistic, truly child-centered approach to early learning in a homelike and cozy environment. Maria, the director, and co-teachers Amber (Maria's sister) and Laraine (Maria's mother) have a wealth of experience and create a warm, safe atmosphere where children feel safe and free to blossom. Lots of singing, art, play and other confidence-building activities. Mostly vegetarian, healthy lunches and snacks. My daughter is now in kindergarten but she still asks to go to Pickles because she has such good memories of being there. HM

My daughter went to Pickles Preschool in Albany for 2 years. She is now in 2nd grade. We loved Pickles. Maria and Rainey are awesome. They both have years of experience and complement each other's strengths. They are mother and daughter so they communicate very well. When we were there Rainey had the kids perform the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. It is amazing the performances she can get out of the kids. And they all loved it. When my daughter was having trouble settling down for naps (and disrupting the other kids!), they both worked with me and with her to resolve the problem. They are attuned to each child's needs and personalities and are firm, loving and attached caregivers. The food is awesome. Hot lunch (vegetarian) cooked everyday with all the children sitting and eating together. My daughter tried foods there that I couldn't get her to try at home! Basically, while we were happy to move on to Kindergarten, both my daughter and I were sad to leave Pickles (and we still go back for visits!). Sue

March 2006

Hi, we are considering Pickles Family Preschool (also previously known as Pickles Family Daycare) in Albany for our child. The reviews on the website are from 2001, and we'd appreciate some more up-to-date information! One of the owners, Laraine, was a teacher/director at the now closed McGee's Farm on Grant Street in Berkeley. It would be wonderful to get more recommendations from the BPN community.
Potential Pickles Mom

My older daughter has been at Pickles since she was 16 mos. and will graduate this August and has loved every minute there! Maria Scatina and her mother Laraine are so loving, warm, patient and encouraging with the kids, and are a wealth of knowledge about child-rearing. Many of the kids have been together for 2 - 3 years. There is a good mix of ages, and they arrange activities in separate rooms appropriate to the age group. For the 4 yr. olds, there is a lot of focus on kindergarten readiness - letters, numbers, calendar, circle time. Every month they study a different subject - right now they are learning about dinosaurs. Different holidays and cultures feature prominently into the curriculum - Chinese New Year, Hannukah, Thanksgiving and the Native American culture. When my older daughter heads off to Kindergarten this fall, my younger one will take her place! I wholeheartedly recommend Pickles Preschool - feel free to contact me privately if you have more questions.

Our 3.5 yr old son has attended Pickles since August 05. We love the immediate warmth and connection that both teachers exhibited starting from the first moment we visited. It is a small, family run, play-based preschool, which we liked. There is a nice amount of structure. Lunches and snacks are provided and are healthy and balanced (almost entirely vegetarian, I think). They take the kids on walking field trips, to collect leaves, etc., and to the nearby park. I like the curriculum they have presented there; my son is very interested in science and they have nurtured that interest. It is an interesting, cozy environment with many options for kids. It was a good fit for us for many reasons, but especially because of the warmth and connection to the kids. I'm in the field of education and appreciate the way the two teachers approach learning.
pleased pickles parent

My 2-year-old son attended Pickles last year and loved it - Director Maria and her mother Lorraine are so warm and energetic and the kids spend a lot of time outdoors in the backyard. The pinnacle was the production of Peter Pan with the kids singing and dancing along - really amazing fun; my son loves listening to the musical on CD still.

November 2001

We are considering Pickles Daycare for our 11 month old and would appreciate hearing about any and all experience with them. Our most likely scenario would be to enroll our baby there in six-eight months or so, so whatever age your child was when there, we'd love to hear what you thought/think. Thanks.

My son attended Pickles Family Daycare (in Albany, off Solano) from 1.5 to 4 years old. It is a true family business, owned and run by warm and energetic folks who are talented with kids. I highly recommend it. Feel free to contact me for more details. Deb

Our daughter was at Pickles from 20 months to 3.5 years. She loved it and we were very comfortable with the quality of care she received. Vegetarian meals were served with mostly organic vegetables. Children often help with cooking. There are lots of art projects and drama and dancing almost everyday. Trips to the park down the street are frequent. She still talks about "Mama Maria" and Lorraine. It is a family run business, and the turnover for children seems very low. Susan

July 2001

I am looking for a friendly, homey, stimulating day care for my 15 month old daughter. I have appointments to see "Nini's Place" (on Carlson in Richmond) and "Pickles" (on Ramona in Albany). Has anyone had experience with either of these day cares, particularly for babies my daughter's age? Also, any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated! enozick

I am the mother of a 4 y.o. boy who has been at Pickles Family Day Care since he was 4 months old. My son has thrived there under the care of 2 very experienced teachers/care givers. This is how I would describe them: tremendous love, affection, fun, stimulation. wonderful activities. appropriate limits. Currently there is a really nice cohort of children in your child's age group, and they love being around the older kids. I recommend it very highly if you are seeking a family day care situation. Let me know if you have any specific questions. Mona