Sequoia Nursery School

Community Subscriber

Oakland, CA

To see Department of Social Services records on this facility, click on its DSS Facility License # below.

Type: 
Preschool
DSS Facility License #: 
Owner: 
non-profit parent cooperative
(510) 531-8853
snsadmissions [at] gmail.com
Location: 
Oakland
94611
Mountain Blvd.
Maximum Capacity: 
40
Language(s) Spoken: 
English
Ages Served: 
36 months - 60 months
Hours: 
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
9:00am - 11:45am
Affiliation: 
Co-op
Additional Services & Features: 
Sibling discount, Snacks provided, Organic options, Vegetarian options, Special diet support, Potty training support
About Our Program: 

Sequoia Nursery School is a non-profit, parent co-op preschool located in the beautiful park setting of the Sequoia Lodge in the Oakland Hills. Established in 1947, we are a community of about 30 families, a director and a teacher working together to create an ideal play-based environment for children ages 3-5 to grow emotionally, socially, physically and intellectually.

Please join us for our 2020-2021 Information Night on Wednesday, January 15, 2020!  This is an opportunity for prospective families to learn more about our school, meet the director and teacher, and connect with some current families.

For more information on the admissions process, please see our website www.sequoiakids.org or contact our Membership Chairperson, Shannon Joyce at snsadmissions [at] gmail.com.

Parent Reviews

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Sequoia Nursery School is a hidden gem in the Oakland hills. I am a mom of two Sequoia kids. My son attended Sequoia for two years and my daughter is currently enrolled. The play-based curriculum and outdoor setting were very important to us. We wanted our kids to be kids, and play like kids while they learned new skills. It is absolutely what they need at this age. The kids are allowed to lead the way at Sequoia. Painting, blocks, homemade play dough, a train table, costumes and dress up items, library reading nook, and a trike area are available. Daily, the teachers also come up with new art and outdoor activities that highlight seasonal themes.

One aspect that we love is that the doors to the serene wooded playground area are open before and after snack, and stay open until the kids are called to closing circle. I love that the kids have the freedom to choose their activities. It's a joy to watch. Parents are stationed at different areas to offer and supervise activities. No one hovers over the children, but the are constantly under a watchful eye to provide guidance as they negotiate social/emotional hurdles. Parents receive education and training so you feel confident in this role and teachers are always there to help. I have implemented so many of these tools at home. Sequoia has sincerely helped me be a better parent, especially with sibling squabbles.

Sequoia helped our whole family to build a community, and to recognize the community around us. Without question, I truly trust other Sequoia families with my kids. Not only have I made deep friendships with other parents, but we have made whole family friendships. There are co-op participation requirements, but they are not too hefty and are spread fairly among all families. It never feels like a burden. And, when life happens, the community steps in to help. The result is that Sequoia brings together like-minded engaged parents and families. I have loved being there with my children in their first school experience and getting to know each Sequoia kid as their own unique, funny, quirky and lovable individual. I highly recommend Sequoia to any family that is looking for a co-operative preschool, or any preschool. I'm happy to answer questions!

This school has been such a positive experience for our family. The teachers set a wonderful example. They are so dedicated, patient, kind, and prepared, and our kids love them. We have learned so much from the teachers and other parents, have made new friends, and really feel part of a community here.

The play-based aspect of the school was important to us, and each of our kids has found something to be excited about every day from art projects, engineering toys, gross-motor activities, tactile activities, dress-up and pretend play, and so much more.

The location is beautiful with a nice outdoor playground. The entire facility is surrounded by trees and backs up to Joaquin Miller Park.

Sequoia really is a magical place.

Being a part of this school has been awesome for our entire family. My 4 year old looks forward to going, my almost 2 year old has to be dragged out during drop-off because she wants to stay forever, we've been able to participate in the school as parent volunteers, and experienced the amazing Sequoia community. We love everything about Sequoia (especially the teachers and incredible setting)!

My family truly loves Sequoia Nursery School.  We love the community, we love the teachers, we love the environment.

