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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What days should we choose? How many days should we choose?

Choose the days that work best for your family. We foster community among the children no matter what days of the week they’re enrolled on. Plus, we offer several age-based and Center- wide opportunities throughout the year for children and families to get to know each other.

Our project-based curriculum makes it possible for children to ask the questions that matter to them, and to wrestle with their questions in ways they prefer, in a community of peers, as part of the long tradition of Jewish conversation. Every session here reflects the mix of children and ideas present that day; every session offers something new. Children whose primary afterschool is the Enrichment Center, who attend three or more sessions/week, get to dive more deeply into ideas and projects, grow more comfortable with Hebrew, and have a more relaxing, playful experience. While two sessions/week is the minimum for children in kindergarten and older, many of our children come three or more days, and children are welcome to attend as many sessions/week as the family wants.

Will some days fill?

We expect Sundays and Wednesdays to fill quickly. Currently enrolled families will have one week to secure their preferred sessions before enrollment opens to the general public.

What is Shirah/Tefillah (Singing/Prayer), and why should I attend with my child?

At the end of every session, the entire community gathers together for Shirah/Tefillah (Singing/Prayer). We sing in Hebrew and English, and children learn the words to the primary Jewish prayers through song. It’s a time to hear special news from the day, get a sense of the big ideas your child is grappling with, and find out what to ask your child(ren) about at home. We strongly encourage parents to make Shirah/Tefillah (Singing/Prayer) a regular part of your weekly schedule.

Shirah/Tefillah (Singing/Prayer) is held from 11:25 – 11:45 AM on Sunday mornings and 5:25 – 5:45 PM on weekday afternoons. All adults welcome – grandparents and caregivers, too!

Why do children attend at least two days/week starting in kindergarten?

The kind of creative, communal, long-term project work we do with children requires them to trust each other, collaborate, and take risks. It takes time to build and sustain the kind of relationships that supports this intensive work.

In addition, children need to revisit their thinking about the current theme at least twice during the week in order to continue developing their ideas. To learn Hebrew in a natural way (i.e., through the auditory environment, through play), children need to hear and play with the language multiple times/week.

Do you teach Hebrew? Does my child need to learn Hebrew?

Hebrew is embedded into the auditory and visual environment, and in the routines of our day, so children pick up the language naturally. Children of all ages play games in Hebrew, often choosing how they would like to engage with the language that day. Hebrew is woven into our physical playtime for younger children, and older children master Hebrew prayers. Comfort with the Hebrew language, and a working vocabulary, are essential to developing confidence in owning the texts of our centuries’-old Jewish conversation. A child who owns these texts can play with Judaism, creating their own meaning in Jewish life and community.

Why do you have multiage groupings?

The Jewish Enrichment Center offers multiage groupings in all kevutzot (groups). With a broad range of ages, children learn from other children through role modeling, allowing younger children to be stimulated intellectually by older children and older children to develop self- reliance and responsibility. Multiage groupings also promote friendship between children of various ages, which strengthens the community as a whole. Multiage groupings make it possible for children see that each one of us brings strengths and a unique perspective to our community.

Do you offer Jewish enrichment when school is closed?

Yes! We have full days of Jewish enrichment when local schools are out, called Special Days. We also run full weeks of Jewish Enrichment Camp during selected school breaks. We spend our Special Days and Camp days playing and exploring a Jewish person (e.g., Marc Chagall) or idea (e.g., the tastes of Passover), culminating in big project by the end of the day or week. 

Since the majority of our enrolled families come from the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, we hold Special Days on Lab’s parent-teacher conference days, and also on several national holidays. Please check our website for a full schedule of Special Days and Jewish Enrichment Camps for 2018-2019. 

Do you offer summer programming?

In Summer 2018, we’re meeting on two Sunday mornings to play in parks around the city, including some Enrichment Center-style fun. Plus, we send children mail over the summer, with Hebrew games and puzzles and cards. We believe children should get to keep their Hebrew skills sharp over the summer, and see their Enrichment Center friends, too.

Jewish Enrichment Camp will run for two weeks at the end of the summer, from August 20 – 24, 2017 and August 27 – 31. Register online today!

Will my child be ready for a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah? 

Children at the Jewish Enrichment Center develop the skills, knowledge, and confidence to design their own lifelong relationship with Judaism. Starting at an early age, children develop a relationship with the Torah, learn to express their own ideas about Torah and Judaism, and dialogue respectfully with peers. Children learn Hebrew, and they learn Jewish prayers and about Jewish prayer services. By the time children reach the age of B-Mitzvah (a gender neutral term) at the Jewish Enrichment Center, they have acquired foundational Jewish literacy, and also developed their own ideas about what Judaism means to them.

Can we celebrate our child’s B-Mitzvah with the Jewish Enrichment Center?

Yes. We partner with families to design a B-Mitzvah experience that reflects the family’s Jewish life as well as the individuality of the child. Our process proceeds within a family’s lifelong relationship with Judaism and aims to launch children into the next stage of responsibility in their lives. Children who celebrate becoming B-Mitzvah with the Jewish Enrichment Center engage in a personalized, long-term project emerging from their strengths and interests.


Download the 2018-2019 Enrollment Packet

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