Mission & Philosophy

NS About Us PicAt Temple Sinai Nursery School (TSNS), we believe in nurturing the individuality of each child. We see children as competent individuals who flourish in a joyful early childhood setting that encourages freedom of expression, focuses on building strong social-emotional skills, and promotes self-confidence through active hands-on learning. The philosophy of TSNS is based on the theories of Piaget, Vygotsky, Erikson, Gardner, the Bank Street Model and constructivist education. We are also inspired by the philosophy of the Reggio Emilia Schools in Italy. Our program is imbued with Jewish values that emphasize and promote kindness (g’milut chasadim), doing good deeds (mitzvot) and taking care of our world (tikkun olam).

At TSNS, we believe that play is the primary vehicle through which learning progresses in the early years. Sensitivity to the needs of parents of young children always underpins our efforts. In addition to providing an excellent developmentally appropriate early childhood curriculum, we take pride in being a part of the larger Temple Sinai community and helping parents foster a positive sense of Jewish identity in their children. A warm and welcoming parent community is at the heart of our program; parents are involved in the daily life of the program and take leadership roles at the Nursery School. The Parents Association plans and supports several family and school-wide events each year such as the Family Fall Holidays Festival, the annual Winter Family Concert, the school-wide Hanukkah Celebration and Model Seder, and the annual Spring Auction.

Child DirtThis program maintains the highest standards of early childhood education. We have achieved accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and we are a Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning Commended School. Small classes, and a physical environment that includes a kitchen designed specifically for children and teachers to cook, vegetable and flower garden, motor room, and “investigation room” where children have hands-on experiences with science and art, complement our core program. Every morning, we welcome children into our extended playground that sets the stage for imaginative play and physical development, with its bike path, climbing equipment, and rock and sand gardens.

 “The city school with the country playground”


Every year at our Parents Evening we share the philosophy of our school through word play and photographs of every child.  Click on the video below to see a portion of that presentation.


About Our Faculty

The Nursery School enjoys long term relationships with its faculty, a third of which has Masters degrees or higher in the field. Our teachers gently guide and facilitate learning and are committed to taking each individual child into consideration. Together we speak our nurturing “language of early childhood,” which supports a range of developmental needs. Nursery school faculty also engages in an extensive amount of professional development on an ongoing basis. As a model early childhood education program, we share our expertise in our field with other early childhood educators through school tours and presentations at the annual NAEYC Conference. In addition, consultants in the areas of motor, speech, behavior, health and social work provide guidance to faculty and families on site.

About Our Director

Perri and GirlPerri Iger-Silversmith has worked in public school, private nursery school, and Judaic settings for over 30 years. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston College, where she received her BA in Special and Elementary Education, and she earned her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Human Development from The George Washington University.  In addition, Perri has done post-graduate work at the Bank Street College of Education and participated in numerous Reggio Emilio symposiums as well as a Study Tour in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Perri has served on the board of the National Child Research Center and is currently one of the co-chairs of the DC Directors’ Exchange. Her professional memberships include the Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECERJ), National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the DC and PJLL Directors’ Exchanges and the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA). She is the founding Director of Temple Sinai Nursery School, and since establishing the program in 1992 Perri has surrounded the school with teachers who are aligned with the belief in experiential relationship-based learning and the importance of social-emotional development in early years. TSNS is anchored in the belief that strong social-emotional foundations best prepare children for life and future educational experiences. Under Perri’s leadership, TSNS has achieved accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) five times, most recently in July 2017 – a rigorous, voluntary process by which early childhood programs demonstrate that they meet national standards of excellence. TSNS has gone through a similar accreditation process through the Partnership for Jewish Life & Learning called the “Community Program in Jewish Education for Early Childhood Centers.” Since its founding, TSNS has garnered an unparalleled reputation for excellence in early childhood education.