Family Handbook 2016-17
Congregation Beth Israel, 301 East Jefferson Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902
CBI Preschool & Kindergarten Values
CBI Preschool and & Kindergarten values guide the beliefs and actions of the director, teachers, and committee members of the school on a daily basis. Our values are the fabric of our unique culture and are central to how we make decisions and how we understand who we are in relationship to each other, to our students, to their families, and to the larger community.
Our journey began in 1998 and our core values have always been reflected in our program. We believe that children learn through play. Through play, each child is encouraged explore, to experiment, and discover using their unique learning style and interests. We believe teachers are facilitators who set up the environment to promote discovery. As a school community, we hope to better understand how young people learn.
Our Reggio Emilia Approach is based on several guiding values:
- TZELEM ELOHIM – Appreciating Individuality
We teach respect and appreciation to each other’s differences while enabling a sense of pride in each child’s uniqueness. We are growing together and we are working towards personal betterment, but we each have different starting points, rates of growth and ways we grow. We recognize that changing circumstances and needs require flexibility. Likewise, CBI Preschool and Kindergarten changes it’s pedagogy as we as individuals grow and change, always striving for improvement.
- HITORARUT – Awakening to our world
We encourage an awareness of self, others, and our environment, both in the classroom and the greater world. We recognize each Shehekeyanu moment as they arise. We present opportunities to discover and imagine. We encourage exploration and guide discussion, reaching beyond the apparent.
- KEHILLAH – Community
We promote growth of relationships through teaching and modeling compassion, empathy, open mindedness, and respect. We believe that collaboration between teachers, parents and children are an essential part of our environment. We support each other not just as a school, but part of a larger community.
- AHAVAT LIMUD – Love of Learning
We take a holistic approach to each child, to Judaism and to the curriculum as a whole. Children are encouraged to ask questions and seek answers. Together, parents and teachers work as partners to guide the child’s interactions with the world. Jewish values, customs and traditions guide all aspect of our teaching.
CBI’s early childhood program provides an opportunity for children to play, learn, and grow together in a Jewish environment. Children are encouraged to ask questions about the world and test their theories to develop a love of learning, a strong sense of self and critical thinking skills. The program focuses on developmental growth while emphasizing Jewish values and practice with young children through rich and meaningful educational experiences in a secure, nurturing, and stimulating environment.
Early childhood experiences provide a foundation for a lifetime. Early Jewish childhood education supports and enhances Jewish living in our homes and in our community. CBI Preschool and Kindergarten supports children through a developmental, constructivist approach which recognizes and addresses individual growth and needs of students and creates opportunities for children to grow at his or her own pace.
For the past several years, our school has been inspired by the educational philosophy of the preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. Based on the belief that children are active learners and born with unique abilities and modalities of expression, we have come to realize the similarities between the values of Reggio Emilia and of Judaism. The Jewish image of the child tells us that children begin to experience the world from birth. We have a commitment to our children as a Jewish community.
Our program uses the Project Based Approach building on the interests of the children. This emergent curriculum evolves from observation of the children’s conversations, interests, and play. Teachers and students collaborate to research these ideas. Children are encouraged to ask questions, seek answers, find experts, and draw conclusions. Through the Project Based Approach children develop curiosity, creativity, both written and verbal communication, listening, negotiation, observation, and critical thinking skills.
Teachers document children’s progress, validating the children’s work and enabling on-going assessment. The children’s thoughts and ideas are documented through photography, video, displays and writing, as the teachers strive to support each child’s development to the fullest extent. We both nurture and challenge the whole child as they develop academically, emotionally, socially, cognitively, physically and spiritually.
History of CBI Preschool
Our journey began in 1998 with volunteers and CBI members Jan Dorman and Elayne Phillips looking to provide a warm, nurturing and creative Jewish environment for young children. The program, led by Ellen Dietrick, started with 6 children enrolled in a three morning a week class. In response to community interest, a full day program was established in 2000 and now serves over 50 children. In 2008 the school again responded to community interest with the addition of a Kindergarten class. In 2012 we expanded to offerings for 18 month olds. CBI Preschool and Kindergarten is registered with the Commonwealth of Virginia as a religiously exempt child day center.
Statement of Non-Discrimination
CBI Preschool does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, handicap, or national origin.
The faculty is the foundation of a quality educational program. For this reason, we maintain high standards. Our teachers are well versed in child development, both by educational training and relevant experience. Their hiring is reflective of their love of children and commitment to introducing children to a supportive, creative Jewish learning environment. Our teachers support learning and exploration in the classroom by planning age appropriate developmental activities, based on observations of their play and their developmental needs.
Our faculty members receive a health clearance by their respective physicians. Each teacher trained and certified in first aid is present at the school whenever children are present. Our faculty continues to participate in intense ongoing professional development in their work to provide quality experiences for children.
Community volunteers are welcomed at CBI and are an integral part of the daily life of the school. Volunteers add a multigenerational component to the school; past volunteers have included college students, students preparing to become Bar or Mat Mitzvah at CBI, residents of Innisfree, a residential community for adults with mental disabilities, and members of the CBI community. A special component of our volunteer crew is our older volunteers, who become like adopted grandparents to the children. Teachers supervise the volunteers in the classroom, orienting them to classroom happenings, and supporting their integration into the school community.
In order to provide each child with a quality experience including individualized attention we maintain low student to teacher ratios. Ratios vary according to the age of the children and size of the classroom and our average ratio is 12 students to 2 teachers.
Our physical facilities, located within Congregation Beth Israel, have been certified for use as a school. Located in downtown Charlottesviille, we use the city as our extended campus visiting the local parks and nearby sites. In addition, we use the synagogue courtyard, our backyard playground, and local parks for outdoor play. In inclement weather, our second floor space provides a large carpeted area to exercise little bodies.
