Sequoia Nursery School

Community Subscriber

Oakland, CA

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non-profit parent cooperative
(510) 531-8853
heatherladov [at]
Mountain Blvd.
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
Ages Served: 
36 months - 60 months
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
9:00am - 11:45am
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 pre-school 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 age 3-5 to grow emotionally, socially, physically and intellectually.

Our enrollment for the 2017-18 school year has closed . Please contact us in the fall regarding our January 2018 information night and tour schedule.

frolikdance [at]

Parent Questions

Berkeley area preschool with good outdoor area(15 responses)
Seeking Co-Op for 3yr old(8 responses)
Looking for play-based environmentally-sound preschool(12 responses)

Parent Reviews

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Archived 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.

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 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