What is TIC Nursery School's philosophy?
Our philosophy and curriculum are based on a deep understanding of the ways in which young children learn best. We are a child-centered and play-based, developmentally appropriate program that supports the needs, interests, and developmental tasks of young children We emphasize the interaction between the learning child and his or her social and physical environment. We believe that young children learn by acting on their environment in a carefully constructed classroom. Our experienced and loving teachers offer a curriculum that allows children to play, interact with each other and grow in all areas of their development. Each child is encouraged to make choices, initiate activities, manipulate materials, and develop skills which in turn enhance self-esteem. This kind of creative play develops social skills, language abilities, physical development, independence, the ability to focus, and problem solve. Teachers plan for the group and for each individual child, and each class becomes a caring community.
We believe that experiences lead to learning when they occur in a socially, physically and emotionally responsive classroom setting. A carefully planned curriculum encourages safe, spontaneous, hands-on exploration and supports the development of curiosity, problem-solving and social growth. We endeavor to create an atmosphere which nurtures self-esteem through positive relationships with others along with respect and acknowledgement of each child’s individuality and level of competence.
How are Jewish values integrated into your program?
Just as we believe that cognitive, social-emotional and pre-academic development are crucial in the early years, we know that the teaching of Jewish values, traditions and ritual are equally vital. Through the natural order of the calendar, Jewish ritual permeates the classroom flowing from month to month. The children celebrate Shabbat each week, and our Jewish holidays provide a rhythm to the school year with each holiday celebrated with music, stories and projects. In addition to celebrating the holidays, the children participate in monthly mitzvah projects, doing their part to repair our world through tzedakah, environmental awareness and other activities to help those in need.
Are the clergy from Temple Israel Center involved in the Nursery School?
One of the unique strengths of our school is the relationship our clergy have with our children and our parents. The synagogue’s three amazing Rabbis, (Senior Rabbi Gordon Tucker, Associate Rabbi Ari Isenberg-Grzeda, and Ritual Director Rabbi Dina Shargel) as well as Cantor George Mordecai visit our classrooms to tell stories, sing and teach with our children, enabling our children to fall in love with Judaism and experience the joy and spirit of Jewish living. In addition to weekly classroom shabbat celebrations with the 2s & 3s, the clergy teach a weekly Mitzvah Makers program to our 4s each week in the Irene Schwebel Chapel.
What is your approach to separation?
Separation occurs at the beginning of each school year regardless of whether or not your child has been to school before. To make this transition as gentle as possible, we have a short phase-in schedule during the first week of school. Parents are asked to stay in school for the first few days, during which time we encourage you to enjoy coffee and conversation with other parents in our Nursery School. We allow children (and parents) to separate at their own pace. Sometimes children are ready before parents; sometimes parents are ready before children. Some children take longer to separate than others. The age of the child is really insignificant. We believe that the way to build a child’s sense of trust and security is to support and cheerfully encourage their progress at their own pace and our wonderful, experienced teachers help children and parents on this journey. Our school Social Worker is also available to help with the separation process as needed.
In which areas & neighborhoods do the families in TIC Nursery School live?
TIC hosts families from many communities in the southern Westchester area including White Plains, Scarsdale, West Harrison, Harrison, New Rochelle, Rye Brook, Larchmont, Yonkers, Hartsdale, and Thornwood.
My child isn't Nursery School age yet. Do you offer any programs that I could attend with my baby or toddler?
Yes! We recognize that even very young children (and moms, too!) benefit from early socialization experiences and from connecting to a Jewish community. To meet these important needs of pre-Nursery School-aged babies and toddlers, we offer the following:
•Babies & Bagels - A free monthly parenting workshop featuring guest speakers, open to parents and babies up to 24 months.
•Toddler & Me - A weekly class for parents and children aged 10-24 months.
•Bim Bam - A weekly pre-Shabbat class where young ones can learn the Shabbat blessings as they are introduced to our wonderful school.
The Nursery School day begins at 9:00 am, but this is difficult for my work schedule. Do you offer any early morning drop off?
Yes. Our Early Birds program provides an early drop off option from 8:00 am-9:00 am daily (at an additional cost). You may sign up for the entire year, weekly or simply use it on an as needed basis.
Do you offer after-school enrichment activities?
Yes! We offer a variety of developmentally appropriate, engaging afternoon enrichment programs that run until 2:30 pm. Our 3 and 4 year olds can sign up for Extended Day classes such as Mad Science, Cooking, Yoga, Taekwondo, Backyard Sports, and Happy Feet (soccer). Fees for these programs vary and are in addition to the morning tuition.
Is there any coverage beyond 2:30 pm?
We realize that every day is a juggling act for parents, particularly for working parents. With the increasing demands placed on parents and caregivers of young children, it is more important than ever to provide an extended day program to better accommodate their busy lives. We are very pleased to offer a new program for our families, providing families with a longer school day, of up to 8.5 hours of supervised play and learning. Our Stay & Play program, offers families the flexibility of having their pre-school aged children (two to five years) to remain in school until 4:00 pm. Stay & Play is a flexible program that offers parents and caregivers the best solution to longer hours in a nurturing learn-through-play environment with other children. Stay and Play can be combined with other extended day programs including: early morning drop-off and afternoon enrichment programs such as Mad Science, Backyard Sports and Taekwondo.
Tell me about communication between school and home.
Our teachers are always available to meet with parents as needed, but twice a year we hold regularly scheduled Parent-Teacher Conferences so parents are continually updated about their child's progress and development.
