Current educational research shows that the first three years of a child's life are key to their success at life-long learning.
The Preschool Village Chabad Hebrew Academy emphasizes engaging pre-school students' critical thinking, using a Montessori-based method with a warm and experienced staff.
The Montessori-based method takes every section of the classroom and turns it into an arena for learning, says Adriana DiCarlo, preschool director. The method is based on the theory that children learn best in a structured environment, with ordered play activities that incorporate their natural desire to learn with a need for structure.
DiCarlo says the curriculum is effective. Most of the academy's students can do simple math and reading by age four.
"Our students are being educated in a positive environment where they are respected as unique individuals and are challenged to perceive their full potential," she says.
The village's playful, open philosophy can be seen from both inside and outside. The buildings themselves are bright blocks of color, separating each learning group. Inside, the classrooms are ordered, brightly colored and cheerful.
In Sylvia Rubin's classroom for two-year-olds, each learning area is separated, by themes. "Practical-life" has large, play office machines where children can learn basic math. The "reading area" has books surrounded by comfortable chairs while the "Art" area emphasizes different senses so students can use their entire brain to learn.
The two-year-olds freely go from area to area with Morah Sylvia and her aides there to follow and guide. "They're so bright, so full of wonder," said Morah Sylvia, who has more than 20 years of teaching experience.
Rubin incorporates Hebrew blessings for food, songs and Hebrew letters into her children's lessons as well as Hebrew ideals of chesed (kindness) and respect. DiCarlo points to Rubin as one of the most effective teachers for the children and for the parents. "She is often a mentor to parents, warm, caring and kind," she says.