Public Liability Insurance
Congregation Beth Israel is covered by public liability insurance which provides coverage in the event that someone brings suit for personal or bodily harm suffered during the operation of the program as a result of negligence.
CBI Preschool & Kindergarten offers a preschool program for 18 month olds -5 year old children and a kindergarten program for children ages 5-6. Registration for each academic year program begins in January. Priority for admission is given to current students, synagogue members, and children from Jewish families. Please see full admission procedures on the website: www.cbipreschool.org.
Tuition & Fees
CBI Preschool & Kindergarten has expenses of a continual nature and is therefore dependent upon annual income from tuition. Enrolling your child confirms your commitment to pay the total tuition for the full academic year.
As a convenience, annual tuition may be paid in several ways. A $250 deposit is due for returning students and $500 for new students at the time of registration to reserve a space. The remainder of the tuition is to be paid by one of the following methods:
A full payment (due August 1)
Two equal payments (due August 1 & January 1)
Ten payments (due on 8/1, 9/1…5/1)
Please see your enrollment contract for details.
Payment by credit card will incur a 3% fee for two payments and 7% fee for ten payments. Families paying in one installment may use their credit card without a fee.
Current members of Congregation Beth Israel receive a member’s tuition rate of 10% off final tuition not to exceed membership dues paid. Some families choose to donate this discount back to the school to be used for scholarships. We also offer a 5% sibling discount.
A $35 charge will be assessed for returned or bounced checks or declined credit cards.
If payment of tuition is not made, the director has the authority to dismiss the child from the school. To prevent late penalties, parents are encouraged to speak to the director immediately if a financial problem arises and tuition cannot be paid on schedule.
Drop-in Fee (advanced sign-up required): $11 per hour
Late Pick-up Fee after 5:30pm:
$25 after 5:35 or $1/minute there after
Financial Assistance: CBI Preschool & Kindergarten is committed to providing a Jewish education to young children, including those whose families are of limited financial means. We are also committed to the idea that the Jewish community has a responsibility to support those in need. CBI Preschool & Kindergarten has therefore made available a limited number of scholarships for students each year. Please contact the director for information on applying for financial assistance or to support the program through a tax deductible donation.
Withdrawals & Refunds
The signed enrollment agreement confirms the commitment of the signing party to pay tuition and fees to CBI Preschool & Kindergarten for the full academic year. No refunds will be given for absent days whether for illness, holidays, snow days, or vacation.
We reserve the right to request withdrawal of a child in certain circumstances. In such cases tuition is refunded proportionally.
Hours & Days of Operation
CBI Preschool & Kindergarten operates from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday. We offer three, four and five day programs. Optional early morning and afternoon classes offer additional opportunities for our students.
NOTE: In order to allow staff and families to prepare for Shabbat, we will close early (5:00 pm) on Friday afternoons from November through March.
- Full Day Program runs from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm Monday through Friday for ages 1-5 and our full day kindergarten program. Half Day Program for ages 1-5 is available and runs from 9:00 am to 12:45 pm Monday through Friday.
- Early Morning Program gives parents the opportunity to drop-off children between 8:00 am and 9:00 am for extra exploration time.
- Afternoon Program includes lunch, nap/quiet time, an afternoon snack, enrichment activities, and indoor and outdoor play ending at 3:30 or 5:30 pm (See calendar for dates of Friday early closings.) Children will be outside between 3:15-3:30 for pick up.
- A limited number of spaces may be available for students in the Early Morning or Afternoon Programs on a “drop-in” basis. Advanced sign-up is required. The fee for drop-in childcare is $11 per hour.
You may choose to extend your child’s schedule by registering for the babysitting days. These days include babysitting care during certain holidays and spring break. To register, you must enroll prior to the start of the academic year to be guaranteed a spot. Please mark the appropriate line on your enrollment agreement form. Others will be admitted on a first come first serve basis.
Late Openings & Teacher Workdays
CBI Preschool & Kindergarten supports lifelong learning of our students and teachers. Teachers are encouraged to seek professional development opportunities and to continue their own learning to ensure that CBI enriches the lives of our children. Teachers meet regularly to plan programs, discuss curriculum, share ideas, and problem solve. The school periodically schedules school wide professional development workshops for the children. Check the annual school calendar for dates the school opens late or is closed to allow for these meetings. Babysitting will be available for a fee.
Supporting CBI Preschool & Kindergarten
Tuition covers only a part of the expenses of running the school. CBI Preschool depends on the generous donations of families and community members to ensure the continued success of the program. The tradition of generous giving at CBI has enabled the establishment and growth of the school. We look to families to continue in this spirit by making CBI Preschool & Kindergarten a philanthropic priority during the early childhood years and in the future. There are a few funds available:
Preschool Endowment Fund
The Preschool Endowment Fund Trust (PEFT) was established in 2005 to ensure continued excellence in Jewish early childhood education at CBI. The fund was established in recognition of the high quality of the teachers of CBI Preschool & Kindergarten with a founding donation by Rachel and Kevin Skadron in memory of Linda Berez, mother of Rachel and grandmother of Miriam and Micah. Proceeds of the PEFT support the school and enhance our ability to retain and recruit experienced Jewish early childhood educators to CBI.
The Alan P. Rimm-Kaufman Legacy
As part of the PEFT (see above) The Alan P. Rimm-Kaufman Legacy was established to enhance the philosophy of the school as an extension of the Jewish home. Funds are used to support lifelong learning for Jewish families and to support teachers in their efforts to facilitate Jewish life in school, among families, and within the community.
