My 2-yr old daughter has been attending Albany Sunflower Daycare for close to 2 months now. We cannot say enough good things about Ms. Helen and the care that she provides. The daycare is clean, bright and very well organized. The fees are quite reasonable given that Ms. Helen provides all snacks and lunch, and the hours are long (8-5:30pm, though we usually pick up our daughter much earlier). Ms. Helen is truly very kind and spends a lot of time teaching the children various subjects (colors, counting, animals, good behavior). As native English speakers, we were initially a little nervous about placing our daughter in an only-Mandarin speaking environment, but the transition was very easy and I believe the change in language enables a very stimulating environment. I love hearing about the different Chinese foods that my daughter gets to try during the day and the basic Chinese words that she is learning. Whenever I go to pick-up my daughter she refuses to leave! A true testament to the loving, caring environment provided by Ms. Helen!
By Geshri on Oct 17, 2016
My husband and I have noticed how much joy Ms. Helen brings our son, their close relationship makes us as parents feel very secure about his early childhood. Her home is a place we look forward to going. We are also excited to have our son immersed in Chinese language so he can learn more about the world starting early in life, but the deciding factor for us was seeing the way Helen and her husband interact with our son and his friends at Sunflower Daycare. There are planned lessons and lots of play, indoors and out, and healthy food.
By Serena May, 2017
Ms. Hellen, the owner of Albany Sunflower Day Care, is very responsible, engaged, and loving with the kids. Our son joined the Day Care when he was only 13 months old after looking at several daycares in the area. I'm so glad he loves playing, learning and eating there a lot. He always repeats the names of his friends there, Ms. Hellen and her husband once he can't see them on weekends or holidays. It's amazing that he can totally feed himself at the age of one and half. We are happy that we can meet a wonderful teacher who has been working on education so many years and has her own thoughts on taking care of kids.
This is a wonderful school, and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
By XiaoLei May, 2017
We have 3 children and have seen our fair share of day cares. Our 3rd child, Adrien, has been with SunFlower Day care for about a year. He joined when he was just under 2 years old. As we are neither native english speakers nor chinese speakers we were slightly concerned about exposing our son to 3 languages but we felt he would be safe and happy and indeed the langage has not been an issue and he adapted fine to the chinese environment.
On first impressions you might describe the day care as "no frills" but we have been absolutely thrilled with Sun Flower day care in every way. Most importantly our son was safe and happy, running into Ms Helen's arms every morning and he has been provided a great environment to draw, sing, learn etc. She is very well organized.The fees are reasonable by local standards, especially as one reviewer pointed out the meals are taken care of which saves both time and money. The few times we had to ask for Ms Helen to accomodate our schedule she was very flexible too.
We highly recommend Ms Helen and Sunflower Day care and they can provide our contact info to anyone wishing to discuss more in detail.
By Olivia T on Jun 8, 2017
Ms Helen is a very attentive and patient care giver. My son has been in her care for about 8 months. She has been very easy to work with throughout. When my son first started, he had never been to another daycare and had a hard time with me leaving. Ms Helen really helped to smooth the transition. Recently we started potty training. My son is slightly on the young side for potty training and Ms Helen wasn't sure that he was ready. She was willing to work with us to give it a try anyway and it's been going well so far.
The facility itself is clean and bright. Ms Helen and her husband clearly care a lot about their space because there are always little improvements being made or new materials for the kids. My son especially loves playing in their large backyard. The kids all seem happy to be there and they seem to play well together.
I speak a little Mandarin, so communication with Ms Helen has been great. She is good about letting me know when things seem out of routine or telling me about new things that my son has been learning. We're happy to have found such a safe and caring space for our son.
By Jackie on Jun 20, 2017
Our son has been attending Albany Sunflower Daycare for over 6 months now. We have had nothing but positive experiences with Ms Helen! She is an incredibly kind and skilled childcare professional. We are amazed by how much language our son has picked up working with Ms Helen.
The daycare is very clean and has the perfect facilities to keep the children happy and entertained throughout the day. There is ample indoor and outdoor play spaces along with a comfortable napping room. Our son loves going to Ms Helen’s... so much so that he often doesn’t want to leave!
Ms Helen has a structured curriculum to keep the children stimulated and learning. In addition to study and playtime, Ms Helen provides meals for the children. We have found her report cards for our child helpful for tracking how our son is eating, sleeping, and growing his attention span.
