Woolly Mammoth

Berkeley, CA

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

Childcare Center, Preschool
DSS Facility License #: 
Emilia O'Toole & Mayra Dana
(510) 548-4779
woollymammoth [at] att.net
University Ave.
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
Ages Served: 
0 months - 60 months
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
8:00am - 5:30pm
Editors' Notes: 

Parent Reviews

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I love this place so much. Everything runs like clockwork -- they've got the systems down. And there's so much love. Mayra and Emilia have about a thousand years of cumulative child rearing experience. At this point when they suggest I try something with my kids I just do it.

My older one started there when she was three. I was immediately struck by how much the teachers gushed about my kid. It makes me feel good, and even if it's for my benefit, I can tell there's genuine feeling there: I see the affection between parents and teachers and I see the way my kids develop real attachments. When my younger one came along I knew she was in great hands when she started at three months. My kids have really benefitted from the gentle but firm rules on manners, and both were potty trained in short order there. They got lots of time to play and lots of fun extras (weekly dance - music - Spanish classes).

I also just appreciate that the systems work - there's no emailing back and forth, it's not necessary. The school throws a few parties a year and parents can bring a dish, but most of the work is just taken care of -- which is a blessing for working parents. We're not the ones planning these parties and field trips after the kids go to bed at night. And so there's time to socialize. We've gotten to know the other families well - it's a multicultural mix, with a lot of Berkeley postdocs from all over the world.

I really admire the women who work here and am happy my daughters have them as role models.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

October 2006

We are thinking of sending our 14-month old son to Woolly Mammoth part-time. There aren't many postings about the center and the few that are there are a bit old. Does anyone have any recent experience there? Any information and comments would be helpful! Savitha

My son and daughter were both at Woolly Mammoth since they were babies, my daughter since she was 9 months old and my son since he was 5 months. My boy just finished there in September, and I'm still sad that we're done! I love Woolly Mammoth for many reasons, it was an incredibly loving environment for my children to grow in.

In the infant room Mayra lavishes hugs and kisses on the babies all day - I'll never forget smelling her perfume on my daughter's head when I picked her up from there. She said ''Mayra'' before she said ''Mommy!'' They can only have two infants under one year old at any time, so there is always someone to pick up your baby, but they are also encouraged to be independent explorers as well. In the big kids room Emilia is also very loving with the kids, hugging and kissing them all the time. She also teaches them to ''use their words'' and to treat each other with respect. They learn to write their names and do addition, a practice Emilia encourages but doesn't force on them. In the area of potty training, it was a total breeze since it was done at school - basically when they were ready it just happened!

Because WM is so small (there are only the two rooms, infant and preschool), one of the owners is in charge in each of the rooms, so there is no turnover in that regard, and they have hired wonderful people to help out. There are field trips to the zoo, the pumpkin patch, and Fairyland, among other places (parents are asked to help with transportation and supervision) and they have a lovely graduation ceremony. Since it is not a co-op, parents are not asked to volunteer on a regular basis, which was great for us since we both work five days a week. However, we stayed in close touch with what was going on with our kids by talking to the teachers daily.

I can answer more specific questions if you have them, please feel free to email me. I will never forget how Woolly Mammoth helped us raise our kids to be kind, respectful and loving individuals - I am eternally grateful to them. I also know many other parents who feel the same way.


My 15-month-old daughter is at Woolly Mammoth, and she has been there since she was 8-1/2 months old. I would highly recommend it; the teachers are energetic, caring, and extremely loving. Even very young children do creative projects and learn to paint and draw - we are amazed at what our little girl does there! It is much smaller than most daycare/preschools that are not home-based (8 in the infant/toddler room, 10 in the preschool room), so there is a lot of individual attention - if your baby needs to be held a lot he will be.The directors, Mayra and Emilia, really get to know every child and their special needs. We did have to wait a long time on the waiting list, but it was well worth it in the end. Sahoko