Gan Mah Tov Preschool

Oakland, CA

To see Department of Social Services records on this facility, click on its DSS Facility License # below.

DSS Facility License #: 
Congregation Beth Jacob
(510) 530-2146
abencuya [at]
Park Blvd.
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
English, Hebrew
Ages Served: 
0 months - 60 months
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
8:30am - 6:00pm
Additional Services & Features: 
Afternoon option, Drop-in available, Part-time available, Pre-K program, Snacks provided, Organic options, Potty training support, Special needs support
Editors' Notes: 
About Our Program: 

At Gan Mah Tov we nurture the development of the whole child in the context of a cozy, immersive Jewish environment. We combine best Early Childhood Education practices with a joyful & engaging Judaic curriculum to create a rich preschool experience. Outdoor learning is core to our program. We design exciting play experiences in our garden, play yard and patio spaces each day. Our teachers are known for their warmth and individualized care, they are truly the pride of our program. 

We are thrilled to announce that our Infant & Toddler program is now open!!!! We are proud to be the first Jewish Infant & Toddler Program in the East Bay & SF. If you are interested, please contact us!

Parent Reviews

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My 18 month old daughter has been in the Infant & Toddler program at Gan Mah Tov for the past 6 months. She loves it and so do I! This is my 3rd child, my other two girls were in two different Infant/Toddler programs in SF, and I can say with confidence it is the sweetest Infant/Toddler program I have ever experienced! It is a small program, they provide a great child-teacher ratio, the teachers are all so loving and the children are truly happy. My toddler will transition with a few of her classmates in January and it is a great feeling knowing she will have a much more seamless transition from daycare to Preschool. Unlike my other two daughters who had shocking transitions, my toddler will be starting the Preschool program with kids she already knows so well and teachers she has already had some contact with (the Toddlers at times share outside playtime with the Preschool kids, great fun for siblings in the two different programs because they love seeing each other!). The teachers at Gan Mah Tov truly love the children and take such good care of them. I highly recommend both the Infant/Toddler and the Preschool programs. Feel free to contact me with questions on either programs.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

BJC and Gan Mah Tov Diversity

Jan 2016

We're expecting a little one in August and I am researching day care options. Beth Jacob Congregation's Gan Mah Tov looks like a good option for us. My husband is an Ashkenazi Jew by birth. I had a Conservative conversion five years ago. I'm African-American so there's no way to gloss over my convert status (people ask questions!).

I'm curious as to how open Gan Mah Tov is, given Beth Jacob's modern orthodox affiliation. If you have experience with BJC and Gan Mah Tov, do you think my family would be welcome there? I'm not really interested in having an additional conversion and wouldn't feel comfortable sending my child some place where their Jewishness wouldn't be fully recognized.

Thanks! Nervous Mom to Be

Hello Nervous Mom to Be, We have been a Gan Mah Tov family for 4 years and we highly recommend it! You would definitely be eligible and warmly welcomed into the community. The preschool community consists of a range of Jewish identities, from observant Orthodox families to secular families (and everything in between), single parent families, to interfaith families. The teachers also make up a diverse background, with about 50% of the teachers being Jewish. It is a really warm, special community and definitely worth checking out!

Dec 2014

My sons have been attending Gan Mah Tov for two years, and we have been so thrilled with the warmth, personal attention, and learning that they have received. The teachers and administration are so completely committed to each child's emotional and intellectual development. They even have a regular meeting times to discuss each particular child! My son needed extra soothing and nurturing during the beginning of the year, and the whole staff gave him the attention and love that he needed to find his comfort zone in the classroom. I highly recommend this preschool as a place for your child to receive as much love and attention as he needs. It is truly a home for my kids, and the only place I would send them if they weren't home with me! Chani

Dec 2014

We have been a Gan Mah Tov preschool family for the past 5 years. Both my sons have thrived there. My youngest is in his pre-K year and when he walks into the classroom every morning, he is engaged from the get-go. The experiential, hands-on learning that goes on is incredible. For example, as a way to help the kids learn to write their name, they can sign up for a bike ride by writing their name on a sign-up sheet. The other day I walked into the classroom and the kids were trying to figure out how to build a hot-air balloon! (this was totally kid-initiated)

The teachers are warm and loving and I know my child feels safe with them. My son also loves the mixed age classroom and has learned to play with kids of different ages. They have amazing professional development for their teachers which means that their educational approach is always innovative and child-centered. Their Jewish programming is outstanding and they are welcoming to all families, regardless of your level of observance.

