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Preschool

Program Overview

The JCC East Bay’s award winning preschool is a play-based, nurturing place for early childhood education. Each day includes group activities, music, art, and team projects as well as individual, creative exploration. The preschool, located in North Berkeley, is culturally Jewish, celebrating Jewish values, traditions, weekly Shabbat, and holidays throughout the year. We proudly welcome families and children from all backgrounds and from throughout the East Bay. Our philosophy is to teach and model caring for each other, ourselves, and the world (tikkun olam). Through active listening and positive encouragement, we help each child on their unique path of social-emotional development and life-long learning.

The JCC East Bay Preschool’s teachers are highly qualified ECE specialists with CPR/First Aid certification, experience, patience, creativity, and great love for each child and family. The preschool also provides a strong connection to community, connecting parents to each other and to other cultural, social, and educational opportunities.

Preschool Awards for JCC East Bay parents press jweekly

Meet Our Staff

Nicole (Nicki) Acland-Whear
Preschool Director

Hello JCC Community!

Nicki has one philosophy which has guided her leadership: a relentless commitment to putting children at the center of her work in education.

Nicki leads us with more than 20 years of experience working in and around early childhood settings. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from Chico State and a Master’s degree in Human Development with an emphasis in Early Childhood Leadership from Pacific Oaks College. She is deeply passionate about social-emotional development and you will likely find her sitting in on circle time as often as possible.

She believes in establishing positive relationships rooted in mutual respect, trust and understanding. She shares a favorite quote from Dr. James Comer that guides her teaching and leadership, "No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.”

Sabrina May
Preschool Teacher

Sabrina joins the JCC with over 7 years of experience in the early childhood field. She graduated summa cum laude, earning a double BA in English Education and French language from San Francisco State University. She is also fully credentialed in early childhood education, with an expansive course list at a 4.0 average under her belt from both Theoria Technical College and the UCLA Extension.

Sabrina has also attended professional development training in play-based, Jewish, and Reggio Emilia curriculum within the classroom. She utilizes the Jewish values to guide her work with children, focusing on topics such as social justice, equity, and meaning within classroom spaces.

An English major at heart, you’ll often find Sabrina exploring these themes with her students using literature as a starting point. In her free time, she enjoys curling up with her dog, Atwood, on the couch and reading– and yes, her dog is named after the author.

Rivi Dollinger
Preschool Teacher

Rivi has been teaching at the JCC for over a year now. She began as a substitute teacher in January of 2021, and officially became part of the team in the same school year.

Rivi earned her BA in psychology from Pitzer college, working at a behavioral clinic serving children with autism during her studies. Her three years in the early childhood field have shown a dedication to sharing her knowledge of art, socio-emotional development, and Jewish learning throughout her practice.

Rivi’s favorite part of the JCC is having the ability to watch her students’ development and worldview unfold before her eyes, shifting each and every day.

Simone Hanumm
Preschool Teacher

Simone (they/them) is an artist and educator working at the JCC for the past two years.

With a BFA in illustration, a specialization in early childhood education, and many years of experience facilitating creative workshops for a wide age range, they love to integrate art and other creative skills into the classroom curriculum. Though not of Jewish descent or background, Simone has nevertheless experienced the incredible sense of community and collaboration that saturates the preschool.

In their free time, you will often find them reading, watching a documentary, or taking pictures of their cat.

Lilian (Lily) Reyes
Preschool Teacher

Lily joins us with over five year of teaching experience in preschool settings across state lines. She is a fully qualified teacher, earning her certification from Theoria Technical College in 2022.

Much of her coursework centers on infant and toddler classrooms, play based curriculum, and care routines. Lily also has the experience of leading toddler classrooms in the early childhood field.

Colleagues describe Lily as somebody “born for this work”, often turning to her for input and guidance within the toddler sphere. With a manifold of training in play-based and Reggio Emilia style curriculum, Lily is passionate about cultivating the curiosities of the world’s littlest learners. She’s excited to continue growing with her JCC community who she’s come to love and cherish.

