Not all preschools are created equally. For families hoping to educate their children within their faith while also working to forge life-long bonds with their religious community, a Jewish community preschool program may be the right choice. The following can help you know what to look for when touring Jewish preschools in your area.
One of the primary reasons families opt for a Jewish preschool over secular options is for the religious education. Before deciding upon a school, ask for a copy of the religious curriculum that is utilized. Many Jewish preschools use the Sheva Framework, developed by the JCC Association. This is an integrated education system that focuses on developing child-centered and directed educational methods in conjunction with families and the community at large. There is also a focus on fostering a connection to Israel and learning how to treat the body as a temple.
Regardless of the curriculum framework chosen, the goal is to ensure that religious instruction is integrated fully into all aspects of the preschool program. This will help strengthen the connection that the children feel for their heritage, religion, families, and community.
A preschool curriculum should primarily focus on developing a love for inquiry, discovery, and learning in young children. When touring preschools, check the curriculum to see if it offers extras, such as a STEM subject focus, plenty of field trips, or even a language immersion component beyond Hebrew lessons.
Sit in for a day so you can see how the class progresses. For young children, routine is important but the curriculum should also provide plenty of free play time interspersed with some lesson time. The preschool should not resemble an upper elementary school with young children sitting quietly in classrooms all day.
Every family is different and has different needs, so you must make sure the preschool can accommodate your family's needs.
Although preschools are usually first selected on the quality of the program, if you also need a preschool for child care it's vital that you make sure the class hours fit your work schedule. Some Jewish preschool programs offer extended care or enrichment programs to benefit working families that need a few more hours of child care in the afternoon or early evening.
If you have a child with disabilities, it may be worth looking into programs that offer inclusion services to help integrate children with special needs into the classroom while still meeting the child's unique requirements. Whether you need help with a physical disability or a learning challenge, make sure the school you choose is equipped for the issue.
Contact a Jewish community preschool program like Tiny Tots Incorporated to schedule a tour today.