Maialily Hannah Schult Memorial Preschool Fund
Maialily Schult was the infant daughter of Alex Schult and Juliet Liss and sister of Levi and Daisy Schult. The Maialily Preschool Memorial Fund was established in 2002 to enhance the educational offerings of the preschool. The fund provides scholarships, special educational programming, and field trips for our students.
Mid-morning and mid-afternoon each day, we will provide a nutritious snack. Snacks typically include fruit or veggies, pretzels, whole grain crackers, yogurt and water to drink. 100% juice is served with challah for snack on Fridays. The children participate in many cooking activities, some of which are served for snack.
Congregation Beth Israel is a kosher facility. Kosher means “permitted according to Jewish Law” and is a term referring to the Jewish dietary disciplines. The kosher laws have been a central feature of Jewish life and observance and still are for many. Among those who adhere to them, there are variations in practice, but the basic practices, as derived from the Torah, specify which animals may or may not be eaten and how they are to be slaughtered. Also, Jewish law requires a separation between foods containing meat and foods containing milk. Milk and meat products may not be used in the same recipe, may not be served at the same meal, and may not be eaten on the same dishes and silverware. Some people also wait several hours (customs vary) between eating a meat meal and a dairy one. Fish is considered pareve (neutral, not meat and not dairy) and can be eaten with either milk or meat, but shellfish is not kosher. Food brought from home to CBI must be dairy or pareve. In order to avoid the problems of mixing meat and milk we do not permit any meat at school.
Lunch provides an opportunity for the children to eat lunch with their friends. Parents provide a nutritious lunch for their children. The teachers eat lunch with the children in order to provide a relaxed, family-style atmosphere.
Congregation Beth Israel will be offering lunch this year in coordination with Whole Foods Markets. For a fee, CBI will serve your child a healthy lunch 3-5 days/week. Sign up opportunities will occur in August and December.
Health and safety are important components of our curriculum. We use lunch and snack times as natural opportunities to teach the children good nutritional habits. We ask that you show support for these lessons by reading and following the guidelines carefully. We will ask children who bring sugary foods to take them home uneaten. We are happy to suggest nutritious foods that your child will eat and to work with you on any lunch concerns you may have.
Send a balanced lunch that includes food from a variety of food groups: proteins, vegetables, fruits, and carbohydrates. (See the tables below for sample lunches and suggestions from each food category.)
We allow children to eat their lunches in the order of their own choosing. If you would like to pack a dessert, be sure it is a healthy one so that your child may eat it first if he chooses.
Pack your child’s lunch in a lunch box or lunch bag. Be sure the lunch box is labeled in large, clear letters with your child’s name. There are children with food allergies and labeling is an important step in prevention of allergic reactions.
Pack containers your child can open or learn to open independently. Lunch time is a opportunity for learning independence skills. Label all containers with your child’s name.
Many children love the routine of eating the same thing every day. As long as the food is healthy and your child is enjoying it, do not feel like you must vary lunches.
Pack very small portions. One tablespoon of each food per year of age is a good guideline to follow. That means that a regular sized yogurt may be enough for the whole week. Please divide it into smaller portions before packing it in your child’s lunch. Half a sandwich is usually plenty for a two, three, or four year old.
We recommend that you pack milk or water to drink. If you prefer juice, please pack 100% juice. Juice drinks that contain sugar (such as Hi-C, Capri Sun, etc.) are not allowed. Please read the labels carefully.
In accordance with synagogue policy, meat is not allowed. Fish (not shellfish) is allowed.
Soda, candy and gum are not allowed. Rather than sugary snack foods and desserts, we prefer healthy desserts such as a piece of fruit, fruit cup, or graham crackers.
There is no refrigerator space for lunches; an ice pack is useful if you are concerned about keeping your child’s lunch cold.
Due to choking hazards, whole nuts are not allowed.
So that you may monitor what your child has eaten for lunch, we ask that children return significant amounts of uneaten food to their lunch boxes to take home.
Children are not permitted to share lunches. If you would like to bring in food for the class to share for snack, please let your child’s teacher know. Special snacks are welcome.
If your child has a food allergy, dietary restrictions, or special nutritional needs please let us know.
During Passover, all food and drink brought into the synagogue must be kosher for Passover. Additional information on Passover lunches will be provided each spring.
½ pita with peanut butter and jelly
Cheese or tofu cubes
Hard boiled egg
Small bagel & cream cheese
Small box raisins
Carrot sticks & dip
Peanut butter/soy butter
|Fruits & Veggies
Fruit leather (100% fruit)
Grapes (cut up as appropriate)
Precautions are taken to keep children with food allergies safe at school. Teachers sit with the children at lunch and snack times and are alert to signs of allergy or illness. As a part of the daily curriculum, the children are taught about allergies and practice food safety. However, the CBI building and classrooms are shared with many other programs and events, and are not allergen free.
When a student is identified as having a severe and life threatening food allergies by his or her physician, food items containing that allergen may be restricted from the child’s classroom. This restriction may apply to snacks, individual lunches, special treats, and craft or food products. CBI Preschool & Kindergarten will attempt to accommodate children with food allergies in a safe manner, while balancing their needs with those of the other students.
If your child has a food allergy, you must complete the following steps before your child begins school or, in the case or a mid-year allergy development, before your child returns to school.
- Inform the Director in writing of the allergy.
- Upon informing the school of the allergy, you will be given a student allergy information form and a liability waiver. Please complete and sign this waiver and return it immediately so that it may be placed in your child’s records.
- Supply the school with appropriate medication, labeled with your child’s name, and instructions to be used in the event of an allergic reaction. Hand any medications directly to an adult- do not leave them in your child’s lunch box, backpack, or locker.
- Provide information and instruction to the teachers on your child’s medication in case of an allergic reaction. The teachers are trained annually in Epi-pen administration.
