Early Childhood Program: Frequently Asked Questions
What is our Jewish curriculum?
Our school welcomes families from a wide range of backgrounds. Some have little Jewish experience, while others come from more observant homes. Judaism is seamlessly woven into our school day, exploring holidays and rituals through song, literature, play and art. Each week we celebrate in anticipation of Shabbat. An introduction to Hebrew, a love for Israel and the teaching of Jewish values continually strengthens the children’s Jewish identity.
How large are classes? What is the student/teacher ratio?
The younger children are in smaller rooms, with 9-11 students, while the 3 year olds are in groups of 11-15, and the 4 year olds are in groups of 11-17 students, depending on enrolment. All classes are taught by fully-qualified teachers; Bonim (adult-tot) has one teacher, all other classes have two.
My child has never been in a preschool program. What happens if he/she has a hard time when I leave?
Our teachers understand that the separation process will be different for each child. The teachers work with families, helping each child deal with separation gradually. Flexibility is key as we help children adjust to saying good-bye to the parent or caregiver and feel secure and comfortable in the classroom.
Does my child have to be toilet trained to attend Beth Emet’s Early Childhood program?
No. We recognize that children accomplish toilet training at different ages. Teachers work with parents and children wherever they are in the process.
Do you have a summer program?
Yes, we offer Camp Kayitz: 3-day or 4-day camp for children entering Madregot, G’dolim or Kindergarten. Session 1 runs for the first two weeks in June, and Session 2 runs from mid-June through the end of July. We also offer a parent-tot camp that meets on Friday mornings from mid-June through the end of July.
Do children have the opportunity to play outdoors?
Yes. Time for active play is an essential part of the schedule in every class. We have a private, fenced-in playground on the synagogue grounds that we enjoy year-round. In inclement weather, we use the Herman Crown Room, Beth Emet’s large social hall, for active play. There we have riding toys, slides, climbing equipment, balls, hula hoops and other toys that encourage large-motor activities.
Are the teachers in your program well trained?
We are very proud of the high level of training of our early childhood staff. All teachers are required to attend in-service programs and conferences throughout the year for professional development, and have CPR and First Aid training.
What is Lunch Bunch for Madregot and G’dolim classes?
We’re excited to extend your child’s school day with lunchtime, along with a wonderful range of enrichment classes, from 11:45-1:15 p.m. Enrichment classes might include yoga, drama, cooking, science and Hebrew. Children love this extended school experience!
Simplify your life by signing up for nutritious (and nut free) hot vegetarian lunches, catered by Gourmet Gorilla, or pack your child a nut-free lunch. Indicate your choice on the Application Form.
Do you have extended hours options? When do Madregot and G’dolim children take naps at school?
Early Birds begins at 8 am. Children who enroll in Full Day Fun will have nap/quiet time each day. Children may bring ‘lovies’ from home (blanket and stuffed animal, for example) which can stay at school. We have a labeled cot and sheet for every child who will be here during nap time. Children do not share cots or sheets. Each week, the sheets are laundered, and the cots are sanitized, more often if they are soiled. We have extra sheets available as well.
What are the policies regarding refunds?
Tuition is refundable per the policy on the application and in the parent handbook. There are no refunds for missed days or early pick up.
Will I have a chance to talk with the teachers about my child’s adjustment to school?
Communication between teachers and parents is essential to ensure a child’s positive experience at school. Parent-teacher conferences are held twice a year, in the fall and spring. Parents are also encouraged to keep in close touch with teachers if questions or concerns arise at other times.
What if my child has difficulties at school?
Teachers meet with parents on a regular basis during the year to ensure a child’s successful experience at school. The director is available to meet with parents and teachers together if problems arise. We are fortunate to have a consultant from the Virginia Frank Child Development Center working with our staff regularly to discuss issues of child development. Our consultant is available to observe individual children at parents’ request, and meet with parents to discuss her observations.
Is it o.k. if my family’s caregiver brings my child to school?
Yes. Many families have their caregivers bring their children go school, and caregivers are welcome to participate in our adult-child classes. Some families include their caregivers on the school’s email distribution list, so that they also receive newsletters and other pertinent school information.
My family keeps kosher. What food will my child be served at school?
We are proud that our Early Childhood program serves families from a variety of Jewish backgrounds. It is important to us that all families feel comfortable in our school. Our catered lunches are vegetarian and nut free. All foods served for snacks in the classrooms are kosher. In addition, we have a nut-free policy for food served in our school.
Tell me more about the catered hot lunches from Gourmet Gorilla.
What kind of accreditation does Beth Emet’s Early Childhood Program have?
Beth Emet’s Early Childhood Program is licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). We are also affiliated with the Community Foundation for Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago (CFJE).
Where can I find out more?
There are lots of people who would love to tell you more!