Sunshine Daycare

Berkeley, CA

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Home-Based Daycare/Preschool
Sara Mendez
510-548-2815, 510-334-7956
sunshinedaycareberkeley [at]
S. Berkeley, between Sacramento and San Pablo, one street away from Ashby
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
English, Spanish

Parent Reviews

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My daughter attended Sunshine for two years, and my son has now been there for nine months.  I wholeheartedly recommend Sunshine to anyone who is looking for daycare.  We started our daughter at a different daycare that I was not thrilled about when I first went back to work, and one month later found ourselves scrambling for a new place.  I knew I loved Sunshine the second I walked in.  The house is clean and organized and completely set up for children's play.  Sara and Marina are wonderful with the children, and my kids love them both very much.  I felt very supported by Sara in meeting my breastfeeding/pumping goals, which were very important to me.  I love that my children both learned Spanish, and was surprised at how much structured learning Sara and Marina do with kids at such a young age.  My kids learn so much there, from colors to counting in two languages to shapes and more.  They also feed the kids healthy snacks and lunch, which is such a huge help.  Not having to pack lunches is amazing.  At Sunshine, I know my kids are safe and well cared for, and I am respected as a parent.  It really couldn't get much better than Sunshine.  I am so grateful to have found Sara and Marina, and anyone is lucky to get a spot there.

When we first moved to the East Bay I visited many daycares to find care for my 2 year old. Sunshine stood out immediately. The house is bright, clean, and filled with toys and activities for babies and small children. There is a huge backyard and deck so the kids spend a lot of time playing outside. Sara and Marina have a loving relationship with the kids. Sara provides lunch and two snacks. My daughter now eats a much wider variety of foods since everyone eats together. It is so helpful to have lunch provided. When I went back to work after my second daughter was born I felt completely comfortable leaving my baby with Sara. She's been great in helping us take care of our kids, from nail trimming to hair care to cradle cap treatment. My younger daughter has food allergies and Sara has gone above and beyond to make sure my daughter is kept safe and able to eat with the other children. Her days with Sara and Marina have helped her to become confident, responsible, and bilingual. We will be sending our third child to Sunshine when I go back to work. I highly recommend Sunshine Daycare.

Since I wrote my first recommendation for Sunshine Daycare, my second daughter attended it (even though we moved further away to North Berkeley). Both of my daughters were there from about 4-6 months old till they went to preschool at 2.5. Sara, her mother Marina, her husband Carlos, her son Sergio, and the rest of the family were like a second family to my children. Sara and Marina had so much love for my daughters (and vice versa), it still makes me tear up to think about how lucky we were to have found them. We felt like they were almost better cared for there than at home! Naptime was so easy at Sara's with the completely darkened bedrooms and music, and kids being able to sleep as long as they wanted. Even if we had a busy, rough weekend with skipped naps, we knew they would fall right back into their good, healthy routine on Monday at Sara's. They would come home well-fed, well-rested, and with their hair beautifully done into intricate styles that they loved almost every day. Both of my daughters became fully bilingual even though we don't speak Spanish at home, and my second daughter is now attending Centro Vida, a Spanish immersion preschool and has had no problems from day 1 communicating with her teachers and Spanish-speaking classmates. Sara has the best, biggest, greenest yard I have ever seen of any daycare--it's a double-lot yard with a nice big play structure in the grassy lawn surrounded by a bike/trike path around the perimeter. She has a sand pit and a water table. A brand new very spacious and covered shady deck overlooks the yard, with a special padded flooring and a play house, kids' snack table and balls/toys on it. Indoor and outdoor, the surroundings are always spotless and bright.

I wholeheartedly recommend Sunshine Daycare--their love and genuine concern for the children, their experience, patience and sense of humor in caring for them, and their work ethic is just unparalleled, not to mention all the homemade food that the kids love and the beautiful yard. My daughters still ask about when they will get to go to Sara's next and look forward to the occasional school holiday that they get to spend there. If you're looking for a grandma's/auntie's house kind of place where your kids learn self-care skills, good manners, two languages, and sharing / getting along with others ranging from babies to preschoolers, as well as develop their gross and fine motor skills through outdoor play, indoor toys, puzzles and games, and arts and crafts, check out Sunshine Daycare.

I'd be happy to discuss further via email or phone.

Archived Reviews: 

Sept 2014

I'd like to share my heartfelt recommendation for Sunshine Daycare, a fantastic place for babies and toddlers in south Berkeley. After my second baby was born, I had to go back to work sooner than I would have liked, and was really anxious about sending a nine-week-old baby into the world. We fell in love with Sunshine as soon as we visited. The daycare is run by Sara Mendez, a lovely woman who radiates warmth and caring. Sara's home is transformed into a child's paradise. The floors are paved with brightly-colored foam and filled with all sorts of toys and books for the children to explore. Sara's mother, Marina, is there every day to help. The back deck and backyard have been converted into play areas by Sara's husband, a contractor with an eye for fun. Sara was an expert with expressed milk, with working with us to introduce solids, and with helping us raise a child from a tiny baby to a walking and talking child.

