North Shore Congregation Israel has launched The Preschool @ North Shore Congregation Israel, formerly Gates of Learning. The rebranding of the preschool reflects the shift in priorities of today's preschool parents.
More than 345 North Shore Congregation members, preschool parents, and potential members responded to a recent online survey. It revealed that more than half of the respondents indicated that grandparents of young children are interested in participating in their family's early education, and find it an important bonding experience. The survey also indicated that many parents are looking for programs that offer various class options at times outside of traditional preschool classes, in order to accommodate the working parents who are unable to take their children during typical preschool hours.
"It is important that our congregation listens to our members and parents in the community, in order to continue our quest for maintaining excellence in Jewish early childhood education," said Ellen L. Grossman, preschool director. "Priorities and expectations constantly change, so we felt it was important to take the time to really listen and understand the needs of today's child and parent and tailor our program around it."
The preschool has added classes, including a "Create a Class" option, where a small group of parents can request days and time to hold a class for children ages 2-3 as well as a "Baby Steps" class for children under 1 year, which allows parents of young children to meet each other as well as introduce their children to the future preschool experience. The new "Stay and Play" sessions let parents stop by to enjoy some coffee while their children can use the preschool facilities.
The survey also confirmed that most parents now expect preschools to offer enrichment classes that expose their children to additional experiences outside of the classroom, including cooking, Spanish, yoga, and math, as well as the option for children to eat lunch at preschool with their peers. These activities also extend the number of hours that young children are in an educational environment.
North Shore Congregation Israel is on the border of Glencoe and Highland Park. For more information, visit www.thepreschoolatnsci.org.