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Nursery School

Ages 2 to 5
 

Smiling teachers and bright, sunny classrooms welcome our children to days full of hands on secular and Judaic experiences. Our curriculum is rich in age appropriate activities developed to best support social, emotional, physical and cognitive growth and development. We integrate: imagination, exploration, experimentation, questioning, creative play, art, music, movement, puppetry, cooking, storytelling, games, literature and lots of individual attention.

Our Judaic curriculum is evident throughout with special attention paid to Jewish holiday customs and traditions, Shabbat and our emphasis on participation in acts of loving kindness. We consistently promote “menchlekite” as each child is encouraged to become self-sufficient, to have and show respect for themselves, other children, adults, and everything in the world around us.

Our staff represents many different cultures and we have families of many different nationalities. We very much encourage our non-Jewish families to share their cultures and heritage with us as well. We hope that all will feel welcome and comfortable in our nursery school community.

Parents are invited into our classrooms to cook, read, get messy, share a special skill, talent or family tradition, celebrate Shabbat and holidays throughout the year, etc.

Children blowing on their toy shofarsOur Parent Association makes everyone feel welcome by planning parent only social activities such as Coffee Shmoozes and Parent Nights Out (bowling, dinner, etc); along with group park play dates with children and end of the year class parties. In addition to the director’s door always being open to all families; the committee is instrumental in sponsoring parent meetings and acting as an additional liaison between our parents and the director. These meetings provide valuable feedback and suggestions to ensure that our programs continue to meet the needs and expectations of our families.


Educational Vision:


The Glen Rock Jewish Center Nursery School strives to meet the specific needs of each child by offering a curriculum strong in all of the domains of early childhood developmentally appropriate practice: social, emotional, cognitive, physical, language and literacy. In an atmosphere of respect for our similarities and differences, we seek to enhance children’s sense of wonder and empathy, develop communication and learning skills, promote positive self-image and engender trust in peers and caregivers.

Following the rhythms of the Jewish calendar, our program fosters each child’s connection to Judaism and Jewish culture through singing, dancing, crafts, cooking, storytelling and ritual practice education. Synagogue affiliation or any connection to Judaism is not required for your child to participate in our program.

Children saying the blessing over the wine for Shabbat services

Our curriculum is based on the current knowledge of how children develop, grow and learn best through the medium of constructive play. This knowledge provides the framework for incorporating the best and most appropriate practices in early childhood education, laying the foundation for future growth and development.

Children learn best in an atmosphere of diversity and tolerance for those who appear different or have different ideas. No matter what the subject matter or the means through which it is presented, it is always through the lens that all people are deserving of respect and kindness.

The Glen Rock Jewish Center Nursery School’s philosophy reflects a developmental approach to learning based on the medium of play. Children learn so many things through play. When children work together to set up a dollhouse, they are learning language about family, relationships, and furniture, negotiation and cooperation.

Bunny rabbits will always elicit smiles from the audience

They are learning different perspectives about how to organize things, planting the seeds for critical thinking, and knowing how to think from multiple perspectives. When children spend stretches of time fitting a ball through a hole and watching it drop, they are learning about gravity, geometry and even probability.

When children play with blocks they are learning physics, cause and effect, logical reasoning, area, fractions, measuring, classification, coordination, creative thinking, patterning, balance and so much more. The learning that happens here through play cannot be replaced by any other learning, as it is self-directed, creative and authentic.

Our teacher's role during children's play is to observe and provide language to help children describe and enhance what they are experiencing. Teachers also provide rich settings with ample opportunities for different kinds of play. They observe and notice what kinds of play their students gravitate towards, and they work on ways to enrich, diversify and scaffold these inclinations.


Curriculum
 

Curriculum broadly speaking, is the overall school experience. Curriculum is everything that students learn.

At the GRJC, it can be implicit or explicit, planned or spontaneous. It is often a combination of teacher-led and child-initiated activities and experiences, both indoors and out. This includes all that is planned for and with the children in the classroom, such as learning centers, projects, themes, morning circle and teacher and child initiated individual, small and large group activities.

Learning about science by making model rockets, something that is fun at any age

Curriculum also includes the unplanned experiences a child has while building a bridge with paper towel tubes, string and popsicle sticks, looking out the window, socializing at the snack or lunch table, expected and unexpected child-to-child interactions, and even when frustration, anger or sadness lead to negative behaviors.

Curriculum is the entire range of experiences that children have at school. Content objectives and learning outcomes, knowledge of child development and careful observation of the needs and interests of our individual children guide our curriculum (which is modeled on the research based Creative Curriculum for Preschool; Dodge, Colker and Heroman).

Children coloring with markers


Jewish Heritage and Cultural Diversity
 

Goals of our Judaic Curriculum:

• To develop Jewish self-esteem and pride in being Jewish
• To have a basic knowledge of Shabbat and Jewish holidays including rituals, symbols, songs, food and traditions
• To have a basic knowledge of objects found in the synagogue
• To be able to recognize and recite the Shabbat blessings
• To be aware of the land of Israel and its importance
• To be aware that Hebrew is the spoken language of Israel and that it is the language of prayer
• To have children learn several words in Hebrew through songs, games and prayer
• To learn the meaning of Tzadakah and Chesed (charity and good will), through involvement in projects at school
• To be aware of other religions and the respect that we have for other people's beliefs
• To have fun being Jewish
• To integrate both Judaic and secular curriculum through all curriculum areas
• To provide opportunities for families to participate with their children in Judaic celebrations.

CULTURAL DIVERSITY – ANTI-BIAS EDUCATION

• To guide children in learning to be proud of themselves and of their families, to respect human differences, to recognize bias and to speak up for what is right
• To encourage exploration of the different cultures and nationalities of the children in our school, as well as the greater world community
• To be aware and accepting of similarities and differences among people including those of differing physical attributes and capabilities
• To foster inclusion and tolerance for all regardless of ethnicity, nationality, culture, sexual orientation, physical capabilities, etc.

NOTE: Not all the children in our school are Jewish. We invite and encourage all (parents and children) to share their personal heritage, cultures and tradition with us.

Fri, September 25 2020 7 Tishrei 5781