Children's Garden Preschool

Community Subscriber

Alameda, 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 #: 
Mary Sotelo
sotelomary [at]
Central Alameda
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
English, Spanish
Ages Served: 
18 months - 60 months
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu
7:30am - 4:30pm
About Our Program: 

A bilingual preschool program in a home setting.  We have chickens and extensive organic gardens.  Breakfast, lunch, and pm snack are served that are comprised of organic milk, organic fruits and veggies, and whole wheat grains.

Parent Reviews

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Mary is such a caring and lovely person, I absolutely adore her preschool. Having a clean and organized daycare is very rare, Mary runs her program very well that including many outdoor playing time which is what we looking for. My son is crazy about her garden, playing with chickens and watching plants grow in her fabulous organic garden. She also provides nutritious lunches and snacks(sometimes from her organic garden!) for the kids. I would highly recommend her preschool to anyone. 

I strongly endorse Children's Garden childcare. Both my children spent their early years with Mary at children's garden. Children's garden is a wonderful place for little ones as it is small and intimate. Mary has a structured routine which includes; morning sharing time, academic time and creative free play.  Free play time involves hands-on creative play in Mary's lovely organic garden. In the garden, the children help plant, feed the chickens and play in the tactile learning space. Mary provides a perfect balance of structured learning, creative play, and a cozy familial environment.  The program provides s positive transition from home-life to school-life. Bonus for the busy morning--Mary provides wholesome lunches and snacks.  If you are looking for a cozy, structured, play-based program for pre-school aged children check out Children's Garden.

Please feel free to reach out if you have questions--haloems [at]

Children's Garden has at least one space opening up for the 2017/2018 calendar year.

This is a rare gem of a place and our 3-year-old has really thrived there. Mary has been running a preschool out of her home and gardens for many years, and she has set up a great balance between structured learning/sharing time and outdoor garden play. The group is small and the atmosphere is nurturing and warm. Our son has picked up some Spanish in his first six months, and we're looking forward to seeing him learn more. We highly recommend Children's Garden! Free free to contact me on this site if you'd like to know more.

Sometimes the stars line up, and you get incredibly lucky. That is how it has been having Charlotte at Mary's Preschool. It has been a wonderful nurturing empowering place. Charlotte started when she was two years old, a plump shy little toddler who immediately loved Mary's garden with the play structure, vegetables and chickens in their custom built coop.
She quickly loved her gentle teacher, Mary and the little group of friends, and looked forward to going to school. While there is lots of free play, Mary also provides a structure that allows for plenty of creative play and guided activities that prepare the children for school. Every day Charlotte has fun art projects that she is proud to share, which are also developing hand and eye coordination, and academic preparedness. The children learn the alphabet, the calendar, and fun songs, but most of all they learn to enjoy the process of learning. Charlotte is always excited to demonstrate and share what she has learned.

Charlotte is now leaving to go on to Kindergarten well prepared and confident. We are so grateful to Mary!

I am happy to provide any additional information or answer any questions: Lucie cell:510-928-6886

We will absolutely miss our dear Mary. Our daughter has had such a wonderful experience at Mary's Preschool. She has been with Mary for nearly three years. I have to say I had extremely high expectations when looking for a daycare. I took the bananas list called everyone on it and then visited a handful throughout Alameda. Mary's preschool far exceeded any expectation I had. Her home is very tidy, playspaces are kept organized and the garden is amazing. Not to mention she is bilingual so now our daughter can speak better Spanish than my husband and I. Aria's bath time is filled with stories about Mary's, she just adores her. Mary provided a great foundation for our daughter and we are so happy that we found her. Mary is truly one of our family now! Contact me with any questions I would love to give more information.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Feb 2015

I would like to strongly recommend Children's Garden, run by Mary Sotelo, in Alameda for parents looking for a small, home-based preschool where you can feel like your child is learning while being nurtured. My daughter, Lillian (4.5 yrs old), has been attending Mary's preschool for two years. We originally found Children's Garden because we were looking for a Spanish bilingual preschool here on BPN. Mary is fully fluent, and uses Spanish phrases and songs with the kids, but we have not noticed our daughter using very many phrases at home. This is probably due to the fact that we don't speak Spanish and can't help her practice. Things I love about Mary's school: she grows her own organic foods in the backyard and engages the children in helping plant at the right season and harvesting foods for their lunch (they also get to help feed the chickens now and then), her home is super clean, and Mary herself is incredibly calm and soft-spoken with the kids (which mirrors our approach at home). My daughter is super prepared for Kindergarden after attending Mary's school. She can write all her letters, as well as her own name, and knows all the sounds they make. She is even reading simple words. An added bonus is that most parents keep their children with Mary for a long time. Lillian has been going to school with the same kids for most of her 2 years there. My daughter and another child are going to Kindergarden this Fall, so now is a really great time to investigate Mary's school for your child!
Laura S

