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School Year 2024-25 Applications Now Live


Submit your application for the 2024-2025 school year today! Spots tend to fill quickly.
 There is a $25 application fee:


Fill out this application form to pay the application fee via CREDIT CARD.
Fill out this application form to pay the application fee via CHECK.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Wondering what next school year’s calendar looks like? Click here for the 2024-2025 calendar.

Our Philosophy

During the early years, children form their basic attitudes towards learning, themselves and others. At Gan Keshet we strive to support a child’s development of self-confidence, respect and empathy for others, intellectual curiosity, creative expression, and a positive identity.

Gan Keshet offers a rich, nurturing, play-based learning environment where children, families and staff together explore what it means to be a community. We strive to create an environment for children to explore, question and develop an authentic voice. Families and staff, of diverse backgrounds, partner together as we introduce the Jewish community and its values. Our curriculum focuses on social, emotional, and physical development while fostering intellectual curiosity and cognitive growth.

Since children grow at different rates, individual and group activities are offered. Children are encouraged to be actively involved in the learning process.

A Progress Pride flag, featuring a triangle pointing to the right featuring transgender/intersex pride colors- pink, white, light blue- as well as Black and brown stripes to represent the BIPOC members of the LGBTQIA+ community, in addition to the traditional seven rainbow stripes.

Gan Keshet Preschool is proud to be not only an ally to, but a home for gender-questioning, gender non-conforming, non-binary, trans, and otherwise gender-expansive youth, families, caregivers, and staff. We not only accept, but uplift and celebrate gender diversity, with affirming practices that centralize the individual's experience of themselves in community and honors each person's ability to articulate who they are throughout different phases of life. We are led with empathy, compassion, the wisdom of life experience, and the scientific research demonstrating the necessity of gender-affirming practices in fostering the joy and growth of gender-expansive children. Gan Keshet Preschool stands in solidarity with all members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, and will continue to do so despite the legal and literal attacks on queer and trans healthcare, rights, and lives.

Program Details

Gan Keshet operates during the school year (Sept. to  June).  We offer a Summer Program to current and incoming Gan Keshet children (who are of age as of the start of July). Summer Program is not currently open to the public. The Summer Program is held almost exclusively outside in our outdoor classroom and on Abundance Farm, running from the beginning of July to mid August. 

We believe the work of the 2- and 3- year olds (socially/emotionally) differs from 4- and 5- year old, and we divide our classrooms into developmentally age appropriate groups.

The school’s Morning Program starts at 8:15 am and runs to 12:45 pm, Monday through Friday. Children may attend 3, 4, or 5 mornings a week in the Parpar (Butterfly) and Garin (Sprout) class and 4 or 5 mornings a week in the Chamaniah (Sunflower) class. Lunch Bunch is included in our Morning Program, Monday through Friday. Snacks and lunches are brought from home and must be kosher, dairy or vegetarian. (For more information on Kosher lunch at Gan Keshet, check out our Guide in our current families section.)

An Afternoon Program (Tzohoraim) is also available five days a week (Monday- Thursday) from 12:45-3:00 pm and on Fridays until 3:00 pm (Nov-Feb until 2:30 pm) for children who participate in the morning program. Please note that the shortened hours November through February are due to Shabbat observance being early with the end of Daylight Savings Time.

We also offer an Extended Day Program four days a week:  Monday to Thursday from 3:00- 5:15 pm. Please note that children enrolled in Extended Day programming must be enrolled in Morning and Afternoon Program of the same days. Please also note that due to Shabbat, on Fridays there is not Extended Day programming.

The children’s day includes time for group play as well as time for exploring and working independently. A variety of developmentally appropriate materials are provided to support making of choices, sharing, experimentation, and problem solving.

The arts are woven into all facets of the program. Painting, collage, dance, movement, music, literature, and dramatic play are an important part of our program.

We are fortunate to have large sunny classrooms, several other large indoor rooms as well as a spacious playground, outdoor classrooms, and Abundance Farm available to us, allowing for ample opportunity for gross motor activities on a variety of equipment. We frequently take walks to explore, giving children the opportunity to both observe and enjoy natural, seasonal changes!

Gan Keshet celebrates the rhythm of the Jewish year through explorations of Jewish holidays and customs, and an exposure to the Hebrew language. Now after 0ver 30 successful years of service, Gan Keshet is growing again, collaborating with the Lander Grinspoon Academy and Abundance Farm to expand the options it offers local families. 

Shabbat is celebrated each Friday with challah, grape juice, and a candle lighting ceremony. Beginning in October, classes come together collectively for Shabbat Sing, led by a rotating cast of community members and an occasional feature by the Gan Keshet teachers themselves.

Parent Involvement

Parents are an active and vital part of our program and are welcome in the classrooms to observe or participate in activities. As volunteers, parents are part of our Parent Teacher Association, fundraising activities, shopping, special events, and field trips. This affords parents the opportunity to share in the children’s experiences and helps to build a sense of community. Teachers and the Director communicate regularly with parents through a weekly newsletter sent out on Shabbat, written notices, informal chats, and bi-annual parent teacher conferences to discuss development and strengths throughout the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuition & Financial Aid

Please click HERE for our Toddler (Kitah Parpar) and our Preschool (Kitah Garin and Kitah Chamaniah) 2024 - 2025 School Year Rates.

