San Rafael

Preschool Profile: Gan Israel Preschool in San Rafael

January 27, 2014

Gan Israel PreschoolEstablished in 1989, Gan Israel is a licensed preschool facility that has been directed by Gittel Rice Goodman since 1990. During these many years the preschool has changed and evolved into a Jewish community preschool serving all children and families regardless of their faith or religious affiliation, focusing on school readiness skills, Jewish holidays, and the important human values of kindness, caring and respect for one another and for the world we live in. Learn more about the school and its programs at

Please describe your school's educational philosophy. What’s it all about?

Gan Israel is an independent, inclusive, Jewish community preschool that focuses on respecting and valuing each individual child and their family. Our student to teacher ratio and our group size is low to ensure each child receives personalized and caring attention.  In addition to school-readiness skills, we focus on teaching and modeling human values such as: kindness, caring and respect. We focus on teaching children how to respect the world they live in. Nature and Tikkun Olam (“repairing the world”) are underlying themes in all we teach.  At Gan Israel we celebrate Jewish holidays in a very joyous and hands-on way; geared to young children and with consideration of the many different ways that people celebrate Judaism. Our teachers are a warm and dedicated group of early childhood educators. The teacher’s role is to encourage each child to explore and discover new ideas and to help the child strive to reach his or her full potential.

February Classes and Programs at Parents Place Marin

January 26, 2014

Parent Place MarinParents Place in San Rafael has been a valuable resource for countless Marin County parents and families. This winter, they offer a wide variety of programs, from childbirth education to classes for parents and children. Here are a few of the programs they offer starting this February:

Infant and Child CPR

Learn to recognize an infant or child in distress, rescue measures for choking, CPR techniques, and infant sleep safety. Includes hands-on practice with mannequins. One-year certification provided. Pre-crawling babies welcome. With Shanda Manion, CPR instructor certified by the American Heart Association in basic life support. $35. Thursday, February 6, 6:30–8:30 pm.

Sing with the Marin Girls Chorus - Start Young, Sing Forever!

January 14, 2014

Marin Girls ChorusMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Marin Girls Chorus, which begins its 2014 Spring Session this month. Enrollment is taking place now!

Calling all young singers—come sing with the Marin Girls Chorus! Classes begin this month for the 2014 Spring Session, and the enrollment deadline is January 31. Classes culminate with a Spring Concert in May. The Marin Girls Chorus classes are open to all girls entering grades K–12. Weekly classes for grades K–1 and 2–3 take place four days a week: Monday–Thursday in Larkspur, San Anselmo, San Rafael, and Novato. Weekly classes for older girls take place on Thursdays in San Rafael.

Singers will have fun each week while learning vocal technique, harmony, music theory, rhythms, and the art of choral performance. But more than that, singing has many helpful benefits in your child’s learning including language development, increased concentration, improved memory and visual and listening skills. As part of the chorus singers learn cooperation and teamwork, improve their musicianship, develop leadership skills, and gain a sense of self.

Through public performances, artistic collaborations, and pro-bono outreach concerts in the community, the Marin Girls Chorus strengthens the cultural fabric of Marin County, and offers girls a place to belong and become their most vibrant selves.

Family Dining in Marin: Best Lil' Porkhouse Corte Madera-CLOSED

December 30, 2013

Best Lil' Porkhouse Corte MaderaIt's always been a challenge to find good BBQ in the Bay Area, and we became fans of San Rafael's Best Lil' Porkhouse at first bite. We saw that they recently took over the restaurant space in Corte Madera that once housed Max's (and, if you're a Marin old-timer, the Peppermill), and decided to give this bigger and easier-to-get-to new location a try.

Unlike the San Rafael location, the Corte Madera Porkhouse is an actual sit-down affair, with no ordering at the counter required. We were shown to a comfy booth in one of the restaurant's dining rooms, which also housed the bar and a couple of big screen TVs showing the 49ers game.

The place is decorated in an eclectic Western theme, with farming implements, old advertising signs and ephemera, and cowboy movie posters on the walls. Each table has its own roll of paper towels and squeeze bottles with four(!) kinds of house-made BBQ sauces.

