Early Learning Programs

Learn, play and share with your toddler in a Jewish school setting

Early learning programs offered under the auspices of Rodeph Sholom School are designed for children between 12 and 30 months. With age-appropriate programs that cater to different age ranges, our “grown up and me” style programming allows children and adults to learn, play and share within a Jewish school setting.
Our teachers, who have masters’ degrees in education and social work, understand the needs of parents and young children and run developmentally appropriate classes for the different age groups. Each class is full of unique experiences for our families including free choice, group time and gym time that is held in our recently renovated mini-gym. In addition, all of our classes incorporate celebrations of Jewish holidays and Friday classes celebrate Shabbat.
By joining our early learning programs, our families have an opportunity to experience the Rodeph Sholom School community first-hand. We are located at 10 West 84th Street. All participants in our early learning programs are encouraged to apply to Rodeph Sholom School and should contact our Admissions Office about that process.

Learning Together

Learning Together is an early learning program under the auspices of Rodeph Sholom School. Our program is designed to introduce children to the richness of a school setting, while still providing them with the support of a familiar adult nearby. Experienced and nurturing teachers will guide the children through a variety of engaging activities designed to stimulate their creativity and curiosity, but most importantly to have fun. Every class in Learning Together will include all of the elements of a developmentally appropriate program for young children.

As part of our Learning Together offerings, we are pleased to offer two classes on Fridays for 16-24 month olds with a Shabbat celebration and a visit by Rabbi Greg Weitzman integrated into the program. The 9:00 am class will be offered at Rodeph Sholom School on 84th Street and taught by Early Learning Program Coordinator Debbie Semmel and the 8:45 am class will take place in the newly renovated 5th floor of the 83rd Street building and taught by Congregation Rodeph Sholom Early Engagement Specialist Lisa Schiff.

• A “grown up and me” style class for 12–24-month-olds
• Separate sessions in the fall and the spring 
• Classes grouped by age range:
     • 12-18-month-olds
     • 16-24-month-olds
•  2 sections offered on Friday mornings that will include a visit by Rabbi Greg Weitzman and Shabbat/holiday themed activities.

Learning Together and Apart

Learning Together and Apart is a full year early learning program under the auspices of the Rodeph Sholom School. It is designed for children who are not yet enrolled in school but are ready for a separated and more structured school experience.
Learning Together and Apart is a class that will include all of the elements of a developmentally appropriate program for young children. Children will be encouraged to be independent in the classroom and separate from their adults. This class lasts a full two hours, and runs Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with a special Shabbat service on Friday.

• Children must turn 2 between September 1st and December 31st
• A year-long separated program

Elements of Class:

Free Choice
The children will be encouraged to participate in a variety of activities in our specially designed toddler classroom. Choices will include: art projects, block building, dramatic play, play dough, sand and water play.

Gym Time
Running, jumping, climbing and tumbling are a necessary part of any young child's physical development. Our mini-gym is designed to facilitate children's gross motor development while they play together.

Group Time
Singing together, reading together, learning to take turns and be in a group with peers all create the fabric of a shared experience in a classroom. Each day we will have snack time and a circle time, which will introduce children to the excitement of being part of a group.

Debbie Semmel, Program Coordinator

Debbie Semmel has a Masters in Education as well as a Masters in Educational Leadership and has taught at Rodeph Sholom School for 25 years. She has been a teacher in the Early Childhood Division throughout her tenure, and specifically a Twos (and younger) teacher for the last 12 years. She particularly enjoys the opportunity to introduce young children to the school environment, and is thrilled to be coordinating the Early Learning Programs. 

Lisa Schiff, Congregration Rodeph Sholom Early Engagement Specialist

A graduate of Hebrew Union College and Bank Street College, Lisa Schiff holds dual Masters Degrees in Jewish Education and Early Childhood Education. She has worked in and out of the classroom setting with our littlest learners for over 15 years and is thrilled to be teaching Learning Together in the Fall.

Donielle Lavintman, Early Learning Teacher and Movement Specialist

Doni Lavintman has taught at Rodeph Sholom School since 2011 and has a degree from Brandeis University and a Masters in Art Therapy from New York University. In addition to teaching Early Learning Program classes, Doni is the certified Yoga instructor for the Early Childhood Division at Rodeph Sholom School. She loves children and could not be happier to teach the Learning Together and Learning Together and Apart classes.