Tuition is subject to change annually. 

We understand that choosing to enroll in an independent preschool is a big financial decision for any family, regardless of their financial resources.  We believe that a family’s investment in their child’s early education is one that reaches far beyond their childhood experience. Financial Aid is available, and it is our priority to make Jewish early childhood education an affordable option for all families. 

Gan Keshet offers a limited number of need-based scholarships each school year through Congregation B'nai Israel's Leonard & Bernice Alberts' Preschool Scholarship Fund. If you would like to learn more about this scholarship, please contact our Director, Kate Holdsworth, 413-584-3953, ext. 2.

We are also grateful to the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, who's generosity makes possible the HGF Right Start grant, a tuition subsidy for children in Western Mass and Southern Vermont to attend Jewish Preschool. Eligible children must be at least 2.9 years old, be residents of Western Mass or Souther Vermont, Jewish, the first child in the immediate family attending any Jewish preschool and enrolled at Gan Keshet. For further information regarding the HGF grants, please follow the link below.

Click here for eligibility guidelines and to apply.

Visits

Visitors, including prospective families and/or families considering applying to our school, are welcome. Please email our Director, Kate Holdsworth, or call (413) 584-3593 x 2 to schedule an appointment.

Admission Policy

Established in 1985, the Gan Keshet is administered by a Director and is a part of Congregation B’nai Israel. Gan Keshet operates under the licensing authority of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (DEEC).

Gan Keshet Preschool admits children between the ages of two years (2.0) and five years (5.0) as of September 1st of the enrollment year. GKP aims to foster an inclusive and diverse community, and is open to all families (Congregation B’nai Israel members and non-members alike). GKP does not discriminate on the basis of gender, racial or religious background, disability, national origin, parent’s marital status or sexual orientation, political beliefs or cultural heritage.

Though families are strongly encouraged to start the toilet learning process with their child before or upon entering preschool, we are committed to partnering with children and families to support meeting their needs wherever they are in the toileting process and provide opportunities for them to be successful. For more information regarding our toileting procedures, please reach out to Director Kate Holdsworth or or 413-584-3593, ext. 2.

Our admission period officially begins November 1st and ends February 28th, annually. Priority for admission to GKP will be given as listed below.  In order to receive priority, your application must be postmarked by December 20th for enrollment the following fall. Our enrollment period ends February 28th for enrollment the following fall. Families will be notified of acceptance by mid-March. 

Priority will be given to:
1.   Current GKP students and their siblings
2.   Children of current CBI members in good standing. (If a family is interested in enrolling at GKP and is in process of applying for CBI membership, they will be given priority status ONLY IF their CBI membership is submitted/in process by January 15th.)
3.   Children of Gan Keshet alumni families and children of Gan Keshet alumni
4.   Younger siblings of students currently at the Lander-Grinspoon Academy
 
A limited number of part time schedule requests can be accommodated.  Once these slots are filled, priority will be given to families needing a more robust schedule. Specific day requests within a part-time schedule will only be accommodated as space allows. All enrollments are on a trial basis and are subject to the child’s adjustment to the program.
 
Additional requests regarding our admission process should be directed to our Preschool Director, Kate Holdsworth or 413-584-3593, ext. 2.

  

Arrival and Drop Off

Arrival: 8:15 am - 8:45 am, families arrive, are greeted by one of our GK staff members and sign-in before connecting with their classroom teachers outside in the Outdoor Classroom. We will be outside as much as possible, so please dress your children for the weather. (Rain gear encouraged.) In the event of thunderstorms, we will start inside.

Pick up: There are three designated pick up times for the school year: 12:45 pm (Morning Program ends), 3:00 pm (Afternoon Program ends), and 5:15 pm (Extended Program ends), depending on your child's enrollment schedule. 

Guide to Gan Keshet's Kosher Preschool Snack and Lunch

 

 

 

 

Gan Keshet's Guide to Gear: Helpful advice to prepare kids for whatever the day brings. 

What to bring to school each day: 

Please send a water bottle, hearty lunch in it's own bag, and hearty snack in it's own bag (napkins/utensils too). We'll be eating picnic-style outdoors as much as possible. Teachers will help kids refill their water bottles as needed. Please label all bags and waterbottles. 

At least 3 clean masks of any style, labeled with your child's first name. Masks should fit snuggly to your child's face, covering their nose and mouth. Please note that masks are now optional both indoors and outdoors at CBI and accordingly, Gan Keshet. We ask that these masks be brought regardless, in order to be prepared and protected in the rare instance that a child comes down with some kind of potentially contagious illness at school, poor air quality due to environmental factors, and/or other extraordinary circumstances. 

Children can bring a small stuffy or lovey to school as a transitional object, if needed. Please do not send any toys to school. 

Additional items that can be left at school:

At least one full change of dry clothes to change into if accidents or spills happen. 

Bug Spray/Sunscreen, labeled with your child's first name. 

If your child is working on potty training, please send extra pull-ups and wipes. 

Rest items for kids who are staying for the afternoon: Please send rest items in their own bag, including an elastic crib sheet or blanket, a small pillow (optional), a small stuffy (optional), a couple of books (optional, we will have books/small manipulatives available as well).

Mon, May 27 2024 19 Iyyar 5784