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Temple Sinai Preschool (Oakland, CA)
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Re: Jewish Pre-school w/ current opening for 3.5 yr old
Responding to your message about a quality preschool for your 3.5 year old, our family has been a part of Temple Sinai Preschool (in downtown Oakland) for the past couple years and we couldn't be happier. Having experienced another school for our older child, at TSP we have found that the combination of a thoughtful, responsive play-based curriculum, welcoming community, and seamless infusion of Jewish culture and values has been a terrific fit for our family. Feel free to email me or contact Ellen Lefkowitz, the Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions. Good luck! CG
Re: Jewish Pre-school w/ current opening for 3.5 yr old
Your description of the preschool you want almost exactly describes our preschool, Temple Sinai Preschool. It is a terrific, play-based preschool in downtown Oakland, and we have found it to be a loving, nurturing environment. The teachers are wonderful - I've watched the kids in my child's classroom just blossom over the two years we've been there. They have been great at working with my family on potty-training and I'm confident that they'd be sensitive to shy kids as well. My child is in a classroom with two main teachers, but the rest of the teachers and the staff all know her name and welcome her with a smile or a hug.
And the parent community is amazing - friendly, supportive, and genuinely interested in connecting with your family. They even bring meals to families who have just had a new baby or surgery or other needs.
One nice thing about TSP is that they have a great after-care program, and you can use it on a drop-in basis. It's really helpful to have that resource.
There are lots of other wonderful things about the school - probably too many for me to summarize in this post - but I encourage you to call or email the director, Ellen Lefkowitz, to talk about TSP. 510-832-6800 x313 or email@example.com. -TSP Mom
Temple Sinai Preschool in downtown Oakland has a few openings available for students in the 2013-2014 school year. TSP recently won Parent's Press/Oakland Magazine's award for 2012 Best Preschool in Oakland and the East Bay. It is a wonderful option for any family seeking the combination of a high-quality, play based preschool with a progressive Jewish education and community experience.
We came to TSP after being in several other settings with our kids over the years and it has been far and away our favorite and best preschool experience. After only a few months we already feel integrated and welcomed into the school and the broader temple community and our daughter is thriving. To learn more, visit the website at http://www.oaklandsinai.org/Preschool/ or contact Ellen Lefkowitz, the Director:firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a three year old son who is in the two year old classroom at Temple Sinai this year. We have been really happy with Temple Sinai, both the teaching and administration. I especially like that my son has two great teachers, one male, and there is a male substitute and music teacher, making a nice balance for an otherwise female environment. It is also a welcoming environment for intermarried and less religious families. Based on my experience, I would recommend the two year old classroom to new families, especially those not sure if their child is ready for a larger or more structured program. Temple Sinai is play-based and the children do not have to be potty-trained, though they are very supportive of these efforts, so it takes the pressure off and the two year olds can adapt to preschool without a lot of stress. happy parent
Re: Preschools in Oakland/Berkeley for 2-year olds?
Our daughter goes to Temple Sinai Preschool in Oakland at 28th and Broadway. Children need to be 2 to start, and don't need to be potty trained. We love it there, the teachers are fantastic and it's a wonderful community. Kia
We are thinking about Sinai's preschool for our 3 year old son and would love to hear from current families now that the school has moved back to the newly remodeled site. What do you like about the school? What do you see as its areas for improvement? What have your experiences been with the new director, facilities, teachers, curriculum, community, etc?
The new location is great - the play yard is a lot of fun and the classrooms are spacious and have a great layout. Drop off in the mornings is easy. We switch between using the curbside drop off and parking and walking in. My son LOVES the drop off (its kind of our special game in the morning ''can we get to school in time to do drop off!?'').
The school does a great job at helping shape our little ones into wonderful little people who understand how they fit into their community and world. There are lots of enrichment activities (yoga, drama, music...). Jewish traditions and rituals are part of the daily life - the rabbis and cantors know most of the kids by name also.
As far as areas for improvement... honestly, I can't think of anything. Any issues we've had, we've brought up to the teachers, director, or parent community with positive outcomes. For example, moving back to the new location meant that my son's classmates were going to be shuffled around (there were only 5 classes last year, the new location has 6 rooms). I was concerned about the split, but was able to have a very candid discussion with the director and teachers. Everything went smoothly, and I've learned to trust their knowledge and expertise.