The community is made up of two teachers and about thirty families every year. Around twenty-three kids attend each school day (3-5 days per week for each child). The families are warm and welcoming, and parents are so ready to support each other. Some examples include passing down clothes and books from one family to another, helping each other with childcare in a pinch, setting up play dates, advising one another on issues ranging from potty training to kindergarten selection and everything in between, dropping off meals for families with new babies, and generally just being there for each other to listen in this phase of family life.

Our teachers Susan and Lori both come to Sequoia every day with hearts full of love and patience to guide our children. They are both former parents of the school, and they appreciate and respect the special place that is Sequoia Nursery School. They are experts on child development, and committed to play as the work of the child.

The children get to play inside and outside at the beautiful Sequoia Lodge. It is set in a park, with inviting redwood trees all around the play structures, sandbox, and tricycle lot. The lodge itself is open and spacious, with a big skylight, large windows, and beautiful wood floors. Inside, there are engaging choices including two art stations (new and creative activities all the time), a rice table, a play dough table, and a collage table, plus a cozy library with big comfy pillows for cuddling up together with some books, a creative play area with a toy kitchen, dolls, and costumes, and a big closet full of puzzles, cars, trains, building toys, and more that children can select for play. Because we pack away the materials at the end of every week (so the Lodge can be used for events), the space stays uncluttered and intentional, not over-stimulating.

Prospective parents need to know that this is a parent cooperative nursery school, which means that parents work one morning per week (per child) at the school during the academic year, and participate in school maintenance and operation. It is an investment of time. For me, this has been one of the most appealing aspects of the school, because I get to actively engage in this really precious part of my children’s education and development.

Sequoia Nursery School is an amazing co-op with kind teachers, a great community, and the location is unreal. SNS is well-run and organized, which makes the parent workday a breeze. Teachers Lori and Susan are so kind and thoughtful. SNS you've stolen my heart!

I'll second Sequoia Nursery School.  My son went there a few years ago and it has a large and super nice outdoor space. 

Sequoia Nursery School.  They don't enroll mid-year, only in September, but it is worth the wait.  The best outdoor space you have seen at a preschool.  Loving teachers.  Engaged parents.  I had four children go through there and they all say it was the best school they ever went to.  

Information Night is usually held in January.

Co-op preschool doesn't get better than this-- wonderful supportive teachers who can handle anything that comes their way with love, patience and structure. A welcoming community of parents dedicated to supporting diversity, hearing everyone respectfully, taking care of all the kids, and having a great time in the process. A beautiful big outdoor play space surrounded by big trees, with room to run, explore, dig, jump, climb, hang and slide. A clean indoor space with art stations, dress-up, books, playdough, blocks, rice table, trains, and more. A daily schedule that balances free play, circle times, and snack, just right for 3 & 4 year-olds of every temperament. Both my daughters have loved Sequoia for very different reasons, which makes me appreciate it all the more.

Sequoia is an amazing place, nestled in the woods of Oakland Hills and brewing magic for every family that attends.  

When we started looking at preschools, we didn't know about co-ops but had hesitations about traditional preschools.  Our daughter had not previously been in childcare, and the changes to her life would be extraordinary.  Was our 3-year-old ready for 8am-3pm (or later) school days?  Napping at school instead of home, rushing to get potty-trained by a deadline, and suddenly spending all day with adults outside her family (who were also watching 6-10 other kids)?  We worried about not knowing what her days would be like, only getting second hand reports and missing out on key moments in her development.

When I attended the info night at Sequoia the possibility of something different came forward from welcoming and warm-hearted parents and teachers who floored me with their compassion for the kids' experience.  I couldn't get out of my head the immediate connection I felt to the membership team, and the difference in the amount we could be involved in her school experience was incomparable.  We knew it was the place for us when our tour date came and our daughter didn't want to leave - she insisted we stay longer, and regularly asked when we would get to go back afterwards.

Our experience has continued to be as amazing since – the parents network is supportive, enthusiastic, and truly dedicated; the teachers are incredible – knowledgeable, deeply caring, and unflappable; the environment is whimsical, with endless opportunities for play, growth, and joy.  The variety of ways to contribute to the school to satisfy the family assignments is great – it gives everyone options to make it work for their schedule, their family, their needs, even their likes. 

