Netivot Shalom Preschool

Community Subscriber

Berkeley, CA

Has Openings

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Congregation Netivot Shalom
510-549-9447, ext. 110
preschool [at]
1316 University Av
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
English, Hebrew
Ages Served: 
24 months - 60 months
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
8:00am - 5:30pm
Additional Services & Features: 
Part-time available, Year-round, Snacks provided, Organic options, Vegetarian options, Special diet support, Cloth diapers accepted, Diapers provided, Potty training support
Editors' Notes: 

Parent Reviews

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Our 4 year old joined Netivot Shalom a few months ago. We were worried about transitioning to a new school, but he simply loved it from day one. The teachers are wonderful, the facilities encourage the kids exploration and playful learning, and the environment is happy and respectful. But most importantly, our son LOVES the place. He loves the kids, the teachers. Just to illustrate, when he is sick and have to stay home he cries with sorrow for not going to Netivot. Highly recommended.

I am a very happy preschool parent of a 4-year-old son who has attended Netivot Shalom preschool for two years. The skilled and nurturing teachers all speak a combination of English and Hebrew throughout the day and the school is rapidly working towards having an "outdoor classroom" focus. The program is play-based but with a fair amount of structure especially for those kids who need it. There are lots of opportunities for art, music, and cooperative and individual play. The children do all sorts of creative things with recyclables and the only downside is I sometimes can't find any place to put the 3-dimensional objects that my son has happily made! Finally, snack and lunch time is held with a communal focus and my son has learned about blessings, eating from communal bowls, recycling and composting, and putting away his dishes. Since the school welcomes diversity, the director and teachers have done an excellent job of creating a flexible curriculum that introduces Judaism in fun and organic ways; but also follows other non-religious themes so that children from all backgrounds feel fully included in the vast array of daily activities.

For more information, call the director, Lauren Kindorf, 510-549-9447 x 110.

Archived Reviews: 

Jan 2014

Re: Jewish Pre-school w/ current opening for 3.5 yr old
Welcome to Berkeley! Please check out the Netivot Shalom Preschool. I believe that there is an opening in one of the classes that may work for your child. The school is warm, nurturing, filled with song, play and art and rooted in Jewish life and Hebrew language. Potty training is not a requirement. Please contact Lauren Kindorfpreschool [at] or 510-549-9447 to find out more and schedule a tour. Happy CNS Preschool Parent

June 2012

Re: Any preschool openings or short wait lists?
Our current preschool, Congregation Netivot Shalom Preschool, is a wonderful preschool and they are still accepting applications for the fall. They do have a 3-day option. While CNS Preschool is a Jewish-faith school, not all children are Jewish. There was a wonderful review of the school in last week's post which I would be happy to share with you (if you don't have access yourself), that does much more justice to the excellence, diversity and staff of the school that I could write. If you are interested, please call the director, Lauren Kindorf, at 510-549-9447 x 110. Good luck! mo

May 2012

Netivot Shalom preschool on University Avenue is a loving and enriching community for children in Berkeley. My daughter has been part of the school for three years, now graduating to kindergarten, and my son started the 2 year old class last fall. We can't tell you how happy we are about the school! The teachers are all caring and committed to child-led learning. Each week we get detailed emails about all the amazing things happening at the school. Many activities revolve around Jewish holidays and the seasons, while others stem from what the children are currently interested in exploring. The teachers expand on those interests with fun activities that allow the kids to deepen their understanding- whether it is animals, science, numbers, or other cultures. I'm amazed at how quickly they are able to integrate what the kids want to learn about into the classroom with curricula, art projects, etc....

The Jewish content is excellent- many of the teachers are native Hebrew speakers and (gently) integrate Hebrew into lessons and interaction. My children understand and can speak a lot of Hebrew as a result. They also are developing a strong love for Judaism and pride in being Jewish that I hope will continue throughout their lives. At the same time, the families in the community are very diverse. Not all children are Jewish, and many parents come from interfaith backgrounds or chose Judaism as adults.

