Back to Berkeley Preschools

Gan Shalom

2230 Jefferson Street
Berkeley, CA 94703

(510) 848-3298

2 parents took the survey TAKE THE SURVEY

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

More Information

  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
  • letter games, puzzles, etc.
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

More Information

  • Puzzles
  • sensorial tab
Time & space more

More Information

  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

More Information

  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
Music more

More Information

  • Musical instruments
  • circles, tapes, CDs
Visual arts more

More Information

  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

More Information

  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
  • mud!
Other subjects taught Jewish learning. Musical instruments available at free play time.

From the Director:

We are a developmental, play-based preschool. We encourage creativity and exploration through open-ended projects which relate to our curriculum. Mathematical and literacy skills are also taught through free, unstructured play in which the children choose their own activities. Music and visual arts are incorporated as structured free play as well as teacher-led instruction.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

We teach an open curriculm which works well for children of various developmental stages. We have adequate staff to teach to individual needs.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Gan Shalom is dedicated to providing a warm, nurturing environment within which each child may feel secure to explore and learn.

Our goals are to foster each child's emotional, social, and cognitive development; Build positive self-esteem; and Promote positive Jewish identity.

Our curriculum is purposely designed to offer a balanced diversity of activities in music, dramatic play, arts and crafts, movement, science, and language arts.

We believe that children learn best through concrete, 'hands on' experiences by testing concepts, manipulating materials, and engaging their natural curiosity and creativity to explore the world around them.

Children's interactions with their peers provide them with an opportunity to learn cooperation, problem-solving skills, and appropriate ways of expressing feelings.

Our Jewish identification enriches our curriculum with the study and celebration of Jewish holidays, Shabbat, readings from the Bible, daily prayers and blessings.

Hebrew is introduced through songs, stories, and creative dramatics. Jewish values such as Tzedakah (charity), Mitzvot (good deeds), and Refu'ah Shlema (healing) are explored through stories, art, rituals, discussion, and special projects.

Gan Shalom is a preschool for Congregation Beth Israel. We observe Shabbat and all Jewish holidays. The kitchen is kosher and children are expected to bring dairy or parve lunches. Boys wear Kipot or caps.

A Typical Day

8:30-9:00 Socio-dramatic play, art, manipulatives, reading <p>9:30-9:45 Clean-up, wash hands, transition to circle <p>9:45-10:00 Circle, tiffilah <p>10-11:30 Snack, small group time, outdoor play <p>11:30 Lunch, play <p>12:15 Closing Circle <p>12:30 Pick up for some <p>1-2 Rest time <p>2-3:30 Snack, play, books

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We offer: <br> a newsletter, <br>e-mail, <br>phone before/after school (short), <br>arranged meetings, and<br>parent teacher conference for all 2 times per year (more if needed).

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Parents in classroom early on

Handling Separation: From the Director

We have a workshop for parents giving tips. We encourage routines and work on an individual basis.