Do we have to be Jewish to apply?
We warmly welcome families of all backgrounds and affiliations.
Is the program religious?
There is no theological component to our school. We celebrate Jewish culture, traditions and values.
How does Reggio Emilia inspired education differ from other philosophies?
At the heart of the Reggio philosophy is the belief that children are full of curiosity and creativity. The curriculum is flexible and emerges from children’s own ideas, thoughts and observations. The goal is to cultivate within children a lifelong passion for learning and exploration.
We encourage parents to learn about all types of early childhood education in order to determine what is the right fit for their child. Some resources include: “Comparing Preschool Philosophies” (PBS.org) and “Preschool Philosophies, A to Z” (GreatSchools.org)
How do you discipline children?
As early childhood educators, we are dedicated to helping children develop the skills to navigate social interactions peacefully and independently. We understand that young children need a lot of support and time for error to achieve this. We spend time in class talking about recognizing emotions on other people’s faces, we work regularly on developing social-emotional language, and we practice with our kids in real-time throughout each day as scenarios present themselves.
When children fight over a toy or hurt each other’s feelings, the majority of what we do is facilitate the conversation between the two children until they are able to come to a conclusion that makes both feel heard, validated, and safe. With children who do not have the language to have these conversations, we support them by asking them how they feel and giving them words to express it. We may say, “Did that hurt? Look at her, and tell her, ‘Ow.’” As they get older, we cede more of the responsibility to them, but we are always there for support. We may say, “Look at her and tell her how that made you feel.” In the end, the focus is on helping children learn how to treat each other well.
In the case of repeated behavior issues, we will work with the family to come up with a behavior contract, which will include in-home and at-school strategies to address the issue, and a timeline to see progress.
Do you support potty training?
Yes we do. We have kids at every stage in the potty training process.
Do you provide snacks and lunch?
We provide snacks, with fresh and healthy options such as fruit and organic whole grain crackers. Children bring their own lunch.
How do children nap at school?
After the CORE school day, children staying for the afternoon who need to nap merge into the two’s rooms. They read a story and settle down on a mat with naptime music. Parents provide bedding and a lovey or stuffed animal, and we provide mats and a quiet setting. Children who need to nap may not be able to do enrichment classes, as the napping transition occurs at the same time as enrichment.
How much parent participation is expected?
We ask for 5 hours over the course of a school year. There are a variety of ways for parents to pitch in, from setting up for events, driving for fieldtrips, helping in the office, prepping for teachers or doing weekend work at home. For families who do not have the time, each hour is payable at $20.
Is financial aid available?
Yes, on a limited basis. Applications are due in the spring and grants are finalized at the beginning of the summer prior the start of the school year.
Do you have part-week and full-week options?
Yes, families may choose to enroll children from two to five days a week, in the CORE school day only, or with up to 35 hours with extended care. Parents are asked to give their first and second choice of scheduled days when applying.
What is the age cut-off for admission?
For entering 2’s, the child must be 2 years old by his or her first day of school. We may accept children who turn two in Sept/Oct if we assess them as ready, but they may not start until their birthdate. The cut-off for three’s is 2 years, 10 months by first day of school. Cut-off for fours is 3 years 10 months by first day of school.
What is the child to teacher ratio?
Will my child be ready for kindergarten after BACNS?
Yes. We help children develop the literacy, critical thinking, reasoning, and math skills required to thrive in kindergarten, and more importantly, our graduates are curious, observant and analytical – which are traits required to become lifelong learners and deep thinkers. BACNS students also develop the social skills to navigate conflict peacefully and build successful, supportive, and kind relationships with their peers.
Beth Ami Community Nursery School is a program of Congregation Beth Ami, and is supported by the Jewish Community Federation (JCF) of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, as well as Jewish Learning Works and First Five Sonoma County.