We didn’t know going into our preschool hunt something so right for our family could exist, but when we found Sequoia it was like all our wishes had been granted.  We get to participate in our daughter expanding and exploring her universe, get to really know and support the kids and families with whom we attend, learn from and connect with the teachers on a personal level, and escape to a place where the outside world doesn’t take precedence to the kids' experience.  We feel extremely lucky and forever grateful to be part of the community and family, and we can’t recommend it highly enough.

I highly recommend Sequoia Nursery School, if you are open to a co-op experience. You'll get about a 2-3 kid to grown up ratio, which is amazing. It's all play based learning and you won't find a more caring, nurturing and supportive community. You'll need to wait until she's three, but the school is hosting a parent night in January and then doing tours through the spring. Our son has flourished there and we'll be sending out daughter in a couple of years when she turns three. Sequoia is a really magical preschool experience. Good luck with your search!

I have three kids, who have all attended play-based co-op preschools.  My oldest attended two different schools (we moved in between years) and I liked that they were play-based and he got to explore and learn through play.  I also liked that I got to be a part of the school and get to know the teachers, his schedule and the other kids really well.  With my second child I discovered Sequoia, which had everything I liked about our previous preschools, but in a magical wooded setting and with a warmth to the community that I was really hoping for.  We are now in our third year at Sequoia and it truly has become a special place for everyone in our family.  My children have thrived under the care of the teachers and other parents and I have made some of the best friends of my adulthood there.  Just an example of how this community works - one of my daughters had an anaphylactic reaction (not at the school, but during the school year) and developed separation anxiety being without me.  The teachers were so gentle, encouraging and patient as she worked through her fears.  They also helped me process what happened and learn to trust that my shy daughter would alert someone immediately if she needed help.  Sequoia was the only place I could trust with her for years.  That is only one example of many that solidified my love and trust for the Sequoia teachers and community.  I will cry all the tears when my youngest graduates.  

Our son is at Sequoia Nursery School and we LOVE it! It's a play-based, co-op preschool in the Oakland hills (in Montclair). It's a totally magical place for the kids and parents. The community is so supportive and involved and you can see how much it helps the kids grow. If you are interested in a co-op, you should definitely check it out. Good luck and welcome!

RE: Seeking Co-Op for 3yr old ()

Both my children attended Sequoia Nursery School, a co-op in the Oakland Hills.  http://www.sequoiakids.org. We all loved Sequoia and loved being part of a co-op community - I'd highly recommend checking it out. Children have to be 3 years old by the first day of school (usually about a week after OUSD starts in late August) and 3 year olds attend 3 days a week from 9am-11:45. 

Sequioa pre-school in Oakland has a very large outdoor area that is surrounded by lots of trees.  It is a free play co-op and allows the children to spend as much time outdoors as they'd like.

You should check out Sequoia Nursery School. It has everything you're looking for. 

It's a co-op, which may not be for everyone, but if you can make it work, sequoia is pure magic.  I think they are scheduling tours right now and I know they have room for three and four year olds next year.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


May 2015

RE: Preschool with room left for 3 year old girl?
Hi! Have you looked into Sequoia Nursery School in Montclair? It seems to be exactly what you're in need of. My daughter started there last fall, and I still pinch myself every time I drop her off. The school itself is in a charming lodge, nestled in a lush patch of woods in the Montclair hills. The kids are free to go in and out as they please throughout the day, and you will not find a school with a more stunning or spacious outdoor setting (trust me, I looked). Our director and teacher, Renee and Lucy, are excellent examples of warm, nurturing, and empathetic instructors who also know how to set limits and provide guidance to the children in a very thoughtful way. Parents work one day a week at the school, and are offered a great amount of training in child development. I honestly can say that Sequoia has made me a better parent, and I am forever grateful. I feel so fortunate that my family has found this magical place, and it's even better knowing that we pay about a third of what most of our friends pay for preschool. Celia


Jan 2015

My son attends Sequoia.  Renee and Lucy are both wonderful teachers and truly set
the tone for the school.  Both were former parents at Sequoia so knew it well before
they even started teaching here. Renee has an aura of calm and understanding that
makes her approachable to both parents and children.  Lucy has a great sense of fun
and kindness for everyone.  Sequoia is a gentle world largely due to our teachers.