- Work with the classroom teacher to plan appropriate alternatives for special cooking projects, snacks, class trips, or other activities involving food that occur as a part of the classroom curriculum. As these are an important and frequent part of the school day, we would like all children to be able to participate as fully as possible. In some cases, you may be asked to provide snacks for your child.
In addition, if your child’s allergy is life threatening, you may submit a request that the food be restricted from the classroom. It may take up to 10 days for your request to be considered, and if approved, for all the affected families to be informed and the food to be restricted from the classroom. In order to insure the child’s safety, during this process, the parents will work with the school to determine the best approach to protect the child. This may include exclusion of the child or supervision by a parent or guardian during this period.
- Submit a note from your child’s doctor regarding the seriousness of the allergy, the need for the food to be restricted, what restrictions are being requested, and the reasons for this request.
- Submit a note giving permission for the school to contact the doctor for further information.
- If the request is approved, a sign will be placed in the room indicating that the food is not permitted in the room during school hours.
These guidelines have been established to minimize the risk of exposure to allergy causing foods. The building will not be completely free of the products or their residue, since it is also used for Religious School and many social and congregational functions.
Procedures & Routines…
Inclement Weather Policy
CBI Preschool & Kindergarten may close due to inclement weather. Generally we will follow Charlottesville City Schools for guidance on whether to close. In addition a variety of daycares and private school will also be consulted. Closing information will also be available on voicemail (220-1868) by 6:30 am, email, and via text message to your phone. In the unlikely event of an early closing, parents will be notified by text message, phone and/or email.
Beginning school is a significant occasion and a source of positive growth for everyone involved – children, parents and teachers. We believe that separating from parents is an important skill and we work to help children identify, express, and manage their sad or lonely feelings.
Establishing trust with the teachers and the environment enables children to become comfortable with the separation from their parents. As children grow and experience new developmental phases, they experience and deal with separation in very different ways. A child who separates easily one month and the next month cries or protests is likely reaching a new developmental level. Experience has taught us that keeping your tone calm and your words simple and matter-of-fact, will help your child relax and separate. (Try simple statements such as, “Today is Monday. Monday is a school day.” Many children are more upset by convincing statements such as, “You love school. You’ll have so much fun. Don’t you want to see your friends?”) As children reach the age of three or four, separation becomes a pleasurable experience, an adventure and a challenge. The ability to tolerate the stress of separation and the ability to adjust to new situations varies greatly from child to child.
Self-confidence arises from separations that are well achieved. Children who are supported by their teachers and parents as they separate from home have the opportunity to move into new realms of learning and growth. Coping with stress and gaining mastery over feelings are important requisites for maturing. In an environment of understanding and support, children become competent and self-confident. They learn not only how to leave, but how to venture out and try new things. They are on their way to becoming confident, happy students, able to function successfully without their parents.
For two year olds, if you are concerned that your child may have difficulty separating, we ask that, for the first week of school, you walk your child into the classroom, help her say hello, start on an activity, and then say goodbye. Encouraging children to participate fully in saying goodbye, hugging, kissing, crying, waving and saying, “I’ll miss you”, are all ways of bringing feelings out in the open. Once in the open, they are easier to deal with. We ask that you refrain from leaving your child without saying goodbye. Just as it’s important to let your child know that you are leaving, it is important to let them know that you’ll be back. Before school begins, families are asked to provide a framed family photo. This will be kept in the classroom for the child and serve as a bridge from home to school. During the first week of school, you are invited to remain in the building in either the library or the lobby if you wish. If you remain in the building, please do not let your child know you are present.
We encourage you to use the curbside drop-off system as a way to make a smooth morning transition for your child. Many children enjoy the independence of walking into school with a teacher. However, we would also invite you to PARK and walk your child in. Please arrive before 9:00 to allow for parking and walking.
Due to limited downtown parking, we ask for your patience and cooperation at arrival and dismissal times. The drop-off spaces in the front of the building are strictly reserved for parents who are dropping-off or picking up children. If you would like to walk your child into the building or spend time in the courtyard, please arrive early and find a safe place to park. Do not park in the drop-off spaces. Please read the following information carefully and inform us in writing if your child will be arriving or leaving at any other time.
All children should arrive on time as activities begin promptly. CBI Preschool & Kindergarten is an early childhood educational program – a school, not a child care center. Our teachers work to create a classroom culture which includes a morning meeting. Arriving late disrupts both the class already in progress and the flow of your child’s own day.
The three spaces in front of the building are reserved for outside drop-off and pick-up only.
Early Morning Program 8:00-9:00 am
Upon arrival, accompany your child to the classroom. At this time of day, street parking is available. Children are welcome to bring breakfast.
Only children who are registered for the early morning program will be accepted early. Before school begins, teachers are preparing the classroom and materials for the day, so we ask that early arrivals wait in the courtyard or lobby until the school day begins.
Morning Drop-off (8:50-9:10am)
We greet the children at the car and accompany them to their teachers in the classrooms or courtyard. Due to the limited number of drop off spaces and our goal of encouraging the development of independence, we ask that you remain in your car. When using these spaces, always pull all the way into the back drop-off space, leaving the space nearest the corner for the next car. If the spaces are full, do not double park or stop your car in the street. It may be necessary to circle the block until a space is free or to find a parking space and walk your child to the building. We encourage you to walk your child to their classroom if you are able to find parking. Please make sure that you allow yourself extra time if you would like to walk your child in.
Teachers will accompany children to the courtyard and dismiss them as parents arrive. Again, due to the limited number of drop-off spaces, we encourage parents to find a parking space and walk to the building for pick up. If you choose to use the drop-off spaces, please move as far back as possible, allowing other cars to use the corner space.
