Chai Preschool is a highly regarded early childhood education center on the North Peninsula.

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Chai Philosophy

Chai Jewish Preschool unites children, teachers, family and community in a positive and constructive early childhood experience.

A child is viewed as a seed that we nurture with the utmost care.

Our Jewish values drive the curriculum, environment and school culture. We model and encourage kindness, respect, compassion, confidence and responsibility. Judaism teaches that the formative years of early childhood are vitally important. A child is viewed as a seed that we nurture with the utmost care, since the seed's every experience will shape and color the quality of its matured self.

Judaism underscores the uniqueness of every child with the axiom "chanoch l'naar al pi darko," teaching us to train children according to their individual paths. We recognize that each child has his or her unique needs, interests and passions. Our children are viewed as collaborators: they are competent, curious, inquisitive, unique, and creative.

Chai Jewish Preschool believes in an experiential and intentional approach to teaching and learning. This approach fosters children's intellectual development as they are encouraged to explore their environment and express themselves through words, movement, drawing, painting, playing and other natural modes of expression. We promote an environment where children can develop the critical thinking and problem solving skills for a successful and meaningful life.

For more information please call 650.345.2424 or send us a message via [email protected]


"It was really nice to visit while school was in session. I was very impressed. What I noticed in each group was a wonderful quality of interaction both between teachers and children as well as children and children. To me, these relationships are the single most important element in programs for young children. It does not happen by accident and it is a school climate that I would have been comfortable having my own children attend."

Bev Hartman, Chai Consultant and Master Teacher at Stanford's Bing Nursery School

The value you place in relationships was evident everywhere. I noticed that the children were collaborating in their work, were kind and inclusive in their play, and cheered on their friends while taking turns in their music group. It is a rare joy to be in a place where calmness is the palpable element in and of the environment. It is easy to say that "relationships matter" but when you can observe how people speak to each other, work in supportive dialogue and watch as parents, board members and teachers seamlessly engage with children and each other in and out of the classroom, you know that you are witnessing ‘values in action.’”

Ruth Pinkenson Feldman, Ed.D.

“My work has given me the opportunity to observe many preschools and kindergartens and these served as points of reference when I observed how Chai Preschool functions and how you run your team and how team members interact with the kids. Every morning and every afternoon, at drop-off and pick-up time, I was impressed and astounded by what I saw: unconditional love and reception of the children by the team. Never without a smile, never with destructive criticism - always supportive and respectful to each of the children. The lack of any tension, total and utter calm, peace of mind, warmth - which permeates to the children who could immediately and always sense they are in a safe, warm and supportive environment. The optimistic demeanor of the team, the positive vibes and energy flowing from them to the children, and a true sense of friendship between the children and the team as a result - all served to leave me with a complete peace of mind that I was leaving Guy in the best of hands, without the slightest doubt.”

Lea Kedem, Educator and Grandmother of Alumni, Israeli “Super Nanny”

“We have all of our lives to consume and accumulate facts. There will never be a shortage of new things to learn. That's what libraries and the Discovery Channel are for. In contrast, there is a relatively smaller window of opportunity, developmentally speaking, to learn trust in oneself and others, confidence, self-esteem, interpersonal skills, respect, playfulness, impulse control, and most of all the joy of unconditional love from and for others. I spend a lot of my professional time confronting the effects of people not getting this when they were very young, with lifetime repercussions.” So, even then, I knew, I just knew, at a gut level, that my daughter was growing in ways that are not quantifiable, but that have lifelong positive effects.”

Laura B. Dunn, MD, Parent, Associate Professor and Director of Psycho-Oncology, UCSF

We're so delighted to be a part of this special, warm & caring preschool community. It's been the perfect place for our son who has attended Chai for 3 years now. The school offers many opportunities for parent involvement. Our favorite activity was when we planned and created a natural playscape for the school with a charming bridge and garden. Like everything else at Chai, it was well thought out & designed to cater to the children, something Morah Esty and the amazing Chai teaching staff always focus on .
Emily and Jim Scheinman, Parents

Amazing! Fantastic! Fabulous! These are just a few words I use to describe my experience at Chai Jewish Preschool. Our daughter was incredibly fortunate to be part of the original group of children when the school was first started, and now will be starting kindergarten in the fall. The director, Esty Marcus, has built a school that has the rare combination of incredible love and warmth while also fostering a profound love of learning and Judaism. And the "academics" are there too, but are provided in a very subtle way that matches each child's readiness. The teachers all love children and delight in their growth and development. I cannot express the joy we feel watching our daughter embrace Judaism with all of her heart and soul. It's not just the myriad of songs and the celebration of the holidays that so impressed us. It was the breadth of knowledge about Jewish traditions and Jewish values that have become core to my child's development. The school is based on a fundamental respect and admiration for each child's unique personality and needs, and does everything in their power to insure that each child feels special, wanted and included. My daughter is one of the most confident and happy children you could ever meet and I attribute much of this to Chai. As far as the academics, my daughter is more than prepared for kindergarten. If you are lucky enough to get a space you will have given your child an incredible gift-a gift that will stay with him or her forever.
Jennifer Levy, Parent

I've seen many schools in San Mateo-Foster City area and this is by far superior. My child attends Chai Jewish Preschool and she is very happy there. The teachers are loving and experienced, the classrooms are bright and welcoming and they integrate Jewish holidays into the general curriculum daily.
Sarit Netanel, Parent

My two children attend the Chai Jewish Preschool and are so very happy. The Jewish content is wonderful and woven into the curriculum. They are constantly learning and at the same time having a great time. Getting them to leave at the end of school is the difficult part.
Charlotte Ross, Parent