Sunshine Playschool

Community Subscriber

El Sobrante, CA

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

DSS Facility License #: 
Heather Lee
(510) 307-4365
brianna [at]
El Sobrante
El Sobrante/May Valley Area
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
Ages Served: 
24 months - 60 months
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
8:00am - 5:30pm
Additional Services & Features: 
Part-time available, Year-round, Sibling discount, Breakfast provided, Snacks provided, Special diet support, Cloth diapers accepted, Potty training support, Special needs support
Editors' Notes: 
  • Note: Moved to El Sobrante in 2016 from Richmond with license 073406668. Prior to that, the previous owner was Brianna Offill on Sonoma St. license # 073405662

Parent Q&A

  • Hello, I am in the process of looking for a play-based preschool for my three-year-old son. I've heard great things about Sunshine Playschool (now in El Sobrante--recently moved from Richmond), but the posts/reviews here are a couple years old now. Has anyone attended since the school has moved? Or, do you have any other recommendations for a great play-based preschool that offers part-time attendance? I live on the border of Richmond/El Cerrito, so am looking for recommendations ideally in El Cerrito, Kensington, Richmond, or Albany. Thanks so much!

    My two children, an almost 5 year old and an almost 3 year old, have been attending Sunshine since August and we are very happy there.  I visited a lot of schools and chose Sunshine based on the way I saw the teachers interacting with the kids and how the kids responded to the teachers.  I'm also a little over the top when it comes to preschool quality, so I called the licensing board and looked up all of their licensing numbers going back over a decade and they have never had any kind of a violation since they have been opened.  

    All three teachers and the director are warm and responsive to the kids, and they seem to posses superhuman patience.  My kids had been going to another program that was mornings only and were not very excited to change schools, but they absolutely love going to Sunshine now.  Every day at dinner I ask, "What was your favorite part of the day," and every day they answer "School!"  The new facility is awesome with two big rooms with lots of natural light and an amazing outdoor space that has a play structure, a doll house, a sand box and a dirt/mud box.  They do music class on Mondays and you can pay for them to do gymnastics on Wednesdays.  They are going on a field trip on Friday, and have regular family potlucks.  It truly was a blessing to find and I feel very, very lucky that they get to go there.

    Happy Sunshine Parent

    Sunshine Play school is awesome!! My son went there and loved it, as did my husband and I. Wonderful, fun, gentle preschool teachers. Excellent play-based philosophy. Loved it and felt so good about having my son there!! Totally recommend them!

    I highly recommend Sunshine. We are also near the El Cerrito/Richmond border, there are a few families from here that have followed Sunshine to the new school space. It is a great play-based program. The 4 teachers are all amazing, very kind and patient. They have all been teaching here a long time and have a ton of experience. The ratio is great as well, and I feel that my son gets the attention he needs. He started at 3 (coming from a nanny share) and we are in our second year. The new space is great, two big rooms and a huge outdoor space. The director is very responsive and good at keeping parents informed, and helps to build the school community with several fun family events a year. There are monthly field trips. Also, the parents are all very nice and there is a private FB group for Sunshine parents. You won't regret enrolling your son!

Parent Reviews

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I would like to recommend Sunshine Playschool in El Sobrante, but I don't know if that is convenient for you. They do an excellent job of conflict resolution at that age. I witnessed an interaction where a boy threw sand with a shovel on my daughter who was new to the school, and the teacher got down and helped him figure out that he did it because he was curious about her and wanted to meet her. She then coached him through other ways he could get her attention that would be more appropriate. I'm not sure what to call those skills, but I would expect to see conflicts handled through coaching that helps the aggressor really understand why they're behaving the way they do. This became even more important with my second child , because he really needed to be coached on conflict resolution skills himself. 

Check out Sunshine Playschool in El Sobrante.  They are year round, but many teachers' children attend and they seem flexible with taking summers off without losing your spot.  Good luck!

Check out Sunshine Playschool in El Sobrante.  They offer part time, but it is kind of expensive.  Our kids went to Mama Bear's before my husband went back to work and loved it there.  I looked all over for somewhere that gave me the same warm fuzzy feeling I got from Mama Bear's, and Sunshine was the only place that came close.  Kids don't have to be potty trained, it's play based and has an amazing outdoor space.  They are open from 8 am to 5:30 but seem very flexible in making the day you want for yourself.  Our son goes 9am to 3pm, but some other families seem to leave around noon.  The warmth, attention, and sensitivity of the teachers has just blown me away and it is a truly magical place.

