As the number of Jewish families with young children in the Bergen County area grows, the demand for educational facilities increases. This coming fall, a unique program will be opening called Gan Henel. A modern Orthodox boutique preschool, Gan Henel will offer classes to children ranging in age from 6 months to 3 years old. Located at Kehilat Kesher in Englewood, Gan Henel is based in a newly renovated, contemporary facility that offers children a progressive and modern learning environment.
Tsipy Weiss, director of Gan Henel, has been immersed in the early childhood education sector for over a decade. Born in England and educated in France, Weiss has taught in early childhood facilities across the United States. Most recently she served as preschool director at the Chabad early learning center in Riverdale. Prior to that she was preschool director at the Chabad of the Mainline in Pennsylvania. Her strategy is based on a progressive approach. She and her extremely qualified staff believe in addressing each child individually and speaking to his or her needs with a very specific template. Classes offered will include art, music, movement, language and puppetry. While each child is exposed to all of the programs, the journey is exclusive to one’s own growth and development. The process is documented and each child is catered to at the level that he or she requires.
Weiss has named the program in memory of her late mother, Henel Cohen, z”l, who she says always encouraged her to pursue her dreams and recognized the individuality within her and her many siblings. “My mother was able to identify and embrace each of our strengths and weaknesses,” recalls Weiss.
The program is based on the Reggio Emilia approach to learning. The Reggio Emilia philosophy of education originated in Northern Italy and is a way of observing what children know and what challenges them. There is a prominent focus on social interaction, where each child is an equal participant. In this type of learning environment, there is a strong emphasis on documenting children’s thoughts and progress using a variety of methods. Teachers record these observations so that they can then create successful programs that help children expand their abilities both socially and academically. Through this approach, each child can grow at his or her own pace. At Gan Henel, the journey is equally as important as the outcome.
Gan Henel will retain a highly qualified staff with a high teacher-student ratio. Classes will be kept small and intimate, enabling the educators to effectively observe each participant. The core program will be held from 9 to 12:30; however, extended hours are available. Parents can drop off their children anytime between the hours of 8 and 6. The program will also offer flex days which allow children to come and go as needed. Unlike more conventional childcare programs, Gan Henel offers a unique, high-end, progressive environment where parents will likely elect to send kids regardless of the need for daycare.
There will be a formal open house on April 23 at Kehilat Kesher, 509 Engle Street in Englewood, New Jersey between the hours of 10 and 12:30. Following the open house, tours can be arranged. For additional information about Gan Henel, please contact [email protected] or call 201-308-3042. Details are also available at www.ganhenel.com.
By Andrea Nissel