The setting is beautiful. The building is a large circular space with huge windows
that overlook a forest.  A skylight keeps things bright even on rainy days.  A
reading area, art area, imaginative play, train table, games & puzzle closet, play
doh table, and more are contained inside.   The outdoor space is expansive, with a
wrap around deck, garden, tricycle area, playground equipment, sand box, etc
There is a parking lot adjacent to the school that makes pick up and drop off easy
and stress free.  Parents are welcome to spend as much time as they need dropping
their children off.  Many also come early to participate in the end of the school
when the children gather to sing and listen to a story.  The school starts at 9:00
am and ends at 11:50 am.  My son and several other children enjoy eating lunch next
to the “Big Tree”  in front of the school, after school ends.

Sequoia is a co-op school, which means that tuition is kept low because the parents
actively participate in running the school.  I spend one morning a week working at
the school as well as some administrative and maintenance work.  Each day six
parents and about 16-20 children join the teachers at the school.  One parent
oversees the tricycle deck, another the sandbox and playground equipment, two work
with the children on art projects, another reads stories and the final parent
prepares a mid-morning snack.  My son loves that I work at the school.  He has also
created relationships with other parents, which is awesome.  

The teachers make sure everything runs smoothly but mostly they spend their time
with the children, often one on one.  I especially like that the children choose
when to go in and out, and what to do.  There is a real adherence to the play
curriculum philosophy.  If you are looking for an academically focused school,
Sequoia isn’t it.  The focus is definitely more about learning how to socialize
through play.

The only thing my son doesn’t like about Sequoia is that the day is too short and
he goes just 4 days a week.  In his words he’d like to go “21 days a week”.  Most
three year olds attend three mornings a week then transition to four.  Four year
olds typically attend four mornings a week then transition to five.  If you are
looking for a gentle introduction to school for your child, Sequoia might be a
perfect fit.
John


Dec 2013

Sequoia Nursery School is a cooperative nursery school comprised of a wonderful and diverse group of families invested in their children's development. It is a play-based curriculum set in a magical and woodsy space at the base of the Oakland hills. Our son began attending in September and the school has exceeded all of our expectations. We will definitely be returning and would highly recommend it to other families looking into preschools for the upcoming year. Nel


Dec 2013

I strongly recommend Sequoia Nursery School, a wonderful co-op preschool nestled in the beautiful Oakland hills. Our son started at Sequoia this fall and we couldn't be happier. He struggled with separation from us last year at his preschool in San Francisco and this year he can't wait to go to school and runs in with delight to check out the day's art project and play with his friends. The space is amazing, indoors is very open and light, outdoors is very expansive as well. Sequoia is an incredibly nurturing and loving environment, the teachers Renee and Lucy are so warm and make it a point to know and greet each child and family as they enter for the day. There is structure of two circles during the morning, but otherwise, the children have choices to play outside, have free play inside (library, creative dress up, blocks, sand) and/or participate in planned art projects. It is a co-op, so each family has a designated day to be a ''working parent'' along with your child who attends on that day as well. The jobs and responsibilities are very well defined, and parents receive a training before the year begins on the expectations and guidelines of the school. It has been a wonderful opportunity to watch and participate with our son, both my husband and I have really enjoyed our work days. In addition to working in the school each week, each family has a job that they do throughout the year. All of this participation both lowers the cost of the school as well as creates a very lovely and tight knit community. If you have the time, energy and desire to be a part of a great place for children (and adults) I strongly recommend Sequoia. Happy Sequoia parent


Dec 2012

I am hoping for some recent reviews of Sequoia Nursery School in the Oakland Hills. I have heard wonderful things about the school and the teachers, but the reviews I have found are pretty out-dated. Input please? Mel


