Toot-a-Lou Daycare

Community Subscriber

Richmond, 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 #: 
Lorie Harnden
Richmond Annex 1 block South of El Cerrito Natural Grocery
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
Ages Served: 
20 months - 60 months
8:00am - 5:00pm
Additional Services & Features: 
Drop-in available, Pre-K program, Year-round, Sibling discount, Breakfast provided, Lunch provided, Snacks provided, Organic options, Vegetarian options, Special diet support, Cloth diapers accepted, Potty training support
About Our Program: 

Welcome! Toddlers – Preschool TOOT~A~LOU family childcare offers a safe, fun, enriching home environment for children 20 m - 5 years old. Our toddler and preschool program has been serving families since 2004. Experience early learning with the Mother Goose-themed-based curriculum, which inspires endless adventures. Full compliance with the CA Dept. of Social Services Community Care Licensing Covid-19 Health and Safety Protocol since March 2020. Tootles!

Monday -Thursday 8 am to 5 pm.  Friday 8 am to 3 pm

Parent Reviews

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We are very glad we found Lorie for taking care my son in this summer. My son got used to toot~a~lou daycare very quickly, less than one week. He likes to go to daycare and is always very happy to hug Lorie when we drop him. When I picked him up, he is always busy with playing, happy and willing to show the toys he played in the daycare to me. Lorie's home is clean, beautiful and safe to play for kids. Lorie arranges the artwork, painting, commenmorative shirt and memory book for the kids, that was very sweet. I highly recommend toot~a~lou.

Our daughter is going to TK program this Fall, and we will surely miss a lot the time with Toot-a-Lou. As my daughter's preschool was closed due to the pandemic, her school friend's parents recommended us to this wonderful school running by Lorie and her assistant teacher, Ani. They are such caring and supportive early childhood educators. They offered a lot of great insight and advice when we had seen some concerning things on our daughter at home. At school, Lorie provides kids with a flourished and play-based environment and has a well-structured curriculum, Mother Goose Time, to help older kids ready for TK/K. It gives us peace of mind to know that our daughter is in good hands while we're at work. We highly recommend Toot-a-Lou.

When our little one came of age, our first choice for daycare was Toot-a-Lou, but alas, there were no openings at the time. Fast forward 4 years and here we are, singing the praises of Lorie and her wonderful family daycare. How did this happen? If you are reading this many years in the future, good for you; You probably didn't have any children during the global pandemic, and were spared the slow motion, white knuckled ride we all shared. With no exaggeration, Toot-a-Lou saved a family with two working parents and a kid with "batteries included" from the brink of collapse. We could not feel more blessed, or be more thankful for our time with Toot-a-Lou.

As for Lorie, she is meticulous, tireless and hilarious. She coordinates a day of discovery through activities designed to stimulate all ages. The curriculum is low-pressure, tactile, fun, and well... We all looked forward to "homework" in the take home activity bags Lorie went out of her way to provide when we took what passed for a vacation.

The care that Toot-a-Lou provides is above and beyond, and it speaks to the skill and patience of Lorie and crew. They make it look easy, when it's really, really hard.

Toot~A~Lou has been part of our family's life since 2017. Our son was there from 15 months until 3 years, and then returned when the pandemic started and his preschool closed. Our daughter has been there since she was 6 months old. Both kids have thrived there. We were looking for a relaxed, play-based, and nurturing program, and Toot~A~Lou has definitely delivered. We also love that all the snacks and meals are provided. Our daughter can't wait to go to "school" every day. We were worried our son would be behind for kindergarten this fall when his preschool closed, but Lorie and Ani have done a great job with the Mother Goose curriculum and he has learned a lot this year. Lorie always takes parents' concerns seriously, and has good advice about how to manage kids' challenging milestones. All of us will miss Lorie and Ani when our kids move on to kindergarten and preschool this fall. 

Our child has been with Lorie since she was 6 months old, and we really appreciate the environment Lorie has provided for the past 2.5 years. Toot-a-Lou is a second home for our tot; we never needed to worry about anything - she eats, plays, and learns with Lorie, her aids, and other kids. During the pandemic, Lorie went above and beyond to support the families and maintained a stable and safe space for the kids. It certainly wasn't easy with all the ever-changing regulations but Lorie did it! We appreciate her professionalism and respect her so much for what she does. We are so lucky to have her and will miss her very much as our kid moves on to preschool.

Toot a Lou is a small home daycare in a really convenient location central to El Cerrito and super close to Albany and Berkeley. My oldest started there at 9 months and my youngest started at 4 months. We’ve been there since 2017 and are still there! Lorie is absolutely amazing. She creates a safe and nurturing and fun environment for the kids. She’s attuned to each kid, following their lead and creating fun experiences (a specific book or new activity) aligned with their interests. Lorie’s been doing emergent curriculum before any of us knew it was called that! She provides all meals and snacks. Healthy (and delicious per my kids) and so convenient for us working parents. They bake, they dig, they climb, they paint. It’s great!  The space is on the smaller side but Lorie does so much with it and my high energy kids definitely get enough exercise and running around. During the pandemic she’s been a godsend. So consistent and adapting to all the curveballs. My older child had “graduated” and moved on to a larger pre school but we brought her back to tootalou during the pandemic. We’ve been really impressed with the curriculum they’ve developed for the older kids who are now totally ready for TK/K.  I can’t recommend enough! 