November Classes and Programs at Parents Place Marin

November 3, 2013

Parent Place MarinParents Place in San Rafael has been a valuable resource for countless Marin County parents and families. This fall, they offer a wide variety of programs, from childbirth education to classes for parents and children. Here are a few of the programs they offer this November:

Positive Sibling Relationships (2–10 years)

Managing sibling relationships can be the biggest parenting challenge. We will explore this important relationship and discuss conflict, fairness, and sharing. Help your children become more cooperative, caring, and compassionate. With Bonnie Romanow, BA, childhood development specialist. Monday, November 4, 6:30–8:30 pm. $35.

Enter Your Dog in the Woodlands Annual Halloween Pet Parade and Costume Contest

October 22, 2013

Woodlands Pet Food & Treats pet parade and costume contestHalloween is a fun time for families, so why not get everyone involved, including your dog? If your dog has a Halloween costume, then stop by Woodlands Pet Food & Treats at any of their Marin locations this October for their 2013 pet parade and costume contest.

Prizes that your costumed canine can win include best in show, scariest, coolest, cutest couple, and many more. All proceeds benefit local rescue shelters, including the Milo Foundation, Marin Friends of Ferals, and North Star Animal Rescue.

Of course human kids are welcome to attend as well—there will be a free trick-or-treating event at each Woodlands Pet Food & Treats and other shops near their location.

The pet parade and costume contest takes place at the following days and times:

  • Mill Valley, 701 Strawberry Village: Saturday, October 26, 4–6 pm
  • Greenbrae, 296 Bon Air Center: Saturday, October 26, 3–5 pm

Preschool Profile: Oak View Nursery School in San Rafael

October 21, 2013

Oak View Nursery SchoolFor over three decades, Oak View Nursery School has been educating little ones in San Rafael. Located on Skyview Terrace, off Las Gallinas Avenue, Oak View offers programs for children ages 2 years and 3 months through transitional kindergarten. Learn more about the school and its programs at

Please describe your school's educational philosophy. What’s it all about?

“To touch a child’s life is to reach the future!”

Oak View Nursery School was founded for the purpose of providing the community with the best in early childhood education for children from the ages of 2 years and 3 months to kindergarten age.

Our philosophy is that each child is totally, and wholly a real person and our approach is recognition and respect for that fact. They are individuals with individual needs and desires.

Recognizing that fact, we try to assist them to grow physically and emotionally at their own rate of development, while stimulating them in a way that opens up with awareness of themselves, of others, and the world around them.

Oakview is a family oriented school that considers parents our partners in caring for their children so that their educational process enhances their self-image and takes into account the social world of which we are all a part.

Hansel and Gretel Comes to Marin Center

October 8, 2013

Marin's own Golden Gate Opera presents its beloved production of Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel at the Marin Showcase Theatre in San Rafael on Friday, October 25 at 7 pm and Sunday, October 27 at 2 pm.

This operatic version of the Brothers Grimm story (by the 19th-century German composer, not the '60s singer…) is a favorite of families worldwide and tells the story of the two young title characters who stumble upon the witch's gingerbread house while lost in the deep dark woods. This production will be sung in English and is a perfect introduction to opera for kids ages 3 and up.

Hansel and Gretel has been popular with both adults and children since its premiere in 1893, and is often performed around Christmas—but of course with its wicked witch it's perfect for the Halloween season! Hansel and Gretel's memorable music, like the beautiful "Evening Prayer," is influenced by both traditional German folksongs and the works of Humperdinck's mentor, composer Richard Wagner.

Jymbabies Drop-in Playspace Starts October 1 at the Osher Marin JCC

October 1, 2013

Jymbabies at the Osher Marin JCCParents and caregivers: bring the little ones ages birth to 24 months for some play time at San Rafael's Osher Marin JCC. Jymbabies, the JCC's new drop-in play program will host an open house on Tuesday, October 1 from 9:30 to 11 am.

Popular local family entertainer Miss Kitty will be performing, so it's sure to be a lot of fun!

Every Tuesday morning, Jymbabies offers little ones a soft indoor playground for climbing, crawling, sliding, bouncing in a bounce house, building, dancing, scooting and more. The JCC's on-site cafe will offer kid-friendly food and snacks.

As a special introduction, Jymbabies is free for the month of October, so be sure you check it out.

The Osher Marin JCC is located at 200 North San Pedro Road in San Rafael. For more information, call (415) 444-8000 or visit

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