Late Pick Up Fee
Children can become anxious or frightened when a parent is late. If, for any reason, you are going to be late, please call and let us know so that we can reassure your child. If we are unable to get to the phone, leave an urgent message for the CBI office manager to deliver to your child’s teacher. Parents who arrive after the scheduled pick up time mid-day will be charged a late pick up fee of $10. A call does not negate late fees.
After Hours Pick Up Policy
We do not maintain staffing beyond 5:30 pm. If a parent does not pick up a child before the school closes for the day at 5:30pm, the emergency names provided for the child will be contacted. If we are unable to reach any of the emergency contacts, we will use our best judgment to provide appropriate care. A $25 per child late fee will be charged for any late pick-up after 5:35 pm. A $1 charge per minute will be added to the initial $25 for all pick ups after 5:35pm. Please be aware that repeated late pick ups after closing at 5:30 pm is reason for termination.
For safety reasons, the building entrance doors will be locked while classes are in session. Each family will be provided with a security code to the Jefferson Street and Third Street entrances. Please treat this code confidentially. You may share it only with individuals that regularly drop-off or pick up your child at non-peak times. Occasional babysitters should instead press the buzzer to be screened and granted entrance to the building. It is important that you make an effort to remember and use your code. If you forget your code, please use the buzzer and you will be visually screened by the office and given entry
Home items at School
We discourage personal items or toys to school as they have a tendency to get lost and are difficult to share. Money (unless requested by the school), toy weapons, TV character items, chewing gum or candy are not allowed at CBI Preschool & Kindergarten.
Children are encouraged to bring in and share items of special interest. Books, and other educational items are welcomed. We especially enjoy items related to the current curricular themes. Please label these items with your child’s name and let the teacher know when such items are brought to preschool.
A birthday is a very special day in the life of a young child. Please feel free to share a special snack with the class. Make sure the teacher is aware of your plans in advance, so that we may plan for children with special dietary needs.
Many families schedule birthday celebrations for their child outside of school. We encourage you to plan a celebration that is comfortable for your family. Do not feel obligated to invite all of the children in the class. For a young child, having just a few friends can be just as exciting and celebratory. If you choose not to invite the entire class, please be sensitive to the children who are not invited. Keep in mind that school families come from a wide range of Jewish backgrounds and some children may not be able to attend a birthday party held on Shabbat (Friday evening through Saturday evening.) You are encouraged to talk with your child’s teacher and the director if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s birthday celebration.
Curriculum & Program…
Developmental Goals & Curriculum
Children have a strong disposition to explore and discover. At CBI Preschool and Kindergarten our curriculum is emergent using the Project Approach. This authentic learning builds on natural curiosity, enabling children to interact, question, connect, problem-solve, communicate, and reflect. Learning focuses on real life with children as active participants and shapers of their worlds.
Social & Emotional Development
At CBI Preschool & Kindergarten our primary focus is on developing social and emotional skills in our students. These skills are critical to a young child’s development. By providing a variety of situations in which children interact with their peers, we work to build social skills that allow for long term success.
School is a place for exploring relationships. At the beginning of the year, teachers help the children develop connections with their classmates. Children learn to use problem solving and negotiation skills to resolve conflicts and are encouraged to use their skills in the classroom. The school day is carefully designed to promote independence.
Literacy and Creative Arts
Art and Literacy are an important and daily part of our curriculum, giving children the opportunity to develop socially, cognitively, and physically. As our students explore the world around them they realize the significance of communication. Through creative expression, they can communicate feelings, assert individuality, experience pride, share, and cooperate.
Literacy Development is the process of understanding how words and writing convey ideas. The concept of written language is explored in a natural way as children dictate stories to teachers, “pretend write,” and listen to books at story time. We take a whole language approach to literacy development. You might see a class reading a story, retelling the story, acting it out, and then inventing new versions of the story. This approach keeps learning language interesting and challenging and provides children with well-rounded exposure to all pieces of literacy. From our youngest students through our kindergarteners, rhymes, poems, and fingerplays are used to promote the pre-reading skills of phonemic awareness and vocabulary development. We believe that early literacy goes far beyond writing and decoding letters and encourage students to share literate behavior in a developmentally appropriate way.
Children are exposed to a wide variety of materials and techniques. From painting with feathers and matchbox cars to paper mache and modeling clay, children are encouraged to freely explore and create. Art experiences help our students develop an understanding of cause and effect, develop planning skills, and solve problems, and communicate with others using symbolic representation. “What happens when I mix yellow and blue?” These experiences help our students develop fine motors skills, hand-eye coordination, and literacy development.
At CBI Preschool & Kindergarten we strive to foster the development of cognitive thinking skills: problem solving, questioning, reasoning, and experimenting. Childhood constantly offers opportunities for questioning and exploration. Children will experience science through rich sensory experiences that incorporate observation, hypothesizing, problem solving, analysis, discovery, and exploration. Entry points for these explorations include items within our environment including the exploration of the outdoors, properties of matter, and physics, and chemistry. Science surrounds our children as simple walk to the park can offer amazing opportunities of investigating our natural world, the block corner encourages our engineers making ramps, or the chemists who watch our challah dough turn out differently each week.
Mathematical & Logical Thinking
Mathematical curiosity is natural in young children. Mathematical awareness begins with our youngest students and develops throughout the early childhood years. Skills like counting, and classifying by size, color, and attributes are introduced using a variety of manipulatives and play experiences. Children our thrilled to literally measure their own growth, count out carrots for themselves (and others!) at snack, and they practice their skills of sequencing while finding their spot in the line.
Other areas of study are incorporated directly into our daily activities: geometric shapes, number recognition, matching numbers to objects, and measurement. We encourage our students to experiment with a variety of math and science concepts during their open exploration time.
