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Gan Mah Tov Preschool (Oakland, CA)

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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Preschools & Daycare > Gan Mah Tov Preschool

Jan 2010

I am interested in getting feedback from parents who currently have kids in either Temple Sinai Preschool or Gan Mah Tov preschool. We are considering both and would love to hear how your child's experience has been as well as about your experience with the parent community. My child will be turning two this summer and we are considering both schools even though we are not very religious. Anon

My kids are in their third year at Gan Mah Tov, and we've been very happy with the school. It's warm and nurturing, and the kids have learned a lot of both Jewish and secular things. We're not at all religious, and it hasn't really been an issue. The other parents are very friendly and welcoming. The school is well-run, and the director is very open to hearing parent concerns and suggestions. Please feel free to email me if you have questions - Lisa
I have only wonderful things to say about Gan Mah Tov preschool. We moved to Northern California knowing no one and the school community immediately welcomed us. Today our closest friends are GMT families. We are not orthodox, but the community is incredibly accepting, supportive and loving. Our son went to GMT for three years and thrived there. The director, teachers and lesson plans are experienced, thoughtful and caring. If you have any questions, please email me.
I have been a parent at Gan Mah Tov preschool for 6 years, and my third child is currently at the preschool. I would recommend the school in a heartbeat! While the preschool is part of a Modern Orthodox synagogue, the curriculum itself is not ''religious''. The children are taught about and celebrate all the Jewish holidays, and there is also a weekly Shabbat celebration, but the focus is on the enjoyment of the traditions of the holidays. Gan Mah Tov is a play-based, developmental preschool and the children learn through playing and experiencing the world. A range of wonderful enrichment programs are offered - drama, cooking, dancing, yoga - and my children have really thrived at this school. In addition, the pre-K program is exemplary, more than readying the children for Kindergarten. The teachers are all warm and loving, and truly care and love each and every child at the school. All three of my children have felt that Gan Mah Tov is a home away from home, and my fourth will most definitely be going there next fall. Feel free to contact me for further information! Happy GMT Parent
Gan Mah Tov preschool is a really wonderful preschool! Two of my children are currently students there. They both feel very loved by their teachers. It is a play based preschool where the children learn through art, dance, clay, drama, etc. Every day my children come home so happy and excited to tell me what they did in school! They also have made really good friends, and I as a parent, have gotten involved and have made friends there as well. Anon
My twins have been attending Gan Mah Tov since they were 2. We absolutely love it. They look forward to go to school everyday. The director Cheryl is wonderful, and the staff is excellent.

I am Jewish Brazilian married to a non Jew. We do not keep kosher and are not religious, but I studied my whole life in a Jewish school and had a Bat Mitzvah, so it means the world to me to pass the Jewish foundation to my kids.

The parent community is very nice. There are always activities happening, where you have chances to meet the families and participate. It is a small setting and cozy, safe environment.

Sadly this is our last year at THE GAN. We will miss it dearly but will have the memories forever in our hearts. Silvia editor note: in response to this question, reviews were also received for JCC Preschool in Berkeley and Temple Sinai Preschool

Dec 2008

Re: Looking for a fun, easy-going Jewish preschool
My kids go to a wonderful, warm and nurturing Jewish preschool in Oakland called Gan Mah Tov. Kids must be 2 to start, do not have to be potty-trained, and are loved and cared for from the minute they walk in the door. I strongly encourage you to check it out - 510-530-2146! Delighted Gan Mah Tov Mom

Nov 2008

I am considering enrolling my child at Gan Mah Tov preschool in Oakland but could not find any recent reviews. Do any of you have experience with the school? Can you share your thoughts? Thanks for your help!

My twins are in their second year at Gan Mah Tov, and we all love it. The school is warm and nurturing, and the kids have learned so much about both Jewish and secular topics. The teachers are supportive, caring and in touch with parents about any issues that come up. The school community of parents is wonderful - very welcoming and friendly, and there are lots of events to get to know other parents. Cheryl, the director, keeps things running smoothly.