Schedule: 

The 2022-2023 school year runs from:

  • August 16, 2022-July 28, 2023

The core Preschool program runs 5 days/week:

  • Earlycare (optional): 8:30-9am
  • Full day: 9am-3:30pm, Monday-Friday
  • Aftercare (optional): 3:30-5:30pm

We also offer 3 or 4 day options for full day program hours only (9am-3:30pm):

  • 3 days/week: $1,650
  • 4 days/week: $1,900

We also offer Aftercare for Transitional Kindergartners (TK):

  • 1pm-5:30pm, 5 days/week*
  • $525/month

*We do not provide transportation from school to the JCC campus.

Fees:

Program deposit (all programs):

  • $2,150

2 year old program (Gefen/Zayit):

  • 9am-1:00pm: $1,650/month 
  • 9am-3:30pm: $2,090/month

3 & 4 year old programs (Alon & Rimon):

  • $2,015/month

Optional extended care (all programs):

  • 8:30am-9am: $10/day or $100/month drop-in care
  • 3:30pm-5:30pm: $40/day or $400/month drop-in care

The JCC East Bay recognizes that all families have different needs, and we want to support all families the best we can. In our process of selecting families to whom we provide financial aid, we partner with School and Student Services (SSS). To begin your financial aid application, you will complete SSS's Parents' Financial Statement (PFS).

The PFS is a comprehensive application that will take some time to complete. You will need your most recent tax return before beginning the PFS. We also recommend that you review the wide range of materials that SSS has put together to help families with the financial aid process. They can be found at sssbynais.org/parents.

To learn about eligibility, submission dates, SSS (School and Student Services) requirements, and more, please contact us using the 'Contact Us' section below.

The deadline for Financial Aid applications for the 2022-2023 school year is April 15th.

Applications are now open for the 2022-2023 school year!* Please click here to apply.

*Rolling enrollment

What does the application process look like?
Parents are required to complete a JCC East Bay Preschool Application for each child accompanied by a non-refundable application fee of $50.00 to be considered for enrollment.

If the student is accepted, and parents give verbal agreement, issuance of an “Enrollment Agreement” and additional licensing forms will be sent to the family. “The Enrollment Agreement” must be signed and returned within seven days including the preschool deposit of $2,150. Submitting the signed “Enrollment Agreement” and deposit secure the applicant’s place at the JCC East Bay Preschool.

Priority for acceptance to the preschool is based upon the following criteria when the completed application is submitted:

  • Siblings of currently enrolled children in the JCC East Bay Preschool
  • Children of employees of the JCC East Bay
  • Families that are registered in the JCC East Bay Afterschool programs
  • JCC East Bay Preschool and Afterschool alumni families

How do you handle poor air quality?
The JCC East Bay has a comprehensive Air Quality decision-making matrix that we employ when the AQI reaches unhealthy levels. Generally speaking, for AQI levels between 51 and 150 (Moderate and Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups), we will take more breaks and do less intense activities outdoors, and also decide to move activities indoors. We will utilize HEPA filters when indoors to filter out air particles from the outdoors. At Unhealthy levels (AQI 151-200), we will assess the current levels and hourly projections to determine program closures. If we decide to keep the building and programs open within this level, we will keep everyone indoors and utilize HEPA filters. At Very Unhealthy levels and beyond (201+), we will close our building and suspend all of our programs. As air quality changes rapidly and is hard to predict, we will take building and program closures on a day-by-day basis. We are in constant communication with local school districts and will also consult with them on AQI if/when appropriate.

What is this year's calendar?

Is there a handbook with more information?

How do I schedule a tour?