We LOVE Sequoia Nursery School! My son is in kindergarten at EBI(We love EBI too). He attended preschool there as well. We planned on sending my daughter to EBI for preschool. Then I remembered a friend telling me about Sequoia and we just started their this year. What I love about it - The director, Renee, is amazing and calm. She is wonderful with children and parents alike. She was a teacher at Sequoia for many years before taking on the role of director. The teacher, Joanna is equally amazing and her personality is perfectly suited for working with children. It is clear they both love what they do and they are a great team. Sequoia is in its sixty-fifth year. Many families have sent more than one child to Sequoia. There is a history and a lot of community love for the school. SNS is an amazing place for children to play. Lots of art. The work day is varied and fun. The space is beautiful, woodsy, nature filled. It is just an amazing place to spend time. The opportunity for kids to play in such an amazing outdoor space is what we most love about Sequoia. For our family everything about Sequoia has been a positive experience. Highly recommend. 3/4/5 day options - all half day. The annual information meeting is in January. Very happy Sequoia parent


All of my kids have loved Sequoia. My older kids remember it fondly and are actually envious of my three-year-old who ''still gets to go there''. The long time teacher moved up to director this year and is doing a fabulous job. The new teacher they hired is also wonderful; she is so warm and caring. I have been very impressed with how well they have worked together to make for a smooth start for our little ones. Because it is a co-op, the community of families really comes together to support the children and their learning. As for the location, it couldn't get any better than the beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces at the Sequoia Lodge. My son really loves going to school and I love that he has so many choices. I highly recommend Sequoia Lucy



Our family is at Sequoia Nursery School for our third child and we LOVE the school! I recommend it unreservedly if you are looking for a play-based co-op experience. Renee the director is devoted to the school and especially to the children, she has been a parenting role model, caring teacher and a special person to know over the years! Joanna is our new teacher and we can already see her talent with kids, dedication and energetic attitude bringing so much to the school! The space is ample and woodsy with a trike area, outdoor hillside and play structures and big open indoor space with a skylight. The parent workday experience is so valuable---it's precious to spend time with preschoolers and be one of their Parent-Teachers once a week. Kristine


Sequoia Nursery School's biggest asset is the wonderful teachers. Renee Bundy has been there for more than 16 years: first as a parent, then as a teacher, and now this year as director. Joanna Claassen is a new hire this year and I could not be happier with the board's choice. She may be the kindest person I've ever met. Renee and Joanna come up with such great activities for the kids and it is obvious that they both love their work and love children. They are also really welcoming to parents and interested in hearing feedback.

Sequoia is known for its wonderful outdoor space: the school is in a clearing in the middle of a wooded park full of Sequoia and redwood trees. The indoor space is nice, too: the preschool is held in Sequoia Lodge, one really big room with lots of natural light. There's plenty of room for the children to spread out so it feels like a calm, quiet atmosphere despite being a play-based school.

Sequoia Nursery School is a co-op, which means that parents participate in running the school. A parent from each family works one day a week at the school as a parent-teacher/teacher's aide, and each family also has a family job that must be performed outside of school hours. In addition, there are mandatory trainings, meetings, and one maintenance day per year. There are also numerous volunteer opportunities that come up throughout the year. So you have to want to be involved, and you have to become comfortable with supervising and interacting with other people's children as well as your own.

Sequoia's school day is short: 9 am to 11:45 am. Children in their first year attend three mornings per week, those in their second year attend four mornings per week (with the possibility of a fifth). There is no after-care program or summer camp program, two things that other similar schools offer and that I'd like to see offered at Sequoia. (However, we do have the best parking situation of similar schools, which makes drop-off and pick-up really easy!) Current Sequoia Parent


Two of my children have gone to Sequoia. We love it for its beautiful space -- indoor and out. The director, Renee, has been there for many years and she is not only a terrific teacher for little ones, she's a great advisor for parents. Teacher Joanna is new this year, and has brought fresh, engaging ideas and projects for the kids. My son has enjoyed helping plant the garden, hammering nails into wood, and running around the playground with a pretend jet-pack. The scooters and tricycles are a hit too. It's been fun to see him learn through play and exploration. Sequoia is a wonderful community. Happy Sequoia Parent


