Students spend time each day on the playground, going on hikes, and participating in other outdoor activities. The two-year-old classes love spending time in our dedicated gross-motor playroom, which is filled with toys that work young muscles.
Children also participate in a formal creative movement program once a week with Val Tomkins of Kids Moving Company, where they develop balance, coordination, rhythm, and body awareness.
STEAM activities are woven into the classroom curriculum, and focus children’s attention on science, technology, engineering, art, and math activities.
Music is an important part of our program. Musical instruments are in every room and children regularly engage in a number of musical activities including singing, dancing and dramatics. The Gan is also proud to carry on two musical traditions:
Shabbat Sing: Every Friday the entire Gan community comes together for a special musical Kabbalat Shabbat (welcoming Shabbat) program. Parents frequently join their children for this special celebration. Shabbat Sing is led by a dynamic rotating groups which includes Cantor Ari, Ariel Jacobson, Robyn Helzner, Caron Dale, and more!
Music with Robyn: Monthly music sessions with Robyn Helzner introduce children to songs in Hebrew, English, Yiddish and Ladino for Shabbat, holidays and year-round playtime singing. Robyn blends music, movement, and fun into each lesson. She has released two widely acclaimed recordings for Jewish children, “Clap Your Hands” and “I Live in the City.” (Click here to listen to these CDs, which were recorded at Adas Israel with children from the Gan!)
Judaism is infused in our curriculum. From saying a short blessing before we eat snacks and meals, to Hebrew language in our classrooms, to our weekly school-wide gathering at Shabbat Sing - Jewish values and traditions permeate our daily life at the Gan. We introduce Judaics to the children through learning (Torah), celebrations (avodah/religious observance), and tzedakah (gimilut chasidim/acts of kindness).
Holidays: Students participate in classroom and community-wide holiday celebrations and learning. The entire Gan community comes together throughout the year to mark significant moments - we gather to hear Rabbi Feinberg blow the shofar, for a reading of the Purim megillah, and for the school-wide Pesach seder. On Fridays, we welcome Shabbat with our musical Shabbat Sing.
Tzedakah: Helping others is a very important part of Jewish teaching and tradition. We believe that even our youngest children can participate in meaningful ways. Children can donate money, help make sandwiches for Martha’s Table, select towels and toys to donate to poor or sick children, and help make boxes with toiletries and winter clothing for children in need.
Talking Torah with Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt: Every other week Rabbi Lauren meets with our children to teach the weekly Torah portion. These lessons highlight a particular story, value, or ritual in the Torah. We study through conversation, books, and songs.