Learning from Play

Most of the curriculum will be based on themes that have been gleaned from the children’s play. Some curriculum will be spontaneous as it emerges from play and a teacher guides an activity at the moment of discovery.  Other curriculum will be developed from trends we have seen in group play and will be more formally planned in a collaborative effort with children, parents and teachers.

As topics emerge from play, teachers provide resources (literature, art experiences, science explorations, field trips or long term projects) to further the exploration. We also take note of and are inspired by teachable moments throughout the day.

When no clear themes are emerging in the children’s play, teachers will provide invitations for activities based on concepts we believe children deserve to be exposed to. These include seasonal topics and Jewish Holidays, as well as developmentally relevant activities that have the potential to inspire further thought such as Letter of the Week, All About Me, The World Around Us, etc.

Building Routine

We use routine times in our school day (mealtime, small group, circle and choice times) to reinforce the traditional early childhood concepts. We offer opportunities for gardening, sand, water and sensory play, gross motor physical play, block building, free art, age appropriate writing and journaling, language and literacy, art exploration, number sense/classifying/sorting activities, along with dramatic art and pretend play throughout the school year.

For our youngest children, the routine is the curriculum so we infuse our entire day with songs, stories and games during transitions and caregiving moments.

Our older students explore designated learning areas through spontaneous child directed play and planned as well as teacher directed activities.

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Infusing Jewish Values

Yad B’Yad integrates Jewish culture and holidays and an introduction to Hebrew words and prayers. Our goal is to provide a safe, warm, loving and nurturing environment infused with Jewish values where children six weeks of age through five years can grow emotionally, socially, cognitively, intellectually, physically and spiritually and develop into lifelong learners. Yad B’Yad provides an opportunity for young children to play, learn and grow together in a rich Jewish play-based environment.

Our closely knit community of teachers, children and parents is an integral part of the Temple Emanuel congregation. Families with young children have the opportunity to share in Temple life including monthly First Friday Family Tot Shabbat celebrations, young children’s services for the High Holy Days, and free Jewish book club subscriptions from the national PJ Library program. Everyone is welcome at the many Temple-wide activities and holiday celebrations.

Guided Learning

Our low teacher child ratios (1:4 for infants and toddlers, 1:6 for the 2-year-old class, and 1:8 for the preschoolers) and nurturing play-based routine is the most effective way to help children develop crucial thinking skills (executive functioning) for future academic and social success.

Teachers use reflective practice techniques and parent expertise regularly to make plans for each child. We continually assess the children on an informal and formal basis, rethinking expectations in an ongoing way. Our curriculum model views teachers and parents as guides (not directors) of the learning process, and the environment and the children are equally important members of the teaching team.