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Gan Shelanu

125 Wells Ave.
Newton, MA 02459

(617) 630-4535


Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Reggio-Emilia

From the Director:

Gan Shelanu is unique in its offering of a full day Jewish program where children will enjoy the best of both worlds – a combination of a solid secular foundation with the traditions of a comprehensive Judaic education. All of our programs share some features that will remain consistent throughout your child’s time at Gan Shelanu. We not only recognize each child as an individual but commit to providing every child with an exceptional experience. Every class will host a fluent Hebrew speaker who will engage children in Hebrew language throughout the day. With every unit we will balance our secular and Judaic content so children may participate in a well rounded curricular experience. Our play based curriculum will provide children with the essential building blocks for exploration and growth.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
  • a complete writing center
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • unifix cubes, pattern blocks, sorting media
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • weekly music specialist
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • separate art room, weekly art specialist
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught • Studies show that children are most receptive to learning a language at their earliest stages of development. We will present a dual language program so your children reap the most benefit from this research. Our multi-lingual staff will simultaneously promote language development in both English and Hebrew.

From the Director:

Our curriculum is theme based. The staff will collaborate prior to planning each unit to discuss their goals and objectives. We will build upon the foundations learned from year to year. In this way we will offer a scaffolding curriculum that will provide the building blocks necessary to challenge each child as is developmentally appropriate. Our flexible staff will allow children to lead them in the direction that they find most interesting. Children will engage daily in multisensory experiences that will foster growth in such areas as fine and gross motor, intellectual, cognitive, social, and emotional.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Our teaching staff is comprised of MA EEC certified teachers who hold a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree. All of our teachers are dynamic, energetic, warm and engaging. Our staff l participates in a variety of professional development opportunities to remain current on the latest research and best practices in early childhood.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

At Gan Shelanu it is our belief that children’s work is their play. We operate on the premise that children must experience, explore and try new things to attach meaning to their world. Our thematic curriculum will be play based with a Reggio Emilio twist. We will take the lead from the children and allow the students to choose the direction our themes take. We recognize that each child is an individual and will meet every child where they are. Parents will be encouraged to be active participants in their child’s education and are always welcome in the classroom.
Judaism is the cornerstone of our program. Children will not only learn the traditions of the holidays but they will also learn about Jewish values and menshlekeit. Hebrew language will be spoken in the classrooms throughout the day. Children will learn language through prayer, song, print and integration with fluent Hebrew speakers. We will embrace these concepts regularly as they will be interwoven into our daily routine.
Children will leave Gan Shelanu with a strong sense of Jewish identity as well as the tools necessary to navigate their growing world.

A Typical Day

8:00 Drop off/ table activities
8:30 Morning meeting
8:45 Center/choice time
10:30 Snack time
11:00 Circle/story
11:30 Playground/Gross motor play
12:15 Lunch
1:00 Rest time
2:00 Small group activities
2:45 Snack time
3:15 Playground/Gross motor play
3:30 Dismissal


Separation is Handled through:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year