Sugar and Spice Preschool

Alameda, CA

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Childcare Center, Preschool
Cali Ruffin-Espinello
(510) 865-1055
cespinello [at]
Mariner Square
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
Ages Served: 
24 months - 60 months

Parent Reviews

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Archived Reviews: 

Sept 2010

I enrolled my daughter at Sugar and Spice when she turned two. Previously my daughter stayed home with grandma and/or nanny. When interviewing several day cares in Alameda, Sugar and Spice stood out as far as how much they wanted to help with the transition of my daughter from home to school. Separation anxiety was harder perhaps for me the mom but I could not be happier with the transition help kindly given by all 4 teachers. And after a year later, I love this place even more due to the following reasons: Their open door policy, seamless transition from one year to the next because all 4 teachers get to know each child as they enroll and the safe, kind and loving environment the school provides for all the children. They are now helping with potty training my daughter. My daughter loves all the teachers especially her first teacher Ms. Van. TK

June 2010

For all those parents looking for a safe, fun and exciting preschool experience for their precious little ones, I would like to recommend Sugar and Spice Preschool in Alameda. We currently have both our girls enrolled there and couldn't be happier!

These are just a few of our favorite reasons why:-
- The teachers are extremely kind and patient (def plus points when dealing with toddlers). Hugs are a part of the daily routine which my girls look forward to:-)
- Potty training is NOT a MUST when joining and there isn't an additional fee either which majority of the other schools that I've visited insisted on.
- They are a year round program with just a handful of national holidays so parents need not worry about where they are to send their kids when summer comes around.

Last but not least, our older daughter starts kindergarten in the fall and the teachers were amazed at how well prepared she was at her assessment interview - Thanks to the dedication and the committment she got from the staff at Sugar and Spice

We are extremely satisfied with everything this preschool has to offer and are hoping you will be too once you visit the school. Good luck! PVL

May 2006

Hello, Just wanted to ask a question to any parents of children who attend or who have attended the Sugar and Spice Preschool in Oakland. Let me first say that I absolutely love this school. The teachers are loving and attentive. I'm just wondering if it's time for my child to move onto something a little more formal. She will be turning 4 soon. I've noticed that there aren't any 4 year olds in the program. Why is that? Do most parents take their kids out at this age and opt for a more formal preschool setting? I'm just wondering if I should leave her in their program until she is ready for kindergarten. Do you feel their program is too play-based and not academic enough to prepare my child for kindergarten? If you did decide to put your child in another program, I'd love to know which preschool you selected. Any thoughts would be helpful. Thanks in advance! Anon

My son goes to S, and my older son did too. We did send him (the older one) somewhere else at age 3 1/2, because many of his peers also left at that age. I think I would have kept him there if there were other kids his age that stayed, as I love it there too, and I think Marni is well-equiped to teach all the more formal preschool basics (letters, numbers, social skills). But I did not want to keep him where he would be the oldest, and I think many parents felt the same. Plus he's a boy, full of boy energy that I don't always feel they have the space to let off. If there are other kids your daughters age that are staying, I would definitely consider staying, but if a lot are leaving, then I would consider that too. When we first started, there were several 4 year olds, and a few that stayed until it was time to go to kindergarten. Talk to Marni. She's not blind to the fact that many kids leave at age 4 and I think will be as candid as she can. When I talked to her about it once, she mentioned that it was cyclical.

As for where people go - my son went to Skyline, some of his friends went to Chatham, Smiles and Lakeshore (Lakeview? Grandlake?) Montessori. I have seen some former parents around town who have not found something they liked as much as S, based on how many times their kids changed preschools after leaving S (or so it seems)....
Luke's mom

hello, i have been lucky enough to have sent two kids to sugar and spice. the teachers are lovely. my kids have had positive experiences at the school but i have noticed a few differences from other preschools. have you noticed that they never do any field trips? parent conferences? it would be nice to have a little more feedback about the kids. activities or outings in the community would also be very enriching. i'm not sure why they don't do that. if you think that is something your child might want or need, than another setting may be appropriate. good luck anon

Nov 2005

Hello, I've just recently heard of a preschool called Sugar and Spice run by two ladies named Marni and Cali. It's located in Oakland. Just wanted to know if anyone has had any experience with this school. Is it more of a daycare or preschool setting? Thanks in advance! Anon

