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Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions (4)

Do you have availability now?

We have limited space available in certain age groups. If you are interested in taking a personal tour and learning more about our program, please contact us directly at (818) 761-6983.  We are accepting wait-list applications to admit families if spaces become available.

Do you offer part-time schedules?

Our program is a 5 day/week program. For ages 2-4 we have a half-day option and our Pre-K ages 4-5  is a full day. We are open from 8am-6pm and offer early and late care options.

What is the application process for new students?

A waitlist application form must be submitted with a non-refundable $100 application fee.  We give siblings and children coming from the Parent & Me registration priority, and we then go by date of application.

Do we need to join the temple?

The school is a service for Temple Beth Hillel members and membership is required. One of the benefits of being a part of the Beth Hillel Day School community is being a part of the larger Temple Beth Hillel community. Membership allows for access to our Temple clergy, to synagogue programming, and to the greater synagogue community. Many of our families enjoy participating in Brotherhood, Sisterhood or on Temple committees, attending synagogue events like Seder in the Desert, and building friendships among temple members.

General (7)

What is a “Developmental curriculum”? What does my child learn from it?

Our program is based on meeting each child where he/she is and guiding them forward from that point. Our staff are educated in the principles of child development and understand that development is a spectrum; focusing on academic readiness, gross motor skills, fine motor skills and socialization, our teachers base their curriculum and classroom lessons around the class’ development and interest.  By creating a classroom environment that allows for open-ended learning and discovery, we give children a chance to build their understanding the world.  By providing “scaffolding,” the teachers assist children to become confident in their skills so that they may express themselves in many different symbolic languages—speech, drawing and acting, to name a few.  We also believe that learning is a cooperative venture which includes other children, their teachers, their families and our larger community.  Literacy, math, social studies, science, music and arts are all emphasized through a framework of hands-on contextualized experiences.

Will my child be ready for Kindergarten?

Yes.  For over 35 years, Beth Hillel’s ECE has prepared children for kindergarten and elementary school. While in our program, children build the foundation for the literacy, math, science, creative, motor and social skills they will need to do well in later schooling.  In addition, because our school goes until sixth grade, our nursery and mechina teachers have the advantage of working side-by-side with elementary teachers on a daily basis; this collaboration allows our staff to maintain the most updated knowledge of elementary expectations

What are the school hours?

Beth Hillel’s ECE is open Monday–Friday, 8:00 am–6:00 pm.  Our nursery (2 and 3 year olds) program runs from 9:00 am-12:00 pm. Our mechina (pre-K) program runs from 9:00 am-3:00 pm. Early care is available from 8:00-9:00 am and aftercare is available until 6:00 pm.

Does my child need to be toilet-trained?

No.  We understand that most two-year olds are not yet toilet trained.  When your child is ready, we work closely with the parent and child to toilet train the child in a consistent, calming, encouraging manner. We celebrate success and keep a positive upbeat attitude when the child has an “accident.” The parent and school should follow a consistent and similar schedule, or the child’s training will be erratic.  Your child’s teachers will keep you posted on progress—please keep us abreast of all news, for example, when your child comes to Preschool with only underwear on!

Do you offer a lunch program?

While we do not not provide a daily lunch, we have our “hot lunch Wednesdays” where all the children eat lunch together.

Where do students go after graduating?

About 1/3 of the ECE students matriculate to our elementary school; the remaining students go to local public and independent schools.

What is Beth Hillel Day School’s commitment to diversity?

Beth Hillel Day School celebrates diversity. We are known as a warm and welcoming community. While we require that our students have one Jewish parent, our families are otherwise quite diverse. They include families with two parents, single parents, same-sex parents, blended families and grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. Our parents come from diverse ethnic, national and socio-economic backgrounds and include many interfaith families. We welcome all of these families, encouraging parents, grandparents and students to share their cultural and family traditions in the classrooms and in student projects.

