Our preschool program is eclectic and theme-based. We continue to help the children develop social and emotional skills and introduce more cognitive and academic activities in these classes. An American and an Israeli head teacher in each class blend traditional American preschool themes with Israeli cultural themes and practices. We celebrate all of the major American and Jewish holidays. Dividing the school year into weekly and monthly themes, the teachers plan arts & crafts projects, music, literature, science, cooking and baking, and field trips support each theme.
Three’s, four’s and five’s learn mainly through play. In classrooms stocked with manipulatives, blocks, dolls, and props, the children have many opportunities to engage in dramatic and imaginary play. Interactive and educational games stimulate their intellectual development. Through these kinds of activities, they learn to play and to work cooperatively.
Cooking and baking activities give the children opportunities to learn measurement, follow directions, and work together on a project.
Our preschool program also provides many opportunities for the children to express themselves through movement, music and art. Special teachers for music, dance and yoga visit the class each week.
Arts and crafts are an important part of the program. We firmly believe that through arts and crafts, the children enhance their fine motor skills, begin the process of learning to write, and use their imaginations in creative ways.
Our private playground is an important part of our learning environment. Weather permitting; the children use the playground every day. To stimulate gross motor development, we have a variety of climbing, riding and sports equipment on the playground, as well as in the classroom. Through these activities, the children also learn to take turns and play cooperatively.
At the same time, we stress cognitive and readiness skills. Through developmentally-appropriate small group work, individual instruction, and circle time (teacher-directed instruction), the children develop early literacy and mathematic skills including letter recognition, phonemic awareness, writing, speaking and arithmetic. We teach the alphabet and numbers systematically, using a variety of approaches to accommodate each child’s individual learning style. Working with small groups, the teachers help the children to develop their reading and math readiness skills. We give the children notebooks which we encourage them to bring these home to practice writing and letter recognition. The teachers monitor the work that the children do at home. To encourage reading, we maintain a large collection of books in the classroom that the children can borrow to read in school or at home with their parents.
Finally, parties and celebrations are important part of our preschool program. In addition to having a party for each holiday, we celebrate each child’s birthday in the class. Every Friday we welcome the Sabbath with Kabbalat Shabbat. The children take turns as the Mother of Shabbat or the Father of Shabbat.