It's a little more north, but I would recommend you check out Sunshine Playschool in El Sobrante.  They have a bunny and a tortoise, and an amazing outdoor play area where they have grown some vegetables and regularly dig in the sand/dirt pit with tools.  My son is always telling me about their construction "projects" which usually seem to involve building some kind of stream/dam contraption.  Earlier this year they grew kale and made their own kale chips.  It's a magical place.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Jan 2015

Re: Looking for a Play-based Preschool

Sunshine Playschool! We love it, and more importantly
our 3-yr-old son adores it. He was quite pissed to be kept home today due to sickness.
Lots of outdoors time, lots of clothes-changes due to playing in dirt mud etc,
mixed-age play, field trips, awesome experienced teachers who are very helpful in
teaching social-emotional skills to kids.
Sunshine mama

March 2014

I can't say enough wonderful things about Sunshine Play School. Our son started when he was 2 years and 3 months, and he is now completing his second year there. It's play-based with a beautiful outdoor space (including access to Alvarado Park) and just enough structured routine and activities to provide an overall program that our very active son thrives on. Every month the children learn about a different theme: ranging from the Olympics to polar animals to fairy tales to recycling. There is also either a field trip or an organized event at the school or neighboring park each month to provide additional experience with that month's theme. The teachers are amazingly thoughtful and nurturing and are incredibly gifted at facilitating conflict resolution in a calm and consistent way to allow each child to find his or her own voice. We have also found the parent community to be incredible and have made friends that have tied us even deeper to a neighborhood we already loved. We look forward to another year at Sunshine! Happy Sunshine Parent

March 2014

We are really happy with Sunshine. We were on the waitlist for probably 6 months before our son started there last June and we toured a number of other preschools while we were waiting. We liked that Sunshine was smaller (20 kids max, and some are part-time). Our family daycare recommended that our son (who is quieter, and can be slow to warm) attend a smaller preschool. We also needed hours that went to 5:30 rather than 5pm. What we love about the school is that it feels very out of the city... right across the street from Alvarado Park near Wildcat Canyon. Just this morning when I was dropping him off it was misty in the canyon and smelled like the outdoors. This is pretty amazing for a school that is 5 minutes from the freeway. It's a lovely community of parents and the teachers have been there a long time, which seems like a good sign of stability and consistency - that it's a nice place to work. We also like that it's play based and not overly focused on academics. Preschool is a time to play!! AKD

March 2014

My daughter has been attending the Sunshine preschool program for almost one year. She is now 4.5 years old is has been thriving there.

What helped us choose Sunshine over other schools is it that it is play-based. You won't see kids mindlessly doodling on worksheets. Children are engaged in learning colors, letters and number concepts through singing, stories, art and use of manipulatives. What's more, is that while children are learning the academics they are having so much fun! They really promote a love for learning. Even more important, at least in my view, is that Sunshine is creating great little citizens by continually fostering social skills such as sharing and positive conflict resolution.

The four teachers there are amazing! I am in awe of how patient and kind they treat each of the children. I was initially worried about my somewhat shy daughter transitioning, however, she took immediately to Miss Heather and now says they are all her favorite

Sunshine is really a community of amazing parents, children and teachers. We have made some great friendships which I expect to continue even after my daughter graduates this summer.

Some pertinent info about Sunshine:

Attendance can vary from part time to full time M-F 8AM-5:30PM with tuition based accordingly.

Children who stay for the afternoon bring their lunches. Morning and afternoon snacks are provided. Breakfast is provided for those that get there around 8-8:30AM.

Tuition is very reasonable in comparison to similar schools.

The site is located across from Alvarado park, very close to the beginning of the Arlington, a short distance from the freeway. We commute from El Sobrante and it takes ~10 minutes. Renee M

Feb 2012

I am considering enrolling my daughter in Sunshine Playschool this Fall. Can you please share your experiences? Did your child thrive emotionally, socially, physically and academically? Are the teachers nurturing? Will they give my daughter a hug if she needs one? Do you feel your child was well prepared for kindergarten? Curious, could your child read or almost read when s/he graduated? Thank you so much for any feedback you can provide. -ML

Our son ''graduated'' from Sunshine Playschool in Richmond last Summer and is now in Kindergarten. We could not have been happier with our experience. The teachers are warm, nurturing, and experts at fostering the social/emotional growth of children. The program is play based and so you will not see students sitting with worksheets and we felt our child's academic potential was recognized and nurtured. Our son finished with all the skills necessary for reading and is thriving in Kindergarten. I would whole heartedly recommend Sunshine. Julie

I started my son at Sunshine Playschool a week after his 2nd birthday and he stayed there until starting kindergarten this year. I swear it was fate that I found them (off BPN of course). Looking for a preschool was hard because he was not potty trained and young. When I found Sunshine they were actually located 1 block away renting a space under a church in my neighborhood.

