Rising Sun Montessori SchoolCommunity Subscriber
To see Department of Social Services records on this facility, click on its DSS Facility License # below.
- Prior to 2015, Carolina Pineda operated a family daycare in El Cerrito, Rising Sun Montessori Daycare
We provide a loving, nurturing, and comfortable learning environment that feels secure and safe. Teacher-directed educational lessons and child-centered, play-based activities bring a balanced structure to our thoughtfully prepared, Montessori-inspired classroom. We have found that this collaboration of teaching methods help the child feel both comfortable and confident in exploring the world around them. A big part of that world involves the social interaction with other children. Social interactions help your child develop the important and necessary emotional skills in developing a sense of self awareness. The ability to express themselves in a positive and constructive way with fellow classmates and teachers, leads to independence, positive self-esteem, and confidence.
I absolutely loved our time at Rising Sun. Carolina Pineda and her fellow teachers care deeply for the kids and create a supportive, fun community. My son attended Rising Sun for pre-K and teachers were so attentive to his achievements and struggles. He grew not only academically but emotionally and socially. Even throughout COVID, with masks and other restrictions, teachers fostered a tight-knit positive environment that was safe and clean. We met wonderful families through this school. Rising Sun is a treasure!
Our three year old daughter has been at Rising Sun for six months and we couldn't be happier. A Spanish immersion montessori was really a bit of a dream of ours, so we were thrilled when we found Rising Sun. Carolina and her talented and experienced staff of teachers are incredibly loving and care deeply about each student. We have been amazed to see how much our daughter has learned already, and most importantly how she is developing a true love of learning. We highly recommend Rising Sun!
I can not put into words how much I appreciate Carolina and her school, Rising Sun Montessori. Our son attended Rising Sun between the ages of 21 months (before they moved to the current, Dartmouth location), until leaving for kindergarten, at almost age 6.
when he began, he was the youngest, and when he graduated, he was the oldest in his class there.
Carolina became part of our family. She is one of the most caring, kind, patient and nurturing people I know. It was a joy to bring her into our son’s life!
Carolina has a passion for what she does, and she creates an environment that is rich with creativity, self expression, sensitivity to others, and ripe for learning. Her students cherish her loving nature.
Carolina is easy to communicate with and is always available for connection.
Pilar, the primary teacher during our son’s last year and a half there, is remarkable! She works with each student, one on one to guide them through the Montessori method. She has a gift for fostering individuality and Independence within the kids.
My son blossomed academically under her tutelage. He was so well prepared for kindergarten, thanks to Pilar and Carolina’s hard work.
I’m forever grateful to Carolina, Pilar and the Rising Sun school. I highly recommend Rising Sun and am always available to talk further with prospective families via BPN.
Rising Sun Montessori is truly a special place.
We can't say enough glowing things about Carolina Pineda and her team of educators at Rising Sun Montessori. Our daughter loves going to school in the morning, and it can be difficult to get her to leave when we come to pick her up because she wants to show us everything she's been doing throughout the day. Whenever we come, the kids are happy and peaceful, learning and having fun. The teachers are great at engaging our daughter and encouraging her, while also making sure to take care of the basics -- she comes home clean, well-fed, and happy, talking about her friends and her teachers. It's a fantastic place for you child.
When we got the word that my husband's employer was transferring him to the Bay Area, we panicked; the new school year was well underway and I feared we wouldn't be able to find a quality preschool for our daughter. During a school-scouting trip before the move, I met with five schools, all with positive reviews on BPN. The moment my daughter and I walked onto the grounds of Rising Sun Montessori, we knew it was "the one" - and choosing it was the easiest decision we'd made in the whole relocation process. Now, about eight months into our new life here, it's clear our initial gut instincts were on target. Our daughter has been embraced by the Rising Sun team with such a sincere warmth and love - I couldn't ask for a more caring and supportive environment for her. Carolina and her staff are kid people through and through. They genuinely care about the children's wellbeing and growth. They are endlessly patient, consistently promoting responsible behavior and positive conflict mediation (I've seen some playground tensions defused with record-breaking tear-free efficiency!). The instruction is rich and carefully considered. The children have learned about the solar system, geography, the life cycle of plants and insects, on top of the basic reading, writing and arithmetic. They've learned about Chinese New Year, Ramadan and other signifiant cultural events. A recent earthquake turned into a teachable moment about the earth's inner workings. The installation of a new street light turned into a lesson about electricity. The sweet classroom has fish, cocoons just days away from opening, plants looked after by the students. Threads of music, yoga, Spanish language run throughout the day. All the children interact daily, so our daughter has a chance to learn from the "big" kids and teach the "toddlers." Our daughter is flourishing. If you are looking for a child-centered, enriching, stimulating environment infused with love, give Rising Sun a close look.
