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Kindergym (Oakland, CA)

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Classes & Lessons > Kindergym (Oakland, CA)

Nov 2013

Re: Just moved to Cleveland Heights- recs near Lake Merritt for almost-2yo
You are just a few blocks from the Oakland Kindergym--definitely worth checking out! It's held three mornings a week at Temple Beth Abraham in Adams Point, and you can go just for the playtime or for a class. I would absolutely sign up for that before driving to Kindergym in Berkeley. Another Lake Merritt family

May 2010

Re: Gymboree class for 8-month-old or not?

You should check out Kindergym classes with Dawn Margolin. Her classes have everything that Gymboree has in a more spacious location, and a fraction of the cost. She has been holding these classes for something like 25 years and is a great resource when you need parenting help or advice. My daughter (now 3) has been going since she was 9 months or so, and really loves it. There is free play time with tons of great toys, and then 15 minutes of directed circle time with stories, songs, parachute, movement and bubbles. There is an earlier session for the older toddlers that goes for an hour.

I tried out Gymboree and never felt it was a good match for me. There tended to be more nannies at Gymboree in my experience, so the social dynamic was quite different. Kindergym has been primarily parents while I've been going there and I've made some great friends.

Classes for the littler kids are Wednesday and Thursday from 11:15 to noon, and they are located in the social hall at Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland (on the frontage road to 580 between Harrison and Grand). (The classes, though held at a synagogue, are non-denominational) Jeanne S.

You're right - Gymboree is much too expensive. I've been taking my son to Kindergym at Temple Beth Abraham since he was 8 or 9 months old. He's now 2.5 and has loved it this whole time. We started out doing the drop-in classes on Wednesday morning and now we do the earlier Toddler class and stay for the drop-in as well. They have climbing structures, slides, a ball pit, rocking horses, and tons of stuff for babies and toddlers to enjoy. In the drop-in class, the first half hour is free play and the last 15 minutes the teacher, Dawn, leads singing and parachute games. The kids love her. The drop-in classes are only $8 or $56 for an 8 class pass, so it's pretty affordable. I also have a yelp review here: Caitlin
Have you tried Kindergym at Temple Beth Abraham?

I took our first son for almost two years and loved it. Dawn, the teacher does a great job at providing a great variety of play for the kids, and she's got a great background in child development to help with all those crazy developmental questions that come up. Both my son and I met some good friends in the class. We just recently stopped going - he's a smidge too old and rambunctious (3 1/2 years old); his little brother is going to start going soon though - he just got mobile, and I really miss the class! I can't say enough - its a great place to play, meeting others, learn more about parenting, etc. We usually go on Friday's because we like to do the tot Shabbat (we're Jewish) but there are lots of other families that are not - its a great way to teach your kids about other cultures!

Good luck with your search! cmzwerling

minkim: A lower-cost alternative to Gymboree with no product placement is Kindergym with Dawn Margolin. The classes take place at Temple Beth Abraham, all are welcome. On Fridays there is a brief Shabbat celebration for the children but on Wednesdays and Thursdays, there is no Jewish content, just stories, songs, and bubbles at storytime. The room is spacious with mats, climbing structures, toys, blocks, playsets, a mini-ball pit, and for older toddlers, safe paints, puzzles, and homemade playdough. Dawn is full of positive energy and loves interacting with both the children and their adults. The atmosphere is friendly and comfortable. I attended for six years when my two sons were under age three. They looked forward to it and so did I! I hope you will give it a try. More information and photos at Karen Bloom blooms
Sept 2004

Has anyone had any recent experience with the Kindergym program at Temple Beth Abraham on Macarthur in Oakland? There is one older review posted in the archives, but I'm hoping for more (and more recent) feedback. Thanks.

I loved the Kindergym at Temple Beth Abraham. Check out this month's NPN newsletter for a great review of the program. sharon
We went to Kindergym for a little over a year, until we moved out of Oakland about a year ago. I can't recommend it highly enough! My son, husband, and I absolutely loved the program. There was tons of stuff to do, plenty of room, lots of good climbing/gross motor activities. To top it all off, Dawn, the ''teacher,'' was the best. She made a point, every single session, to interact with every kid and parent/caregiver there. This is no small feat, because it was always very well attended. Dawn always remembered not only my son's name, but my name and my husband's, too -- after the first time we met her. Also, Dawn has a real gift for circle time...It was just the right energy level for this age group. I wish we still lived in Oakland, so that I could look forward to attending Kindergym with my younger son. Grace
Kindergym is a fabulous program for preschoolers of all ages. The atmosphere is casual and friendly, Dawn has amazing amounts of energy and simply adores the children, and there is a wide variety of activities for your child to choose from. Some of the special benefits of Kindergym include (a) one parent/adult can bring more than one child (i.e. siblings or twins or a nanny share) (b) parents take turns bringing juice and graham crackers (or challah on Fridays) for snack (c) one has the choice of whether to wear shoes or remove them (d) there are no additional ''products'' for sale (e) Dawn sings her amazing original songs at various activities around the room and during parachute and bubbles time at the end of class (f) on Fridays there is a great Shabbat experience for those who are interested but it is an equally comfortable atmosphere for people of any religion. My son Micah attended Kindergym from 18 months until 4 years old and my son Jonah began at birth and is still attending at 2 years old. We hope to see you there! Karen
My toddler and I have loved going to Kindergym at Temple Beth Abraham! The teacher, Dawn Margolin, is such a warm soul and loves playing with the children (all of whom she knows by name). The play space is filled with great toys, ride-ons, blocks, books, climbing structures and even a ball pit. After lots of free play and a short clean-up, the children gather for circle time. On Friday mornings, Dawn & Rabbi Bloom celebrate Shabbat with the children. (Other weekday mornings, however, are not religious.) My toddler enjoyed it so much; now I'm looking forward to starting the next session with my baby! You can reach Dawn at (510) 547-7726. Jen F.
I just finished taking my second child to Kindergym(he began preschool this year) at Temple Beth Abraham and I highly recommend this program to all. It was a fabulous experience for my children, allowing them to socialize with other young children and experiment with both fine and gross motor activities. It gave me the opportuniy to meet many other moms, dads, and caregivers. Dawn Margolin, the program creator and director, is amazing!! She is one of the most energetic and sweet women I know and is a fantastic advocate for young children. As an added bonus, on Fridays Rabbi Blum and his guitar join the fun for a mini shabbat including candles, juice, challah, and of course, lots of singing. ronni
Aud 2002

Re: Infant & Preschooler in the same class?
There is a great, non-religious Kindergym program at Temple Beth Abraham on Macarthur in Oakland. The woman who runs it, Dawn, is really terrific and very accomodating to siblings. It is run on Wed, Thur, Fri (those were the days last spring) at 10:00. It is basically free play on equipment/ball pit plus water and rice tables, some toys and a little painting/playdough. Then there are stories, songs and a little snack. Check it out. Jill

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