The directer Brianna, her sister Heather and Jocelyn are GREAT!!! They are patient, nurturing, caring and really let each child develop individually at their own speed. Although my son was not able to read when graduating I think he was well enough prepared for kindergarten. Their new space near wildcat canyon is awesome, yes a bit small but I think worth it for the garden, nature walks, and outdoor art area they are able to take advantage of...not to mention the school bunnies. One year they even hatched chickens.

There are always fun seasonal/family parties and Brianna does a great gob of organizing field-trips. Oh and last but not least we LOVE grandma and grandpa.

I feel so blessed to have found such an wonderful program. My son is constantly asking when we can go visit, so he definitely gives Sunshine two thumbs up. Please let me know if you have any other questions. hr

My daughter started at Sunshine last July at age 21/2 and we are extremely happy with the school. The teachers there are very nurturing, and the kids all love them. They maintain an actively, fun, safe and friendly environment at the school and focus on development of social skills. They do a lot of art work, have music and gym class (you have to pay a little extra for the gym class). The school has a great yard with beautiful garden, all kinds of fruit trees, a brand new play structure, and lots of fun toys. It also has a very tight parent community with play dates, parties, and parents' participating in the monthly field trips. Unfortunately I can't comment too much about how the school prepares for kind garden, as my daughter is not quite there yet. But I have confidence in that seeing some of the boys and girls graduating as friendly, confident little people to do well in their lives. Feel free to contact me directly at janeli88 [at] Happy Sunshine parent. Jane

Sept 2011

Re: Preschool with a low student/teacher ratio, willing to work with a child with behavioural issues
Hi. I would recommend Sunshine Playschool in Richmond. Its at the end of the Arlington. They have about 20 students and 3 teachers, but they specialize in social development. I have known kids who have done poorly at other schools, gone there, and thrived. The teachers, are quite amazing. I do not know if they have space. April

Nov 2010

Re: Preschool/Playschool in El Sobrante Area
I would highly recommend Sunshine Playschool. It is located right at the entrance of Alvarado Park/Wildcat Canyon. The school is play based and has a wonderful staff who create a great community. Please check it out, it will be worth your time/effort. sunshine parent

August 2010

Re: Preschool recommendation in El Sobrante area
I would recommend looking at Sunshine Playschool it is a fantastic school. I looked at 7-8 schools before I found this jewel. My son is so happy there he is having a great time. (510) 307-4365 Brianna is the director. happy parent

April 2010

Re: Cozy, fun preschool for 2-year-old
Great school, a nice number of kids in the age range you are looking for (2-3 yo along with some older-they take up to 5), really attuned to the needs of the little ones- always have fun activities/themes for the month along with field trips. Rates and other info on website is about 6-7 miles from N. Berkeley-off the Arlington or if you take 80 E- it would be the Solano exit. It is really worth checking out! Good luck:) anon

June 2009

Re: Preschool suggestions near El Cerrito or Albany
Sunshine Preschool in Richmond near the El Cerrito border is fantastic. My daughter has been there for a year and a half. Before I became a mom I taught preschool for several years and I have a good idea of what a preschool should be like. Sunshine is one of the best. The director and head teacher, Brianna Ofill, has this incredible balance of warmth and firmness that children crave. Prior to Sunshine my daughter attended a preschool that could not give her the attention she needed and she was not feeling good about school or herself. Within days after moving her to Sunshine she fell head over heels for Brianna, became enthusiastic about learning and a more confident person. I see the same enthusiasm from the other children there. The other teachers there a really great too and they work well together as a team. Not to mention Grandma Diane whose visits are always something to look forward to! A warm and wonderful family atmosphere. Happy Sunshine Parent

June 2009

We placed our son at Sunshine when he was 2.5 years old and he has really blossomed in the last year. The staff is stable and confident. The turnover is low, In fact, the same aids have been there for the at least a year while getting their degrees in ECD. The director, Brianna Offill, has amzing energy, patience and an innate skill dealing with each individual child. Her sister Heather is an experience preschool teacher and their mother, Gramma, comes in every Friday to play and sing with the kids. It's a great place for learning and fun! The staff is warm and friendly, the parents are involved and the fieldtrips are fun. One Saturday night each month, the teachers host Parents Night Out where for $20 per child (all kids in the family are welcome) you drop off the kids at school for four hours. Parents have a relaxing evening out knowing the kids are safe and having fun (dinner served!). We visited other preschools in the area and we are more than glad we chose Sunshine. It's a nice neighborhood school. The school is accepting for fall 2009 and can be reached at 510- 307-4365 or email Brianna at brianna [at]