There is a lot of cooking, art, outdoor play, building, waterplay, singing, dancing, and fun going on at all times. All of the teachers and the director are responsive, warm, and committed to continually improving this exceptional little school. One of my children is quite slow to warm up to new environments, and the teachers were very knowledgable and understanding about working with each child's unique temperment.

There are currently a few spaces open in the two year old classroom- I highly recommend calling Lauren Kindorf at 510-549-9447 x110 if you are looking for something in the fall. Jen

Dec 2008

Re: Looking for a fun, easy-going Jewish preschool
I'm not sure what you mean by 'alternative' but I have been very happy with the new preschool at Netivot Shalom in Berkeley. The school is now in it's second year (my son has been there since the opening last year). The community of parents is warm, welcoming and caring, the staff attentive and nurturing, and the Judaism vibrant, Hebrew-infused, and non-judgmental. Every morning the children sing their way into the sanctuary with the rabbi and his guitar to say 'boker tov' (good morning) to the Torah; on Fridays the children bake challah and we have a 'pretend shabbat' at the end of the school day; holidays are celebrated with joy; and Jewish values are woven throughout the curriculum. Come visit and see for yourself the wonderful preschool we have created! Netivot Shalom is a conservative, egalitarian congregation on University avenue with a diverse membership. To schedule a visit you can call Lauren Kindorf, CNS Preschool Director, at 510-549-9447 x110. Abby

May 2008

I'm looking for reviews of Netivot Shalom Preschool. If you are a parent of preschooler at Netivot Shalom please share your thoughts regarding the preschool program. What do you like/dislike about the program? Future NS parent

We have been very happy with Netivot Shalom preschool. The staff are warm and caring and the community of families is just amazing. My son is thriving, enjoying school, and developing beautifully. Each week we get a ''Ha Shavuah'' email from the director telling us all about what went on at preschool that week, which I really appreciate. There is a nice mix of free play, art and cooking projects, outside and inside time, music, Hebrew, Jewish rituals, etc. We really don't have any complaints. We are happy to have been part of the founding class of the school, and look forward to welcoming new families next year. Welcome aboard! abby

The preschool at Netivot Shalom opened for the first time this year, and everyone involved has put their hearts and souls into the school. The teachers were handpicked with great care, and all of them love being with the kids and bring many gifts to their work. The parents are welcoming and work on building a community of the families at the school. It is far more than a place to leave your children for several hours each day. I receive weekly emails detailing the activities of the classroom, individualized notes on my children's interests and actions, and notices about events at the shul itself.

For me what sets this preschool apart from any other is the emphasis on Hebrew language. One teacher is predominantly English speaking, one is a native speaker of Hebrew and English and speaks half and half, and one is predominantly Hebrew speaking. The children are immersed in both languages all day long. Songs, stories, and activities are all presented in both languages.

The school also offers a lot of flexibility in terms of scheduling. Kids can come from 2 to 5 days a week, and from 8:30 to 5:00 split up into 4 different time periods. 8:30- 9:00, 9:00 to 1:00, 1:00-3:00 and I think 3:00-5:00. My children are accepted with all their 3 year old faults and foibles. They are alos learning about all the Jewish holidays, and they go into the beit knesset each morning, sing Boker Tov (good morning) to the Torah, and blow kisses. And then they get snack. It doesn't get much better than that. J

Dear Future NS Parent -

My daughter attends the Netivot preschool and all of us (me, my husband & my daughter) are very very happy there. The Director and teachers are simply wonderful. I feel like they truly adore my daughter and want to be ''partners'' in caring for her. The staff is calm, loving, creative, and incredibly patient. It is clear that they love what they do!

There are three women on staff - the Director (who spends most of her time in the classroom during the core preschool hours), a Head Teacher and an assistant teacher. They are a diverse group in terms of experience and style and I think they make a terrific and balanced team. One of the benefits of the small program is that all of them know each child deeply as an individual and, in my opinion, they do a great job at adjusting their expectations/directions/explanations/ when necessary so that they are appropriate for each child. The staff has been very responsive when I've talked with them about my child and her specific needs. Also, I have learned a lot from the way they follow the children's lead/interests and let that guide their exploration/learning...they help them stretch developmentally in a way that is supportive, not pushing.