I sent my older son to S for a little over a year, and will send my younger one there very soon. Marni is great. Cali is nice, but is not on-site (unless Marni is sick), so in evaluating the teachers, get to know Marni and Olivia - the other teacher, who is also great. It has all the conveniences you could want as a working mom. Great hours, they serve meals, no ''spring break'' or ''winter break'', no extra fee for kids in diapers, etc. etc. In that way, it is more day care than pre- school; however, the kids learn their letters and numbers, do crafts, have circle time and interact socially. (I'm not sure what else there is to pre-school). I have known several kids who stayed until they were ready to start kindergarden, but also know many who left for more ''formal'' pre-schools. There are 12 kids, so after a while, depending on the ages of the 12 kids, your child might start to outgrow the space (it's a converted house), like mine did. But I would have kept him there there if more of the other 12 kids were closer to his age. (Due to some turnover, he would have been the oldest at 3 1/2). After the initial resistance to a new routine, he thrived while he was there, and has done well in his more formal preschool. Because of the small size, Marni is able to give you a run-down of your childs day, and even keeps a sporatic journal of how he/she is doing. Bigger places are way more hands-off (in my experience). I'm a big fan of S for the 2 to 3 1/2 year old set. After that, it would depend on what other kids are there. audrey

Jan 2005

Re: Looking for an Alameda preschool
Our son goes to Sugar & Spice in Mariner's Square in Alameda (near Webster Tube and across from Peter Pan) It is play based and my son (and we) LOVE it. The teachers are great and caring. Our son has learned a lot and is really happy - Check them out. They take kids 2 and up - they don't have to be potty trained (they help) zeta

Nov 2004

To the mom seeking feedback on Alameda preschools (you didn't leave your e-mail) My 2.3year old son is at Sugar and Spice - a new preschool by the Webster Tube in Alameda. He (and we) love it!!! The owner owns another pre-school in Redwood Heights which has a waiting list. The teachers are very caring and lovely and my son has learned a lot. You should check it out. (It's across from Peter Pan

Oct 2004

I just want to recommend the new Sugar & Spice Pre-school in Alameda. We are very happy with the caregivers/teachers and the facility. My son is very happy there and has learned so much from his new friends and teachers. The teachers, Ms. Kori and Ms. Michelle are very warm and loving. They are conveniently located near the Webster tube in Alameda. Check it out if you are looking for a great preschool. Contact: Director, 510-865-1055

Feb. 2002

Does anyone know this daycare in Oakland? I am looking for full time care for my two year old boy and I liked hte look of it, but was interested in others reactions to it. Is the parking situation as bad as it looks? Thanks. Redwood Heights Mom

I have not used Sugar and Spice Daycare myself, but the woman who runs the daycare, Marni, was my daughter's caregiver for the 5 years prior to the opening of Sugar and Spice. I highly recommend Marni. She is very conscientious, dedicated to her kids & loves to have fun with them. If you have further questions, you can e-mail me. Tina

My son has been attending Sugar and Spice Day Care two days a week for the past six months. We've had a great experience so far. I was looking for a family day care and did a lot of research and visits to various places - and really found what I was looking for in Sugar and Spice. It's very personal, clean, safe and the kids definitely have fun. Since my son was less than two when we started, I was only looking for a place where he could meet other kids his age and play. I figured that he has plenty of time to learn to read and write - now is the time to have fun. Sugar and Spice lets the kids do their own thing if that's what they want (as my son does). Or, they can join in the group activities, sing songs and learn the alphabet. And even though my son isn't too interested in circle time yet, he comes home talking about his new friends and reciting the alphabet. But, its not forced, which is what I like. Also, before my son started at Sugar and Spice I was convinced that he would never take a nap unless Mom or Dad lied down with him, read him books and waited for him to drift off to sleep. Marny, the head teacher, was very patient with me and assured me that my son would follow the other kids at nap time. To my surprise she was right. And now that he has learned to fall asleep on his own, bedtime at home happens alot easier than it used to. I have plenty of other positive experiences to share with you if you'd like - feel free to e-mail me to hear more. rliebler

My daughter has been at Sugar and Spice for the last year and a half and we have been extremely happy with the care she receives. Before she attended Sugar and Spice, she stayed home with me full-time and we were very concerned she would not do well in a day care situation. We were pleasantly surprised when from day one she went happily off to ''Marni's''. Marni is wonderful with the children as are Cali and Idola. Parking has never been an issue, either pick-up or drop off. Feel free to contact us for more information. Lara and Michael