In The Classroom (8)

What are the ratios of children to teachers? What are the total class sizes

By law we can have 1:12 but we keep our ratio to approximately 1:6

What’s the age span of the children in the classrooms?

In our youngest classes, the age span is about 6-7 months.  The span increases with each class, and the largest span is in our mechina (Pre-k), where the children may be up to 11 months apart in age.

Do the children nap? What about the older children?

We offer rest time each afternoon.  We provide a cot or mat for all children with the expectation that they will use the time to rest.  As the children grow older, we will allow other quiet naptime activities.  A washable, size-appropriate, labeled blanket needs to remain at the preschool for rest-time and will be sent home weekly for washing.

What is your policy on discipline and conflict resolution?

We believe in “positive discipline,” which focuses on good behavior rather than bad, and we follow the guidelines for developmentally appropriate practices set by the National Association for the Education of Children (NAEYC).  While some behaviors are typical for a specific “age and stage,” we recognize that children learn appropriate social behaviors at different rates.  With that in mind, we observe and make individual behavior plans when necessary.  As children get older, we encourage them to resolve conflicts on their own, building social skills and self-confidence in difficult, emotional situations. For more information on our behavior policies, please consult the Preschool Parent Handbook.

What are the staff qualifications?

All of our teachers and assistants have the qualifications to be a full time Preschool teachers.  Some of our teachers have several other qualifications to work in the education field.  All of our teachers have the opportunity to continue taking professional development courses that we pay for and encourage.

How can families get involved?

We welcome and encourage parental involvement in a variety of ways.  Our parents plan and organize special events and fundraisers and support the program and staff.  There are opportunities for parents to serve as room parents, on various committees, to volunteer at events like the Thanksgiving feast, Chanukah party, Passover Seder and class celebrations.  Our Parent Committee meets once/month and everyone is encouraged to attend.

How do you communicate with the families?

Strong parent-teacher communication is key for a child’s success. Written communication occurs through electronic class updates once/week and curriculum newsletters once/month. Personal conversations and conferences can happen as needed; quicker conversations might happen during morning or afternoon pick-up, or you can call during the day.  Since drop-off and pick-up can be rushed and busy times for children, parents and staff, we encourage you  to set up a phone conference or a personal conference time with the classroom teacher for a longer conversation. You are also welcome to set up an appointment with our Director to talk at any time. Finally, we have Back to School Night and parent-teacher conferences twice/year.

How often do you clean the classrooms?

To decrease the spread of illnesses and germs, general housekeeping chores are part of the teachers’ daily routine and toys are sanitized often.  A professional cleaning crew also takes care of cleaning, vacuuming and mopping on a nightly basis.  They also clean rugs/carpets and wax the floors as needed.

Religious Life (4)

I am not Jewish, but my husband is. Will our child be able to attend BHDS?

One parent needs to be Jewish in order for children to attend BHDS.  Interfaith families are welcome and are encouraged to participate in all aspects of school life.

How involved are BHDS families in Jewish life?

Our Jewish parents range in background from orthodox to secular Jews.  Some are very knowledgeable and others have no Jewish knowledge.  All families have the opportunity to learn through their children and through participation in school Shabbat and holiday celebrations. Adult education programs are also available through the Temple.  These include Temple Beth Hillel’s program for interfaith families and families of Jews by Choice and the Temple’s Adult Bar Mitzvah Program.

We currently belong to another synagogue. Can we attend BHDS?

Yes.  Beth Hillel Day School is a service for members of Temple Beth Hillel, so families must become members of Temple Beth Hillel prior to starting school at Beth Hillel Day School.  Affiliate membership is available for families who belong to other synagogues.

What is the kashrut (kosher) policy at Beth Hillel Day School?

Food served by the school at Hot Lunch is kosher style.  We do not mix milk and meat in the same meal. When food is sent from home for snack or lunch, or when food is served to a BHDS class, in an after school enrichment class or at a school gathering, we request that families not send or serve pork or shellfish products or mix meat and milk products in the same snack or meal.