Puzzles, play dough, Legos, beads, cutting, writing, drawing, and gluing all help to encourage fine motor development. These activities are a daily part of our curriculum. To develop large motor skills, balance and coordination, children develop such skills as throwing a ball, hopping, skipping, running, climbing, and marching.
Our youngest students use our outdoor courtyard and backyard for sand play, riding bikes, climbing, blowing bubbles, picnics, and dramatic play. Our older students walk to McGuffey Park where they swing, climb trees, play basketball and baseball, have picnics, slide, climb trees, and play together. On rainy days, we use parachutes , dance and build obstacle courses in our large social hall to teach skills in body awareness, self-confidence, and independence. Each day, using imagination and creativity, the children learn to express themselves through movement, fostering life-long routines of physical fitness.
Music is an important part of our day. Our teachers use music to greet the children and to transition them between activities throughout the day. Songs and musical movement activities are incorporated into the rhythms of the day. Our music program also includes music classes focusing on singing, simple prayers, rhythm, sequence, and beat. We use a wide variety of traditional children’s rhymes and songs in Hebrew and English to allow students to explore the elements of music and develop an ability to express themselves through music and movement. Our students will experience the joy and fun of music and learn to use it as a tool for literacy, math, and expression.
CBI Preschool & Kindergarten operates as an extension of the Jewish home. We are pleased to offer a program rich in Jewish culture, tradition and values. Family education is an important part of our Jewish educational program and we provide information and resources to enhance your experience both at school and at home.
We observe the Jewish holidays through joyful celebration and hands-on sensory experiences in music, art, literature, and cooking. Our integrated and multi-sensory approach makes Jewish holidays and values come alive in the classrooms, cultivating a sense of Jewish identity in our students. Hebrew words and songs are gently woven into the curriculum as children explore Jewish ritual objects, and learn simple Hebrew blessings and prayers. Diversity of observance and practice of Judaism among the children of CBI Preschool & Kindergarten is respected.
Jewish holidays are based on the lunar calendar. Jewish holidays begin and end at sunset. Traditions as of the length of some Jewish holidays vary and CBI Preschool & Kindergarten observes holidays according to the Israeli/Reform calendar. Jewish holidays are celebrated and explored in the classroom through a constructivist approach. We expose children to different experiences where they ask questions and begin to make meaning from their perspective.
Shabbat, the Jewish sabbath, is a weekly holiday and a special time at the school. Shabbat begins Friday evening at sundown and ends Saturday after sundown. Shabbat is an important part of the school curriculum and preparing for Shabbat is a special and joyous school tradition. We celebrate Shabbat each Friday morning as the children help bake challah, which is served with grape juice for snack. Shabbat songs and blessings also help make Friday mornings special. Parents are invited to join us. Please contact your child’s teacher if you would like to visit.
We begin the week with a Havdalah service, which celebrates the end of Shabbat and the beginning of the new week. As we light the braided candle, the children sing blessings, smell sweet spices and wish each other a “shavuah tov,” a good week.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and the Birthday of the World, is the first in a series of fall holidays. This is a holy holiday, a chance for soul searching and self evaluation. We wish each other “shanah tovah,” a happy new year and eat apples dipped in sweet honey in hopes of a sweet year ahead. Rosh Hashanah also brings a chance to blow the shofar, a horn made from a goat or ram. Special school activities include sending holiday greetings to family and friends, blowing the shofar, and making round challah to symbolize the new year.
Yom Kippur is a solemn and holy day. It is a day of asking God for forgiveness for any mistakes we may have made during the past year. CBI traditions include reviewing the past year and exploring ways each child has grown, discussing feelings, thinking about our mistakes, and blowing the shofar.
Sukkot, the Festival of the Harvest, is a week long agricultural celebration. Traditions include building and eating in a sukkah, a temporary hut. The children celebrate with snacks in the courtyard sukkah, visits to a classmate’s sukkah (let us know if you are building one!), and creating colorful decorations to beautify our sukkah.
Simchat Torah, a celebration of the Torah, ends the series of fall holidays and marks the completion and restarting of the Torah, or the Five Books of Moses. Simchat Torah is a joyous and festive holiday and the children experience it through dancing and singing, parades, visits to the real torah in the sanctuary, and the creation a personalized or classroom torah.
Chanukah commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple that was destroyed by the Greeks. A small army of Jews led by Judah Maccabee was victorious over the Greek armies, winning the right to religious freedom. After the Temple was cleansed, oil was found and through to be enough for only one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days. Customs include lighting the Chanukiyah, Chanukah menorah, for eight nights. Favorite preschool traditions include making and playing dreidel, a school-wide family Chanukah party, puppet shows and dramatic retellings of the Chanukah story, and making foods cooked in oil to remember the miracle of the oil.
Tu B’Shevat, the New Year of the Trees, is Jewish Arbor Day. Tu B’Shevat falls mid-winter, as spring is beginning in Israel. Preschool Tu B’Shevat favorites include tasting new fruits, exploring trees and nature, and planting.
Purim commemorates the bravery of Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai to save the Jewish people from destruction by the wicked Haman. Purim is celebrated as a day of fun, with costumes, parties, carnivals, and silliness. The preschoolers enjoy giving gifts of shalach manot, Purim treats, marching in the costume parade, acting out the story of the megillah, the scroll of Esther, and our Purim Party
Passover or Pesach, the Festival of Freedom, marks the beginning of spring and celebrates the exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. The seder, or ordered ritual meal, is central to the home observance of Passover. The preschool children prepare for Passover by creating some of the many special ritual foods and objects for the seder. They clean the classroom, searching for chametz, leavened bread products, which are not eaten during the holiday. They sing Passover songs, retell and recreate the story of the exodus and bake matzah, unleaved bread. Passover is a very special time at CBI Preschool & Kindergarten and the children look forward to it each year.
Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, falls towards the end of the school year and celebrates the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. The preschool children celebrate this special birthday and learn about Israel.
Shavuot is celebrated to remember when Moses received the ten commandments on Mount Sinai. Dairy foods are a traditional food and flowers a traditional decoration. Preschool activities include exploring the Torah, reading Torah stories, and making dairy foods.
The families of CBI Preschool & Kindergarten come from a wide range of Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds. In an effort to support the curriculum of the school, and to include those that observe Shabbat, Shabbat family get-togethers are planned periodically. These may include Friday evening tot services & potluck dinners, class havdalah parties, or family challah baking workshops.
In addition to Jewish holidays, national holidays such as Presidents’ Day and Thanksgiving may be included, but are not our primary focus. We do not observe holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day.
CBI’s campus includes all of Charlottesville. We take advantage of our daily walks around the neighborhood to expose the children to a variety of interesting and educational sights: artists painting, bricklayers building a wall, landscapers pruning trees, and police officers at work. Walking field trips also include visits to the public library for story time, playing at the Cville Pavillion, and walks on the downtown mall. Riding the city bus and trolley is a special treat. Bus trips have included visits to children’s homes, UVA, and city parks. Occasional driving field trips include a trip to the orchard for apple picking and visits to local farms. Parents are always invited and encouraged to join us for field trips.
We make certain that an appropriate number of adults will be present on all field trips, so we often request the services of parent volunteers. Transportation may be provided by private cars, by foot, school bus, or city bus. If by private vehicle, all drivers are required to have current inspection, insurance, and licenses on file at the school. A teacher takes a first aid kit on field trips.
The CBI Preschool & Kindergarten Summer Camp offers daily music sessions, water play, weekly bus trips to local parks, music, library field trips & shows, a weekly mitzvah activity, art, cooking, Shabbat celebrations, and exploration with friends & counselors. Enrollment information is available each spring.
Health & Safety…………
Our teachers interact with children, playing and conversing with them as partners. We focus on teaching problem solving skills, enabling children to solve and prevent problems with their peers and on helping children build positive relationship with peers and teachers. When dealing with conflict, we keep the child’s developmental characteristics in mind. Young children are quite self-centered and are struggling for independence and control. We acknowledge and discuss what each child is feeling and engage the children as active participants in the problem solving process. The limits we set and expectations we have for our students respect the development and abilities of the individual child.
We encourage developmentally appropriate independence in children by using positive techniques of guidance, including redirection, anticipation and elimination of potential problems, positive reinforcement and encouragement rather than comparison or criticism. Teachers abstain from corporal punishment or other humiliating or frightening discipline techniques. A brief time away from classmates is used as needed. Parents will be notified of disciplinary actions taken.
Our goal is for every child to succeed in school. We will make every effort to work with you and your child on behavioral issues. When a child’s behavior is not improved by routine in-class guidance, we will follow a series of intervention strategies in an attempt to correct the behavior. Upon observing an ongoing behavioral issue, we will inform you, allowing you to address the issue with your child at home as we work together to improve the behavior. If the problem remains, we may ask that you take the child home early, or keep the child home for a day. In some circumstances, if a child continually violates the rights of others to learn and/or feel safe at school, it may be necessary for us to ask that the child be withdrawn from the school.
We are concerned about the health of every child in our program. We implement good hygiene practices, including handwashing procedures for our staff and children. We do our best to prevent or contain the spread of contagious diseases.
A sick or overly tired child has a difficult time learning. It is your responsibility to determine whether your child is physically well enough to attend school. Remember that our days are full and active, and we do not have appropriate facilities for a child who needs sleep or sick care. Please keep a sick child at home. If your child is not well enough to play outdoors or participate in another part of the school day, please keep your child home. This also protects the health of your child and of the other students and teachers. In the event that your child becomes sick at school, we will call you to come and pick up your child. If you are unreachable, we will use emergency phone numbers as listed on your emergency information sheet. Our teachers are alert to signs and symptoms of routine illnesses and screen children for illness on a daily basis.
A child should not be at school if he/she has any of the following symptoms:
-Fever with no other symptoms
-Unusual spots or rash
-Headache and stiff neck
-Severe itching of the body or scalp
-Runny nose that is thick and/or not clear
-Looks or behaves very ill or lethargic
-Severe constipation (cramping)
A child may return to school when:
-No fever present for at least 24 hours
-Vomiting, diarrhea cleared for at least 24 hours
-Antibiotics (if prescribed) have been used for a full 24 hours
-Frequent coughing, excessive nasal discharge resolved
-Pain (earache, cramps, headache, etc.) resolved
-Mood, appetite, behavior and activity are again normal.
Parents will be notified if their child is exposed to a potentially contagious disease while at school. Likewise, parents should notify the school if their child develops or has been exposed to a contagious disease (such as strep throat, conjunctivitis, head lice, ringworm, chicken pox, etc.)
Lice: We have experienced an increase of incidences of lice in the past few years. If we find live lice or nits we ask that you treat the child immediately and they may return the next school day.
Please notify the school if your child will be absent.
Medication to be administered by CBI Preschool personnel requires written, dated, and signed permission and directions from parents. All prescription drugs require a label with physician’s orders and must be in the original container. All medications must be handed directly to your child’s teacher. Do not leave any medications in a backpack or cubby.
The state requires a medication administration training course be completed before staff may administer medications to students. Only those teachers who complete the training course may administer non-emergency medications. Please see the Director for questions or more information.
Safety & Injury Policy
CBI Preschool & Kindergarten follows the state and local provisions regarding sanitation, water quality and fire protection. We have regular fire drills and an evacuation plan. First aid kits are kept in the classrooms and brought on trips. Teachers are trained annually in first aid and CPR and at least one trained person is present at all times. Emergency information is kept in each child’s folder and parents are notified as soon as possible if a serious accident occurs. Smaller injuries are reported to parents at the end of the school day.
