Our Mission and Approach
Our mission is to give each child a personal growth experience in eight early learning domains: social, emotional, cognitive, fine motor, gross motor, spiritual, creative, and self-help. We accomplish this best by personalizing each child’s experiences through small student-teacher ratios, individualized goals and assessments, and activities tailored to each child’s developmental level. Because advancement of the child as an individual is so important, we transmit to each child the importance of focusing on his abilities, continuously learning and doing his personal best. We do not measure the children one against the other or involve them in competitive activities. An integral aspect of how we run our school is that we set goals with the understanding that children reach these goals using different manners, in different sequences and at different rates.
We take a constructivist approach to learning. Learning is most successful when it is acquired not through instruction, but rather personally and actively. Even in academic areas, we make sure that the children are experiencing the information. They are encouraged to discover and try new things, use materials in unconventional ways and get messy! We take student involvement a step further: Our children are directly involved in their planning their learning. At morning meeting we discuss our upcoming schedule, throughout the day the students have options of activities to choose from, and at afternoon meeting the children and staff evaluate together what went on and how to take our learning to the next level.
The success of our program is our staff. We select teachers who will be excellent role models to our children and will lovingly guide each child during these critical years of her life. Our staff knows each child well and can therefore connect with her and tailor activities to her needs and interests. Teacher participate in the activities with the children – you will find them building towers, examining insects, and eating the snacks alongside their students, all along looking for teachable moments. Our staff shows love and respect to the children while guiding them in making good choices. Our maximum student to staff ratio is 6:1.
Each day the staff members set up an environment that is planned and purposeful. Our daily goal is to entice the children to engage themselves in challenging learning activities. Every morning the children will find a blend of new activities and familiar activities that continue from the day before. Our activities are chosen to stretch the development of the child to the next level in each of the eight early learning domains. We start by identifying goals for each student’s development based on his stage and our knowledge and experience of child development standards. We then identify a learning goal, and create an environment and activities that will help a child reach that goal, while also taking his interest into consideration.
We have created a predictable routine for our students. The daily schedule gives the children a healthy balance of indoor vs. outdoor play, quiet vs. noisy time, individual vs. group activities, as well as teacher-guided vs. child-guided experiences. Within the framework of our daily schedule, the activities remain fluid to best serve the students’ needs and interests at any time, as a child thrives most when his experiences can be adapted to achieve his success.
Our curriculum is based on the eight early learning domains. It focuses more on acquiring skills than acquiring information, although children who show an interest in information-based activities are given opportunities to pursue those interests in an experience-based manner. The aspects of our curriculum that are intended to address cognitive development include science, mathematics, language, and literacy (in both Hebrew and English). Our curriculum also includes topics such as respect, feelings, communication, problem solving, and conflict resolution, all aimed to foster social and emotional growth. To address self-help skills in children, we integrate appropriate themes, such as hand washing, teeth brushing, food preparing, and nose blowing. An integral part of our curriculum is Jewish culture and tradition, including Jewish holidays, history, practices, values, and customs.
Families are an essential part of a child’s experience at Yeshiva Preschool. Parents hear from us regularly regarding school life and the progress of their child’s development. Each week, we give parents a detailed description (in writing and with photographs) of what goes on in the classroom so that they can discuss the school activities with their children and continue the learning at home. Families and community members are a welcome addition to our program, and are often invited to participate in special activities.