Rising Sun Montessori Preschool is an exceptional school, I would certainly recommend it to others!! Our son started in the “Cub House” (“Los Ositos”), which is a unique program for 2 year olds, and provides a really appropriate balance of individual attention and group engagement for the 2 year olds, a time the little ones need some extra love and attention (learning how to socialize, share, work together and individually, have quite naps, help with potty training, etc.). The teachers in this classroom are so wonderful – warm (our son always needs extra attention and affection at drop offs which are hard for him, and he always got), responsible (sending notes home whenever there were any issues), and generally very engaged (thematic lessons, lots of art projects, happy to talk with parents about their kids despite having their hands full, etc.). We had switched our son to Rising Sun after he was at a different place where we felt his attention and energy were not being channeled in a positive way and we were having some behavior issues. This has never been a problem at Rising Sun (!!) where we feel he has been completely engaged and comes home with stories about special relationships he’s forming with others and activities he’s doing at school. We also really like that the little kids have a chance to interact with the big kids daily, playing outside in the shared playground or when they go to the “Big Classroom” which our son especially loves and has helped prepare him for his transition there as he turns 3 (it’s 3 years(as long as potty trained) up to kindergarden). Overall, we are very pleased with the school, teachers, and community at Rising Sun and are planning on sending our second son there when he is old enough, which is really the highest endorsement you can give!
Archived Q&A and Reviews
I wanted to recommend a wonderful preschool that my daughter attended for over a year, Rising Sun Montessori. Since she started last year she has matured to an outgoing and responsible little girl. She loved her teachers Carolina and Reina and they have been a huge help to our family through all of the major transitions we have been through over the last year. On my first visit to Rising Sun I fell in love with the bright and open space and lovely outdoor area for the kids to play in. My daughter is always coming home with stories of all the bugs and plants she found in the backyard. I appreciate the Montessori teachings that the school uses which helps my daughter understand personal responsibility and respect for others. The fact that all I have to say is 'clean up time' and she picks up her toys and puts them away while cheerily singing a song is pretty amazing. If you are looking for a safe and loving environment for your toddler, this is it. They currently have some openings so please contact Carolina directly at (510) 528-6041 or carolina.risingsun [at] gmail.com
I would like to highly recommend Rising Sun Montessori pre-School located on the border of Albany and El Cerrito, a few blocks away from the Albany High School. This is a school were children have fun, develop social skills and work at their own pace developing academic skills preparing them for kinder. The children are all well taking care of, and most of all they are so nurtured by two devoted and dedicated teachers.
The school is well organized, with scheduled daily activities such as Spanish, Science, Geography, Zoology, Botany, Art and much more. Tons of art every day related to themes. If your child likes to get messy, discovering all the wonders of different paint colors, this school is the place. They have built a brand new painting area in their wonderful back yard, the children have fun painting every day. The school also hosts nice potlucks for parents to share some time together. I also loved their graduations ceremonies; they make it a very special event for the kids leaving the school, leaving with memories to continue their relationship with their pre-school friends.
The teachers are two wonderful sisters with devotion and passion for what they love to do, working with young children. They also, educate parents with child development, and if you have a question of any kind they are always there to listen to you. They have been working with children for 24 years now and have alumni that are now attending college and have returned to visit and help at the school.
I had my two sons there for a few years, my oldest is in fourth grade and the youngest is now in Kinder. They simply loved it there, for them it was home away from home. If you are looking for a nurturing, fun school I recommend you go visit them, they are a small program and they fill up really quick. You can contact Carolina the school director at; (510)528-6041
If you're looking for a preschool in the El Cerrito/Albany area, check out Rising Sun. This is a small, home-based montessori preschool. My daughter was there for a year and a half and absolutely loved it. And I loved that they are very flexible. If we were going to miss a day, they let me make it up. Try doing that with a big preschool. Miss Carolina is the head teacher/administrator and she's great. Go with Rising Sun. You'll be glad you did. Marisa
Re: Mid year openings for a 4 1/2 yr old in Berkeley?
I highly recommend Rising Sun Montessori, which is in El Cerrito right near Albany Memorial Park. It is everything you are looking for including the Spanish. Our daughter, now almost 5, has been there for a year and loves it. Katharine
I would highly recommend RISING SUN MONTESSORI. They have a lot to offer. Such as Spanish, the children are exposed to a basic daily languge. Music class with a great music teacher her name's CAROLINE, dance and body movement with JIM BEATTY, very well know and excellent teacher.they also offer gymnastics. Rising Sun has a great back yard, with a beautiful magnolia tree for children to climb and fruit trees as well. A lot of space for children to move around and explore. The teachers Carolina and Reina speak to the children with such love and respect they truly understand the needs of the kids and parents.