June 2013

Our daughter has flourished at The Children's Garden Alameda. Mary has a great program and it is a very structured environment. Our daughter LOVES being there. Then there is the amazing garden, my daughter loves the chickens and can't wait to tell us about the garden, especially the strawberries and tomatoes. Mary is loving and firm. Our daughter has been with Mary two years and will be graduating and fully prepared for kindergarten in August. We love Mary and feel so blessed that she has been a part of our daughter's life. Anne Marie

May 2013

Children's Garden Preschool in Alameda will have an opening starting in June. My daughter has been going to Mary Sotelo's day care/preschool for the last eight months and she has flourished. Mary's curriculum provides intellectual stimulation and fosters appropriate social development. Mary is warm, kind, and great with the kids. Her calm and firm manner allows children to know they are secure. The backyard garden is beautiful and provides the children with a lush outdoor setting while playing. What we also love about Children's Garden Preschool is that it is Spanish bilingual! Contact me if you have any questions or contact Mary directly to set up a tour. Your child will be in great hands with Mary! (On a side note: My daughter was potty-trained very quickly by Mary!) Contact: Mary Sotelo, 510.523.6614

May 2012

Mary is the as my son Aydin might say! She is truly extraordinary, she has a really great program and is very structured. She has taught my son a lot despite his sometimes wandering attention span. Mary is very patient and has a really great group of kids. Aydin always comes home with some fun project that's he did that day. One of the thugs I love about Mary is she cooks the kids healthy food, most times organic if possible and many times right from her garden which the kids get to watch grow. Aydin has become fond of the few chickens that she has and always has a smile on his face when talking about his day. I will be sad to have Aydin start school and leave her.

April 2012

Looking for a wonderful home-based daycare & preschool in Alameda? Mary Sotelo's Children's Garden (License #010213827) is amazing. She will have openings coming up in early and late summer. Mary runs her home based daycare/preschool in her gorgeous victorian home. Her days are M-Th 7:30-4:30 and 1/2 day Fridays (7:30-12:30) may be arranged as well. She has 6 children at a time, ages 1-5. Mary is a true professional and has been one of the leading daycare providers in the area for many years. She is extremely organized, dedicated and loving with her kids (and parents). She prepares her own home cooked meals for breakfast and lunch. Snacks are also provided. She provides preschool curriculum when appropriate (with free play time for the little ones), sharing daily for the kids, potty training, naps, and outdoor time in her amazing backyard garden. Mary emphasizes independence, respect, and kindness in the kids. She is big on consistency and daily scheduling so they can feel confident in her and themselves. She is loving and firm. My daughter has been with her since she was 18 months old and will be 'graduating' and fully prepared for kindergarten in the fall. Mary got her off her binky in 2 days, potty trained and has been incredibly supportive and helpful with my daughter's speech therapy as well. We love her! I can't say enough wonderful things about Mary Sotelo. If you are interested in someone to help raise and teach your child to become a confident, independent, respectful kid as well as have tons of fun, Mary is your lady. Please contact her at 510-523-6614 for more information. Britt

Dec 2010

I would like to recommend Mary Sotelo and her Children's Garden daycare in Alameda. Bottom line: Mary is outstanding--as a person, as a provider of daycare, everything. She is that very rare person you actually feel comfortable entrusting your child to. My wife and I looked at a bunch of other daycares (I won't name them) and came away saying, ''There is no way we are doing daycare.'' The last one we saw was Mary's, and we came away saying, ''I really hope she'll take us.''

Here is some of what I like about Children's Garden. Bilingual education. Educational lessons each day; it's not just mindless babysitting. Homemade, healthy food. A beautiful home, which she keeps meticulously clean, and a great backyard. Most important, my son LOVES being there.

Mary is friendly, honest, practical, efficient, and organized. She is never preachy or dogmatic. She acts from genuine care and concern for each one of the kids she looks after.

She is great with kids, and completely trustworthy. When you leave your child with someone else, you're always wondering. Not with Mary. That alone is worth everything.

