parents who drop-in unannounced. "I
am willing to listen to any sugges-
tions on curriculum or policy,"
Shaarey Zedek's Pont said. "It is their
school as much as their children's, as
much as ours!' The UHS' Gale keeps
parents up to date on the nursery's ac-
tivities by sending home a weekly
newsletter. Rena Weintraub, pre-
school director for the Jewish Com-
munity Center of Ann Arbor, en-
courages parent involvement "in any
way they'd like to participate!'
Family involvement is vital to the
nursery school, especially at Emanu-
El. According to Silverman, the
nursery school serves as a surrogate
family to many of the transferee
families who have moved to Detroit.
At the same time, Silverman sees the
school as a social gathering place.
"We're a viable part of the com-
munity," Silverman said. "We're a ser-
vice for young families to make con-
tacts socially. We're a real connecting
point for young families."
As an enhancement to its week-
day programming, Temple Emanu-
El's nursery school will be the site for
a family "teddy bear picnic in the
park" at 1 p.m. Feb. 26. The nursery
school, Jewish Experiences For
Families and Sinai Hospital will team
up for a program focusing on health
and disease prevention. Teddy bear
patients will get a check-up from
pediatrician Dr. Marty Levinson,
their eyes checked by ophthalmologist
Dr. Conrad Giles and their limbs ex-
amined by Dr. Richard Krugel. Pre-
schoolers and their parents are in-
vited to the free program, which also
will feature a puppet show by the
Germbusters and a concert by the
Most of the pre-schools follow a
developmental curriculum, where
children are taught according to their
abilities rather than by their
chronological age. "It's important
that we do not label . a child;' Pont
said. "Each one goes at his own pace."
For actual program planning, Pont
said the holidays help set up the cur-
riculum. To supplement, teachers add
units on health, science, community,
> careers and more.
The yeshivah nursery school cur-
riculum is more Torah oriented than
the others. "Our curriculum would be
unique to an Orthodox nursery," pro-
gram director Bette Josephs explain-
ed. "We are dealing with an area of
Jewish life that would be important
to our children. It is based on Torah!'
Directors of state-licensed nursery
Teacher Michaelyn Silverman plays a game with Jessica Blake, Ian Feig and Katie Fornell.
Blair Teeple relaxes on the floor.
The Butterfly Room at Temple Emanu-El has art, literature and free play areas.
schools are required to have at least
two years of college and 12 hours in
early childhood education. But most
of the directors of the Jewish nursey
schools surveyed hold bachelor's and
master's degrees. Some are former
public school teachers who have train-
ing in both early childhood and early
elementary education. They require
that their teachers be state licensed
and degreed in early childhood
Temple Emanu-El has brought in
aides to help the teachers. According
to Silverman, they need a kind of
training that doesn't come with a col-
lege degree. "They're nice, decent car-
ing people," Silverman said of her
aides. "If you have committed people
who respect children, that's
At the YESHIVATH BETH
YEHUDAH, students are involved in
a "dual program," according to
Josephs. "Secular and religious ac-
tivities are integrated to give the kids
a synthesis of their Jewish heritage
and the world and environment in
which they live," she said. The
nursery has two sessions daily —
Monday through Friday — and in-.
eludes arts and crafts, role playing,
story time, health and science,
dramatic play and free time. The
literature program makes use of the
yeshivah library. The curriculum also
includes aleph-bais readiness, holiday
and Shabbat celebrations.
The yeshivah nursery's current
enrollment is 45. The 47-year-old
nursery is supported by tuition and a
subsidy from the yeshivah. The
nursery accepts 4 year olds — if they
are 4 by Jan. 31 — and any Jewish
child, even though the school's orien-
taton is Orthodox, Josephs said. The
nursery is housed inside the yeshivah
building at 15751 Lincoln, Southfield.
SHAAREY ZEDEK'S nursery
school is aimed at mentshmaking —
teaching the child what it means to
be a decent human being. "School
should be a place to learn to be a per-
son," Pont explained. "It doesn't come
from memorizing numbers and let-
ters. Socialization is important!'
At the two Shaarey Zedek nursery
schools — one at the synagogue and
the other at 4230 Middlebelt in West
Bloomfield — 115 children are in the
regular nursery program, 30 are in
parent-toddler classes, 12 are in the
2-year-olds class and 55 children are
in the enrichment curriculum.
The 40-year-old nursery school is
supported by tuition and a subsidy
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS