The physical space of the classroom provides experiences that stimulate intellectual development, foster social and emotional learning, and enhance growth in both fine and large motor skills. Each day, the teacher sets out in various areas around the room intentional experiences that are interesting, inviting, developmentally appropriate, open-ended and process-oriented. Activity spaces can accommodate a variety of opportunities for solitary, parallel and cooperative play.
For example, puzzles and small table toys stimulate small muscle development and learning about space relationships; storytelling fosters both listening skills and vocabulary while discussion supports the practice of problem-solving; and a housekeeping corner affords an opportunity for dramatic imaginative play as an emotional outlet and stimulates social development.
Outdoor spaces are essential to healthy development, and our garden is one of the most unique features of the OFJCC Leslie Family Preschool. Led by longtime teacher Debbie Togliatti, the garden fosters children's natural curiosity about living things and the world around us, as well as promoting the development of lifelong healthy eating practices.
Throughout the year, children participate in planting, close observation of natural processes and the seasonal cycle, harvesting the abundance that comes from the garden, and sharing the bounty with families in need of fresh produce. Benefits range from physical development (sensory awareness and hand-eye coordination) to social learning (through collaborative effort and discussion) and the exercise of Jewish values such as Kavod ha Teva (Honoring Nature) and Hazan et Hakol (Feeding Everyone and Sharing the Bounty).
Like the garden, the expansive and beautifully constructed playground is a key part of the outdoor spaces supporting children's healthy development at the preschool. Slides and the jungle gym create opportunities for large muscle development and early safety education; tricycles help develop balance and motor coordination; and sandbox areas encourage sensory and texture awareness.
Children's time on the playground is timed so that they remain with others at a similar developmental stage, not only for safety but to create time and space for imaginative play and social engagement.
Our JCC Campus
The OFJCC Leslie Family Preschool is set in a secure and protected wing of the larger Oshman Family JCC campus which means that preschool families have unique access to a wide range of other programs and amenities, including:
- Family and parenting programs in both English and Hebrew.
- The Jeff Center for Families with drop-in play space.
- The Nourish Cafe by Tony Caters, with delicious, child-friendly snacks and meals.
- The OFJCC Fitness and Wellness Center with complimentary child memberships and discount adult memberships for preschool families.
- Swim lessons, recreational swim and waterplay in the heated Bernard and Barbro Osher indoor pool.
- Lectures, concerts and Jewish learning classes for adults.
- Holidays and community programs for families and the whole community.