Your child's journey begins here.

logoJCC Preschool programs in San Rafael and Mill Valley, CA, are for children 18 months to five years and provide the best foundation for a lifelong love of learning. Our highly qualified early childhood educators engage children in meaningful ways by creating indoor and outdoor spaces that provoke wonder, curiosity, and social connection.

With over 75 years offering preschool in San Rafael, the JCC is the among the most-established and respected preschools in the nation.
Now accepting applications for the 2024-'25 school year.

Please download an application for your preferred location and then email it to the contact shown below.
San Rafael: Heidi Heffelfinger, hheffelfinger@marinjcc.org • Mill Valley: Kristy Persily, kpersily@marinjcc.org

JCC Preschool returns to Southern Marin!

The Osher Marin JCC is happy to announce our return to Southern Marin. Our new campus is conveniently located at the juncture of Tiburon and Mill Valley in the Strawberry District at 36 Tiburon Blvd,  offering spacious indoor and outdoor play areas, new classrooms, and our qualified JCC Preschool educators for children two to five years.

The curriculum is rooted in Jewish tradition and values—and we welcome everyone!

Our New JCC South Campus

 We nurture and inspire young children to have empathy and compasssion for themselves and others.

preschool children playing and laughing at jcc preschool
child playing on slide at osher marin jcc preschool children engaged in indoor activity at jcc preschool

JCC preschool programs create opportunities for social play and indoor and outdoor discovery.

Tour our Preschool in San Rafael

Click the play arrow in the middle of the video.

Our Philosophy

Values-Based

  • Each child has capability and potential (Tzelem Elohim)
  • Deep respect for one another and the environment (Tikkun Olam)
  • Importance of relationships, belonging, and building community (B’rit)

 

Focused on Social and Emotional Development

We believe that this is the foundation upon which all other learning may occur.

  • Self-Expression (recognize feelings, identify emotions, ask for help, share ideas, problem-solve)
  • Self-Regulation (use words to express feelings, build strategies to cope with big emotions, sustain attention, recognize need for quiet time)
  • Self-Confidence (take pride in work, ideas, take risks)

 

Family Engagement and Celebrating Jewish Life

We celebrate Jewish life and engage families to create a partnership in the learning and to build a strong community where all are welcomed.

Our Image of the Child
  • We respect the child’s innate intelligence, potential, and curiosity.
  • We believe children learn best by having a variety of play-based experiences that provide them an opportunity for discovery and to build their problem-solving skills.
  • We are committed to helping children become successful in their interpersonal relationships with each other. We work on social skills and conflict resolution in our everyday life with the children.
preschool teaching playing guitar with children

JCC Early Childhood Education includes hands-on explorations, new friends, music, and more!

Our Curriculum

Social Constructivism

We believe that children learn about the world by interacting with the people and materials in it. Therefore, it is important for us to be thoughtful and intentional in our relationships with children and in the materials that we provide for children.

  • Teachers create engaging and authentic learning experiences.
  • Children and teachers co-create the learning. That is, teachers work as guides and researchers alongside the children to provoke their curiosities and expand their thinking process.
  • Children engage in short- and long-term projects that originate from a continuum of conversations and learning experiences in the life of the classroom.

 

Jewish Curriculum

We create sacred time and space to celebrate Jewish rituals and traditions, including Shabbat, Havdalah, and Jewish holidays and festivals.

Our Teachers
  • Make the learning visible through documentation.
  • Engage in professional development to reflect on their work with children.
  • Invite parents to be a part of the learning process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the school’s philosophy?

Our Philosophy

We are a values-based preschool that is guided by an early learning framework called Sheva. Sheva means “seven” in Hebrew, a number that holds significance in Jewish tradition.

 

The seven core principles include:
• Children as Constructivist Learners
• Environments as Inspiration for Inquiry
• Families as Engaged Partners
• Early Childhood Educators as Professionals

 

The seven Jewish lenses include:
• B’rit [relationship and belonging]
• Tzelem Elohim [capability and potential]
• Tikkun Olam [responsibility, repairing the world]

What is the curriculum?