March 2009

Re: Preschools with FT schedules/childcare?
Sunshine Playschool has full time. My son will begin in Sept and I was very pleased with the program. I had looked at 5 other preschools/home daycare. They offer full and part day programs between the hours of 7:30A.M.-5:30 P.M. Monday-Friday, year round. Please call Brianna at 307-4365 or email her at brianna [at] for more information. anon

Feb 2009

I am interested in Sunshine Play School for my 3 year old son located in Richmond on Sonoma Street--any feedback about the program would be great the director is Brianna Offill. Thanks anon

My second son went to the Sunshine Play School since he was just about 3 years old until he was almost 6 years old. Before deciding to send him to the Sunshine Play School, I have visited about 10 other preschools. Knowing how sensitive, shy, and reserved my son was then, I was feeling hopeless because any of the schools seemed to work for him. I was thinking, if my visit to the Sunshine Play House did not meet my need, I would hold him home for another year. Well,,, when I visited there, I really felt that I found the right place for him. What I love about the Sunshine Play School is the stability of the staff. Brianna is a very experienced teacher, (thought she looks young). She is very nurturing, yet sets reasonable and age appropriate expectation to kids, so kids know how to care about each other. Heather, Brianna's sister, is also very experienced as a childcare provider. Both of them really love and know about individual kids and respect their personalities. They also have great assistants too, so the ratio of adult and children is pretty good too. Every Friday their mom also comes, who used to run the day care for many many years. My son loved having ''a grandma'' at school! My very shy son really opened up himself there by the time he was graduating. Also, though I never asked, he was reading all the alphabets, reading simple words, and also had very advanced math skills too by the end. All was done through play-based program. I wish I could know how she does it!!! We then moved to lamorinda area, and now I wish we were closer to the school again, so that we could send our younger children to Brianna again. If there is any downside of the program, I may say that their kids' art work is not as messy as I would like it to be, but that is my personal preference. Mika

Sept 2007

My son has been at the Sunshine House in Richmond for about 6 months now, and we love it. It's a home-based daycare run by Brianna Offill, and she is wonderful with the kids. She's infinitely patient, caring, and she obviously loves them. She's very skilled at conflict resolution -- you can learn a lot just by watching her. The other women who work with her are also great; one is Bree's sister. Bree is totally organized and the house is always spotless. There are no unexpected closures and no drama, totally professional. She provides healthy meals and takes the kids out on field trips. This is my third kid and I've used many different childcare facilities ranging from big commercial daycares to nannies to home daycares. Bree is the best (well, she ties with my last home daycare provider, who sadly no longer provides childcare :-). I wish all of my kids had been as lucky as my third. Sometimes you don't realize what's missing from other daycares until you find one that's really exceptional. Their website is jennifer

Jan 2007

I'm writing to recommend a fantastic family daycare in Richmond, Sunshine House Daycare. My daughter just graduated and is off to preschool, so they have one available full-time spot. Brianna Offill and Heather Lee are sisters who run the daycare; both are trained in early childhood education and have many years of experience working with children (in fact, their mother, Grandma, also ran a family daycare while they were growing up!). They are extremely loving, nurturing, patient, and supportive teachers, and the children clearly love them in return. The school is play-based, and they also take the children on terrific fieldtrips: to visit a pumpkin patch, a family farm, a tree farm, the East Bay Vivarium, Lawrence Hall of Sciences, and so forth. They have a wonderful program and my daughter really benefited from the safe, respectful, and gentle environment they provide. Feel free to email me with any questions. Here's their website: Contact: Brianna Offill, 5106200785

Jan 2006

I am recommending a daycare/preschool Sunshine House in Richmond hill, (tel: 510-620-0785. My 3YO son started Sunshine House 4 months ago, and we LOVE the school! Sunshine House is run by experienced staffs. One teacher was a preschool teacher, and another teacher has extensive experience working with children. It is in a clean, safe home with nice backyard with play structure, sand box, and out side art play area. Staffs are very gentle, loving and caring. They do circle time, show and tell, singing, reading, monthly newsletter, field trips, etc, etc. My not- yet-English speaking son is quiet and reserved. We wanted his school to be small, with caring staff, and wonderful teacher/child ratio, so that he would get enough love and attention he needs, learn to trust others and feel safe and happy while away from us. Sunshine House met our needs and so far has exceeded our expectation. I highly recommend Sunshine House!