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