Infant & Toddler Program Curriculum
We combine NAEYC's Best Infant & Toddler Practices with our Judaic curriculum to provide a safe, loving, and engaging program for the youngest members of our community. We provide cozy, home-like atmosphere and a strong 1:3 teacher-child ratio. We believe in the importance of primary-caregiving, which ensures that each child and family has one special teacher devoted to their indivudal needs. Families are welcomed into the classroom at any time and are viewed as invaluable partners/experts in the care of the child.
Teachers follow the natural rythms of the child, and carefully record and monitor all eating, sleeping, toileting and developmental growth. Children play in our Infant & Toddler Room and in the Ginah (Garden), and are enjoy frequent walks in the neighborhood!.
Judaic curriculum is naturally embedded into the physical environment (toys, materials and manipulatives), through language (Tefilah, songs, Hebrew, music), and in special play activities and experiences during Shabbat and the holidays.
Teachers combine a Judaic scope and sequence with the children's interests, making Jewish learning engaging and relevant to young children.
Holidays and Torah Portions
Children explore rituals, values and symbols related to each holiday through stories, songs, drama, cooking, arts, outdoor learning and special projects. We believe that children learn by doing - activities are hands on and experiential. At Rosh Hashana children harvest their own apples, at Sukkot children build their own sukkah, and on Shavuot children make their own butter!
We incorporate Torah Portions into our curriculum when content is relevant to young children. During our Bereshit unit, children create a mural for each day of Creation, explore the qualities of light, dark and shadows, and learn about land and water. During our unit on Noah's Ark, children learn all about animals - such as names, footprints and hair/fur patterns - and begin to make graphs related to animals.
Welcoming Shabbat is a special, weekly event. Each Friday morning children bake challah, sing songs and visit the sanctuary. Children enjoy a walk with musical instruments to Beth Jacob’s sanctuary where our Rabbis or educators bring biblical stories to life and sing Shabbat songs and prayers. At the end of the day, children gather in the Ginah (garden) for our special Shabbat Party! Every last Friday of the month we have a Community Shabbat that is open to families.
Jewish values are a core part of our curriculum. Values that are especially emphasized are Chesed (loving kindness), Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), Tzedakah (Giving charity) and Bal Tashchit (Not destroying needlessly). We incorporate these values in our social/emotional curriculum and in special projects such as our Giving Garden.
We believe that Jewish learning is especially meaningful when it is related to the natural life and play of the child. Emergent, or child-led, curriculum is also an important part of our program. Teachers at Gan Mah Tov are skilled at finding emergent interests and asking "what's Jewish about this?" as they develop their curriculum. For example, when the children are excited about building with Magnatiles teachers may connect this to building Shushan during Purim, or when children are digging in the mud in the garden, teachers may connect this to making bricks during Passover.
Whether your child has an extensive or limited Jewish background, our goal is the same: to create a joyful connection to Jewish identity.
General Studies Curriculum
Our general studies curriculum is integrated into instruction and play-based learning throughout the day. We carefully set up the classroom to teach to Howard Gardener's Multiple Intelligences - including linguistic, mathematical/logical, kinesthetic, musical, spatial, and naturalist. Children explore a variety of pre-kindergarten content during Morning Meeting and at our Developmental Learning Centers in the classroom, such as letters, numbers, shapes and colors. Children learn about the seasons, five senses, emotions, transportation and occupations.During “Occupation Month” we welcome many different visitors, including firefighters, doctors, dentists, and police officers.
Teachers often incorporate General Studies into our Judaic curriculum. For example, during Channukah we explore light and dark and practice counting.