Like a seed growing in a garden
Judaism teaches that the formative years of early childhood are vitally important. A child is viewed as a seed that we nurture with the utmost care, since the seed's every experience will shape and color the quality of its matured self.
We recognize that each child has his or her unique needs, interests and passions. Our children are viewed as collaborators: they are competent, curious, inquisitive, unique, and creative.
The Gan believes in an experiential and intentional approach to teaching and learning. This approach fosters children's intellectual development as they are encouraged to explore their environment and express themselves through words, movement, drawing, painting, playing and other natural modes of expression.
We promote an environment where children can develop the critical thinking and problem solving skills for a successful and meaningful life.
We stimulate the whole child by providing opportunities for children to grow in all areas of development; physically, emotionally, socially and cognitively.
Our Jewish values drive the environment of the preschool. We model and encourage kindness, respect, compassion, confidence and responsibility.
Your child's education and development are most important to us.
Heralded as an exemplary model of early childhood, Reggio empowers the child to be an active learner and participant in the learning process. Children are considered able communicators and capable researchers, innovating and learning and thereby building essential self motivational skills, forming an effective basis for a lifetime of learning.
Because students learn directly from their learning environment, a Reggio inspired classroom is set up in a way that is meant to be a reflection of the culture that the child lives in.
Reggio classrooms have soft soothing natural colors. They have wooden furniture and few plastic toys in them. They are environments that open minds, facilitate learning, and encourage children to have higher level learning experiences.
Children are encouraged to work in collaborative teams, problem-solving and learning from one another. They are encouraged to dialogue, critique, compare, negotiate and hypothesize. Multiple perspectives help children to build reciprocal relationships.
This speaks to our overarching goals of having the children emerge with a strong sense of self, confident in who they are as Jews and ready to interact in a kind, compassionate manner with the world around them.
Parents often wonder if their child would better thrive in a classroom or a home setting.
We believe that with the Reggio inspired philosophy in a real home environment, the children at The Gan will be guaranteed the best of both worlds.
The following are some key features of the Reggio Emilia philosophy.
The role of the environment-as-teacher.
Great attention is given to the look and feel of the classroom, the Reggio approach often refers to the environment as the "third teacher".
Teachers create environments rich in possibilities and provocations to extend exploration and problem-solving.
Children's multiple symbolic languages
Using the arts as symbolic languages through which to express understanding in their project work.
Documentation as assessment and advocacy
Documenting and displaying the children's project work, which is necessary for children to express, revisit, and construct and reconstruct their feelings, ideas and understandings.
Teachers act as recorders (documenters) for the children, helping them trace and revisit their words and actions, thereby making their learning visible.
Supporting and enriching children's learning through in-depth, short-term (one week) and long-term (throughout the school year) project work.
Projects are child-centered, following their interests, returning again and again to add new insights.
The Teacher as Researcher
The role of the teacher is first and foremost to be that of a learner alongside the children. The teacher is a teacher-researcher, a resource and guide as she/he lends expertise to children.
Within such a teacher-researcher role, educators carefully listen, observe, and document children's work and the growth of community in their classroom and are there to provoke and stimulate thinking.
Children, teachers, parents, and community are interactive and work together, building a community of inquiry between adults and children.