Nov 2010

My daughter has been going to Mary Sotelo's daycare for almost 2 years. It has been a wonderful experience and we are very sad to leave (we are moving). The daycare is in Mary's home and is super clean and kid friendly. I am amazed at how much she has learned (eating manners, washing hands, covering mouth with cough, saying ''excuse me'', etc). Her Spanish has also improved a great deal since Mary speaks in both Spanish and English. Mary provides great nutritious meals for the kids and daily art projects and outdoor activities. You can feel rest assured that your child will be safe and taken care of well with Mary.

May 2010

We could not ask for a better daycare/pre-school than Mary Sotelo's Children's Garden Preschool. Our daughter took to Mary and the school immediately when she first arrived at 2 years old. She is now almost 4, and in this mixed-age school environment, she has been sufficiently challenged by the preschool curriculum and Mary's instruction and encouraged by the older kids, as well. Our daughter has also learned, by example, to respect and encourage the younger children. The children at the school are all well- behaved, lovely, lively, and happy. The Children's Garden is taught in Mary's beautiful home, is bilingual (Spanish/English), has a wonderful vegetable and flower garden surrounding the outdoor playground, and Mary takes the children on outings to the local park, as well. Contact the Children's Garden at (510) 523-6614.


Jan 2010

My 3.5 year old daughter loves Mary's bilingual preschool in Alameda. Mary has a gorgeous garden and several beautiful, clean play areas for the children. She teaches a preschool curriculum that includes instruction in Spanish, serves homemade meals, and encourages the children to help her care for the garden, which my daughter thoroughly enjoys. Mary also takes them to the park and the nearby nursery to look for flowers to plant.

One of the reasons that we chose to send our daughter to Mary's was the fact that her preschool is small and intimate and Mary treats the children like family. In many ways, Mary's is like an extension of our home. Mary never has more than 6 children and many of the children (and their siblings) have been there for years.

Mary is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

You can contact Mary at (510) 523-6614. Also, feel free to e-mail me with questions. mah254

Dec 2008

My son's daycare/preschool provider, Mary Sotelo at the Children's Garden in Alameda has an opening for a child 2 years or up. Mary is kind, warm and organized. Both of my boys love her. She teaches in English and Spanish and feeds the kids delicious home cooked meals. The daycare/preschool is in her beautiful and immaculate home and there is a very nice backyard where the kids go every day. Mary is open Mon - Thur from 7:45-4:45. Anne

Feb 2008

I would like to recommend Mary Sotelo's daycare located in Central Alameda. Mary is a very experienced, reliable and organized provider who works with the family as your child reaches all those important milestones. Her bilingual program (Spanish/English) includes a pre-school curriculum for children two years old and up. Mary prepares delicious home cooked and nutritious meals for the children. My child has been there since she was two years old and is well prepared to enter kindergarden in the fall. Please contact Mary about possible openings. Contact: Mary Sotelo, 510-523-6614

Feb 2008


My son starts Kindergarten this fall and will be leaving a wonderful preschool in Alameda. We were fortunate enough to find Mary Sotelo's daycare & preschool, The Children's Garden, when our son was less than a year old. He's been there ever since, thriving, growing, and learning. Mary is such a caring person and teaches a bilingual (Spanish/English) program. Our son had the ABCs song down pat before 2 years old, he is 4 now and can write his name and the entire alphabet. He can converse in Spanish and speaks excellent English. Mary is a wonderful teacher. While our 4 year old will miss her dearly, his little brother is starting preschool with her now (he's already been there for daycare) and we look forward to several more years with her. the.johnstons

Oct 2004


I can't say enough about Mary's bilingual (Spanish/English) home preschool/daycare program for children from 1 to 5. Mary's loving care includes bilingual preschool curriculum, art, reading, delicious meals and play time in her gorgeous garden. Mary is an experience professional and a natural care giver.

Sept 2004


My sons daycare provider has an opening for another toddler (2 yrs). Our kids absolutely adore Mary! They both break out in smiles every morning when they see her and can't wait to get inside and play. There is a large backyard set up for the kids. She reads to them and they do art almost everyday. Mary has also recently started a pre-school curriculum. She has been a childcare provider for 14 years and has a lot of knowledge of early childhood development. She also speaks fluent Spanish. She is closed on Fridays and will consider someone for 3 or 4 days per week. Please feel free to call me if you have questions or contact Mary Sotelo directly at 510-523-6614.