We are not Orthodox by a long shot - we don't keep kosher or observe Shabbat or many of the holidays - and I was initially concerned that it would set us apart from the families who are more observant. I haven't found that to be the case at all - the preschool and Beth Jacob as a whole has families at all levels of observance, and everyone is welcomed equally and feels comfortable with the level of religious diversity. Rabbi Dardik is inspiring and delightful as well, and regularly visits the preschool classes to teach, tell stories, and play guitar.

I wholeheartedly recommend Gan Mah Tov! Happy Mom

In response to the question about Gan Mah Tov Preschool - I currently have 2 children at the preschool, as well as a graduate who is now in 2nd grade. I have been a parent at the school for almost 6 years, and have been nothing but exceptionally happy! My kids have thrived there, all 3 of them. The teachers are warm and loving, the curriculum is great - both Jewish and secular, conflicts are resolved very fairly and responsively. My children love going to school every day, and ALWAYS return home happy. They are exposed to cooking, music, drama, dance, stories, Hebrew etc. Most important, I drop them off in the morning knowing they are well taken care of and loved by every single teacher. You will not go wrong with Gan Mah Tov! (Feel free to email me directly for more info) Nicki
My daughter has been attending Gan Mah Tov for 1 1/2 years and it has been great for her and our family. Though we are not Orthodox jews (we are more Renewal in ideology and observance), it has been a very welcoming and strong community environment for us. The teachers are all very warm, patient and wonderful. Also, though I don't know if it was the school or my daughter (or a mix of both), but when she started at 2 1/2 years old she had no transition issues, which is a huge relief for any parent. I find the mix of jewish education and regular preschool activities to be really positive for our daughter and love hearing her sing hebrew songs that she learned at school-it warms my heart. Her attendance at Gan Mah Tov and baking challah every friday has also inspired us to celebrate Shabbat at home more regularly, which has been great. I plan on sending my younger children there as well. I am happy to answer any questions you may have! Gan Mama
October 2006

We wanted to add a more recent review of Gan Mah Tov preschool in Oakland. We are new to Northern California and have found Gan Mah Tov to be warm and welcoming. Our high energy three year old boy is thriving there. He is learning so many things from his teachers and classmates. The environment is incredibly nurturing and loving. We believe Gan Mah Tov will help him grow into a thoughtful, kind and smart person firmly rooted in Jewish tradition. Here is the school's phone number 510.530.2146 and website

March 2004

Is anyone out there familiar with Gan Mah Tov Preschool at Temple Beth Jacob in Oakland? I am eager to hear from people who sent their children there -- or who considered it and decided not to. What did you think of the preschool program? The teachers? The parent involvement? The class size? Did you consider other preschool programs and, if so, which one did you finally chose and why? If the religous observance at preschool was different than what you practice at home, did that cause stress for you or your child? Do you think a non-orthodox family would be comfortable there? (We are Jewish and would like to give our son a Jewish preschool experience but we do not keep shabbat or keep kosher, for example.) Please share your thoughts, comments and advice. I can't find any old postings. Thank you.

We will be sending our son to Gan Mah Tov this year for the first time. We also are not from an Orthodox background. We asked many questions to the staff and parents about acceptance of kids from different backgrounds. We ultimately decided to go because we were pleased with the teachers and community. My husband and I hope to see many other non-Orthodox families there as well . good luck deciding.
I am responding to the recent inquiry about Gan Mah Tov preschool. My 2 1/2 year old son attends the school and is very happy. He learns about shabbot and holidays through art, songs, cooking and other activities, as well as playing, exploring and developing his social skills. He is learning a lot. He sings little prayers and songs in Hebrew and makes challah on Fridays. The school is extremely diverse in terms of observance. Most families there recognize that it is a warm friendly place that give our children a positive feeling about being Jewish. The details about observance will be forgotten if they are not reinforced at home, but the early foundation in feeling Jewish and normal is really important. My older children attended a secular preschool. The experince was rich and stimulating, but we would often cringe at the amount of ''secular religious'' activities the kids would do. rjd
Jan. 2004

Our two year old attends Gan Mah Tov at Beth Jacob Synagogue in Oakland. We have been pleased with the rich Jewish education he receives, the loving, attentive staff and the gentle, personable director. My son is thriving in this environment. Robin
Contact: Gan Mah Tov, (510) 530-2146

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