Kindergym Toddlers with Dawn

Community Subscriber
Operated By: 
Dawn Margolin and Temple Beth Abraham
Babies, Toddlers
25 participants
dawnie57 [at]
510 547 7726

Come join our diverse and friendly community for our 33rd year; climbing, sliding, ball pit,
playdough, rocking horses, parachute, songs, bubbles, new friends and so much more!

Priced per family; siblings under 3 welcome!

Weekday Kindergym drop-ins and Sunday PlayDays. Toddler mix and match series

We meet at Temple Beth Abraham (327 MacArthur), near the Grand Lake Theater, with a free parking lot. 

I look forward to playing with your family soon!!




Parent Reviews

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Can't say enough about Dawn Margolin at Temple Beth Abraham - it is open to all faiths and really not a religious program at all, but a fun and easy drop in kindergym for toddlers. Songs and fun things for the little ones to do. It's really great and she charges per family rather than per child. She's really got a great sense of that age group and remembers names and is just so kind and sweet. Join up with her. I believe the drop ins are Wednesday and Thursday from 11:15-12pm for toddlers and Wednesday afternoons for three year olds (and almost three year olds) and their siblings. There are also other classes - even sometimes on Sundays. Check it out!

Check out the Kindergym at Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland. My toddler loves it!

We are in a kind of similar boat. There are a few choices but I'm guessing that Temple Sinai will be the most recommended choice. They have a good preschool and that can be a very solid start. Temple Beth Abraham also has a good preschool.

For the pre- preschool times: once baby is crawling, I recommend you + baby attend Friday mornings at Kindergym with the amazing Dawn Margolin. She is a great resource and can point you toward like-minded folks. The Friday morning sessions include blessings and songs with the rabbi. Plus Kindergym is lots of fun for you and baby.

Also you can connect with Dawn Kepler at Building Jewish Bridges which works with interfaith families.

Good luck! Feel free to send a message if you want to chat.

Kindergym with Dawn Margolin at Temple Beth Abraham is of legendary status in the East Bay. I first heard about Kindergym from a couple of mom friends (who all said I "had" to go) and have found it to be such a wonderful part of both being a parent and having a very active toddler. My son loves his "gym" and Dawn has created such a wonderful, warm, diverse, welcoming, educational, fun and safe environment. She herself is a force for good and acceptance and this energy feeds the environment at Kindergym. Not only does it get the wiggles out when my son gets to swing, climb, slide, jump and play from station to station, but I get to talk with other parents, get to know my community and learn more about being the kind of parent that is present for my child in a way that I hope I can sustain. We love Kindergym, love Dawn and love being a part of this extended family.

Kindergym in Oakland has some Sunday Playdates:

It is a great space for kids - tons of toys and activities, all in a large indoor room (great for these cold, wet days!). Dawn is an amazing teacher and is very engaged with the kids. 

We love kindergym for under 3s with Dawn in Oakland!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Fun place for active Crawler

Oct 2015

Looking for a fun and safe place for an active, inquisitive crawler other than your typical park or beach. I saw a place in another state that had a 'soft room' where crawlers who could also pull up to standing could explore fun structures safely. Anything like that in the Bay Area? Yvette

I have just started attending 'Kindergym with Dawn' with my 8 month old and it was great! Dawn is energetic, effusive, and encourages community as well as lots of fun play experiences for kiddos 6mo-3ish years old. Definitely worth checking out! Julie S

Aug 2015

RE: Gym class for active 18 month toddler

The amazing Dawn Margolin runs a fantastic kindergym program at Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland. I took my granddaughter there each week from the time she was about 15 months until she was 3 (she's 5 now). It's a great place with lots of space and toys and things to climb on and through. Dawn is probably the most energetic, warm, welcoming person you could ever hope to meet and is a genius with little ones. Free play with each adult watching over his/her kid followed by an organized get together at the end of the hour with Dawn reading, singing, putting on a puppet show -- whatever she does is beloved by the kids, and so is Dawn. I can't wait to bring my second granddaughter this fall when the program begins. She will be 15 months, a perfect time to start. Pre-walkers are also welcomed. (The fact that it is in a Temple should not signal it is limited to Jews. On the contrary, it is diverse and inclusive.) Alice L

Nov 2013

Re: Just moved to Cleveland Heights- recs near Lake Merritt for almost-2yo
You are just a few blocks from the Oakland Kindergym--definitely worth checking out! It's held three mornings a week at Temple Beth Abraham in Adams Point, and you can go just for the playtime or for a class. I would absolutely sign up for that before driving to Kindergym in Berkeley. Another Lake Merritt family

May 2010

Re: Gymboree class for 8-month-old or not?

You should check out Kindergym classes with Dawn Margolin. Her classes have everything that Gymboree has in a more spacious location, and a fraction of the cost. She has been holding these classes for something like 25 years and is a great resource when you need parenting help or advice. My daughter (now 3) has been going since she was 9 months or so, and really loves it. There is free play time with tons of great toys, and then 15 minutes of directed circle time with stories, songs, parachute, movement and bubbles. There is an earlier session for the older toddlers that goes for an hour.

I tried out Gymboree and never felt it was a good match for me. There tended to be more nannies at Gymboree in my experience, so the social dynamic was quite different. Kindergym has been primarily parents while I've been going there and I've made some great friends.

Classes for the littler kids are Wednesday and Thursday from 11:15 to noon, and they are located in the social hall at Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland (on the frontage road to 580 between Harrison and Grand). (The classes, though held at a synagogue, are non-denominational) Jeanne S.

