First-ever Jewish preschool to open in St. Charles 


Photo by The Gan St. Charles

As more than 2,000 festival-goers enjoyed the sights, sounds and tastes of Jewish life at the second annual St. Charles Jewish Festival, the Chabad Jewish Center of St. Charles County announced the opening of The Gan St. Charles, the first-ever Jewish preschool in St. Charles County.

The startup early childhood program is the brainchild of Bassy Landa, who has directed the St. Charles Jewish Family Network for nearly three years now. About a year ago she met a kindred spirit: Bridget Jacks, a St. Charles Jewish mother with more than 25 years of experience in early childhood education who shared that same vision and dream. Together, they are working to open the first-ever Jewish preschool in St. Charles County.

(L) Bridget Jacks, lead teacher of The Gan St. Charles Preschool
(R) Bassy Landa, director of The Gan St. Charles Preschool. Credit: The Gan St. Charles

Landa will serve as the preschool’s director and Jacks will serve as its lead teacher.

“As we continued to meet new Jewish families here in St. Charles, where 41% of families have young children, it became clear that there was a need for a Jewish preschool,” said Bassy Landa. “Bridget and I are excited to share our passion for education at The Gan.”

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The school prides itself on providing individualized attention and a curriculum that is customized to meet the needs of each child. In its pilot year, the school will follow an at-home preschool style, with a smaller initial class size that will ramp up with time.

“The Rebbe [Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson] taught us that a child is viewed as a seed that we must nurture with the utmost care; a seed that is most impressionable in its first years,” said Bassy Landa, director of The Gan St. Charles. “The Gan will create the atmosphere of growth that every child needs to reach their potential.”

The announcement came as hundreds of children in attendance enjoyed the “Gan Children’s Track” at the festival, which included children’s entertainer Bobby DooWah, the Bubble Bus, inflatables, balloon art and cultural crafts.

Interested parents are invited to join the upcoming pre-Rosh Hashanah “Mommy and Me” series which will begin on Sunday, Sept. 4. It will be a series of open house opportunities for parents to meet The Gan staff and tour the classroom, as well as to connect with other parents with young children. For more information on The Gan and Mommy & Me programs, visit: