Program Overview


The JCC East Bay’s award-winning preschool is an inclusive, play-based, nurturing environment. We believe that it is important to focus on the whole child, integrating a variety of activities into our daily schedule and connecting Jewish values with relationship-based inclusion practice and anti-bias education to teach the social-emotional and critical thinking skills that are the foundation of lifelong learning.

Intentional play-based learning allows children to make sense of the world around them through active involvement with their environment. To facilitate this kind of learning, we

  • Provide opportunities for children to explore and interact freely with different materials and ideas, both independently and collaboratively, encouraging children to develop their communication and social- emotional skills that are the building blocks for life.
  • Encourage children to practice taking risks and support them in building their resilience.
  • Work to develop compassion and empathy in all children so the feel included, accepted, and valued.
  • Honor and respect differences in the classroom by using a culturally responsive approach to teaching using materials, activities and language.

Keeping with our core Jewish values of hachnasat orchim (welcoming and inclusive) and kavod and chesed (respect and loving kindness), we intentionally incorporate inclusion and relationship-based practice into our program.

Learn more about our philosophy, values, and curriculum below.

Core Jewish Values

Respect & Loving Kindness (Kavod & Chesed): We practice every moment to be our best selves by respecting others and treating everyone with care and kindness. We learn with and from one another which helps us to understand others around us, and the impact of our words and actions.

Curiosity and Awe (Hit’orerut): We foster questions and endless explorations to help children discover and build connections with the world around them. We create environments for children to learn in new, fun ways and to develop critical thinking skills.

Responsibility (Tikkun Olam): We understand and discuss the importance of our job as caretakers of our home and earth. By teaching and fostering accountability, we learn how to take care of ourselves, each other, and the world we live in.

Justice (Tzedek): We empower children to advocate for themselves and to lead with compassion and empathy for others. We model positive ways to address conflicts and repair actions that have hurt others.

Community (Kehillah): We work to build a sense of belonging within our classrooms and community with parents as partners and children as capable learners. We cultivate emotional competency, consent, and social growth that guides the foundation of new and lasting friendships.

Welcoming and Inclusive (Hachnasat Orchim): We create an environment where everyone feels welcomed, respected, and valued. We teach from a culturally competent perspective by embracing and discussing differences as strengths, allowing everyone to be their authentic selves.

Emergent Curriculum with a Jewish Lens

Our Emergent curriculum aligns with Jewish holiday themes. For example, we might use tashlich to foster discussions about how to repair a relationship or an interaction with a friend. On Purim it is customary to make mishloach manot—gift baskets of food for other people, and to give funds to those who need support. We can use this as an opportunity to work together to make gifts and also have discussions about how to support others in need. 

Every Friday, each classroom shares the joy of challah making and celebrating Shabbat with songs, blessings, and rituals. Some classes begin their week with Havdalah, delineating “time away from school” from “time at school” with song and blessings over spices, candle flames, and “wine.” These rituals allow children to come together as a community and to practice mindfulness.

Co-constructing Learning

The JCC East Bay Preschool believes that children are capable, competent learners who are full of potential; therefore, we work with them to co-construct knowledge. We provide a variety of activities and materials appropriate for the children’s age and developmental level, and help them to be enthusiastic learners who become independent, self-confident, and inquisitive. Academics are built into the play experiences in a developmentally appropriate way, with the role of the teacher as the facilitator. Children learn from first-hand experiences, exploring and discovering in imaginative and playful ways. Below are examples of play-based activities that guide learning and that connect to Jewish values.

Schedule & Fees


The 2023-2024 school year runs from:

  • August 15, 2023-July 26, 2024

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):

  • Tuition is for a full school year. You may pay all at once to receive a 5% discount. As all months do not have the same number of days/weeks, tuition is not monthly, however you have the option to pay via 12 equal installments, billed monthly. 

    Gefen 5 days (2’s class) 9AM-1PM – $20,460 or $1,705/installment

    Gefen 5 days (2’s class) 9AM-3:30PM – $25,920 or $2,160/installment

    Alon/Rimon 5 days (3-5’s classes) 9AM-3:30PM- $25,020 or $2,085/installment

    Transitional Kindergarten 9AM-3:30PM- $18,000 or $1,500/installment (must be 4 by April 1, 2023)

    Any class 3 day option 9AM-3:30PM – $20,460 or $1,705/installment

    Any class 4 day option 9AM-3:30PM – $23,400 or $1,950/installment

    Early Care Option: 8:30AM-9:00AM – $1,320, or $110/installment

    After Care Option: 3:30PM-5:30PM – $5,400 or $450/installment

    After Care Drop-in: $45/day

    Early Care Drop-in: $10/day

Financial Aid

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, you will complete our Financial Aid “short form.” The “short form” can be found here.

To learn about eligibility, submission dates, requirements, and more, please contact us using the ‘Contact Us’ section below.

The deadline for Financial Aid applications for the 2023-2024 school year is April 15th.


Applications are now open for the 2023-2024 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?

Contact Us

Nicole Acland-Whear
Preschool Director