We have loved Toot a Lou! My daughter started at 5 months old and still talks about Lorie at 4 years old! My son started at 7 months old during the pandemic. Lorie was very careful, very safe and very patient with our family. She runs a sweet engaging daycare with healthy snacks. The kids love picking apples from her tree! She has gotten my son to nap way longer than I ever imagined. I highly recommend toot a lou

We have been really happy with Toot-a-lou! Our son started at 4.5 months and has been there about 6 months now... he loves it! Lorie is great with the kids and is very accommodating (ex. food/milk preferences, diapers, schedules etc.). Also, she offered a lot of great insight and advice when asked questions. The house is a cozy space with lots of toys and a nice backyard with chickens! It is a laid back environment (which works well for our family). We are moving and will definitely miss Toot-a-lou and Lorie!

I have nothing but great things to say about Toot-A-Lou. Lorie and Linda are WONDERFUL. We sent our second child here for two years. I wish I had known about this daycare with our first child. My son loves going to "school" here. It is a very warm, nurturing and relaxed environment. I also love that food is provided, it makes drop off so easy!! The backyard is great and the kids do lots of art. I will truly miss Lorie and Linda when my son goes to preschool in the fall.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Dec 2013

Re: Recently moved and no space in preschool!
You could check out Tootalou family daycare. They are on the El Cerrito border/richmond annex... on Fresno (i think?). We sent our daughter there for a little over 2 years. Lori and Linda are AWESOME! They do specialize in small children, but they do have several preschool age kids as well. Lori does a preschool program with the little little ones albeit ReALLy pared down, yet for the older kids she does it and teaches them quite a bit of stuff. For the tight spot that you are finding yourself in, she is definitely worth talking to about your needs and situation. I think she and Linda are truly wonderful with kids and really ''get'' them. There is no shortage of education here despite them being a daycare. Plus, they are fairly close to you and very affordable. Both my husband and I highly recommend them. Feel free to email me if you have more questions Otherwise, Lori Harnden 510.375.4164 Tanja

Dec 2011

If you are looking for a wonderful childcare call Lorie at TOOT~A~LOU. We love her and so do the kids. She has a full time helper and she takes in 4-8 kids depending on the ages. she has this amazing back yard for the kids and a worm cozy house. The kids do amazing art work with lots of different stuff, story time, songs,dance and all the stuff that we don't do. i just can't say enough about this wonderful daycare. A Very Happy Mom

August 2011

Toot a Lou Family daycare is a wonderful place for kids to grow and have fun. Lorie and Linda are so loving to the kids, every morning the kids are greeted with a god morning, hugs and kisses and the kids love them. They have the most amazing outside play area and tortoises, guinea pigs and frogs that all the kids love. I can't say enough about them they are a GEM. She has an amazing tuition policy and it is a big saving for the families. When you start your tuition is the same the duration you are with her (if you add days or hours it will change of cores) . It is something she has always done, being a mother with children in child care she understands how costly childcare can be.We Love Her Toot a lou @ 528-9858 Vary Happy Family

August 2011

Our daughter has been going to Lorie at Tootalou Family Daycare since she was 4months old. It's been 11 months now.

We feel INCREDIBLY LUCKY to have our daughter at Tootalou because we know she is not just well cared for, but happy and loved there. When we enrolled her at 4mo, she was the only baby her age until she hit 6mo. At Tootalou, we found stable, personable care-providers that would develop a strong bond with her and help her grow into a well-socialized child. They are not swamped with tons of children so they can actually bond with each child, develop a relationship, and provide quality care to every child in their care.

Our daughter (now 15 months) *loves* going to Tootalou. She is happy when we drop her off and doesn't want to leave when it's time to come home. She loves Lorie and Linda and we know they love her too. While our daughter only goes part time, we feel that she has developmentally benefited in ways that she wouldn't have at home.

July 2011

Re: Exploring Day Care Options in El Cerrito There is a great child Care in the Annex one block from the El Cerrito Natural Grocery Store. Toot-a-Lou Family Daycare it is a gem and Lorie and her staff are wonderful, anyone would be lucky to land a spot in such a wonderful place. Linda

Oct 2010

I want to share my heartfelt thanks and very warm recommendation for Toot a Loo daycare. Run by Lori Harden, I found it to be a truly wonderful place. Simply put, Lorie and her mother 'know' babies and children!

My daughter started there when she was 7 months old. Within a short time of meeting Lori and seeing the charming environment they've created and continuously nurture, I knew I had found a great place. I was even willing to drive everyday from Oakland to their home in the Richmond Annex.

Lori and Linda are fun, calm, conscientious and very caring. They have a gift for connecting with each of the individual children. They provide wholesome snacks and are the only green certified daycare in the Bay Area. Though not as large as many other places, their home is always clean and organized and they have a great creative play area crafted by her husband with all recycled materials.

If they were located in Berkeley, they would surely have parents on waiting lists. Given their location, they don't seem to be very well-known and Toot a Lou is a secret well worth sharing! - Thankful for Toot a Loo

August 2006

I just wanted to Express my Appreciation to Lori Harden of Toot-a-Loo Daycare in Elcerrito, CA. She has been taking care of my 2 year old twins for a year now. She has taught them colors, animals, arts and crafts and the alphabet Song, and numerous other things. To any parents out there looking for excellent Childcare. I recomend her to all. My children used you to cry when i dropped them off at my previous babysitter. I would worry all day about them at the previous babysitter. When i started taking them to Lori they would tell me good bye when i dropped them off, with a smile on there face instead of tears coming out of there eyes. Thats how you know a child has been takin care of properly and treated with love and attention. From day 1 they allways love to go to Lori Hardens ''Toot-a-Loo Daycare''. Thank you so much for reading this and if you are interested in a Wonderful Daycare this is one of them. I plan on staying with Lori for many years. Thank you Lori