My son will be very ready for Kindergarten next year thanks to this amazing team! Big plus: they recently renovated the Gan and it looks great. Philippa

Jan 2010

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. Anon

My kids are in their third year at Gan Mah Tov, and we've been very happy with the school. It's warm and nurturing, and the kids have learned a lot of both Jewish and secular things. We're not at all religious, and it hasn't really been an issue. The other parents are very friendly and welcoming. The school is well-run, and the director is very open to hearing parent concerns and suggestions. Please feel free to email me if you have questions - Lisa

I have only wonderful things to say about Gan Mah Tov preschool. We moved to Northern California knowing no one and the school community immediately welcomed us. Today our closest friends are GMT families. We are not orthodox, but the community is incredibly accepting, supportive and loving. Our son went to GMT for three years and thrived there. The director, teachers and lesson plans are experienced, thoughtful and caring. If you have any questions, please email me.

I have been a parent at Gan Mah Tov preschool for 6 years, and my third child is currently at the preschool. I would recommend the school in a heartbeat! While the preschool is part of a Modern Orthodox synagogue, the curriculum itself is not ''religious''. The children are taught about and celebrate all the Jewish holidays, and there is also a weekly Shabbat celebration, but the focus is on the enjoyment of the traditions of the holidays. Gan Mah Tov is a play-based, developmental preschool and the children learn through playing and experiencing the world. A range of wonderful enrichment programs are offered - drama, cooking, dancing, yoga - and my children have really thrived at this school. In addition, the pre-K program is exemplary, more than readying the children for Kindergarten. The teachers are all warm and loving, and truly care and love each and every child at the school. All three of my children have felt that Gan Mah Tov is a home away from home, and my fourth will most definitely be going there next fall. Feel free to contact me for further information! Happy GMT Parent

Gan Mah Tov preschool is a really wonderful preschool! Two of my children are currently students there. They both feel very loved by their teachers. It is a play based preschool where the children learn through art, dance, clay, drama, etc. Every day my children come home so happy and excited to tell me what they did in school! They also have made really good friends, and I as a parent, have gotten involved and have made friends there as well. Anon

My twins have been attending Gan Mah Tov since they were 2. We absolutely love it. They look forward to go to school everyday. The director Cheryl is wonderful, and the staff is excellent.

I am Jewish Brazilian married to a non Jew. We do not keep kosher and are not religious, but I studied my whole life in a Jewish school and had a Bat Mitzvah, so it means the world to me to pass the Jewish foundation to my kids.

The parent community is very nice. There are always activities happening, where you have chances to meet the families and participate. It is a small setting and cozy, safe environment.

Sadly this is our last year at THE GAN. We will miss it dearly but will have the memories forever in our hearts. Silvia editor note: in response to this question, reviews were also received for JCC Preschool in Berkeley and Temple Sinai Preschool

Dec 2008

Re: Looking for a fun, easy-going Jewish preschool
My kids go to a wonderful, warm and nurturing Jewish preschool in Oakland called Gan Mah Tov. Kids must be 2 to start, do not have to be potty-trained, and are loved and cared for from the minute they walk in the door. I strongly encourage you to check it out - 510-530-2146! Delighted Gan Mah Tov Mom

Nov 2008

I am considering enrolling my child at Gan Mah Tov preschool in Oakland but could not find any recent reviews. Do any of you have experience with the school? Can you share your thoughts? Thanks for your help!

My twins are in their second year at Gan Mah Tov, and we all love it. The school is warm and nurturing, and the kids have learned so much about both Jewish and secular topics. The teachers are supportive, caring and in touch with parents about any issues that come up. The school community of parents is wonderful - very welcoming and friendly, and there are lots of events to get to know other parents. Cheryl, the director, keeps things running smoothly.

