An experiential, child-centered Junior Kindergarten

Gurim (Cubs), is a school-based, early childhood program at CESJDS that balances academics and play in a developmentally appropriate setting. The program focuses on real world experiences, structured fun, learning through play and song, and building community.

Gurim, an experiential, child-centered Junior Kindergarten

Lev is building an important foundation in his academic career while also having the leeway to be a little boy. He is using his body to learn numbers, and establishing a Hebrew vocabulary through puppetry. No other program exists with this dynamism.
Alanna Kotler, mother to Lev


Gurim Junior Kindergarten Highlights

The Gurim program supports children's learning in all developmental domains.

Highlights Include

  • Learning through play across the curriculum, i.e. learning sets of 2 in math by finding a buddy or stacking two blocks

  • Enrichment experiences in STEM, Art, Music, Library, and Physical Education, provided by teacher specialists
  • Handwriting Without Tears® – a multi-sensory approach to using pencil and paper, and developing fine and gross motor skills
  • Phono-graphix® lessons that teach the nature of basic English code
  • ‘Hebrew at the Center’ approach that promotes oral language using props, pictures, and other creative tools, as well as authentic songs and books from Israel

Amelia walked in on Day 1 totally happy, and now comes home everyday beaming. She is learning skills to help her manage school, channel her emotions, and engage socially.
Dr. Natalie Billington, mother to Amelia

Sample Schedule

Gurim spans the course of the traditional 8:15 AM - 3:15 PM. CESJDS school day. Each day is balanced with large group, small group, and individual opportunities; indoor and outdoor activities; active and reflective time, including student-directed and teacher-directed lessons.


Arrival - Greeting and teacher-selected activities

Morning Meeting - Responsive Classroom routines and practices with whole group

Building Blocks® activities with story and manipulatives

Specials (Art, Science, Music, PE, Library)

Snack/ Independent Reading

Reading/Hebrew - Small group rotating instruction in Reading using Phono-Graphix®, Hebrew, and play

Math/ Hebrew - Small group rotating instruction in Math using Building Blocks® math curriculum, Hebrew, and play

Center time - Play with peers with student/teacher-directed play choices




Handwriting without Tears® - Students learn how to write through movement and participation

Yoga/Movement/Literacy- Movement program that works in conjunction with a story

Judaics - A creative approach to teaching Judaics with music, dance, puppets, and props

Rest time - A time for the children to relax, listen to music, or read a book

Dismissal - Bring closure to the school day in a fun and meaningful way

I am so grateful that there is a program like Gurim. It made my decision very easy. I want Mason to see that academics are important, but also to appreciate the atmosphere in which he is learning.
Morgan Duren, mother to Mason

Meet the Teachers

Sharon Krasna

Sharon Krasna
Gurim Judaic Studies Teacher

Mira Mordfin

Mira Mordfin
Gurim Judaic Studies Teacher
B.S., Early Childhood and Special Education

Tatyana Pidgurskaya

Tatyana Pidgurskaya
Gurim General Studies Teacher

Evonne Schnitzer

Evonne Schnitzer
Gurim General Studies Teacher
B.A., Education
M.A., Early Childhood Education

Helen Silder

Helen Silder
Gurim Assistant Teacher

Jennifer Sisco

Jennifer Sisco
Gurim Assistant Teacher

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