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Gan Teva Mission Statement

The mission of Gan Teva Learning Center at Ner Shalom is to provide a complete early childhood learning experience highlighting nature at the core of the curriculum. Our program celebrates Jewish tradition by creating an environment full of warmth, joy, and the excitement of discovery, empowering our children to realize their full potential. For more, go to!
Our Core Values
בצלם אלקים
In God’s Image: All living beings are unique creations. We celebrate every member of our community and individualize our approaches to learning to foster the growth of each child.
 ארץ דרך
Respectful Conduct: We guide our children to treat each other and all members of our communitywith honor and respect.
עם אחד
One People: We celebrate the unity of the Jewish people. We appreciate the diversity of approaches to Jewish life.
תיקון עולם
Fixing the World: We prepare our children for responsible participation in the broader community, encouraging them to improve the world around them
Protect Nature: We have reverence for and work to preserve the natural world.




About Gan Teva

Gan Teva at Ner Shalom is an innovative early learning center that emphasizes holistic child development with a nature-based focus, opening 2021. With Temple grounds of several acres, there is a stress on developmentally appropriate outdoor activities. This occurs in an environment of Jewish tradition and uses principles of early childhood education to help children to their full individual potential.

Children play in order to learn.  Our indoor classrooms and outdoor play spaces encourage emotional, social and intellectual growth.  The school’s mission is to develop an appreciation of God’s love for us through core Jewish values as well as an understanding of how important those principles are as a foundation for building their lives.  Those values are grounded in the Hebrew concept Tikkun Olam, to act to benefit the world.

The Director of the school is Sarah Maynard, who also serves as our classroom teacher, while Rabbi Elizabeth Goldstein serves as the Director of Judaics to ensure the value focus, growth and safety of the children in our care.  We are also still hiring for our Classroom Assistant or co-teacher, so please reach out to if that's you!

Rabbi Lizz also leads Congregation Ner Shalom which houses Gan Teva and is the only temple or synagogue in Prince William County, Virginia.  The county is one of the fastest growing in the United States and has a population of more than 500,000.  Our temple houses a sanctuary, four classrooms and a kitchen.  There is both a toddler bathroom and adult bathrooms. 

According to the Prince William County HEADSTART and Preschool Program Director Dr. Amanda Wilder, there is a pressing need for preschool programs in our county. Additionally, Heather Steitzel, Membership Chair, Prince William Chamber of Commerce, believes that there is a demand for a Jewish preschool program. In Prince William County, no such program exists. Former Prince William County School Board Chairman Dr. Babur Lateef said he believed money spent on early childhood programs is a smart investment that helps children do better throughout their academic careers. "This is so critical for getting kids ready to read faster and just getting them ready to go to school," Lateef said.

Gan Teva is the answer for parents, both Jewish and those who appreciate the Jewish traditions, for a values-based, nature focused program in the county.

Although our focus is on Judaism, all children – especially from underserved families --will be welcome.



Tue, May 21 2024 13 Iyyar 5784