1827 California Ave, Santa Monica, CA | Directions 9040334.031794 -118.486166
Office: Mon - Thu, 9am - 5pm; Fri, 9am - 4pm; Sat, Sun, closed. Hours for other programs vary; call or visit the website for more details
Neighborhoods: West LA, Wilshire Montana
My kids are sooo happy – My family has been at this school now for 5 years, and counting. We have been so happy that we joined the Temple and the older one is going to religious school now. We are a mixed faith family and they are very open to our celebration of both faiths. Both kids have loved their teachers and experiences. I'm happy with the families we have befriended, down to earth and good people. My favorite thing about the school is the friends my kids and I now have because of it. My second favorite thing is the laid back and relaxed atmosphere. Lots of love in this school.
Very Happy Parent! – As any parent I am very concerned where my child attends school. We have searched high and low for over a year to find great school that we would all love... We found it here.
Not only was the price amazing considering the school is in Santa Monica, but it is better than ALL of the higher and lower priced schools we toured. We toured at the Beth Shir Sholom and had our son enrolled two weeks after as they had an opening due to a child moving up in class (not being pulled out of the school).
You and your child do not have to be Jewish to attend this school, though they do offer a religious school for those who are interested in their children learning the religion. Not only that but the temple provides Jewish education for adults as well, and is welcoming to ALL religions.
My son's teachers are nothing short of amazing, and despite what I read in another review, ALL the classes seem to be very well structured for education and even more important, fun. They learn through exciting activities and a hands on environment. All students are included and the class is able to bend their schedule to meet every childs needs. My son has his diaper changed regularly (I even get a daily report about diaper changes, how my son ate, what he played with and what his attitude was like for the day) I have seen teachers stop what they were doing to change a diaper, and also they work with kids who are going through potty training.
I visit the school two of the three days a week my son goes there, and I love what I see every time. Not to mention that they notice everything about your child that you would! They act as if each child is their own.
I love this school so much that my husband and I are contemplating a move, and the only thing holding us back is wanting my son to stay in this school!
Parents are very included in what is going on with the school as a whole and what is going on in their child’s class as well. I get a weekly newsletter from my child’s teacher, which includes pictures and explains what the class did for the week. I love forwarding these to family members so they can also watch my child grow.
I have nothing but great things to say about Cynthia, Brenda, and all the others I have met at the Beth Shir Sholom.
If in doubt, come check it out and find out how much YOU will love it first-hand!
Ignore the Absentee Director, Lazy Teachers Post – WOW! The review, "Absentee Director, Lazy Teachers" by "Lila", sounds like it came from a disgruntled employee. In fact, given the date it was posted, it sounds like it came from a teacher who is no longer at the school since April. Being a very involved parent with children at the school I can honestly say that this posting could not be further from the truth. Considering that the words in that post are very similar to the same words used in personal e-mails sent to some of us parents after this teacher was let go, and from my perspective for just cause, I can only come to the conclusion that it is the same person. It is very sad in my opinion, especially since this person had previously abandoned her job and was graciously taken back by the people she now accuses of being poor eudcators and administrators.
As for the preschool, it has been an amazing experience for my children and for me. If you like a preschool that is engaged, takes to heart the development of your child, and goes out of their way to create a nurturing and family feeling, then you need to go check them out. It is very clean and the classrooms and otdoor playgrounds are filled with great materials and activities that keep the children excited and exploring all day long. As for the sandbox, I have personally seen them take the cover off in the mornings and groom it to make sure there is nothing harmful in it. Where "Lila" got that Raymond and Marsha ignore health and safety issues is beyond me, considering they are all about safety and I have witnessed that myself firsthand! Raymond Sanchez has also gone above and beyond, creating the most wonderful outdoor program!
Marsha Newstat is a wonderful Director who is very hands on and is always there to help with any situations. She has always had an open door policy and so has Cynthia Barzilai. She has created wonderful programs at the school and they are very lucky to have her there. On times she has been out, like being invited to go to the Reggio Emelia Conference in Italy which is a huge honor that only a few Directors were personally asked to attend, the school was in perfectly well educated and experienced hands with Cynthia Barzilai and Raymond Sanchez. There has never been a glitch in the program as far as I am concerned and I know of more parents than not who would whole-heartedly agree. The teachers are amazing and the Reggio approach does not allow for laziness in any way, shape or form. In fact, volunteering in the class, I can see it requires even more hands on attention and the teachers are 100% engaged. As for an educated staff, the center is NAEYC accredited. You can not become accredited unless your staff is HIGHLY educated in order to meet their standards. This not only applies to the staff, but the adminstrators as well. The comment about Cynthia Barzilai and Raymond Sanchez being uneducated is FALSE. It sounds more to me like the person who wrote that post is uneducated or very bitter at the least.
