Nursery School FAQ


When did Temple Sinai Nursery School begin operation?

The school opened in the Fall of 1992 under the leadership of Perri Iger-Silversmith. Perri has a BA in Special Education and Elementary Education and a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education and Human Development with more than 30 years of experience in the classroom and administration.

What license and accreditation does the school hold?

TSNS is licensed as a child development facility by the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

Our Nursery School has emerged as a leader in progressive Early Childhood Jewish education. In July 2007, TSNS received notification that we achieved re-accreditation with the N.A.E.Y.C. (National Association for the Education of Young Children) after a rigorous, year-long, self-study process. We received our fourth re-accreditation in 2012. This prestigious recognition demonstrates that we meet the N.A.E.Y.C.’s national standards for excellence.

TSNS has gone through a similar accreditation process with the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning called the “Community Program in Jewish Education for Early Childhood Centers.” We are proud to have been awarded a Certificate of Commendation in Jewish Education. This award is in recognition of the school’s compliance with the Partnership’s exacting standards for high quality Jewish early learning programs.

What is the school’s educational philosophy?

We are a Developmental Early Childhood Program which emphasizes experiential “hands-on” learning. The philosophy of the school is based on the theories of Piaget, Bruner, Vygotsky, Erikson, Gardner and the Bank Street Model and is inspired by the practices of the Reggio Emilia Approach. Through gentle facilitation, attention to individual needs, and respect for unique learning styles, our children grow in self confidence and the ability to relate to one another. They develop curiosity and learn to experience the world in an expansive way. Planning is based on our understanding of the developmental characteristics of young children. 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 secular curriculum, we take pride in helping parents foster a positive sense of Jewish identity for their children. Parents are involved in the daily life of the program in a variety of ways – sharing their talents and taking leadership roles in the nursery school community.

What is the religious content of the curriculum?

Children enjoy a simple weekly Shabbat observance in the classroom and a school-wide “Shabbat Sing.” Blessings are recited daily at snack time and at the optional Lunch Bunch program. We are proud of our fully developed curriculum for every classroom that includes an age appropriate introduction to major holidays. Holiday celebrations are incorporated into language, cognitive activities and social interactions in the classroom. Jewish traditions and rituals are celebrated throughout the year.

Class Size?

Average class size ranges from:

    • 2’s: 8-10 children
    • 3’s:  12-13 children
    • Pre-K: 12-14 children

Teacher-Pupil Ratio?

There are at least two teachers in every classroom. Additionally, in-house Floaters are available to provide extra coverage as needed. Our Teacher-Pupil ratio meets or exceeds the requirements of the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and N.A.E.Y.C.

What is the policy on Outdoor Time?

Outdoor time is an integral part of our program. Children enjoy outdoor play daily except in very inclement weather.

Teacher Credentials?

Lead teachers have degrees in the field of Early Childhood Education or related field like Psychology, Elementary Education or Special Education. Assistant teachers have backgrounds of related education and experience.

As a community of early childhood professionals, we place a strong emphasis on professional growth, providing regular In-Service Training for all of our faculty members. This includes attendance at early childhood workshops both locally and nationally as well as weekly staff meetings.

Do you offer early drop off?

Yes. Early Drop-off Boker Birds (Morning Babysitting) begins at 8:15 a.m. and is open to ALL children.

Do you offer extended day?

Yes! Afternoon Enrichment is available for all children ages 3 and older. Afternoon programming including Lunch Bunch is available two, three, or four afternoons per week until 2:30 PM.  During Lunch Bunch, children enjoy further opportunities to socialize with their peers and teachers from 12:15-1:00 PM, while eating lunch brought from home.  All children enrolled in Afternoon Enrichment programming (Rainbow Days and Discovery) are automatically enrolled in Lunch Bunch.  Children not participating in Afternoon Enrichment may enroll in Lunch Bunch as a stand-alone program.

When should I apply?

Applications are being accepted now. The date an application is received by the school is just one of many factors considered for a place in our program.

What are the priorities for acceptance?

    • Siblings of currently enrolled children, members of the congregation, and alumni siblings have priority.
    • Consideration is given to families who are interested in taking an active role in the life of the school community.
    • Date of application may be a factor.

Many of our children come from families who are not affiliated with the temple. We welcome families of all faiths and backgrounds.

When will I hear whether or not there is a space for my child?

We begin mailing acceptance letters in late January and continue to accept children on a rolling basis as space is available in our program.