Our Curriculum

We take a social constructivist approach to curriculum where we believe that children learn within the context of their environment. Teachers create interesting and thought provoking environments where children can explore, experiment and take risks. Within this environment, teachers are supporting a child’s social and emotional development by helping them read social cues, scaffolding play and modeling respect and kindness towards others.

 

Our curriculum reflects concepts of the Reggio Emilia approach through a Jewish lens.

 

Concepts include:
• Image of the child
• Environment as the third teacher
• Documentation as a tool for reflection
• Teacher as partner and co-researcher

 

What are the program hours?

Our Curriculum

All programs are 5-days (M-F) for all age groups.
We do not offer a part-time option.

 

  • 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
  • 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

 

What are the teachers' qualifications?

Teachers at the JCC Preschools have teaching certificates, AAs, Bas, or MAs in early childhood education. We aim to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers by offering a competitive salary, good benefits, and ongoing professional development. Our staff engages in weekly team meetings with the site director, monthly professional development meetings, and a variety of other Professional Development opportunities throughout the year.

 

My child just misses the cut-off for the next class/My child does better with older children, can you place them in the older class?

We design classes with specific age ranges and support the individual developmental needs of each child within the class. Whether a child is reading, requires additional help entering play, or has a particular focus of interest, teachers work thoughtfully to help each child reach their fullest potential.

 

Does my child need to be potty-trained?

Children develop at their own pace, and toileting is part of the curriculum at all age levels. Teachers work with children to gain independence around toileting and work with parents to let them know when their child exhibits readiness.

 

How does the JCC preschool handle discipline?

Teachers model appropriate language and facilitate interactions with and between children to support peer relationships. Children practice reading social cues, asking for help, and problem-solving in a safe and supportive environment. We partner with parents to address the needs of each child. By working together, we strive to create a positive and successful school experience.

 

How do you support children with different needs?

Each child is unique and we encourage families to communicate openly and share information about their child that will help us support them at school. We collaborate with early childhood specialists, including speech pathologists, occupational therapists, psychologists, and other outside professionals who may work with both teachers and families to support the needs of the child.

 

How does the school handle health and safety?

We create a series of protocols that are aligned with Marin County Public Health to ensure that our practices and the environment are as healthy and safe as possible.

 

What does the admissions process look like?

Enrollment opens to the public on January 1st. There is a $100 non-refundable application fee to hold your child’s spot. Then, there is no other financial obligation until we send the contracts in February. Currently enrolled children and their siblings have priority. We will let you know if we are placing you on a waitlist. Families are admitted on a first-come, first served basis.

 

What does it cost?
Why JCC Preschool?

Our dedicated teachers are committed to providing a high-quality educational experience for children and families. Preschoolers enjoy structured and free-play activities in a safe, nurturing environment rooted in universal values of kindness and community.

All children—regardless of faith or cultural background—are welcome at the JCC.

Send us your application

Email your completed application to Kristy Persily: kpersily@marinjcc.org

Or mail to:

Admissions – San Rafael
JCC Preschool – San Rafael
200 N. San Pedro Rd
San Rafael, CA 94903

Admissions – Mill Valley
JCC Preschool – Mill Valley
36 Tiburon Blvd
Mill Valley, CA 94941

Financial Aid

If you are seeking financial assistance, please contact Tamar Lai, ECE Director tlai@marinjcc.org or

Click here to apply.

Scholarships are supported in part by Morris Stulsaft Foundation and the Jewish Community Foundation.

Contact us

Questions? We’d love to chat with you. Please feel free to contact us.

Erin Burns, JCC Preschool Mill Valley Site Director
Kristy Persily, JCC Preschool Office Manager
Amanda McAdams, JCC Preschool San Rafael Site Director
Heidi Heffelfinger, JCC Preschool Office Administrator
Tamar Lai, Director of Early Childhood Education

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