About The Early Childhood Program

About the Forest Hills Jewish Center Early Childhood Program

Our Approach

We believe children learn through play and hands-on experiences. Play is a child’s work. But don’t think that our school is merely play dough and blocks. All of our activities are intentionally geared to teach and promote cognitive, social and emotional skills. As the world is getting more complex we guide your child to become a problem solver, risk taker, and creative, imaginative thinker. We are much more interested in the process, than in the product. For example, blocks promote problem solving, predicting, cause and effect, language, measurement and mathematics. Our Creative Art center promotes fine motor skills, pre-writing skills and an opportunity to try new things. Language arts, science, music and math curriculum give your child a solid foundation for moving forward. No two children are alike, that’s why we nurture each individual child with devotion and attention. A significant goal of our program is to encourage your child’s growth in a developmentally appropriate environment – your child will learn and progress at his or her own pace. 

The continued success of our program is due in large part to the positive interactions among the parents, the children, our teaching staff and administration. We place a strong emphasis on parent and family involvement. We welcome you to participate by volunteering for different activities and experiences throughout the year, by attending accessible family programming and by joining a community of like-minded parents in social events.

Our Philosophy

Our Reggio Emilia inspired practices are anchored by our understanding of children as being capable, eager to explore, competent, and full of wonder and delight. The Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative (JECEI) applied a Jewish perspective to the Reggio concepts, and we have incorporated this into our Toddler and Judaic Wrap Around curricula. These concepts include:

Divine Image

Reggio’s central value—an image of the child as capable—mirrors the idea that every individual is unique. Here we honor everyone’s uniqueness and diversity is celebrated. Children are provided with the opportunity to explore and express themselves through “Reggio’s hundred languages,” including music, movement, writing, art, stories, dramatic play, cooking, games, discussions, block play, physical education, and nature.

Holy Space

Holy Space

We endeavor to create beautiful and sacred spaces for our children. This is reflected in all of our classrooms where materials, books, nature and, in our Toddler classrooms, Jewish traditions are honored. Families come together to appreciate the blessing of having a community.



We have a rich culture of inquiry and dialogue. In Reggio, educators believe that the documentation of these processes is powerful. Our entire staff engages in meaningful documentation of children’s work in an effort to share what transpires in the classroom and give honor to our children’s creativity.



History is ripe with examples of famed journeys. At FHJC Nursery & Pre-K For All, as in Reggio-Emilia, we believe in the power of the journey, and thus we allow children the time to journey toward their own conclusions in their own way. It is clearly understood that each child is a unique individual with his/her own pace of development that must be considered and respected at all times.


Belonging and Commitment

We believe that the relationships we, as educators, forge with our families are what enable each of us—parent, teacher, and child—to achieve our divine potential.

Awakening and Awareness

Awakening and Awareness

We advocate a playful, relaxed, non-pressured environment rich in experiences that foster imagination, curiosity, creativity and independence. We seek to stimulate children’s natural sense of amazement, wonder and joy of discovery.

repairing the world

Repairing the World

We are all obligated to walk the world mindfully. We teach all of our children to act with kavod – respect; to realize their responsibilities toward one another and the earth.

Our Learning Environment

We believe the learning environment is an additional teacher.  Our classrooms are set up  for your child to explore, inquire, be curious and creative.  When you send your child to our program, you’re giving him or her daily opportunities to explore, play, create, and interact in a setting specifically designed for someone his or her own age. Your child’s skills will be fostered and encouraged at every level. Your child will explore and discover as a way of learning, enabling her or him to develop confidence, creativity, and lifelong critical thinking skills.  Math and science curiosity is encouraged by providing manipulatives and table toys to help develop skills like counting, and classifying by size, color and shape.  Puzzles, play dough, Legos, beads, cutting, and drawing all help to encourage fine motor development.  Dramatic play encourages children to improve their important social skills, language development and understanding of symbols.  Wood blocks are an open ended tool which the children can use to stack, balance, and create.  Add in the active guidance of our teachers and your child learns about spatial relationships and develops problem solving skills.

