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Opening Fall 2023

Learn about our Family Programs

About our preschool
Summer 2023
A day @ Preschool

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Nature based with Jewish roots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About: 

We are a community based preschool that welcomes all families.  We embrace the richness and diversity that our unique city has to offer and encourage adult family members to participate and become active community members ensuring that all perspectives are considered. We want you to join us on field trips, and to be a part of our daily activities in a way that is meaningful to you.  We hope you will join in our community wide events and celebrations!  We have a beautiful historical building with natural classrooms, urban gardens, and school pets where we spend our mornings and take shelter during extreme weather conditions. We are an innovative urban nature- based Jewish preschool at Congregation Sherith Israel.  We have an with an earth based approach to early childhood education.  Being outside, and forming an awareness of the Earth's rhythms are an integral part of our philosophy that we are all keepers of the earth.

Our highly trained professional teachers develop curriculum using the Jewish calendar to examine the connection between humans and nature.  Our curriculum embraces children’s natural curiosity and innate affinity for the environment.  We believe that children flourish when their natural sense of wonder, awe and curiosity is encouraged through play and experimentation.

What we do:

Sherith Israel Preschool spends the majority of our day outdoors (rain or shine) at local parks and other neighborhood locations fully immersed in the community around us. We think of our preschool students as stewards of the planet, and citizens of our city.  We hope our little citizens will sustain lifelong engagement in education and learning, environmental stewardship, and social conscientiousness. 

Philosophy:

At the Sherith Israel Preschool we believe that children need ample opportunities to run, jump, climb, to fall and move their bodies in wide outdoor spaces. We guide and trust children to take risks in play. Children are allowed to experiment, get dirty and fail. We hope to instill a growth mindset and encourage a resilient attitude when faced with adversity. It’s our belief that children learn best through direct hands-on play based experiences that build a strong foundation for future  more formal structured learning. Children take an active role in their own learning and teachers view themselves as co-constructors of knowledge. Curriculum emerges from children’s experiences and questions. Teacher researchers document the child, the family and their own learning, making learning visible to parents, colleagues and students. Discipline is relationship based and children are involved in the problem solving process. We aim to equip children with life skills promoting self-regulation, self-advocacy, self-care, and community engagement.  It is our goal to encourage children to be internally motivated. We do not use external motivators such as a reward system or over praising. Our educators base their work with children on research and best practices set forth by NAEYC.

What is nature based education?

Let the earth teach you….Nature based education is not new! 

Forest Kindergarten has been around since the 1950’s so using the natural environment
as a catalyst for student engagement is not a novel concept.  In urban areas where
there is no forest, educators are committed to putting in the extra effort to give children
a non-commercial outdoor experience where they are genuinely making a connection
with nature and forming a bond with the land.  Common practices that outdoor schools use are pausing to “sit in awe” with the goal of instilling a sense of reverence and respect for living organisms, or having a gratitude circle to reflect on aspects of nature that evoked appreciation.  The outdoor education movement came to America in the 1980’s but really gained mainstream attention in 2005 when Richard Louv wrote the book Last Child in the Woods.  Louv coined the term nature deficit disorder which led academic institutions to measure and quantify the impact that outdoor education has had on early brain development, student performance, and overall well-being.  A quality early childhood education program values play based, experiential learning and places an emphasis on social emotional learning.  The outdoor environment is the perfect place for students to practice valuable social skills and to think critically about beliefs, attitudes and habits that impact the planet and others.  To some these concepts seem too complicated for preschoolers, but as children mature and enter a more formal
educational environment they will be able to apply and connect these ideas more easily
than they would if they spent their formative years in a traditional more formal learning
environment.  Traditional environments  focus more on an endpoint for learning
outcomes, whereas play based schools see learning as a lifelong process.

Jewish Rituals and calendar cycle: 

Rituals are powerful tools used in both Judaism and outdoor classrooms. They create distinction as a school culture and give children a sense of belonging and community. We celebrate both secular (Jewish) and nonsecular holidays and traditions that embrace the rhythms of life and changing of the seasons. 

We celebrate the following Jewish holidays and routines:

Shabbat (weekly on Fridays)
Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur (the new year)
Sukkot (the fall harvest)
Hanukkah (the winter)
Tu b’Shvat (new year of trees/ecological awareness day)
Purim (spring)
Passover (first harvest, freedom)
Shavuot (first fruits)

 


September 2023 2-6 year old (2, 3, 5 day options)
8:30-12:30 preschool rate 
8:30-3:30 full day rate 
3:30-5:30 aftercare rate 
8:00-8:30 early care rate


Outdoor Parent and child play groups-meets in local parks (1 day a week)
We will go indoors during extreme weather
Parents, babies & toddlers -Wednesdays 10:00-11:15
Parents, babies & toddlers Saturdays 10:00-11:15

A typical day @ Sherith Israel Preschool

8:00 am first group arrives, greetings, proceed to classroom indoor table play (depends on availability staff)
8:30am Second group arrives, greetings, indoor play
9:00–9:15 am Clean up, hand washing and transition to breakfast
9:15–9:45 Breakfast
9:45–10:00 Morning gathering announcements, setting intensions for the day
10:00–10:30 Bathroom time, gathering lunches, jackets, and transition to outdoor
10:30–12:30 Walk to park, outdoor play, circle time, nature journals, reflection (all outdoors), lunch, gratitude circle/reflections on the day, bathroom breaks before returning to the building
12:15–12:30 1st group walks back to the school, get ready for parent pick-up
12:30–12:45 2nd group arrives, get ready for naps (lights out)
12:45–1:15 Bathroom time, settling down on mats, quiet time
1:30–3:00  Silent resting/sleeping time/non-nappers prepare afternoon snacks
2:45 awake children begin to put away napping materials
3:00 Light on, hand washing, bathroom breaks, transition to snack
3:00–3:30 Snack time/food exploration (indoor or outdoor)
3:30–4:30 Play outdoor at the park, walking trips (exploring the city), afternoon enrichments, circle time
4:30–5:00 Long term projects, journaling, reflections, webbing, maps
5:00  1st group gets picked-up in foyer

5:15 2nd group gets picked up 
5:30 3rd group gets picked up 

Wed, November 30 2022 6 Kislev 5783