Education & Curriculum

Do you have to be religious to attend Torah Tots?  After all, you're at Chabad.

We accept students and families from all backgrounds and levels of observance.  There is no requirement for any Jewish observance or dress code.  Parents and families are welcome just the way they are, and we encourage a diverse population at our school.

At Torah Tots, I notice a natural-looking environment and no bright colored classrooms.  What is your reason for this?  Are you Reggio-inspired? Are you Montessori-inspired?

Great observation! As educators, we have carefully considered the child's environment and how the child learns best.  We asked ourselves questions like: What are our goals for the children? What is the teacher's role in education? What impact does the physical space, including the materials, have on the child? We have found answers to these questions from the myriad thinkers in early childhood education, and from age-old Jewish wisdom.  We believe that we have created our own unique philosophy that incorporates some aspects of each methodology. 

What is your policy on discipline and conflict resolution?

Our social-emotional curriculum is based on the Conscious Discipline Approach by Becky Bailey. (Click here for more information.) Our goal is to help our children grow into empathetic and self-controlled human beings.  Now is the time to begin building the lifelong skills of peaceful, equitable resolution.  We use positive discipline approaches as it maximizes affectivity.

What we don't do:

We do not "sermonize" at or talk down to the children.
Children are not put in "time out".
We do not dole out rewards for good behaviors.

Why we don't do that:

"Time Outs", rebukes and sermons may increase the child's tendency to simply tune out. While "bribes" or "threats" may seems easier for adults to extract from the children the desired behaviors, these practices only encourage the child to obey (at best!) for that moment.  External strategies provide a short-term relief for the adult, but they defeat the goal of a child integrating genuine attitudes of self-control and empathy.  For children to make an internal shift in their behaviors, they need to have an opportunity to talk out their perspective of what went on, and be allowed to be part of the solution.

Instead...:

We recognize the behaviors that are "age and stage" specific, and also that children learn appropriate social behaviors at different rates.  We anticipate the problems unique to preschoolers' social development and create an environment where each child can succeed.

We are clear in communicating right and wrong behavior, so that the children are keenly aware of expectations.

We teach appropriate behaviors through story, games, and discussions.  Learning these values in a theoretical state is easier for the child to assimilate than when emotions are running high.

In the event of an undesirable interaction, the teacher becomes an intermediary, helping the children discuss and resolve the issue.  We put a child's brain to work.  The process is not hurried.  Language is concrete and clear.  If necessary, teachers calm things down, but do not take sides.  They listen, echo children's concerns without judgement, may clarify issues, and have them seek appropriate solutions.

Does the curriculum prepare students for public school?

Absolutely!  Not only do our children have a good grasp of academic skills, they also learn how to learn.  This is accomplished by learning skills in the context of what is interesting to the children, building an authentic foundation for literacy, math, science, creative, motor, and social skills. Our children develop emotionally, acquiring skills for cooperation, responsibility, perseverance, positive relationships, and so on.  At Torah Tots, we do not drill our children with math or literacy concepts; we employ a hands-on approach to understanding math and literacy.  Earlier reading skills do not denote later success.

How will my child be assessed?

At Torah Tots, we use the GOLD teaching strategies and assessment. (Click here for more information.)  Teachers observe the children daily and document their development and growth in six areas: physical, social-emotional, cognitive, language, literacy, and math.

Do you go outside everyday? 

Yes, we certainly do! A core value of our school is our interconnectedness with nature, and the benefit of fresh air is enormous.  As such, we do outside everyday.  The outdoors is an extension of our classrooms, besides our regular outdoor scheduled times, we also have BING (Click here for more information.)

 

Staff  

Tell me about Torah Tots' staff.

All teachers meet or exceed the Florida licensing requirements.  Many hold degrees in education or a related field, with an early childhood certification.  All faculty are CPR and First-Aid trained, but most of all...our teachers are known for their warmth and love for children.  Each of them are open-minded to change and grow within the early childhood field.  We are always attending conferences and training sessions to learn the best, most current practices.

