Temple Sinai Preschool (Oakland, Ca)
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Temple Sinai Preschool
- Owner: non-profit preschool affiliated with Temple Sinai
- Director: Ellen Lefkowitz
- Phone: 510-832-6800
- Email: email@example.com
- Neighborhood: downtown Oakland
- Zip: 94609
- License #: 013420547
- Capacity: 124
- Website: http://www.oaklandsinai.org/Preschool/
- Ages: 2 - 5 years
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.
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.
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,
Our son is in his second year at Temple Sinai Preschool (TSP), and
our younger child will start TSP next year (along with a third year
for our older son). We can't say enough good things about the
school. The teachers are wonderful - supportive and communicative.
They really get to know the kids. The new director is incredible.
She has really embraced the school, the children, and families.
She's very quick to respond to questions and understand the needs of
our children and families.
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
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
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
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
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.
This is our 4th year at Temple Sinai Preschool (TSP). I
can't speak highly enough about our experience. When
joining the community, we knew virtually no one. I found
TSP to be warm, inviting and diverse. There is a strong
parent participation component and an active and organized
Parent Preschool Committee that plans special events for
the children (Hanukkah Parties; Passover Seders) and the
adults (Parent-Teacher Parties). The teacher turn over
rate is very low and my 2nd daughter has the same teachers
that my 1st daughter had 3 years ago! The teachers are
creative and incorporate Judaic concepts into the
classroom but also plan the curriculum around children's
interests such as ''Dinosaurs or Space''. There is a great
enrichment program where children have 'music', 'drama'
or 'storytelling' weekly. The Rabbis visit the classrooms
weekly and attend many of the preschool events. Overall,
its just a wonderful, nurturing, community for the
children and their parents!
We have two children at Temple Sinai Preschool and have
been extremely happy with the school. It is a very warm
and nurturing environment with an incredibly strong parent
community. The school is well-run with a great director
who is always open to hearing from parents. The teachers
are experienced and give a lot of care and attention to
each child on an individual level. The curriculum is
based around the Jewish holidays and there is also a
weekly Shabbat celebration where the kids love to
participate including making Challah. There are tons of
activities for parents who are interested - social events,
parent education workshops, social action programs, etc.
We honestly feel lucky to be part of such a wonderful
Happy TSP Mom
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.
We are at Temple Sinai Preschool, and I couldn't think of a
better place for our child!!! The staff is top-notch, the
director is amazing and sooo dedicated, the curriculum is
wonderful and has lots of enrichment, and the facilites are
great-- a playground that my child wishes he could attend on
the weekends, when there is no school. We also looked at Gan
Avraham, and would have gladly attended the school, but there
were no spots at the time our child was ready to start. I think
you can't go wrong with either school. In terms of community, we
frequent events (Shabbat services, holiday celebrations, etc) at
both synagogues, since we have made lots of friends at both.
Good luck with your decision!
Happy TSP family
(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
Temple Sinai preschool is phenomenal-- in so many ways! I
carefully researched many Oakland and Berkeley preschools (and
visited most of them!), before deciding to send my child to TSP.
So far, in our esperinece the teachers are amazing. I have
personally learned a lot from them! The kids get a lot of high
quality outside time and inside time with the teachers. The
director is so devoted and makes it a priority to get to know
each and every child. I can't think of a more nurturing place,
but also a place where a kid gets to be a kid. They have
wonderful enrichment activites, regular visits from the Rabbis
and the cantor...my child wakes up on the weekend asking if he
can go to preschool that morning.
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
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!
Current TSP Parent
I have two children currently enrolled at Temple Sinai
Preschool-- one in the two year old class, and one moving on to
kindergarten next year. My eldest has been there since he was
two, so we've been there for three years. It has been a very
positive experience for both my children and our family as a
whole. All of the teachers are very skilled at getting to know
the children and their different needs well, and helping them
learn to express emotions, use words to talk through conflicts,
etc. My daughter was one of the youngest in the two year old
class this year-- many in the class turned three right after
school started. This age difference is not a problem as their
curriculum is all very open-ended and the teachers are always
right there helping students with the social experience. As
far as having enough free and outside time, there is a lot of
freedom built into the schedule. Even when there are stations
set up with different projects, the students do what they
choose to do, and if they don't feel like working on any of
those projects they are playing in the other areas of the
room. They are usually outside for 45-60 minutes a day, I
think,sometimes more or less depending on the weather. It is a
very developmental, play-based preschool, so when you ask if
they are prepared for kindergarten, that depends on what you
mean. They do not make the kids sit and learn letters and
numbers, and practice writing or tracing words, etc. But they
do have lots of opportunities to engage in activities around
letters, numbers and science at all levels, but especially in
the 4 year old class. They all have regular circle times, and
in the 4 year old class do calendar time as well. So they are
used to the kind of day that a kindergarten class presents. I
feel like my son is very well prepared for kindergarten, but as
you say, everyone is different. The preschool is great in lots
of other ways-- we have a new director this year who is very
committed and has done an amazing job. Being involved in the
preschool is a great way to become more of a part of the
synagogue, if that is something that interests you. Next year
the preschool is adding a second 2 year old class, with the
goal being to have two classes at each age sometime in the near
future. But one of the school's goals is also to keep the
small family/community feeling that it currenttly has. Oh, and
I forgot to mention, my kids are both so happy to go to school!
They love it. I'd be happy to share more info or answer
questions. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy TSP Parent
I have nothing but positive things to say about Temple Sinai Preschool.
My daughter entered last year as one of the oldest (also turned 3 in
October), and has had a wonderful experience. The program is
developmental so children have a lot of time to play, explore, and follow
their interests. Teachers focus endlessly on social and emotional
development in wonderful ways classroom, etc. Teachers are very loving and caring. Your daughter will
get personal attention, and so will you. I could go on, but just know that
it's all positive. (And, my 2nd daughter will also be starting in the fall!)
I can't directly address your question about entering the 2 year-
old-class with an older child since my son started at TSP as a
four-year-old, however I can tell you that I have a daughter who
will be going to TSP (eventually) as one of the older kids in
the two-year-old class, and based on my experience at TSP I
can't wait for her to start!
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
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.
My son just completed three years at Temple Sinai Prsc. and we
have been very happy there. If you are looking for a small
school, with a supportive, participative community, that offers
playbased curric., you will enjoy it. Benefits are that you learn
Jewish traditions, songs, prayers, holiday rituals. It's a warm,
My daughter attends Temple Sinai preschool and I am very happy
with it. My daughter is thriving and is very excited to go to
school. In fact, she cries if we can't find a parking spot
right away and have to drive around the block thinking we're not
going to go after all. They provide a very nurturing as well as
stimulating environment. I believe that it is developmentally
based. I also like how the staff and teachers interact with and
speak with the children and that they focus on teaching social
skills. Jewish culture and tradition is built in the curriculum
and the rabbis and cantor all visit the children each week.
They also do a very lovely shabbot every Friday that many
parents attend as well. My only complaint is that they do not
have extended care hours past 3:30 which is hard for working
families. Also, it is very hard to get into unless you are a
temple member. If you are seriously considering this school, I
would join the temple as long as possible before applying. We
joined 8 to 9 months before the start of the school year and
ended up 4th on the waiting list. It can also be very hard to
get into the 2nd and 3rd year preschool classes as few spots
open up. It's always worth a try however as people do get in.
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.
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
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!
this page was last updated: Mar 18, 2012
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