Rising Sun Montessori is delivering an excellent education in an incredibly loving and respectful atmosphere The school community is very multicultural and TRULY wonderful. If you are still looking for school, I definitely encourage you to visit this program. They're proud to announce those two openings. WE COULD NOT BE HAPPIER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Their phone number is (510) 528-6041.
Re: Culturally diverse Part-time preschool in El Cerrito/Albany?
For a culturally diverse, loving and nurturing environment, I am happy to recommend Rising Sun Montessori on the El Cerrito/Albany border near Memorial Park. My son enjoyed his two years there very much, meeting friends from India, Brazil and Venezuela. His teachers, Carolina and Reina, also incorporated Spanish words and phrases into their daily routine. My son attended school three days per week for a full day, though many children came for shorter times - until 12:30 and some until 3:00pm. Rising Sun is a very happy place and the children really enjoy the very large yard with a log cabin playhouse, swingset, sandbox and veggie garden. Their number is 510-528-6041. Happy Rising Sun parent
My 4 1/2-year old son has been attending Rising Sun for two years. We chose Rising Sun because of the warm, well-organized atmosphere we encountered on our visits there. Also, the school was willing to help me potty train my son, while other schools required that he be potty trained before starting. My son was instantly happy there. This was a change from his previous preschool at which he would cry almost every morning when we dropped him off, which is why we left. Rising Sun has formal instruction, free play, circle time, arts , nice outdoor play area and simply keeps my son learning and entertained. Rising Sun offers additional classes such as music, dance and gymnastics. My son especially likes the music class. They also plant vegetables in the Spring. Reyna and Carolina, the teachers, are so good with the kids and parents. Please email me if you have any questions. yvette
Re: Preschool suggestions near El Cerrito or Albany
My suggestion for a preschool near El Cerrito or Albany is Rising Sun Montessori. My daughter went to Rising Sun part time for two years. Carolina and Reina are wonderful! I'm not sure how they do it, but Rising Sun feels both very organized and very relaxed at the same time. The house inside is great, a very nice feeling space. As for the backyard, I wish the backyard at my house was as large and nice as Rising Sun's! Rising Sun has my unqualified recommendation, good luck! Steve
I was recently walking in our new neighborhood and saw a house with a sign for Rising Sun Montessori. BPN had a few dated reviews and I was hoping that we might be able to get a few more updated experiences. Thank you- searching for the right school parents
I've been a Rising Sun parent since 2003. My oldest son has now gone on to kindergarten, and often comes back for afterschool care. My youngest son started shortly after his 2nd birthday. My husband and I run very hectic work schedules, and we feel so blessed that Rising Sun is a part of our daily lives. Carolina and Reina are practically family. My kids are consistently happy and are never too tired to tell us just what kind of day the've had! The facility is clean and cozy, with a large backyard perfect for running around. The neighborhood is quiet, and all the surrounding neighbors are all so supportive of the school. This makes the morning drop- off extremely convenient! Carolina and Reina do a great job with themes, projects and activities throughout the year. Some of my favorites are the on-site gymnastics one day a week, and swimming lessons at the Albany Pool in the summer. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a consistent and loving staff. You get all the benefits with the curriculum they offer plus peace of mind. Priceless! Cecie
Hi. My son will be 21 months in the fall and will need to be in a daycare/school program. We are considering Rising Sun Montessori in El Cerrito. Any reviews/thoughts/experiences of the school & staff would be greatly appreciated. We are a bit nervous because he will be the youngest in a group of 12...ranging to 5 years old. Any input would be helpful. Thanks. anon
My daughter started at Rising Sun one month ago and she was 21 months at the time. I could not be happier with the experience so far. Our daughter is thriving and I think Carolina pays special attention to the new children. The older children in the school have taken my daughter under their wing and I am amazed at how much my daughter mimics them already. Of course my high praise has to be caveated with the fact that we have only attended Rising Sun for a month. Kimberly
Both my kids went to Rising Sun and loved it. The teachers give the kids so much attention and love. My kids started young and I'm a big fan of the mixed ages. I think the kids like it, too. Good luck! anon
i have been looking into diffrent preschools for my babygirl and went to look at the rising sun montessori school border of El Cerrito and Albany....i want to know if anyone has any experience sending their child there and what your opinion and feeling is about this preschool...i had a good first impression but would like some more input... thanks mamma bear
My child has been at Rising Sun for over a year now. I'd be happy to chat about the pros and cons from our view. Feel free to contact me directly.