Another huge part of our happiness there has to do with the other families. I can't express how blessed I feel that my daughter spends her days with friends who have parents who have similar values, especially in terms of how they speak to and treat their kids. It is a phenomenal group of parents and I value the overall feeling of warmth, connection, and shared purpose/mission that I feel among the parent group.

Jewishly, the focus is on the love and spirit of Judaism and it is organically woven into the fabric of each day and everything the kids do. Also, I am often shocked at how much Hebrew my daughter understands! The two teachers are Israeli and speak fluent Hebrew with the kids (not just a few Hebrew words here and there).

There is of course lots more to say. Please feel free to email me if you want to chat. Deb

We are a current Netivot Shalom preschool family, and we are very happy with the school, the program, and the community. The preschool families are warm and welcoming and there is a real sense of community, even in just the first year of the school's existence. The classroom is inviting, bright, covered with children's art on the walls, and nurturing. The teachers are wonderful, fun, warm, and really connected to the children. The children are learning at a developmentally appropriate level, including acquiring Hebrew, learning social skills, planting a garden, reading books, learning Jewish values, cooking, painting, exploring, etc.

As a new program, there has been much to navigate and figure out, but there is a strong commitment from the synagogue, the teachers, and the preschool families to make the program the best that it can be. A happy Netivot parent

Welcome to the Netivot Shalom Preschool!

Our daughter attends this school and we're very happy about it. Our daughter loves going to school and seems to enjoy every day that she is there. We think the teachers are especially wonderful and create a loving environment for the kids. I also like that it feels as though the families are in community together. We have regular gatherings for the families of the students and we share an email list-server, etc. I hope that the school will be great for your family as well. Serena

Jan 2008

I am looking for preschools for my daughter in the fall and would love to find a Hebrew immersion preschool. So far the only one I have found is in Palo Alto and am wondering if there are any other ones in the bay area. A school that spoke entirely in Hebrew would be ideal, but even a home based program would be great too. As long as the primary language spoken is Hebrew. Thanks Leeaht

Have you seen the new preschool at Netivot Shalom (the conservative synagogue on University Ave in Berkeley)? The preschool opened in fall of 2007. In fall of 2008 the school is expanding to two classrooms, and two and three year olds will be accepted. The school is not 100% Hebrew immersion, it considers itself a Hebrew bilingual school. Two of three teachers are Hebrew speaking, and much activity is conducted in Hebrew. It's not just that a word of Hebrew is used here and there, but there is a huge amount of Hebrew content throughout the day.

Visit and I think you will like it. For more information, feel free to email preschool [at] The director Lauren would be happy to give you a tour. Tamar

Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley just started a Hebrew immersion preschool this past September. They are currently taking applications for Sept '08. Talk to Lauren Kindorf. Elisabeth

Hi Leeaht, Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley opened a new preschool this year and Hebrew language acquistion is a main focus. Two of the three teachers are Israeli and speak to the kids in fluent Hebrew for a good part of the day. It is a warm loving environment with a great group of families. If you'd like to be in touch with Lauren Kindorf, the Preschool director, you can email her at preschool [at] Netivot parent

Netivot Shalom opened a new preschool in Berkeley this year. It is a wonderful, caring and nurturing Jewish environment with a strong Hebrew language component. As it is a new school (2 year olds this year, growing to 2 and 3 next year, and 2,3, and 4 the following year) the program, including the level of immersion/bilingualism, is still evolving. Two of the three current teachers are native Hebrew speakers, and there is a strong commitment to expanding the amount of Hebrew being spoken in the classroom. Israeli children's songs, books, etc. are infused throughout the day. It's definitely worth a look! The telephone # is: 510-549-9447. B'hatzlacha! abby