A JK-12 pluralistic school that engages students in an exemplary and inspiring general and Jewish education.

Gurim Junior Kindergarten Program

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gurim: 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, mom of 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, mom of Ameila

Gurim, an experiential, child-centered Junior Kindergarten

Sample Schedule

Gurim spans the course of the traditional 8:15 a.m. - 3:15 p.m. 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

View the Gurim Curriculum >>

Meet Gurim teachers Eve Margol and Sivan Krowitz
"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, mom of Mason

Read more about Gurim Junior Kindergarten

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