Nicole Acland-Whear
Preschool Director
nicole.whear@jcceastbay.org

In Your Words

“I always recommend highly the program to any parent seeking care. It was seminal for Bear, helping him come out of his shell and establish social connections in such a tender age. The Shabbat evenings and holiday celebrations offer a spectacular sense of community, and are truly fun. I hope that it won't be too long before you can resume such celebratory activities.”

Billie B.C.

JCC East Bay
2020-12-02T14:30:35-08:00

Billie B.C.

“I always recommend highly the program to any parent seeking care. It was seminal for Bear, helping him come out of his shell and establish social connections in such a tender age. The Shabbat evenings and holiday celebrations offer a spectacular sense of community, and are truly fun. I hope that it won't be too long before you can resume such celebratory activities.”
“Thank you so much for staying so connected to us, and for helping us feel a part of this community during these uncertain times. We have really felt your care and it’s meant a lot to us.”

Becky

JCC East Bay
2020-12-02T14:57:31-08:00

Becky

“Thank you so much for staying so connected to us, and for helping us feel a part of this community during these uncertain times. We have really felt your care and it’s meant a lot to us.”
“The JCC Preschool teachers continue to amaze me. They have nurtured our daughter's individual interests and created a wonderful sense of community in the classrooms. They are passionate, thoughtful, and incredibly creative!”

Julie J.

JCC East Bay
2020-12-02T14:59:05-08:00

Julie J.

“The JCC Preschool teachers continue to amaze me. They have nurtured our daughter's individual interests and created a wonderful sense of community in the classrooms. They are passionate, thoughtful, and incredibly creative!”
“Our son has thrived at the JCC over the last three years. The play-based philosophy and nurturing teachers have helped him develop socially, spiritually, and academically into a contributing member of his community. In addition, our family has made wonderful connections with other JCC families and we look forward to continuing these relationships as we raise our children together in the years to come.”

Chelsea T.

JCC East Bay
2020-12-02T15:02:21-08:00

Chelsea T.

“Our son has thrived at the JCC over the last three years. The play-based philosophy and nurturing teachers have helped him develop socially, spiritually, and academically into a contributing member of his community. In addition, our family has made wonderful connections with other JCC families and we look forward to continuing these relationships as we raise our children together in the years to come.”
“Like all parents, we were worried about how our small children would fit in at a preschool. We had a bit more reason to worry than most parents because our kids are multi-ethnic and trilingual. After much research we thought that the JCC was probably the best preschool for our daughter. She loved it. When it came to choosing a preschool for our son, I knew that the JCC would be the best choice for him, too.”

Michael S.

JCC East Bay
2020-12-02T15:03:10-08:00

Michael S.

“Like all parents, we were worried about how our small children would fit in at a preschool. We had a bit more reason to worry than most parents because our kids are multi-ethnic and trilingual. After much research we thought that the JCC was probably the best preschool for our daughter. She loved it. When it came to choosing a preschool for our son, I knew that the JCC would be the best choice for him, too.”
“We are so grateful for the JCC! Happy kids in childcare = happy family. We wanted a safe, warm, loving, and fun place for our kids, and found it here—for our son, in the preschool, and our daughter, now in the afterschool program. We also appreciate the supportive community—in times of joy and challenge people here really come together. And while we are not Jewish, we have loved learning about Jewish culture as a family, and have felt completely at home in this very diverse and respectful environment. Thank you, JCC, for all that you do for us, our kids, and the greater community!”

Gomez/Pendelton family

JCC East Bay
2020-12-02T15:03:48-08:00

Gomez/Pendelton family

“We are so grateful for the JCC! Happy kids in childcare = happy family. We wanted a safe, warm, loving, and fun place for our kids, and found it here—for our son, in the preschool, and our daughter, now in the afterschool program. We also appreciate the supportive community—in times of joy and challenge people here really come together. And while we are not Jewish, we have loved learning about Jewish culture as a family, and have felt completely at home in this very diverse and respectful environment. Thank you, JCC, for all that you do for us, our kids, and the greater community!”
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JCC East Bay