Of course, we check references and perform thorough background checks for all staff, including temporary staff. 

 

Health & Safety

What are the safety procedures you have in place?

We take security concerns very seriously.  We have evacuation and emergency response systems in place, and conduct periodic fire/evacuation drills.  Doors are looked at all times so that no strangers can enter the building, and children are released to those whose names are listed on the release form signed by parents.  (Click here for more information.)

How often do you clean the classrooms and toys?

To decrease the spread of illnesses and germs, general housekeeping chores are part of the classroom's daily routine. Additionally, we employ a full-time professional cleaning person who does deep cleaning and toy sanitizing. 

What's your policy on potty training? 

When the child's body is physically ready, we work closely with the parents to toilet train the child in a consistent, natural, nurturing manner, using appropriate words for body functions.  We celebrate successes and keep a positive upbeat attitude when the child has an "accident." (Cloth diapers are welcomed, but per states regulations they will be bagged and sent home unwashed.)

Students in the Turning Two and Two class do not need to be potty trained in order to attend school.  EC3 students are expected to be potty trained by October 1st of the school year. 

Who naps at Torah Tots?  What's your napping schedule?

Turning Two and Two nap for about an hour to an hour and a half per day.  EC3 has a rest time, generally they do not fall asleep, for forty-five minutes, and EC4 does not have nap time. 

 

Food

What is your lunch/snack policy? 

Children bring a dairy or vegetarian lunch and snack from home.  Suggestions for food can be found in our Parent Handbook.  As each family has its particular diet, children eat only their foods and do not share with one another. We stress nutrition, and encourage parents to send healthy foods only, no food coloring.  We also have hot lunch available.  (Click here for more information.

How do you accommodate food allergies?

We approach this on a class by class basis.  If we are alerted of a food allergy, all parents in that classroom are made aware of the food limitations. Staff are trained in the administration if Epipens.  If it is a severe nut allergy, we will have a nut free zone for that particular classroom.

 

Calendar

I love your school, but I need daycare hours.

To accommodate working parents, we offer extended care from 8am and until 5pm (4:30pm on Fridays). Early care and after care can be added on for the entire year or used as needed. (Click here for more information.)  In addition, we have Mini Camps on many of the holidays that school is closed. This way, a family can get the best of both worlds!  (Click here for more information.)

Do you have a summer program? 

Yes, Camp Gan Israel of the Arts (Click here for more information.)

 

Admissions & Tuition

What is the application process for new students? 

Parents visit the school, meet our Director, and see the classrooms.  At that point, parents will be told of space availability.  A space is secured once all the paperwork and registration fees are submitted.  Before the year begins, children are invited for a private class visit; this eases the transition into the new experience for the child.  (Click here for more information.)

What the the tuition payment options/procedures?

Parents are responsible for tuition from the first day of school through the last. School tuition can be paid in 1 payment or 10 equal payments.  Parents are responsible for tuition even if children are not in school for an extended period of time, i.e. illness, weather emergencies, or family vacations.  All deposits, fees, and tuition are non-refundable.
(Additional information can be found on the Student Enrollment Form.)

 

Parent-Teacher Communication

Why types/frequency of contact should I expect from my child's teacher?

Communication between the two cornerstones of a child's life, home, and school, is essential.  We utilize the Tadpoles Communications System.

Parent-Teacher conferences are scheduled during the school year. 

 

Parent Involvement

Does the school have ways for parents to be involved?

Yes!  T.O.D.A.H.   We also have class moms, school events, parent committees, and parents (we welcome grandparents also) are invited to be Mystery Readers and speak about their culture or professions.  We loves parents here at Torah Tots and want everyone to become involved and add to our wonderful community. 

 
Want more information?

Can you put us in touch with a current Torah Tots family? 

Yes!  A number of parents have offered to speak to incoming families or families considering our school. If you would like to be connected to one of them, please let us now by clicking here!

We have more questions.  How can we contact Torah Tots?

The school's phone number is 561-241-6257.  Our email address is office@halperintorahtots.com or click here .