We are not Orthodox by a long shot - we don't keep kosher or observe Shabbat or many of the holidays - and I was initially concerned that it would set us apart from the families who are more observant. I haven't found that to be the case at all - the preschool and Beth Jacob as a whole has families at all levels of observance, and everyone is welcomed equally and feels comfortable with the level of religious diversity. Rabbi Dardik is inspiring and delightful as well, and regularly visits the preschool classes to teach, tell stories, and play guitar.

I wholeheartedly recommend Gan Mah Tov! Happy Mom

In response to the question about Gan Mah Tov Preschool - I currently have 2 children at the preschool, as well as a graduate who is now in 2nd grade. I have been a parent at the school for almost 6 years, and have been nothing but exceptionally happy! My kids have thrived there, all 3 of them. The teachers are warm and loving, the curriculum is great - both Jewish and secular, conflicts are resolved very fairly and responsively. My children love going to school every day, and ALWAYS return home happy. They are exposed to cooking, music, drama, dance, stories, Hebrew etc. Most important, I drop them off in the morning knowing they are well taken care of and loved by every single teacher. You will not go wrong with Gan Mah Tov! (Feel free to email me directly for more info) Nicki

My daughter has been attending Gan Mah Tov for 1 1/2 years and it has been great for her and our family. Though we are not Orthodox jews (we are more Renewal in ideology and observance), it has been a very welcoming and strong community environment for us. The teachers are all very warm, patient and wonderful. Also, though I don't know if it was the school or my daughter (or a mix of both), but when she started at 2 1/2 years old she had no transition issues, which is a huge relief for any parent. I find the mix of jewish education and regular preschool activities to be really positive for our daughter and love hearing her sing hebrew songs that she learned at school-it warms my heart. Her attendance at Gan Mah Tov and baking challah every friday has also inspired us to celebrate Shabbat at home more regularly, which has been great. I plan on sending my younger children there as well. I am happy to answer any questions you may have! Gan Mama

October 2006

We wanted to add a more recent review of Gan Mah Tov preschool in Oakland. We are new to Northern California and have found Gan Mah Tov to be warm and welcoming. Our high energy three year old boy is thriving there. He is learning so many things from his teachers and classmates. The environment is incredibly nurturing and loving. We believe Gan Mah Tov will help him grow into a thoughtful, kind and smart person firmly rooted in Jewish tradition. Here is the school's phone number 510.530.2146 and website

March 2004

Is anyone out there familiar with Gan Mah Tov Preschool at Temple Beth Jacob in Oakland? I am eager to hear from people who sent their children there -- or who considered it and decided not to. What did you think of the preschool program? The teachers? The parent involvement? The class size? Did you consider other preschool programs and, if so, which one did you finally chose and why? If the religous observance at preschool was different than what you practice at home, did that cause stress for you or your child? Do you think a non-orthodox family would be comfortable there? (We are Jewish and would like to give our son a Jewish preschool experience but we do not keep shabbat or keep kosher, for example.) Please share your thoughts, comments and advice. I can't find any old postings. Thank you.

We will be sending our son to Gan Mah Tov this year for the first time. We also are not from an Orthodox background. We asked many questions to the staff and parents about acceptance of kids from different backgrounds. We ultimately decided to go because we were pleased with the teachers and community. My husband and I hope to see many other non-Orthodox families there as well . good luck deciding.

I am responding to the recent inquiry about Gan Mah Tov preschool. My 2 1/2 year old son attends the school and is very happy. He learns about shabbot and holidays through art, songs, cooking and other activities, as well as playing, exploring and developing his social skills. He is learning a lot. He sings little prayers and songs in Hebrew and makes challah on Fridays. The school is extremely diverse in terms of observance. Most families there recognize that it is a warm friendly place that give our children a positive feeling about being Jewish. The details about observance will be forgotten if they are not reinforced at home, but the early foundation in feeling Jewish and normal is really important. My older children attended a secular preschool. The experince was rich and stimulating, but we would often cringe at the amount of ''secular religious'' activities the kids would do. rjd

Jan. 2004

Our two year old attends Gan Mah Tov at Beth Jacob Synagogue in Oakland. We have been pleased with the rich Jewish education he receives, the loving, attentive staff and the gentle, personable director. My son is thriving in this environment. Robin