Welcome to the Gan, a premier Jewish preschool in Washington, DC. We are a community of students, staff, and parents who learn and play together. Our children, ages six months to five years, are excited to come to school to experience new things and see familiar faces. Children form friendships with one another that sometimes turn into lifelong relationships, and parents frequently make plans for coffee and get-togethers with other families. We are a diverse community of families who celebrate traditions together, and whose children learn to love learning.
We embrace the competency of children and study the principles and methods of Reggio Emilia as we work to foster each child's growth. Teachers are considered co-learners in the classroom and create this nurturing environment based on the interests of the children. As each unique project evolves, children learn by touching, moving, listening, seeing, and hearing the world around them. They develop self-confidence as they direct their own learning, and as teachers weave in principles of respect, responsibility, and community.
While children enjoy creative exploration, we understand that they also need routines at this young age. Each classroom has its own schedule and traditions with daily playground time, or, on rainy days, bikes and scooters in a large, open indoor space. Teachers use snack time to encourage class conversation and foster social skills and manners while all enjoy a healthy, kosher, nut-free snack. During circle time, children enjoy talking about recent activities and plans for future projects.
Learning extends outside the classroom, as children get to know Adas Israel clergy, take an imaginary trip to Israel, hear a shofar blowing, or open the Torah to find the first letter of their Hebrew names. They visit the Adas Israel library to read with the synagogue librarian. Field trips are another fun way to teach valuable lessons, and can include a walk to the nearby library, post office, and grocery store, or a hike on Rock Creek Park trails. Trips to museums, farms, and a local matzo factory are also highlights.
On Fridays, the Gan focuses on Shabbat. Each week children recite Shabbat blessings as they help their teachers light candles and bless the challah and grape juice. The entire school comes together for “Shabbat Sing,” an enthusiastic welcome to Shabbat led by a dynamic rotating groups which includes Cantor Ari, Caron Dale, and the Religious School Director. Many parents enjoy participating in this joyful, musical experience.
Fridays are one of the best times to visit our school because you can combine a classroom visit with Shabbat Sing, which begins at 11:20 a.m. and ends at 11:40 a.m. If you can't make it at this time, our door remains open. We hope you will come experience the warmth for yourself.
Sheri Brown, Director