Both inside and outside the classroom, our Pre-Kindergarten students learn that new discoveries are all around them! With the guidance of caring and experienced teachers, they become curious and collaborative learners.
Every day in our warm, inviting environment is an opportunity for growth – whether we’re beginning our journey into reading, writing, and mathematics; performing science experiments; learning about our world and our place in it; playing “make-believe” with our friends; or celebrating the joy and wonder of being Jewish.
Reading and Writing Readiness
In a language-enriched environment, students develop pre-reading and pre-writing skills in order to prepare for kindergarten.
Every child is different, and some children rely more on the use of one sense (visual, auditory, or tactile) than another. Therefore, our readiness activities are multi-modal. Children make use of the class mailbox, the class word box, experience charts, books, games, puzzles, and more. We use the “Letter-People Program” which incorporates puppets representing each letter of the alphabet through song and unique character traits to generate alphabet-letter awareness and letter-sound connections.
Reading and writing readiness skills include rhyming and alliteration, telling stories and recounting experiences, singing and listening to music, matching words with pictures, noticing differences and identifying opposites, drawing geometric shapes, determining the definitions of unfamiliar words, gaining an awareness of left and right, and developing large and small muscle coordination. With the Foundations writing program, students learn proper letter formation and gain comfort and ease with the written word.
As we continue to emphasize this language-enriched approach, we encourage the children to participate in writing activities. Creating Rosh Hashana cards, birthday cards, thank you cards, and more are all an integral part of the classroom experience. Many activities are done one-on-one with a teacher, so that each child is able to express themselves individually. Some children prefer to draw a picture and describe it to the teacher. Others may actually “write” their own message, spelling words according to how they sound. The beauty of our approach to language is that it addresses the needs of each child in a nurturing, risk-free environment.
Math is all around us! Lessons incorporate science readiness goals like learning to recognize numbers, counting confidently, measuring objects, defining shapes, sorting objects based on similarities and differences, learning about parts of a whole, and identifying spatial relationships.
Our children’s understanding of time grows and strengthens as they grasp the concept of time and sequence of events, and identify the days of the week, months, seasons, and years.
As they play and create, Pre-K students become curious and dedicated scientists – investigating the world around them, experimenting with new ideas and materials, and discovering new wonders.
Students explore and marvel at the seasons, the weather, the environment, and plants and animals. They grow plants, investigate water in its various states and forms, sink and float objects, explore butterfly metamorphosis and take measurements. They play with magnets and magnifying glasses.
Students also begin to understand the concepts of body health and safety. They take responsibility for keeping themselves and their space clean and tidy, and learn about nutrition and the wide range of foods from around the world during a class trip to a special educational supermarket.
As each child’s understanding of the world around them grows, they begin to understand their place in their family, their community, and the world.
Their awareness of self grows as they learn to recognize and write their own name, and remember the names of their friends and teachers. They identify parts of the body and learn how to take care of themselves and keep themselves safe. They absorb the concepts of immediate and extended family, where they fit into their particular family structure, and learn that there are many diverse types of families in our world.
They explore the globe to learn about the United States of America, the many countries of our world (and their languages, customs, and climates), and the special relationship that the Jewish people have with Israel. They gain confidence in their community, learning about the people they might meet in their communities (police and firefighters, librarians, postal workers, shopkeepers, cashiers, and more), and begin to daydream about what jobs they might someday like to have.
We approach the arts holistically, incorporating them into every aspect of our program.
Exploration with visual artwork helps children strengthen their fine motor skills, hone their natural creativity, and express themselves and their emotions. Students make art and collages with paper, crayons, scissors, hole punchers, string, tape, paste, clay, paint and easels, and more.
Music and Movement: Singing is often spontaneous and original in our classrooms! Through song, dance, and musical instruments, children learn about timely topics such as holidays, seasons, the weather, and more. They are encouraged to express themselves through acting and improvisation, and experiment with rhythmic and creative movement.
Circle games, exercise, outdoor play, and indoor and outdoor walks are also core to our program. Each class enjoys outdoor play in our playground during both the morning and afternoon. In inclement weather, the children use our indoor gym.
Free play and structured games help students develop gross motor skills, agility, balance, coordination, and the ability to follow instructions.
Children continue to discover the beauty, excitement, wonder, and joy of being Jewish. As part of our learning, they explore and take part in the routines of Jewish life and strengthen their grasp on the Hebrew language.
Judaic materials are integrated into each part of the daily schedule in a manner that creates a rich and exciting curriculum. Children learn simple mitzvot, pray every morning, and learn appropriate blessings for foods and other occasions. Songs and classroom routines often include Hebrew vocabulary.
The curriculum is Torah-based, with an emphasis on the parasha of the week. The holidays are treated as large units into which every other curriculum area is incorporated.
Our children learn the concepts of Derech Eretz and responsibility for one another through modeling and meaningful practice. Our Pre-K classes have an Erev Shabbat and Oneg celebration with our music teacher every Friday afternoon. They celebrate Rosh Chodesh each month with our “moon curriculum.”
Our students explore each parsha in Bereshit, and concepts and ideas from the parshayot are woven into our English curriculum. Chalav U’Dvash, an innovative program centered around Hebrew phraseology, facilitates our Hebrew Language Program as well.
Yom Ha’Atzmaut is a focal point of the year and a day full of celebration. Our events include a full day trip to Israel coordinated by all of the Pre-K teachers working together. Each classroom and various areas of the school represent different places in Israel. Students board an EL AL airplane, sing and cheer upon landing and may visit the kotel, shuk, a kibbutz, Eilat, Tel Aviv and more. Strengthening our students’ Jewish identity and love and connection to Israel is critical every step of the way of their NSHA experience.
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