JCDS in Metairie reopening pre-K program

The Jewish Community Day School in Metairie announced that it will re-open its pre-Kindergarten program next fall. With the addition, the school will range from pre-K to fifth grade.

The school introduced a pre-K class for the 2008-2009 school year but discontinued it in 2012.

Judy Fried, the JCDS first grade teacher, will serve as the lead for the re-instituted Pre-K Program. Her history at JCDS dates back to its beginning years in her role as a founding parent. She also created the JCDS kindergarten program and has mentored the majority of JCDS graduates. Before teaching at JCDS, Fried taught Kindergarten for 12 years at Akiba Academy, a Day School in Dallas, which won a Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching.

According to JCDS Head of School Sharon Pollin, who started with the school in 2013, small classes, highly qualified teachers and Jewish values help children develop skills and outlooks that will serve them for their entire lives.

She said pre-K “provides an attractive pathway for families to engage in Jewish living and learning,” through “the happiness and fun of celebrating holidays with their young children, bringing to the home what children gain from the culture of the school.”

Pollin said the older students are excited at the prospect of being reading buddies “and actually participating with them in their classes.” This lets the older students develop leadership opportunities, and working with the younger students helps the older students with their literacy as well.

The pre-K class will use the Project Approach, which supports open-ended learning experiences and the development of self-confidence and self-regulation. A sense of wonder permeates all aspects of the JCDS pre-K program.”

The curriculum has three main inspirations. The Reggio Emelia approach is based on the principles of respect, responsibility and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment.

Maria Montessori’s work fosters independence, deep understanding and peaceful interpersonal relationships. Lev Vygotsky’s thinking promotes rich language and literacy environments, complex play to encourage critical thinking, and self-regulation. Joyful Jewish traditions guide the creation of a lifelong ethical framework.

There will be open houses for prospective parents on Jan. 13 at 6 p.m., Jan. 15 at 9 a.m. and Feb. 11 at 9 a.m. Private tours are always available.