Our Staff

Our unique program has an incredible staff that is highly motivated and dedicated to your child’s growth.  Our teachers are inspired by Reggio Emilia best practices.  They focus on big ideas, interesting projects, and individual students’ passions and needs.  Our teachers engage in an ongoing cycle of observing, guiding learning, and assessing children’s progress. Teachers interact with the children continuously, helping them develop an ability to cooperate with others while at the same time becoming independent and critical thinkers.  

Click Here to meet Lynn Fisher, our Director of Early Childhood Education

Our Programs

Summer Program

The FHJC summer program offers indoor and outdoor activities, plus opportunities for fun, friendships, and exploration. Our program groups children by age and encourages their growing ability to make choices, work with others, and assume responsibilities. Each week our campers get messy with crafts, play in our rooftop playground’s sprinklers, work with cooking, science, and other activities centered around a different theme. We help children discover science, explore nature, and engage in the creative arts, while learning about the world around them in a fun and safe environment.

Find the Sign Up for the 3K and Pre-K Summer Program here.

Find the Sign Up for the Toddler Summer Program here.

*Stay & Play

This is an interactive class geared towards 16-24-month-old children with a caregiver. Stay and Play fosters independence in your child, enhances social awareness by allowing your child to interact with others, as well as promotes pro-social development. Stay and Play classes take place two mornings per week from 9:15-10:45, with the option of signing up for one or both days. The class takes place in two sessions: Fall and Winter/Spring.

*Toddler Program (2s)

Our toddlers begin to develop communication, social, physical and problem-solving skills through a play-based learning environment. Sign up options include 9-12 for 3 days a week or 5 days a week. Early drop off is available beginning at 7:45am, and aftercare extends until 5pm except for Fridays where aftercare ends at 2pm. The children staying past 12pm eat lunch, nap, have an afternoon snack, and continue to participate in exploratory activities that use all their senses to experience the world. We offer an additional lunch program or lunch can be sent in with your child. All food needs to be kosher, nut-free and dairy or pareve (not meat). Children enrolled in our Toddler program receive priority seating in our 3K program.

3K For All

Our Department of Education Free 3K program provides an environment for children to explore their world, gain a sense of independence, play with peers and build self-confidence. Our 3K program is offered 5 days a week from 8:40 – 3:00 Monday – Thursday and 8:20 – 2:40 on Friday. Early drop off is available beginning at 7:45am, and aftercare extends until 6pm. We offer an optional Judaic Wrap Around program (see below) for those who are interested. A kosher lunch is included, but lunch can be sent in with your child, all food needs to be kosher, nut-free and cannot include any meat products. Children enrolled in our 3’s program receive priority seating in our Pre-K For All program.

Pre-K For All Program (PKA) (4s)

We are a Free Department of Education Pre-K For All program. Our PKA program utilizes the Creative Curriculum Units of Study and continues to focus on helping your child develop their physical, social, emotional, language and literacy, math and cognitive skills. Each Unit of Study ends with a culminating event for all families to attend. The PKA program runs from 9:20 – 3:40 Monday – Thursday, and 8:25 – 2:45 on Fridays. This is a tuition-free program. Registration for PKA takes place through the Department of Education website from February – mid March. Early drop off is available beginning at 7:45am for children enrolled in our Judaic wrap-around program (see below), and aftercare extends until 6pm. A kosher lunch is included, but lunch can be sent in with your child, all food needs to be kosher, nut-free and cannot include any meat products.

*Judaic Wrap-Around Program (3s and 4s)

This optional program provides engaging Jewish education for your child prior to the start of the 3K or Pre-K day. Parshah, holidays, music, stories and projects are all joyously incorporated throughout the year. Hours for our wrap program for our 3K students are 8:00 – 8:40 Tuesday and Thursday and for our PreK students the hours are 8:20am-9:20am M-Th, and 8am-8:25am on Friday.

* At least one parent must be Jewish to enroll in this program

Find the 2023-24 Pre-K, 3K and Wrap Calendar Here.

Find the 2023-24 Toddler Calendar Here.

Find the Toddler Contract (2s) for 2024-25 Here.

Find the 3K Extended Care Wrap Contract for 2023-24 Here.

Find the Pre-K Extended Care Wrap Contract for 2023-24 Here.

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