As far as the comment about the staff and Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels discouraging basic Jewish education, all I can say is come to a Tot Shabbat service on a Friday at 10:45 in the morning and feel for yourselves the community and the warmth. All the teachers, Jewish and non-Jewish, join in and it is a wonderful experience. Other than that, religious education is well covered in their wonderful religious school program and everything that needs to be covered from the stand point of a preschool is definitely done.
As for the other comments in that post, they are ludicris and come from someone who is clearly out to say any hurtful thing they can imagine. Diversity is a part of our world that we wonderfully embrace without prejudice. It is sad that this person would use that as a fault.
I could not recommend a better program for your child and I hope the person who wrote that post finds peace in her life and stops blaming others for her own issues.
Absentee Director, Lazy Teachers – Beth Shir Sholom takes a "my way or the highway" approach to parents and children. The director, Marsha Newstat, rarely shows up to school and allows the school to be run by her uneducated assistants Cynthia Barzilai and Raymond Sanchez. They profess to follow the Reggio-Emilia philosophy, however I find they use this model of self-directed education as an excuse to avoid planning any activities. The result is eight hours of free time for preschoolers, which inevitably results in chaos and injury.
Although the school is affiliated with a Reform synagogue, Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels, Marsha Newstat and Raymond Sanchez strongly discourage even the most basic Jewish education. Non-Jewish teachers are not given any insight into the values of Reform Judaism and many of them are confused and misinformed about Judaism. Many parents felt ignored when they attempted to speak to teachers and the director about their children. Director Marsha Newstat is widely known to dismiss parental concerns by saying, "If you don't like what we do here you are welcome to enroll your child elsewhere."
Marsha Newstat and Raymond Sanchez frequently ignore health and safety issues such as maintaining proper student to teacher ratios, changing diapers in a timely manner, and providing a clean and sanitary play space. The outdoor sandbox is used as a litter box by the neighborhood cats. Requests by parents to clean and cover the sandbox were dismissed outright as being too "complicated."
The egregious spelling and grammatical errors in the daily reports and printed newsletters is yet another example of the lazy and careless attitude exhibited by the teachers, the director, the assistant directors and the rabbi. Director Marsha Newstat writes a monthly column in the school newsletter where she regularly takes a condescending and hostile tone towards parents. The director fosters a culture of contempt and suspicion by playing favorites among teachers (Raymond, Jessica, Noelle) and encouraging these teachers to report on their colleagues as well as the parents they feel to be "troublemakers."
I strongly encourage parents to find a school that truly values learning, responds to parents and respects the children they are supposedly there to teach.
USED to be great; lack of tolerance of individual differences – Beth Shir Sholom used to have a great reputation. We were thrilled to enroll last Fall in their transitional ?Gesher? kindergarten. Unfortunately, like us, many parents seem to have poor experiences there: I posted to an online list about the school and got 2 responses from other parents who were moving their child or not enrolling their next child there, and a friend is moving their child. There is a high level of turnover because parents are not happy- on the plus side this means there are vacancies!
My son regressed considerably there and rather than see it as a transition issue -- being in a new school -- they felt that he needed a shadow aide. He has some mild special needs that we were completely open about when we enrolled. Later, they told us that shadows had been in the class every year at BSS. After 3 months of paying almost $5k they were really resistant to cutting down the hours of our shadow, and there was no compromise solution.This has never happened to us at his previous preschool in another city, nor has it happened at his new preschool. To make matters worse, he was also getting bullied at BSS and Teacher Stacey was not protecting him in the classroom.(by the way she barely used to say hello to us at drop-off to us, or the other parents). Our shadow spent 3 months in the classroom and saw what kind of teaching went on. The teacher Kelly is wonderful and warm but only part-time. After moving my son to a new preschool, he thrived,and is totally different. Our situation was a little unusual but it does signal the way Stacey and the administration relates to parents--basically they won't work with you as partners. I would avoid it, it is only a good option if you have an incredibly resilient child who will thrive in practically any environment, and if you don't mind an unresponsive organization. There are parents who like it, particularly those who want an academic preschool, but increasingly I think they are in the minority rather than the majority.
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