You're right - Gymboree is much too expensive. I've been taking my son to Kindergym at Temple Beth Abraham since he was 8 or 9 months old. He's now 2.5 and has loved it this whole time. We started out doing the drop-in classes on Wednesday morning and now we do the earlier Toddler class and stay for the drop-in as well. They have climbing structures, slides, a ball pit, rocking horses, and tons of stuff for babies and toddlers to enjoy. In the drop-in class, the first half hour is free play and the last 15 minutes the teacher, Dawn, leads singing and parachute games. The kids love her. The drop-in classes are only $8 or $56 for an 8 class pass, so it's pretty affordable. I also have a yelp review here: Caitlin

Have you tried Kindergym at Temple Beth Abraham?

I took our first son for almost two years and loved it. Dawn, the teacher does a great job at providing a great variety of play for the kids, and she's got a great background in child development to help with all those crazy developmental questions that come up. Both my son and I met some good friends in the class. We just recently stopped going - he's a smidge too old and rambunctious (3 1/2 years old); his little brother is going to start going soon though - he just got mobile, and I really miss the class! I can't say enough - its a great place to play, meeting others, learn more about parenting, etc. We usually go on Friday's because we like to do the tot Shabbat (we're Jewish) but there are lots of other families that are not - its a great way to teach your kids about other cultures!

Good luck with your search! cmzwerling

minkim: A lower-cost alternative to Gymboree with no product placement is Kindergym with Dawn Margolin. The classes take place at Temple Beth Abraham, all are welcome. On Fridays there is a brief Shabbat celebration for the children but on Wednesdays and Thursdays, there is no Jewish content, just stories, songs, and bubbles at storytime. The room is spacious with mats, climbing structures, toys, blocks, playsets, a mini-ball pit, and for older toddlers, safe paints, puzzles, and homemade playdough. Dawn is full of positive energy and loves interacting with both the children and their adults. The atmosphere is friendly and comfortable. I attended for six years when my two sons were under age three. They looked forward to it and so did I! I hope you will give it a try. More information and photos at Karen Bloom blooms

Sept 2004

Has anyone had any recent experience with the Kindergym program at Temple Beth Abraham on Macarthur in Oakland? There is one older review posted in the archives, but I'm hoping for more (and more recent) feedback. Thanks.

I loved the Kindergym at Temple Beth Abraham. Check out this month's NPN newsletter for a great review of the program. sharon

We went to Kindergym for a little over a year, until we moved out of Oakland about a year ago. I can't recommend it highly enough! My son, husband, and I absolutely loved the program. There was tons of stuff to do, plenty of room, lots of good climbing/gross motor activities. To top it all off, Dawn, the ''teacher,'' was the best. She made a point, every single session, to interact with every kid and parent/caregiver there. This is no small feat, because it was always very well attended. Dawn always remembered not only my son's name, but my name and my husband's, too -- after the first time we met her. Also, Dawn has a real gift for circle time...It was just the right energy level for this age group. I wish we still lived in Oakland, so that I could look forward to attending Kindergym with my younger son. Grace

Kindergym is a fabulous program for preschoolers of all ages. The atmosphere is casual and friendly, Dawn has amazing amounts of energy and simply adores the children, and there is a wide variety of activities for your child to choose from. Some of the special benefits of Kindergym include (a) one parent/adult can bring more than one child (i.e. siblings or twins or a nanny share) (b) parents take turns bringing juice and graham crackers (or challah on Fridays) for snack (c) one has the choice of whether to wear shoes or remove them (d) there are no additional ''products'' for sale (e) Dawn sings her amazing original songs at various activities around the room and during parachute and bubbles time at the end of class (f) on Fridays there is a great Shabbat experience for those who are interested but it is an equally comfortable atmosphere for people of any religion. My son Micah attended Kindergym from 18 months until 4 years old and my son Jonah began at birth and is still attending at 2 years old. We hope to see you there! Karen

My toddler and I have loved going to Kindergym at Temple Beth Abraham! The teacher, Dawn Margolin, is such a warm soul and loves playing with the children (all of whom she knows by name). The play space is filled with great toys, ride-ons, blocks, books, climbing structures and even a ball pit. After lots of free play and a short clean-up, the children gather for circle time. On Friday mornings, Dawn & Rabbi Bloom celebrate Shabbat with the children. (Other weekday mornings, however, are not religious.) My toddler enjoyed it so much; now I'm looking forward to starting the next session with my baby! You can reach Dawn at (510) 547-7726. Jen F.

I just finished taking my second child to Kindergym(he began preschool this year) at Temple Beth Abraham and I highly recommend this program to all. It was a fabulous experience for my children, allowing them to socialize with other young children and experiment with both fine and gross motor activities. It gave me the opportuniy to meet many other moms, dads, and caregivers. Dawn Margolin, the program creator and director, is amazing!! She is one of the most energetic and sweet women I know and is a fantastic advocate for young children. As an added bonus, on Fridays Rabbi Blum and his guitar join the fun for a mini shabbat including candles, juice, challah, and of course, lots of singing. ronni

Aud 2002

Re: Infant & Preschooler in the same class?
There is a great, non-religious Kindergym program at Temple Beth Abraham on Macarthur in Oakland. The woman who runs it, Dawn, is really terrific and very accomodating to siblings. It is run on Wed, Thur, Fri (those were the days last spring) at 10:00. It is basically free play on equipment/ball pit plus water and rice tables, some toys and a little painting/playdough. Then there are stories, songs and a little snack. Check it out. Jill