Our baby left Sara's over the winter to join her sister at pre-school. This summer, Sara took her back during the break. We weren't sure if our girl would remember Sara, but as soon as she opened the door, our now-toddler leapt into Sara's arms and gave her a ten-minute squeeze hug she would not let go of. That's when I knew I needed to write this recommendation.

Aug 2014

My daughter went to Sunshine for almost two years and now my son is attending. It is a warm, loving environment run by Sara and her mother Marina out of Sara's home. The inside is safe with tons of toys and learning activities and there is a huge backyard with shaded porch and a play structure. My daughter learned Spanish there and I am excited for my son to learn as well. I completely trust Sunshine to care for my children as if they were their own. If you are looking for a small, home based daycare with nurturing caregivers, I encourage you to check out Sunshine.

Sept 2013

Our son is just finishing up a wonderful year a half with Sara Mendez at Sunshine Daycare (headed off to preschool). I recommend Sunshine whole- heartedly. We and our son have loved it. Sara is caring and loving, and helped our son feel happy and comfortable there right off the bat.

The house is large, very clean, has tons of toys and activities-- all arranged so kids can get out and clean up their own supplies. Our son learned much better manners at Sunshine than we ever would have accomplished on our own, learned to share well, clean up his own toys...They even helped us with things like clipping our son's nails and brushing his hair when he wouldn't let us do it! They feed the kids great healthy meals, have a huge backyard with playground equipment (really like a private park). We are working to raise our son bilingually and his Spanish has progressed very well during his time at Sunshine

Sara usually has a mix of babies and toddlers with no more than 8 total at a time. Her mother Marina is the 2nd caregiver. . Feel free to email me if you have questions about our experience with Sunshine. You can contact Sara directly at 510-548-2815 or sunshinedaycareberkeley [at]

Sept 2013

My son's awesome daycare has openings for Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. All the kids are between 9 and 18 months and there would be 6 including your child. Sunshine Daycare owned by Sara Mendez is so loving and wonderful with a humongous backyard better than any tot park you've seen around. Phone: 510- 548-2815, 510-334-7956. You can find other reviews on BPN to find out more or just call Sara directly. She's located off of Ashby between Sac and San Pablo and they are Spanish speaking.

Aug 2012

Sunshine Daycare is the best daycare we've seen in the East Bay, and we looked at lots of them. If you live in South Berkeley or North oakland, you really should try to get a spot! Sara Mendez runs a small, clean, professional daycare that feels more like a school than a home-based operation. She has several wonderful assistants, provides good food, and gives the kids tons of outdoor time (they have a huge beautiful backyard). A couple darkened nap rooms allow the kids to sleep peacefully without waking each other. She takes a few infants and a few toddlers but keeps the numbers low. Most importantly, Sara and her staff imbue the kids with good manners and respect for each other. The combination of a beautiful facility, a huge outdoor play space, a mix of structure and freedom, and a small size makes every child (and parent) so happy at Sunshine. She can be reached at sunshinedaycareberkeley [at] or 510-334-7956.

May 2012

Like most new moms I was nervous about my 4 month old starting daycare. As a MSW I have experience with child development and interviews so I developed a long set of interview questions and talked with almost 20 local providers. I made an appointment at Sunshine, walked in, and my questions felt silly - this place was perfect and then I was really impressed with her thoughtfulness and passion for children! The house is so clean, so bright with books, toys and a backyard better than most parks. Sara Mendez and her mother clearly love children and are gifted in their patience and laughter. Ten months later I love picking up my daughter, everyone is smiling, well fed and relaxed after a busy day. Sara has two older children leaving for pre-school and will be looking for infants to start soon. Give Sara a call, her prices are reasonable and when children are ready she prepares homemade, healthy food. She has always been responsive to my questions and concerns. I can't say enough good things about our experience with Sunshine, feel free to contact me for a parent perspective.

