What's Next, A Preschool Of Law?
Perhaps you've seen the signs in your town:
Preschool of the Arts.
There are variations in Ellington, Conn.; New York,
N.Y.; Wilmington, N.C.; and other U.S. cities.
The mind reels with thoughts of petite portrait
artists and baby ballerinas. Can't you just
imagine a studio full of mini-Morisots and
diapered Daumiers? An orchestra of tiny
violinists and toddling tympanists? And a remake
of The Little Rascals by, well, little rascals?
Why is a preschool of the arts a good and necessary
thing for young children?
Often, the arts are considered an extracurricular
activity in education, says Sojin Chi of the
Preschool of the Arts in Madison, Wis. "But I
do believe that it is a critical component in all education,
especially in early childhood education."
The arts, she says:
Lend themselves to hands-on experiences: Young children can explore the world firsthand.
Offer a language for pre-verbal children.
Provide a form of beauty and aesthetics.
Integrate naturally with other content areas.
Are often open-ended.
"Through experiences in the arts," Chi says, "children are encouraged to be creative ... to experiment and express individual thoughts, ideas and curiosities. These are higher level critical thinking skills that we want our children to develop as future leaders of our society."
Hmm. So what's next: A Preschool of Science and Engineering? Or a Preschool of Law?
Chi entertains the question. "If done well," Chi says, "I can see a Preschool of the Sciences as a potential initiative."
However, "I don't think a Preschool for Law is appropriate."
Anchor's note: Driving in Maryland and saw professionally made signs for a Preschool of the Arts. Began to imagine the possibilities... — L.W.
Arts preschool readies for opening in Potomac
July 2, 2013
By David Holzel
A new Jewish preschool in Potomac aims to use the arts to help children express themselves and aid
them in learning, according to its director.
“Especially when children are young, they’re not so verbal. This is how they’ll really be able to let us
know their questions,” said Esther Kavka of the Preschool of the Arts.
The preschool, which will meet at the Chabad Shul of Potomac, is a project of Chabad in Maryland,
based in suburban Baltimore. In its initial year, the school will comprise 12-15 2- and 3-year-olds.
Kavka said the Preschool of the Arts will use the Reggio Emilia approach to education, in which the
curriculum is flexible and is guided by children’s questions and ideas. Teachers act as researchers
as well as instructors, and they listen to children and document their work and progress.
The arts — including drama, song and dance — are integral to the program.
Reggio Emilia involves “children listening to children and teachers facilitating, so the children feel
confident in sharing their ideas,” she said.
“We want to create a Jewish environment where their love of learning and love of Judaism can be expressed,” she added.
The school is part of the Chabad movement’s effort to establish a network of preschools. The outreach-oriented Orthodox movement has opened 500 such schools, she said. The Preschool of the Arts is designed to serve the Chabad centers in Washington’s Maryland suburbs, she added.
“Our mission is that we care about every child,” she said. “If we help them to love learning, they’ll learn forever.”
For information on Preschool of the Arts, go to preschoolarts.org
Esther Kavka, director of Preschool of the Arts, wants children to “feel confident in sharing their ideas.” Photo by David Holzel