My two daughters (age 2 and 4) attend a wonderful Montessori preschool program located near Albany Community Center (in fact, the teachers walk the kids to swimming lessons there in the summer). The school is located in a large, sunny house with a spacious backyard that includes art area, swing/slide, playhouse, and garden. The two teachers are very skilled with young children, it's such a peaceful/playful place to be, and my daughters has learned so much since attending the school for the past year. The school is flexible to serve the needs of both working parents and those looking for a part-time enrichment program. The school currently has a few openings for girls. Call Teacher Carolina for more information. You can also contact me directly at if you would like a referral from a very satisfied Rising Sun Montessori parent. Contact: Carolina, 510.528.6041
My daughter's preschool, Rising Sun Montessori, has a few openings available. Rising Sun is a family child care program licensed for 14 that has the best of family child care and child care centers - it's small and homelike but structured and educational (the director and her sister were Montessori teachers for years). Though we got accepted at Step One and Berkeley Montessori, I choose Rising Sun for my two girls (age 4 and 2) because it had all the child development of the other two schools but with better staff ratio in a really superb location. It's two blocks from Albany Community Center (in fact, the kids walk to swimming lessons in the summer and utilize the park for short field trips). There's going to be an open house on Saturday, Oct 18 from 1-3:30. My girls adore their school and don't want to leave at the end of the day! Contact: Carolina, 510.528.6041
Does anyone have any information they can provide on Rising Sun Montessori School in El Cerrito? Pros, cons, anything... Thanks! Linda
We had our son in Rising Sun for almost a year, but moved him because we were unhappy with the situation. When we put him in, we were ok with it being a play-based daycare with no structured program (circle time is basically just singing and reading books), but then issues of safety arose.
When I asked about their food allergy policies since my son's allergic to nuts, Carolina (the director) immediately said that since they were a small school (10-12 kids), she'd just ask all the parents to not send anything in their kids' lunches that contained nuts, and checked on all the ingredients with me of the snacks they regularly provided. Many other schools just try to make sure that the kids with allergies are vigilant about only eating the food they bring, but my son's sensitive enough that if someone with a bit of peanut butter on their hands touches him, he'll break out in a rash from the contact. As you might imagine, I was really excited that she was willing to go to such an extreme, having shared with her that I was nervous about making a decision about the other places I was looking at because of their food allergy policies. So only a few months later, my son came home with an empty peanut butter sandwich bag in his lunchbox! When my husband and I confronted her, livid, she denied our conversation, saying that she wouldn't even let us send a letter out to the other families alerting them to my son's nut allergies because it would be 'inappropriate' to even suggest that they limit their lunch choices. After a few days of keeping him at home and many conversations, they promised to be much more vigilant, the other parents were alerted to the allergy presence, and it seemed to be ok. It was a difficult time for me to look into moving him, since I was working and pregnant, and went on bedrest soon after this incident. So on Valentine's Day, with a newborn at home, our son came home with Snickers in his goody bag that he proudly told us the teachers GAVE him. (They'd also promised that no candy was allowed, but that's a whole nother complaint) Luckily, we'd drilled into him that he needed to ask mommy or daddy before eating anything candy-like (since he'd never even eaten refined sugar before starting at Rising Sun, and the only candy he'd encountered came from there), so he brought it home instead of eating it there.
When I asked about sweets since we didn't give him any, I was told that they didn't allow candy or sugary treats, but lollipops and cupcakes with inches of frosting got handed out at every occasion. It was quite disturbing to a family that had successfully avoided refined sugar for over 2 years, then only encountered moderate servings of ice cream/cake at birthday parties.
Since my son has asthma symptoms (for only a year, so it's not technically asthma yet) that react well to asthma medications, we'd asked that at any sign of coughing or wheezing, they call me immediately. Twice, they let him cough ALL DAY (and even admitted that he'd been coughing all day once the other/older kids told us when he'd started coughing) so that we arrived at his normal pickup time to find him in labored breathing. (I was actively searching for a new school, but needed the coverage, for which I do feel guilty) And I do feel like they let it progress because they knew that he'd be out for the next few days recuperating and it'd be easier for them to have fewer kids there.
Our son was functionally bilingual when he started, since our daycare provider spoke to him in only spanish, and they promised us that they ran a bilingual program. They do speak a few words of spanish now and then, and teach them songs but not their meanings. As you may have guessed, he's now lost most or all of his spanish.
