Our nursery school, for children ages 12 months to 5 years, is based on the belief that young children construct knowledge of the world by actively engaging with their surroundings. Teams of teachers design pre-school classrooms that encourage children to experiment, discover and explore in a safe, stimulating Jewish environment. Whether it's learning how colors blend while finger-painting, counting the candles for the Chanukah menorah, or negotiating the sharing of toys in the sensory table, teachers help young children become active learners and a part of a community.
Fostering a positive Jewish identity in young children is an integral component of our program, as we seamlessly blend the richness of Jewish values, traditions and holiday celebrations into our pre-school curriculum.
A successful pre-school experience strengthens children's ability to be part of a group. As the children's social skills develop, they learn to become independent, responsible and cooperative members of a class. We work together to be active listeners and nurturing individuals who are caring, compassionate and empathetic.
Our Early Childhood program embraces the entire family through family celebrations and parent education. The Early Childhood staff is dedicated building partnerships with parents as we support the growth of each child and each family.
Our curriculum includes activities that are hands-on, developmentally appropriate and frequently initiated by the children. A significant part of each morning is dedicated to free play. During this time children are encouraged to make choices, explore, create, socialize with their peers, and learn the art of problem-solving and negotiation. This is done with the support and facilitation of our experienced teachers. Every classroom has age-appropriate materials and equipment, allowing the children to investigate math, Jewish life, science, literacy and social studies at their own pace. Teachers provide structure, watching and listening carefully to determine the interests of each group, and then develop activities that build on these areas of interest. Judaism is woven into all our activities. Our program introduces Jewish holidays and rituals through songs, literature, play and art. An introduction to Hebrew, a love for Israel and the teaching of Jewish values continually strengthen the children’s Jewish identity.
Our Learning Environment
Learning takes place everywhere we go! Whether it's comparing fruit at the science table in a sunny classroom, swinging on the monkey bars on the playground, or exploring the Torah scrolls in the sanctuary, our school offers many opportunities for children to learn and discover. Each day, children spend time outdoors in our private state-of-the-art playground or in the large indoor playroom.
Our program is proud to have earned NAEYC Accreditation - the mark of quality for early childhood education programs. We are affiliated with the Community Foundation for Jewish Education of Chicago and licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
Our School Community
Our teachers are dedicated and caring professionals with experience teaching in Jewish preschools. They hold degrees in early childhood education or related fields, and all are engaged in ongoing learning. Our Director, Kathy Kaberon has worked in Beth Emet's Early Childhood Program for many years and holds a graduate degree in Early Childhood Education. In addition, a consultant from the Virginia Frank Child Development Center is a key member of the early childhood team and serves as a valuable and accessible resource for parents.
The Early Childhood Program is an integral part of the Beth Emet Synagogue community. The clergy actively participate in the school, visiting our classes, leading weekly Shabbat singing and engaging in informal discussions with our parents and students.
Our parents are involved with the program on an informal and formal basis, attending parent-teacher conferences, visiting the classrooms as Shabbat guests, engaging in adult learning and participating in family programs throughout the year. Parents have the opportunity to become involved in the Early Childhood Committee, which supports the school and helps build a community among our families.