As required by law, all cases of suspected child abuse must be reported to the authorities.
Classroom pets allow children to experience the responsibility and sense of accomplishment that comes with caring for an animal. Pets from home are welcome at school and in the courtyard by invitation only. Make visiting arrangements with your child’s teacher.
We believe in hands-on, experiential learning. The school day is an active and messy one. Please have your child wear comfortable play clothes and expect them to get dirty and stained. A child who is worried about getting his clothes dirty may be hesitant to fully participate in the art, science, and cooking projects planned for the day. If your child is using the toilet, make sure that the clothes are easy for him/her to manage. Label your child’s clothing, including shoes and outer garments.
A complete change of clothes is kept at school. This includes socks, underwear, pants and shirt. As seasons change, please modify the change of clothes as appropriate. We go outside nearly every day, so please dress your child according to the weather conditions. Please send a hat, gloves, raincoat, snow pants and boots as appropriate.
Remember that a variety of situations require your child to dress differently throughout the day. The temperature may change significantly during the course of the day. Active play, even in cold weather, may raise your child’s body temperature and require less clothing. Learning how to evaluate and regulate your own clothing needs according to body temperature is an important component of the curriculum. During the spring and fall, encouraging your child to wear layers allows him to adjust his clothing as the weather and situation changes.
If your child is in diapers, send a month supply of diapers and wipes at the beginning of school. We will keep them at school and notify you when your child is running low, so that you may replenish the supply. When you are ready to begin toilet training, let us know so we can support your efforts during the school day.
Rest & Quiet Time
Rest time is an important time for children to reenergize. All of the preschool children enrolled in the afternoon program rest in the afternoon. Children are encouraged to rest but are not required to sleep. Teachers help the children relax using a variety of methods: darkening the room, playing soft music, rubbing backs, and reading relaxation poems or stories. Children who don’t fall asleep are asked to quietly rest for half an hour. Afterwards they may participate in a quiet, individual activity such as reading, drawing, or puzzles.
We will work with parents to accommodate individual requests to wake sleeping children after one hour of sleep or to provide extra encouragement for a child to fall asleep. However, ethically and legally, we cannot keep tired children from sleeping or force a child to sleep.
Preschool children enrolled in the full day program will need an all in one nap mat for use at rest time. Linens will be sent home regularly for weekend laundering. Please label all items clearly with your child’s name.
Kindergarten children have a quiet rest time which provides a chance to rejuvenate. They do not need linens.
Home School Partnership..
CBI is a learning community, where adults and children come together with a positive, caring intention focused around a desire to learn and grow.
We are all learners – children, parents, teachers, and staff– and we all create this community and are responsible for what happens in the school. Look around and listen – do you see something that needs fixing? Notice an opportunity to make something even better? Have an idea to share, useful items to donate, services to offer? Make the offer. Donate the item or time. That’s our community at work. Thanks for being a part of the CBI community!
We place a high value on direct and open home-school communication. The teachers and director will share relevant interests, issues, and information. We hope that you will do the same.
We must hear from you – your child matters; this is your school. When you have questions or issues, the following information will assist you in finding the best person to talk with. The success of your experience at CBI will largely be determined by all of us communicating openly and directly.
Your child’s teacher should always be your first point of contact for any questions about your child or classroom happenings. To reach your child’s teacher, call the school at 295-6382 and leave a message or send a written note to school with your child. Teachers focus on greeting and welcoming the children at morning drop-off times, so this is not a good time for more than a quick update or exchange of information.
Parent-Teacher conferences are available upon request. We encourage parents to set up a conference in the fall and another in the spring. See your child’s teacher to arrange a date.
CBI Blog is an important way to stay updated on your child’s experience at school. Please read it regularly. Some parents like to review it together with their child each day. Others like to check it during the day from work. You are expected to review the blog at least once per week.
Informal communication is encouraged. Teachers will briefly tell you about your child’s day at pick up. If you would like more information, please call or set up a conference.
Shabbat Shalom e-mails are sent each Friday with reminders for the upcoming week.
Photographs taken at school are regularly are posted online. These photos allow you to see what your child and his classmates have been doing at school. Share them with your child to initiate conversation about school happenings and order prints if you’d like.
Facebook is open to the pubic and a great way to stay up on the latest happenings at school.
Webpage: Calendar, Registration, and Tuition information can be found on the web page.
Annual CBI Preschool family survey helps the school leadership identify the valued components of the school and potential areas of focus. This is an opportunity to give formal written feedback on your child’s school experience.
Get togethers are planned throughout the year as a way for school families to get to know each other. Check the calendar for dates for class parties, school events, and parent and family education programs.
You are also encouraged to contact the director with any questions or ideas about the school as a whole, or just to share your comments and feedback.
Rabbi Tom Gutherz also welcomes your questions and feedback about the school. He can be reached at 295-6382.
CBI Preschool enjoys the strong support and involvement of our parent volunteers. Parents are strongly encouraged to take an active role in the preschool by sharing ideas, energy and support. There are many opportunities for involvement in the preschool. We are asking all families to find a way to get involved. Look for regular requests from your child’s teacher or let us know about your interests and talents.
Room parents assist in classroom/parent communication, initiate parent/parent communication through informal gatherings throughout the school year, provide a forum for parents to discuss preschool issues, and are catalysts for parent education opportunities.
The Preschool Committee provides guidance and support to the Preschool Director. The committee is comprised of parents, alumni parents, educators, and CBI members. The committee works actively to establish financial goals, set policies, plan special events, and expand community relations. If you are interested in finding out more about this committee, please contact the preschool director or committee chair.