Chicago Sinai Preschool
A neighborhood school serving children of all races, religions and ethnic origins in a Jewish setting.
Serving Families for more than 50 years.
Chicago Sinai Congregation is one of America’s oldest and most distinguished Reform temples. Sinai’s first service was held on June 21, 1861, in a modest frame building in what is now the financial district in Chicago’s Loop. At the time, it was one of a half dozen U.S. temples dedicated to the Reform tradition of Jewish leadership and scholarship; a congregation whose commitment to civil rights, interfaith outreach, community involvement and independent Jewish thought and expression have been an integral part of the American Liberal Jewish tradition for more than 150 years.
In 1949, the Sinai Nursery School opened, serving its Hyde Park community until the synagogue relocated in 1996. Re-named the Sinai Preschool, it reopened in 1999 in our Delaware Place site. The preschool classrooms and attached outdoor playground were remodeled in 2011, providing a state-of-the-art facility in which children can learn and grow.
Sinai Preschool continues to serve families from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds.
Mission and Philosophy
The mission of Sinai Preschool: To provide high-quality preschool education to our Sinai community and to Chicago area families of different religious and cultural backgrounds by incorporating reform Jewish values and traditions within a broader, relationship-based curriculum.
A neighborhood preschool in a Jewish setting, we’re known for introducing children to Judaism within a broader context of acceptance and respect for many different religious and cultural experiences.
Our program is built on this philosophy:
- As children learn how to make choices for themselves, they develop the capacity for independent learning.
- As they discover and create, guided by nurturing and encouraging adults, children see their impact on the world around them and develop their own constructive, positive, vibrant identity and sense of self.
- Parents as Partners: At Sinai Preschool we enroll the family, not just the child. We encourage parents to take an active role in their children’s preschool experience through classroom participation, parent/teacher conferences, special family activities throughout the year, and committees that support the school.
In short, the notion of ”relationship” is central to our work with children and families. Socialization experiences help children develop a basic awareness of themselves as individuals and as group members. Children are encouraged to express feelings, develop autonomy, form friendships, play imaginatively and identify interests. Teachers, well aware of their role in helping each child build his/her self-esteem; provide a warm, secure environment where positive learning experiences take place.
Chicago Sinai includes congregation membership for all families with children enrolled in our school-year programs.
Sinai Preschool educates the whole child, emphasizing cognitive, physical, and social and emotional growth and development. We respect and respond to the unique needs of each child and family and support learning about and the embracing of differences among people. Our caring and nurturing teachers provide a developmentally appropriate and emotionally supportive learning environment. Our goals: Thoughtful interactions with every child and a partnership with all parents.
Discovery and exploration through play are essential components of Sinai’s curriculum. The daily schedule provides a balance of active and quiet experiences. Classrooms are designed so children are free to choose from a variety of open-ended experiences that foster discovery, learning and exploration. Choices include art, water and sand play, dramatic play, block building, the writing and literacy center, science, and math experiences such as puzzles and small manipulatives, and more. Each day children have the opportunity for large motor play in our attached playground or large motor room.
Jewish programming is introduced in a manner meaningful to young children and respectful of other faiths and traditions. Creative celebrations, many shared with our preschool families, help children recognize, appreciate and enjoy their Jewish heritage.
Accreditation and Affiliations
Sinai Preschool is proud to be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) since 2004.
NAEYC Accreditation represents the mark of quality in early childhood education. To achieve NAEYC Accreditation, early childhood education programs volunteer to be measured against the most robust and rigorous national standards on education, health and safety.
NAEYC-accredited programs invest in early childhood education because they believe in the benefits to children and families. “Early childhood experiences—from birth to age eight—have an enormous impact on children’s lifelong learning and positively contribute to their health and development. Early childhood education programs with the mark of quality benefit children with greater readiness for and success in school (naeyc.org)”
Sinai Preschool is also licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the City of Chicago.
You invest a lot in your child….So does the Jewish United Fund.
JUF Right Start, the first program of its kind, was created to increase awareness and access to Jewish early childhood programs for Chicago-area families. JUF Right Start provides a financial voucher for families enrolling their children in a Jewish infant, toddler or preschool program for the first time.
Please visit their website jufRightStart for eligibility guidelines.
Chicago’s Near North
15 W. Delaware Place
Chicago, IL 60610
Fern Katz, Director
Sinai Preschool 2017-2018 application
Sinai Preschool has been reaccredited under the stringent new NAEYC regulations.
Sinai Preschool is licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and the Chicago Department of Human Services.