Gan Gurim is a mixed age group of twelve 2-4 year old children, from different backgrounds and exposure levels to Hebrew. Gan Gurim offers two distinct year round programs that are taught in alternate years. One is called “טעמים בסיפורים” (translation: “Flavors in Books”) and the other is “לגדול בריאים ומאושרים בגן גורים” (translation: “Growing Healthy and Happy at Gan Gurim”). The distinctiveness of each program offers opportunities to tailor the curriculum to each child’s individual needs and levels. In addition, each program is spiral, cyclical in nature as the Jewish holidays and the seasons repeat every year, although they are always presented with a slightly different emphasis. Both programs expose children to different concepts allowing them to continue growing and developing their Hebrew proficiency while using their senses to learn. Our program is process oriented (vs. project- oriented). We place a significant emphasis on children’s experience rather than on the end result – whether it’s cooking, drawing or other activities. During any activity, we only make non-Judgmental observations that reflect the effort put forth by the child such as “I see that you are using a lot of blue today,” or “I notice that you are planning your work carefully,” and avoid statements such as “Your drawing is very pretty,” which speaks to the end product.
I strongly believe that children learn through their senses: they need to touch, taste, smell, hear and see. Our program offers many hands-on opportunities for true learning. There will be enough opportunities for formal teaching when the children attend grade school.
Early childhood is the time to provide the children with tools for socialization, strategies for problem-solving, creative and critical thinking and other life skills.
When children collect positive learning experiences, it encourages their approach and love for learning, builds their self-esteem and provides them with learning skills and social skills that they use when entering the school system.
This is the time for them do to what kids do best – play to learn and learn to play