I just wanted to update the info on this lovely school. My daughter (age 3) has been attending this school since September. It is a play-centric Co-op school. The parents doing the co-op are amazing! They are obviously concerned for the well-being of all the children. They are patient and sweet and help each child to communicate with their peers, share, and take turns. Conflicts with the children are dealt with in an explorative and heart-felt way. Each parent works once a week, with their child attending 3-4 days a week. The school hours run from 9am to 11:45. The snacks are nutritious and varied. Children may play indoors or outdoors at any point, as long as it's not raining. They offer all sorts of crafts and learning activities daily, from homemade clay, painting, blocks, dress-up, puppets, tons of crafts, sand play, and so much more. There is structured time and free time. They have two circle times, where the kids learn to work as a cohesive group, singing songs and reading books. Any child going here will be enriched. And any parent going will enjoy the company of the other amazing and caring parents. The staff at Sequoia are the glue that keeps everything going. This school has been going for over 40 years, if I remember correctly. Obviously they're doing something right! Oh and I forgot to mention, the setting of being right in the middle of the woods is magical. Can't ask for much more than that. Felicity


April 2011

Re: Preschool with great outside space?
Sequoia Nursery School Co-op has the best outdoor space. Although not far from Montclair village it feels as though you are in the middle of the forest because you are surrounded by trees, flowers and all around beauty. There is a trike area, general running around space, jungle gym, large sandbox, wooden playhouse and often additional outdoor toys are brought such as trucks, blocks, and easels. The inside is just a beautiful. It is a co-op so a parent has to work there once a week but I find my ''work'' days to be my days off because I am there just for the kids and can't do any of my typical errands, etc.


January 2005

Hi there, I'm looking for recent feedback on the Sequoia Cooperative Preschool program. Thanks!


We are a new Sequoia family. Our child started in the Fall of 2003. I knew immediately that this was the right choice for our child! I was looking for a play based, part-time program where the children have a lot of choice. I love that the kids can play outdoors or indoors at will, that the snacks are nutritious and varied, that the art projects are different each day, etc., but most of all I am impressed with the teachers (very calm, firm, caring) and the other families. When I leave my child in their care, I do not worry. A coop requires a commitment of time on your part, but it is so very worth it to me. I will try to send my second child there when the time comes. A happy mother


June 2002

Re: Preschools with good playgrounds
We're currently at a school that is almost exactly what you describe; the Sequoia Nursery School in Montclair. It has a huge outdoor area with playstructures and lots of room to run, surrounded by trees and woods. Because it's a co-op, the adult/child ratio is so high that there is never an opportunity for even our most energetic little ones to run off (and we have them!) It's a play based program where kids can choose to be indoors, participating in art projects, free play or other activities in a large indoor space, or outdoors. Unless it's raining, they generally have the outside doors open. It is a co-op, and I'm not sure if that fits for you. Their website is http://ccppns.org/sequoia/ if you'd like to learn more. We've absolutely loved it and recommend it highly if you can work the co-op hours and participate. Good luck! Carrie


May and November 2001

Can anyone offer thoughts on Sequoia Nursery School, a co-op in Oakland? I don't see a listing for them on the website, let alone any feedback. I'd also be interested in recent thoughts on MCPC in Montclair. carrie


 I have first hand experience as I am a graduate of Sequoia. I have nothing but fond memories, however as that was 26 years ago, the memories are a bit fuzzy! Lisa


I cannot speak highly enough about our experience at my daughter's school, Sequoia Nursery School, in Montclair. While it's not in the Elmwood, it's a pretty easy jaunt up the 13. It's a co-op, so you work one day a week, and it operates from 9:00 from 11:45. It operates in the Sequoia Lodge on Mountain Boulevard, an amazing wooded setting with terrific play structures, and a beautiful indoor space that overlooks a forest. I have been so impressed with how the staff works with, and teaches parents to work with, the children. You get to know other parents, you know your children's friends, and you learn a lot as a parent while your child is having a loving, wonderful, developmentally appropriate, learning/play experience. Can you tell I like it? Their number is (510) 531-8853. Carrie