Nov 2011

I would highly recommend Sara (Sunshine Daycare) as a child care provider in any other family in need of day care service because, first of all, she loves kids. She was almost a daytime mom to my daughter. Sometimes, I felt jealous about how well she bonded with my baby. Haelee had been attending this Sunshine daycare from 3 months old up until we moved to New York. They have a huge outdoor playground and would prepare homemade food for kids (if you want). I love and miss this sweet family. Haelee's mom Kristine

Oct 2011

Our 2-year old has been in love with this daycare since he was five months old. It is a clean, professional, home-based daycare near the Ashby BART run by Sara and her mother. The best thing about Sunshine is the careful attention that Sara gives to the kids, all of whom love the big yard and the many toys (no TV!). Sara keeps things pretty small, usually no more than 6-7 kids, which allows the kids to have enough playmates without things being too crazy. Sara can be reached at laprincesasarita [at]

Oct 2011

I highly recommend Sara Mendez's Sunshine daycare with no reservations. Our son was there for almost a year in 2010 and we felt that he was loved and cared for very well. Their outdoor space set-up is exceptional with a huge yard, and a brick raceway for little wheelers to go round and round all day. There's a great big lawn space with play structures and a big deck to hang out in. My boy loved being outdoors and this is his place of choice when we were reviewing daycares. There was always an aroma of fresh home cooking which won over my food-driven then 1 year old right away. Most importantly, everyone in Sara's family is kind and loving and took great interest in every child. We also enjoyed the small size care, easier to manage colds and seasonal illnesses. We were also very impressed with how clean and organized it was, stocked with only carefully chosen quality age appropriate toys. We really enjoyed our time there. Angela

Oct 2011

I highly recommend Sunshine Daycare. Sara Mendez & her family have been a second family to my 22-month-old daughter since she was 6 months old. Sara has a beautiful clean home with a huge grassy yard & a large selection of indoor & outdoor toys, books & craft supplies. She has a passion for children, always finding great deals on new toys & supplies to keep them stimulated. She and her mother Marina typically maintain a 1:3 caregiver/child ratio with ample cuddle time & attention for both the babies & the toddlers. They speak Spanish to the children; my daughter can now understand & speak both English & Spanish. They provide homemade meals & snacks and maintain a schedule yet remain flexible to meet the needs of full-time working parents. Parents & grandparents can visit anytime. Sara's husband, daughter & son are often around to play with the kids, making it a family atmosphere & a home away from home for my daughter, who talks about them daily. If you want the intimacy of nanny/grandparent care coupled with socialization with other children, check out Sunshine Daycare. Email me anytime to chat.

March 2010

I recommend sunshine daycare wholeheartedly. Sara is an energetic,creative,and extremely loving person. She cares so much about each child and how they are developing.My daughter spends her sun-filled days with lots of interesting and engaging toys, pretend play and games. Sara loves being with the kids and always has fun imaginative activities to do with the them. Sara comes up with fun crafts to do with the kids around each holiday-even very young children do creative projects and learn to paint and draw-we are amazed at what our little girl does there! Sara speaks Spanish with them and does educational games with them in English. The atmosphere of the home is enveloped in love, peace, cooperation, respect and mindfulness. The home is clean, and the back yard is huge and beautiful. Sara is also a budding photographer, and posts hundreds of pictures of the kids playing with each other. I am amazed by the amount of energy she puts into her daycare. My daughter loves it there, and we will be very sad to say goodbye. They are a beautiful family who have welcomed our daughter warmheartedly into their home. Contact: Sara Mendez, laprincesasarita [at]

June 2009

I want to highly recommend Sunshine daycare in South Berkeley. It is a licensed family daycare that opened early this year, run by mother and daughter, both with many years of experience in working with children. And that is definitely a gift of theirs: both have a natural affinity for children, and a genuine interest in their emerging personalities. And they are lots of fun too. My daughter loves the place and so do I.

Beautiful space with large outdoors, affordable, homemade food, safe, clean and above all, very loving. Activities include art, gardening, dancing, reading, and outside play (there will soon be a sandbox in the backyard). The mother is speaking Spanish to the kids.

They currently have three infants at 6, 13 and 16 months, and are looking now for kids 2 years and older (there will be a maximum of 8 kids). Open from 7.30 am-5.30 pm 5 days/week, .

Contact Sara for more information. Contact: Sara, laprincesasarita [at]

(Editor Note: this earlier review seems to refer to a different daycare, but no location was given.)

March 2006

I'm writing in recommendation of Sunshine Daycare. My 19-month old daughter has been attending since November 2005, when Alex first opened her small family daycare. Alex has twenty years of experience working in preschools, plus all the basics (CPR, First aid, safe and clean space, loves children, etc.). Sunshine Daycare has been great for my daughter; it's sort of in-between a family daycare and a preschool. She gets lots of personal attention (up until this point, there has been a 4:1 ratio--this may shift if Alex gets older children), and yet there is some structure to her day (indoor/outdoor time, snacks and lunch, naptime). Alex also writes up daily reports for us, so we get detailed info about the day's events. On most days, we all go for a walk to the park after school. Feel free to call Alex (510) 965-0510 or email me if you have any questions.