Shtilim class


The Shtilim (which means saplings in Hebrew) class serves children ages 3-4 (and sometimes includes children who are turning three in the early fall.

The school will consider each child on an individual basis when making placement decisions.

BACNS does not require enrolled children to be potty trained. In collaboration with the parents’ wishes, the teachers use the transition times to change diapers and remind the children to use the toilet.


The Shtilim school day runs from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 pm, Monday-Friday. Children can attend any where from 2-5 days per week.

A typical schedule for the Shtilim class is:

9:00-10:00 am   choice time, free play
10:00-10:15 am   clean up and short circle time
10:15-10:30 am   snack
10:30-11:30 am   outside on playground (weather permitting)
11:30-12:00   circle time
12:00-1:00 pm   lunch, playground, or indoors until pick up time
1:00 pm   Pick up

Extended day care is available before and after school, and enrichment classes ( music, art, gymnastics) are available after school.

Snacks and Lunch

The school provides a healthy mid-morning snack such as pretzels, crackers, fruit, a vegetable and dip, and water to drink (juice on Fridays for Shabbat). In the Threes class, everyone sits together for snack time.

Lunches are brought from home. Since BACNS is a kosher facility, we request that no meat (beef, pork, or chicken) or shellfish be brought into school. Dairy, eggs, and regular fish (tuna, etc.) are fine.

We also ask that families refrain from sending peanuts or peanut butter to school (though tree nuts, seeds, and other butters are fine). Here are some Lunch Ideas for Beth Ami for you!


Lauren and Ayala are the teachers for the Shtilim class.

Class Size

The teacher/child ratio in the Threes class is 1:6. There are two teachers and a maximum of 12 children per class per day.

Classroom Activities

The classroom has play areas designed for a variety of activities as well as a loft. Children are encouraged to use materials in creative and innovative ways, as long as safety and respect for the environment are considered. The area immediately outside the classroom is often open and is also used to extend play possibilities.

The class provides many opportunities for:

  • * social and dramatic play, such as dressing up and role-playing “family” or “construction workers”;
  • * cooking and tasting foods from our garden and baking challah each Friday for Shabbat;
  • * art and representational activities, such as working with clay, print making, easel painting, drawing, water coloring, and collaging;
  • * tactile investigations of water, ice, ooblick, flubber, birdseeds, and shaving cream;
  • * construction with a variety of materials;
  • * language and literacy development, with children looking at books, listening to stories from others, dictating their own stories, and engaging in many casual conversations;
  • * physical and natural science activities, where they can test ideas with ramps, rain gutters, and swinging pendulum balls; observe snails; care for the worm bin; and plant and harvest from the garden; and
  • play with manipulatives that engage both reasoning and mathematical thinking skills and creativity.
  • The teachers document many classroom experiences through photos and the children’s representations and explanations. This provides a visual way to show the parents the children’s process of thinking and some of the meaningful ways they engage in play.

Our daily Circle time includes lively discussions and opportunities for problem-solving games and situations, stories, songs, finger plays, creative movement, dance, and yoga.

Outside play time includes large motor activities such as basketball, riding tricycles, and using the swinging bar. The children also engage in creative free play, gardening, playing inside our new willow house, art, story telling, and carpentry.

The children bake and eat challah (traditional egg bread) on Fridays, in honor of the upcoming Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath).

Our curriculum is child-centered, with themes and activities emerging from the interests and questions of the children and occurrences in their lives. This emergent curriculum is inspired by the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. We emphasize the importance of children as active participants in their learning, where exploration, discovery and invention are of primary importance. We believe young children learn through play and need to construct and express their own understandings of the world. We provide an atmosphere where children are free to risk failure, to ask questions and to experiment with activities. The environment is designed to empower children to develop problem solving, thinking, and cooperation skills.

Areas of particular interest in our class have included family-themed play, building with different materials, animals, vehicle play, sounds and instruments, and gardening. Discussions and activities around areas of interest might extend over days and weeks, or even be a thread throughout the school year. This approach is largely emergent and supports the children’s natural curiosity about the world. It encourages them to explore, share their ideas, ask questions, and make connections.

Our emergent curriculum includes themes related to each season, interveaving the Jewish holidays, many of which are connected to the seasons. Jewish stories and rituals, connected with each holiday are explored along with songs, foods, and values pertaining to each holiday.


Beth Ami Community Nursery School 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.