"We consistently strive to engage all children, regardless of learning styles, to the wonder of Jewish life through creative and varied educational experiences,"
TSTI is recognized throughout the wider community for its efforts to make quality Jewish education accessible to all. The synagogue partners with child study teams in local public school districts and provides tutoring, customized b'nei mitzvah ceremonies and other services for students of all ages. A certified special education coordinator and a licensed clinical social worker are on staff at the schools.
Schreff noted that there is an ever-increasing demand for special needs support in the early childhood and religious school settings, adding that preschool is often the first place that challenges are identified. "One of our biggest concerns is ensuring that our staff of more than 65 teachers has the skills to help each and every child learn to their potential. This grant will enable us to improve the classroom experience by training our teachers to bring Jewish education to all students."
Early Childhood Director Carol Paster said that training will begin with classroom management and differentiated teaching skills, as well as observations and documentation. "In the preschool, we need to plan for and support students with language-based disabilities and sensory processing deficits, which this grant will help us do through more targeted training." A special summer session also will offer training to Religious School classroom aides and Preschool teen summer counselors.
Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel is a vibrant Reform congregation located at 432 Scotland Road in South Orange, N.J., that offers Preschool, Religious School, teen programs, lifelong learning for adults and a full complement of religious services and cultural programs each month. TSTI serves member families from Maplewood, the Oranges, Livingston, Millburn, Short Hills and surrounding areas. For more information, visit www.tsti.org.