We highly recommend Albany Sunflower Daycare and have nothing but positive experiences with Ms Helen.
By Ncope23 on Jan 29, 2018
My son has been attending Sunflower Daycare for 13 months. And we are very happy with his stay and appreciate the care they provide. Even though we live in downtown Berkeley, about 15 mins away by driving, we think it is worth being at Sunflower Daycare in Albany.
Here are the reasons why I high recommend it to those similar to my situations logically and hope that will be helpful to you:
1. I really want my son to learn both Mandarin and English. I think that will do good for him in the future.
2. They can accommodate our schedule very well. Especially on those days I have to work late, I do not need worry about picking up kids while still being busy at work. That peace of mind is a great representation of the trust we have with Sunflower daycare.
3. They charge very reasonably, regarding the long hours and excellent service.
4. Last but not least, Ms. Helen is a very caring and skilled childcare professional with many years' experiences. Also I like the backyard, very spacious and safe for kids playing in a good weather. They also have lots of toys for kids to play with.
Overall I highly recommend Sunflower Daycare at Albany. If you are interested, Why not give it a try since they allow kids to stay there for several times before deciding if they like or not.
By Meng Chen on Jan 29, 2018
My daughter started at Sunflower when she was about 13 months old. At the time, she was very attached to me and my husband and rarely wanted to be with anyone else, including her grandparents. We toured several daycares but she did not engage with any of the caregivers. When we toured Sunflower, she immediately went to Ms. Helen and played with her so I was able to take the tour without distraction. Since then, our daughter has thrived developmentally and socially, which is due in large part to being at Sunflower. Ms. Helen is very sweet and makes you feel like a part of her family. Our daughter is so excited when we drop her off. She runs to Ms. Helen with open arms every time! The facility itself is very clean, spacious, and safe, with a large backyard. They are also very organized, professional, and structured. We have been so happy with the care that our daughter has been receiving at Sunflower and highly recommend them.
By Jolene Wong on Feb 9, 2018
Ms. Helen is an extremely nice, caring, calm and responsible person. She really has a heart for all the kids. I personally believe she cares more about kids than making income as daycare owner.
She was working in China as a preschool teacher for over 20 years,very attentive to the kids with tons of experience. Seeing how calm she is when dealing with kids and how her partner(also certified childcare giver) is preparing fresh food for the kids, just gives me a family vibe that I believe my 1.5 yo baby needs to feel comfortable.
One of the details I really appreciate is that Ms. Helen uses one-time gloves to change diapers to avoid germs spreading between the kids. And the potty training support was great as well. I also like how she keeps the address private and only schedules tours in Sunday. It made me feel secure knowing that she cares about the privacy.
The daycare is located in a safe and walk able neighborhood. Inside it is very cozy, the hard wood floor is always very clean. There are the play section and the eat section, toys are organized, easy for my baby to understand. The backyard is where my daughter likes to hang out the most. She talks about the rabbit, chicken and the lemon tree all the time. The outside toys are just right for 1 to 4 years old. My baby always has a good time in the daycare and comes back with a hair styled by Ms. Helen.
And she is very easy to work with, flexible with part time childcare and drop in/off time. It is really relaxed for me to send my daughter there, and I would recommend it to anyone I know.
By DaiMeng S Jun 11, 2018
Almost 3 years ago I wrote my first review of this wonderful daycare (see below), and now that my daughter is ready for Kindergarten and is too old to stay I wanted to write one updated review. Our family feels so blessed and fortunate to have had the opportunity to send our daughter to Ms.Helen’s. We feel that Ms. Helen has given our daughter the best preparation possible for “big kid” school - from social skills to curriculum topics like counting, math, letters and drawing. On top of all of that our daughter has an excellent foundation in speaking Mandarin even though we are not a Mandarin-speaking household. Throughout the 3 years Ms. Helen has made my daughter feel so safe, loved and nurtured - you really could not ask for more as a parent! We will always consider Ms. Helen and her family to be an extension of our own family, and we would recommend her excellent daycare without any hesitation!
By Geshri on Jul 29, 2019
Our 3-year-old has been going to Albany Sunflower Daycare for almost two years now and he's loved every minute of it. He calls it "going to Ms. Helen's school" and always has an interesting story about what he did during the day with the other kids there. He often does not want to leave and, on summer evenings, the kids will sometimes linger having races on the sidewalk in the nice residential neighborhood or meet up at a nearby playground for more fun. I believe this is due to excellent socialization and spirit of friendship that the children are learning during their days together.
