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 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 enrollment. All classes are taught by fully-qualified teachers; Bonim (parent-tot) has one teacher, all other classes have two.
My child has never been in a nursery school 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 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.
Does everyone in the Madregot and G’dolim classes enroll in the lunch program?
While this is an optional program from 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m., we encourage everyone to participate. Children stay with their teachers and their class for additional hour of curricular activities.
I need more hours of childcare. Do you have extended hours options?
Yes, we offer 8:15 a.m. drop off and extended day (12:45 p.m.-1:45 p.m.) for children in Madregot and G’dolim.
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. All foods served for snacks in the classrooms are kosher. In addition, we have a nut-free policy for food served in our school.
Do you have a summer program?
Yes, we offer a 6-week Camp Kayitz: a parent/tot class, and 3-day or 4-day camp for children entering Madregot, G’dolim or Kindergarten.
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 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!
, Director of the Early Childhood Program, can be reached at 847-869-4230, ext. 305. Let Kathy know if you’d like to talk with the chairs of our Early Childhood Parent Committee or parents who have children the same age as your child. Visiting our school is the best way to learn more. Please call Kathy to make an appointment.