At B’nai Simcha we take an experiential, play-based approach to learning. We are inspired and guided by the best practices, theories, and ideas in early childhood education, based on the work of Vigotzky and Piaget, and use only developmentally appropriate guidelines.
We seek to create an environment for the children in which they can make sense of their world while exploring, manipulating and playing with various materials, toys and creative experiences. Literacy is a big part of the children’s exploration as we read, tell stories and draw/paint and otherwise express our experiences.
We want the children to grow as independent critical thinkers while developing empathy for their fellow humans. We encourage a child’s’ curiosity by extending the child’s inquiries with open-ended questions and support them in sharing their ideas with their peers. Active and engaged learning is in the center of our curriculum and the educators engage with the children at their level while modeling, narrating and supporting their overall development.
Being a Jewish preschool we seek to build a strong foundation of Jewish pride in the children. Our families come from a wide range of observance and connection with Jewish life and community. We want the children to learn to embrace our differences, learn from one another and truly enjoy themselves while doing so. We expose the children to Jewish values, traditions, and rituals as they are experienced throughout the day, weeks, month and years. We have Shabbat Sing and Shabbat celebrations every week. We sing traditional prayers with the children daily and make the traditional blessing “Hamoitze” before our meals. We celebrate and enrich the children’s holiday experiences as we move through the year and encourage you to participate in the celebrations here at school.
Diversity and Inclusion
One of the earliest values that can be found in Jewish tradition comes from Genesis 1:27. As God created humanity we read, “So God created human beings in His image (in Hebrew, the masculine form is used when the being is unknown), in God’s image God created them.”
This idea of being created in God’s image, b’tzelem Elohim, is a driving principle at B’nai Simcha, where we understand that not only are our diverse families meant to be celebrated and respected, but that our larger community is a wonderful melting pot where our differences are embraced.
While we will make mistakes, B’nai Simcha Jewish Community Preschool strives to teach and honor those differences while also teaching our children to stand up for themselves and others when they see unfair treatment at B’nai Simcha and, eventually, out in the broader community.
We encourage you, families, to help teach us about what makes your family special and different so that we may, in turn, teach the students at B’nai Simcha what makes our community so wonderfully diverse.
-Rabbi Aimee Gerace, fellow B’nai parent and Education Director at PJTC
We view the outside areas of our school as additional classroom space. We have areas outdoors to work on motor skills, create art, find quiet space for reflection, become at home with dirt and greenery and just explore. We try and spend at least a third of our day outdoors.
Music and Dance
Once a week each class is led by a professional music teacher in movement and song. Music is heard daily throughout the school and is an integral part of any of our celebrations. Rabbi Aimee Gerace leads us in Shabbat Sing each Friday morning to set the tone for Shabbat.