As for day-to-day communication, each class has a white board outside the room where teachers post notes and comments each day about what is going on in their class. These notes serve as great conversation starters for parents to engage their children in discussions about what they are experiencing and learning in school. In addition, parents receive a weekly email newsletter from the the Director of the school as well as monthly emails (or more often as needed) from the classroom teachers. Our nature, movement, and music specialists often send periodic email newsletters as well. These newsletters help keep parents informed about what the children are learning in the classroom as well as about ways to become involved in school-wide events, activities, and other opportunities.
Do you offer support for children with special needs?
We believe that all children should have the opportunity to be educated in the least restrictive environment that values and promotes the special attributes of each child. We partner with special educators who work with our children through Early Intervention and CPSE. We support parents through the special education process and have a Director of Inclusion on staff. Parents are often pleased to hear that Temple Israel Center's commitment to children of varying needs does not end after Nursery School. Our Religious School has one of the strongest and most well-respected Special Education programs available in a synagogue school. In addition, we are very pleased to announce a new synagogue-wide Shabbat program just launched for the special needs community.
Do you have a Social Worker? What support might families receive from her?
Through Project SEED, a collaboration between Westchester Jewish Community Services and the Jewish Education Project, we have a wonderful school Social Worker, Jen Spitz, on staff. Project SEED (Supporting Early Emotional Development) is designed to help early childhood educators support young children’s emotional development. SEED early childhood consultants are all licensed social workers. They facilitate workshops for parents and are available to meet with parents individually. Consultants also facilitate staff development training and work with teachers to build excellence in our classroom environments. Through Project SEED, early childhood consultants become integral to the school community and support the directors, teachers and parents in building stronger learning environments for children. Jen attends our Back to School Night, Welcome Coffee and will be available the first week of school to help with separation. Throughout the year she is available to offer support to parents and teachers and offers periodic workshops on topics including typical development of 2, 3, and 4 year olds, appropriate limit-setting, sleep, anxiety in young children and more.
What kind of activities and support groups do you offer for parents?
We have many opportunities for our parents to socialize, study, and volunteer together. We have a Hesed (“kindness”) Committee that partners with the teachers to plan monthly mitzvah (social action) projects and also supports families during times of need – the birth of new baby, illness or disability, and bereavement. We take a personalized approach to each situation, and support ranges from providing meals, to arranging playdates, carpooling, etc. Plus we have a very active PTO offering parents the opportunity to become involved in various school activities and special events.
What schools do your graduates attend?
TIC Nursery School graduates continue on to a variety of public and private schools, including:
•Edgemont Public Schools
•Harrison Public Schools
•Scarsdale Public Schools (Fox Meadow, Heathcoate, Quaker Ridge, Green Acres)
•Westchester Day School
•White Plains Public Schools (Ridgeway, Mamaroneck Avenue, Church Street, Post Road)
Do you offer summer programs?
Yes! We offer morning sessions for toddlers (Toddler & Me), 2s, 3s and 4s. Our six and a half week camp provides a summer filled with enthusiastic, age-appropriate fun and discovery in a relaxed, nurturing environment. Your child will never forget his/her summer at Mahane Rishon, My First Camp. Staffed by the same warm and energetic teachers as our school year programs, camp offers a seamless transition to the next stage of your child’s Nursery School program. Each group is also supported by CITs from within the community, bringing the average staff to child ratio to 1:3.
Campers spend time outdoors each day, weather permitting, and there is plenty of water play to stay cool in the warm summer sun. Activities include arts & crafts, music, dance, movement, cooking, sports and more. In addition we have weekly themes, visiting specialists and special events such as Mud Day, Animal Week, relay races, obstacle courses, a special Independence Day celebration and lots more. The enthusiasm and joy of the day are truly contagious and your child will come home with lasting memories!
Our family is thinking about joining a synagogue. Do Nursery School families receive any free/discounted membership to Temple Israel Center?
Yes! We welcome Nursery School families into the synagogue by offering any non-member family who joins Temple Israel Center 50% off of total dues in their first year of membership. This discount applies regardless of which dues category the family falls into. For more information, please contact Nursery School Director Patty Goldstick, Interim Executive Director Sandy Silverstein, or complete an online inquiry form.
FAQ on Stay & Play
What is Stay & Play?
Stay & Play is our new flexible program that offers longer hours in our wonderful nursery school.
What are the hours?
Mon- Thurs, until 4:00pm
Fridays until 2:30pm
Who can sign up?
Any child enrolled in one of our 2s, 3s or 4s morning core programs.
What is the cost?
Approximately $12 per hour when you sign up for the year. Prices vary depending on days and hours.
Can my child still participate in the afternoon enrichment or early bird programs?
Yes! For an additional fee, Stay & Play can be combined with all extended day programs including: early morning drop-off and afternoon enrichment programs such as Mad Science, Backyard Sports and Taekwondo.
What will my child be doing for all that time?
A typical day will look like this:
•12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Lunch and Storytime
•1:00 - 1:45 p.m. Rest time – We will have napping mats for all. The younger children can nap while older children will have a quiet playtime (looking at books, playing with stuffed animals/dolls) on their mat.
•1:45 - 2:30 p.m. Afternoon enrichment for those enrolled; Art, block building and group games for the rest of the group
•2:30 - 3:40 p.m. Outdoor play or Gym time
•3:40 - 4:00 p.m. Snack
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