Helen Diller Family Preschool

Ages 2 – 5

Helen Diller Family Preschool is a community rooted in Jewish values and San Francisco culture. We’re committed to giving children the freedom to discover their world through play.

  • Preschool
  • Youth & Family
Girls painting

Led by Director Karla Cianci, Helen Diller Family Preschool is located inside the JCCSF at 3200 California Street in Laurel Heights. The school features spacious classrooms, two outdoor play areas, garden space and art studio. Children also make regular trips to the Presidio for additional outdoor time.

Our preschools are built upon shared goals, values and knowledge that deliver the highest quality experience possible. We’re committed to creating an inclusive community that’s infused with meaningful Jewish values. We celebrate holidays with our children and families throughout the year as well as a weekly Shabbat. Our program is built on the fundamental premise that children learn and understand their world through play. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy, we provide a variety of opportunities for learning, exploration, creativity and self-expression.

Young boy plays outdoor musical pipes
Children looking at a worm

Dates & Rates

We have openings for the 2022 – 2023 school year!

Learn more: 415.292.1291 helendiller@jccsf.org

Diller Program

August 2022 – May 2023
M – F | 9:00 am – 3:00 pm*
$24,360 / year**
Boy watering plant

*AM care is available M– F from 8:10 – 9:00 am. PM care is available M – Th from 3:30 – 5 pm. **Financial assistance is available.

Tour & Application Process

It’s preschool tour time! Applications for the ’23 – ’24 school year are now open. Come discover why the JCCSF preschools are a wonderful place to learn, play and grow.

  • Submit an application. Applications are accepted year-round. Your child must be 2 years old by September 1, 2023. When you select the “Apply” button, you will be prompted to either log into your existing JCCSF account, or create a new one. Once you’re logged into your account, select “Personal Information” from the settings, and under “My Household” create a new contact for your child. Then when you continue onto the application, select your child’s profile to complete the process. Once you submit your application, you will be invited to register for a tour.
  • Schedule a tour. Tours run from October through January each year for the following year’s fall enrollment and are required for your application to be considered complete. After you attend a tour, you will be asked to complete a Post-Tour Questionnaire, at which time you can choose your preferred JCCSF preschool location for enrollment. Both the tour and the questionnaire are required. If you’ve missed the tour window, you are still welcome to apply and someone will reach out if more tours are made available.
  • Notification of admittance. During the standard cycle, admission letters are sent in mid-March for fall enrollment. A $600 deposit is due when you sign the enrollment contract. We maintain an active wait pool and fill additional spaces as they become available throughout the year. Families who have applied, but not toured, will still be considered for mid-year vacancies.

Questions about applying or touring for the ’23 – ’24 school year? Contact Theresa Arroyo at 415.292.1252 or tarroyo@jccsf.org.

Navigating the Kindergarten Process

Graduating from preschool to kindergarten is a big step! Did you know that 80% of our preschool families get into one of their top two choices of kindergartens? Our enrollment support process can help you get a spot in local programs like San Francisco Day School, Burkes, Town School for Boys, San Francisco Friends School, Hamlin, Convent, Stuart Hall, Brandeis, Marin Country Day School, Live Oak and more. Listen below as Diller site director Karla Cianci shares how the JCCSF family of preschools can help your family navigate the tricky and stress-inducing SF kindergarten process.


Thank You To Our Sponsors

FAQs

What is Reggio-Emilia philosophy and how is it applied?

Over forty years of dedicated work from Reggio Emilia inspires us to further think about the rights of children, their autonomy, and to listen for what they know and want to know. This will challenge our inherited impulses to contain, correct, and guard children. Observing, documenting, reflecting, designing, and experimenting on the teachers’ part will make this ongoing shift possible. The listening and observation teachers do will enhance their ability to create sensitive contexts for children’s play and learning and then teachers can truly recognize the insights the children and small group work can bring.  

What does a typical day Helen Diller look like?

After welcoming the children to school, we begin the day with a time of open exploration that can include art, blocks, dramatic play, manipulation, writing or quiet time. A mid-morning snack and meeting then take place before we move into a small group facilitated experiences like music or gardening. We then head outside for some playtime before lunch. Children then transition to a rest period with either a nap or meditation before the afternoon continues with another small-group experience and more time playing outside or going on a walk. The afternoon starts to wind down with a final meeting before preparing to be picked up.

What makes Helen Diller different from Rosenberg and Brotherhood Way?

Helen Diller Family Preschool is open 9 – 3 pm for early care for those in need. The school year runs from August – May, with the option to join us for any portion of our fabulous 9-week summer camp. Here at Helen Diller we are lucky to call the Presidio our backyard and make outdoor education a part of our curriculum.

Does my child need to be Jewish to enroll?

No. Children of all faiths and backgrounds are welcome to apply.

Is financial assistance available?

Yes. Visit our financial assistance page to learn more.

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I can't say enough great things about this school! Between two children, we have been at the school for 6 years. Our experience gets better and better each year. The teachers and staff are so warm and nurturing. The families and community are fantastic.

Randi S.

Parent

This year has been unique and Diller has been fantastic. The teachers, the administrators, the specialists have all been so dedicated to keeping our children safe while continuing a robust and rich program. The community is strong and resilient.

Vivian R.

Parent

Our daughter is in her last year of preschool here and we are so sad the time is coming to an end. This is a such a special place. There's just a general warm and happy energy here. Everyone is happy (kids, staff, parent community.) Everyone is seen and respected.

Shirin M.

Parent

Children playing on jungle gym
Get in Touch

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Have a question about Helen Diller Family Preschool? Reach out to our team — we’d love to hear from you!

Helen Diller Contact Form