It amazed us when we found out that there were multiple rate schedules circulating, with my sister's neighbor paying more for part-time than we did for full-time, and the 'discount' they gave their first-ever family with two kids there was only $40 less per kid than we paid, starting three years later. It appeared to be on the basis of how much money they thought the family had - luckily, my husband works in the public schools so they didn't think we had much!
And of course, there's the schedule, where they sent notes home in lunchboxes letting families know mid-year that their new schedule was to close at 5:30 instead of 6:00, in spite of the contracts that everyone signed. And now they're only open until 12:30 on Fridays . . .
I hope I didn't sound so angry or judgemental that you disregard my post, but honestly, I am both when it comes to Rising Sun and the way they dealt with our family. I could go on, as you might imagine, but if you have any questions about the things I've covered, feel free to email me.
And I do realize that there are many children who are happy there and whose families have not encountered the situations we did. Reina (the other teacher and Carolina's sister) is wonderful with the kids, all of whom love her, and their location/layout is fantastic. We just couldn't remain there with the experiences we had. amy
I'm looking at Rising Sun for my 2.5-year-old son, and am curious about a couple of things. I'm wondering why there are so few kids there. The other bilingual preschools that I've looked into all had rather long waiting lists. Here, there are immediate openings. Is there something that I'm missing? I liked what I saw when I visited. Thanks. susan
Hi, My son goes to Rising Sun, and enjoys it very much. I'm not sure why there isn't a waiting list, other than to say that they have 13 kids enrolled right now (their max for any one time), but many of the kids are less than 5 days a week - thus as child schedules change, there are openings on different days. When I enrolled my son, there were openings on 3 particular days, but not on the other 2. I've been very impressed by the director and second teacher, as well as the facilities and the types of activities the kids do. When I go to pick up my son I sometimes go in (to the school or out back to the play area) quietly and watch him for a bit before saying anything, and he always seems to be having a great time. I would highly reccomend it. For what its worth, we just finalized plans to move in April, so I know there will be one opening soon for that reason. I wish I could bring this preschool with us. hg
I sent my daughter to Rising Sun Montessori from March to August of last year, and took her out of the program only because a space became available for her at the U.C.-affiliated daycare on campus (it's super-subsidized for poor grad students). While visiting numerous montessoris in this area for a few months, Miss Carolina was the only teacher who made an immediate connection with my daughter, who was then 2.5 years old. This was a pleasant surprise b/c at the time, my daughter did not take to new situations very well. This was her first experience in a daycare type of setting, and while it was not easy, she adjusted comfortably with the help of Miss Carolina. This may sound trite, but I found her to be sincere, open, warm, sensitive, considerate, and very flexible with issues such as parenting styles and hours of care needed. That there were so few children also concerned me at first, but after talking to other parents who sent their children there, I was convinced that Rising Sun is simply a hidden jewel. Of course, I am biased b/c I found the style of care and teaching to fit the temperament of my daughter, who was simply uncomfortable in social situations that excluded her mom and dad. Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions about the school. Miki
We considered this school and were very impressed with the head teacher (Carolina) and heard rave reviews about her from parents who knew her at the Montessori school where she worked before opening Rising Sun. To be honest the main thing that dissuaded me from sending my child there was its location -- it is right next to the power lines, and knowing myself I knew I'd probably worry about EMF's, and I didn't want to always have that in the back of my mind. I don't know if other parents have also considered this and that may be why you're finding it's not as fully enrolled as other schools? anon
To the recent anonymous responder to the request for info on Rising Sun Montessori in El Cerrito-- just so others have the correct information. The Rising Sun Montessori school WAS located in the church near the power lines. About 9 months ago they moved into their new location at 10 Ramona Ave, on the border between Albany and El Cerrito. We visited the school just last week and Carolina has done a wonderful job creating her school environment in a home-setting. It was a good change for them. LUISA
Just to set the record straight about Rising Sun Montessori: the school moved into a beautiful house with a large backyard on the Albany/El Cerrito border last year--no more power lines to worry about and a lovely, warm space reflective of Carolina and the warmth she brings to her school. Margery
My daughter (2 1/2) currently attends Rising Sun Montessori School and I was concerned about the power lines nearby. However, they moved to a house converted to a school in Albany on Ramona near Albany High school. My daughter has been enrolled there since October 2002 when they moved and seems to enjoy the environment. There is a higher ratio of boys to girls but that will probably change in the summer. Carolina and her sister, Reina are excellent teachers - caring and nurturing. The school is clean and well organized. Email me if you have further questions. blew