The primary caregiver is Ms. Helen, and she is supported throughout the day by her partner, who prepares breakfast, lunch and snacks for the kids, and helps when one child needs additional attention. Their college-aged son handles the business paperwork and supports with English translation during tours and sign-up. He is not on-site during the day, but he is reachable by email to help with any questions. This has been very helpful to us, since we do not speak Mandarin. The family provides a safe, clean and stimulating environment for the kids, and it's very obvious that Ms. Helen adores children. She makes each child feel special and celebrates their daily achievements. She is always positive and direct, and fosters a comraderie among the children by immediately intervening in conflicts. Luckily, she seems to have an infinite amount of energy, patience and the perfect sense of humor, plus, exceptional redirection skills, and an impressive variety of indoor and outdoor toys, so there is always enough to go around!
It comes as no surprise to me that Ms. Helen was a Kindergarten teacher in China for many years. She incorporates age-appropriate "studies" into the daily schedule, along with outside playtime, nap time, lunch, snacks and plenty of indoor activities like songs, dances, coloring, etc. It's delightful to see our son pick up some basic Mandarin words (and to pick up a few ourselves!) and we believe that the exposure to a culture different than what he experiences at home is invaluable.
The rates are very good, considering the quality of care, early education, socialization, and available hours. Although they are very flexible with pickup and drop-off times, I believe they keep a very regular schedule each day. In fact, my son only learned to nap (or taught us how to help him nap) after attending the daycare for a few weeks.
All told, we are extremely happy with the care our son receives at Albany Sunflower Daycare and feel very grateful to Berkeley Parent Network for helping us find it in first place! I highly recommend scheduling a tour, if you're interested. And, please feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions for another parent.
By Huxley's Minion on Feb 9, 2020
My son has been in this daycare for over two years since he was 14 months old. We were very glad to choose this daycare for him. Only my husband and I take care of my son before we sent him there, and I think he is a little sensitive to the strangers. However, I am surprised that he can adjust to the daycare within a few days with their help. Now he loves there and the teachers a lot! Almost every time when I ask him about the life in the daycare, he tells me very happily that he had a lot of fun there. When I am talking with Ms. Helen on the phone, he always comes over to say hello to her. So, I believe that they are very responsible and take care of him out of the goodness of their heart. My son is seldom sick, but every time when he is sick, Ms. Helen always tells me how to treat that. I can definitely feel that she truly loves and cares about him. They also teach him a lot of things, including some characters, songs, dancing, exercise, social skills…… Sometimes he also teaches me at home and corrects me if I do not do the right way! He also loves the food there. Sometimes I try to feed him before he leaves, but he prefers to have breakfast in the daycare. I will not hesitate to recommend this place, because we are very excited to see our son grows up happily and healthily there. Also, we appreciate that they can take care of my son so well!
By HaiXia on Mar 12, 2020
My son started going to Sunflower daycare when we moved to California two years ago. He was two and half then, and had been previously going to a different daycare in a different city. We had been happy with the previous daycare, but Ms Helen showed us the difference between good and excellent. My husband and I have decided that Ms Helen must have some sort of magic. Every time we go there to pick up our son, we feel that the atmosphere is filled with happiness and everything is in harmony. That is a state very hard to achieve at a daycare full of toddlers running around. I have visited quite a few daycares, and have seen places that achieve harmony by silencing kids. Our son's previous daycare felt happy, but definitely more chaotic. The way Ms Helen manages kids reminds me of Monet's paintings. Individual strokes seem to be dancing freely, but the whole picture has a peacefulness to it.
Ms Helen truly loves and cares about every child. My son is a rather high maintenance child. He does not nap, does not like to hold his bottles, and is super sensitive. Ms Helen has never complained even once. It amazes me that she can always find something nice to say about him, and it helps me become a more positive parent as well.
I cannot think of anything even slightly negative about Ms Helen's daycare. She is extremely detail oriented, and will make sure that everything is taken care of. For example, when the kids go outside to play, she always puts sunscreen on them. I know that because my son gets burned very easily (I sometimes forget to put sun lotion on him, or forget to cover his ears...) but he has never got sunburned at Ms Helen's daycare.
We are moving out of California soon, and will definitely miss Ms Helen and her family! We consider ourselves extremely lucky to have found Ms Helen's daycare, and would recommend it to anybody without hesitation.
By Yuan Li on June 24, 2020