This month is a preschool tot Shabbat with an oneg following the service. Please try to come! Its a great way to see the community, talk to other families, and learn more about the school. March 25th at 6:30 p.m. (30 minute service with an oneg that follows), there is also a pizza potluck prior to the service http://pizzapotluck.eventbrite.com/ Good luck! Happy TSP Family
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
editor note: in response to this question, reviews were also received for JCC Preschool in Berkeley and Gan Mah Tov>
For parents that are moving from the Berkeley area to the Silicon Valley area, or split their time between both areas as I do - I met a mom in Starbucks who was having a hard time finding a school, and when I told her about Sinai, she said I should post here so other parents know. Sinai Nursery School has an OPEN HOUSE January 25th from 10-12. My 3.5 year old has been attending Sinai since she was 2.5 and she loves the intimacy of the setting and thrives in the developmental focus and age-appropriate curriculum. They have openings in 2-pre-K (6). Please contact the school director Miki Gurantz at 1532 Willowbrae Ave. San Jose, CA 95125(408) 264-8486. The web site is www.sinainurseryschool.org. This is a Jewish school but I am not Jewish, neither is my daughter, and the community is amazing and welcoming.Facility Number: 434408052 Contact: Miki Gurantz - director, (408) 264-8486
Any advise regarding choosing between Temple Sinai and Gan Avraham Preschool? Thank you for the help. jenny
(Reviews were also received for Gan Avraham Preschool)
My daughter was accepted at Temple Sinai Preschool starting in the fall. We have visited and I liked what I saw, but I'd love to hear from some current parents. The reviews in the archives are dated. Some specific questions -- my daughter will be among the very oldest (she's an early fall birthday) in the 2 year old class. Will this matter? She's very verbal but socially somewhat awkward, and she sometimes gets excluded by other kids at her current daycare. Have you experienced this? Were your children prepared for kindergarten? Do they get enough free time and outside time? I recognize that every child is different, so people's experiences will be different, but I'd love to hear people's thoughts, good or bad. Thanks. prospective TSP parent
In regard to your kindergarten question...I feel my child is well-prepared intellectually and academically at TSP. There is a mix of where kids go to kindergarten after TSP. There are quite a few kids going to public as well as private next year-- including Piedmont schools, Head Royce, Bentley, Joaquin Miller, Canyon, Montclair school and Berkeley public schools too.
You didn't mention if community amongst the families is important to you, but it definitely exists. For example, when we had a baby, we had overwhelming support from other families (people we had just met thru the preschool) who brought us homecooked meals, took our child to school and back for us, etc. There are also nights out and special parent-only events for parents to get to know each other-- which has been nice.
The only bad thing that I can think of is that the school only goes until 3:30pm, when they have to make space for the religious school students. Often, parents that need more time than that share a nanny or have come up with other strategies.
Good luck with your decision! TSP parent Current TSP Parent
Simply put -- we love the school. My son adapted really well and easily to the school -- I think because it is such a warm, welcoming and engaging place. The teaching staff is fantastic (I have gotten to know and like the teachers from all the classes), the director is organized, responsive and kind, and the kids are really great with each other because the teachers are so tuned-in to what is going on.
I have total confidence that the teachers will meet my daughter's needs (whatever they turn-out to be) -- they are so respectful of each child as unique and interesting.
Good luck with your decision. Happy at TSP July 2002
I'm interested in having my toddler attend a Jewish preschool in Oakland or Berkeley. I checked the website, but would like more recent responses, specifically if anyone has had positive or neative experiences with their child attending Temple Beth Abraham's or Temple Sinai's preschool.
Temple Beth Abraham also seems to have a great preschool and seems to be easier to get in if you are not a member. We were going to go there prior to getting into Temple Sinai school. I think their directors are terrific and I've only heard very positive things about their school. Hannah
We have sent both our kids to Temple Sinai e and love it for a large variety of reasons. Primarily, the staff is wonderful, very experienced and well trained. We have always felt that our kids got more focused and direct attention and had more simple fun and better friendships at Temple Sinai Preschool than at the three other places they attended. The curriculum and some art projects are moderately structured (with set circle times and outside times and group projects). We haven't been able to do field trips this year because of state regulations.
The director, Susanne Goldman, is extremely caring and focused and still has little kids herself, which is a surprisingly important factor in the mood and effectiveness of a school.
The play yard is used by all the age groups at once only in the summer when there are far fewer kids. I have never felt that it was crowded or small, and it's better equipped and maintained than many. In the course of my work and my attempts to find schools for our kids when we've moved, I have visited perhaps 50 preschools and child care centers.
I wanted to add two comments to my plug for Temple Sinai Preschool: Its curriculum is developmental and play-based, and the community of parents is uniquely warm, friendly and supporting. I can't say enough to recommend it! Laura
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