ABOUT GESHER JUNIOR KINDERGARTEN (GAN KATAN)
Gesher’s unique new Junior Kindergarten (Gan Katan) provides a warm, nurturing, and stimulating educational experience for Jewish children in Northern VA.
Daily activities integrate core themes including Creative Play, Outdoor Exploration, Hebrew Language Immersion, and Jewish Rituals. Anchored in our philosophy of “nurturing individual excellence,” we work from a whole child approach to maximize growth and learning every day.
PHILOSOPHICAL PILLARS OF JUNIOR KINDERGARTEN (GAN KATAN)
Academics - Through play-based learning, teachers guide students to develop skills as early emergent readers, critical thinkers, and creative problem solvers.
Hebrew Language Immersion - Hebrew is infused throughout every aspect of the day. The acquisition of a second language expands our children’s developing minds, deepens the capacity of our students to connect to Israel, elevates the study of core Jewish texts and values, and provides an anchor for developing an integrated Jewish identity.
Stewardship of the Land/Outdoor Exploration - Gesher’s outdoor discovery centers create opportunities for students to explore in the Gesher woods, dig in the garden, and journey through our wetland area and pond in their puddle boots. Teachers weave science, ecology, and the Jewish value of stewardship throughout the curriculum.
Jewish Life & Learning - Gesher students joyfully discover and celebrate Jewish Holidays, Shabbat, and other rituals. Using all of our senses, we touch, taste, listen, move and sing to connect deeply to our Jewish heritage.
Respect and Mindfulness - Throughout our school, students and teachers use Responsive Classroom to create safe and joyful learning communities in which students can grow and develop both socially and academically. By practicing the skills required to interact with peers and adults in healthy ways, students develop their own abilities to make kind, appropriate, and honest choices.
Movement and Creative Play - Stations and lessons are carefully designed to ensure that students have the opportunity to move their bodies and exercise their minds. Children are natural learners; the Gesher classroom and outdoor facilities ensure our learners grow through play and hands-on exploration.
What is the ratio of students to staff?
Our ratio is 8 students to 1 staff member.
What are the hours of Junior Kindergarten (Gan Katan)?
The full day runs from 8:30 a.m - 3:30 p.m. During daylight savings time on Fridays the school day ends at 2:45 p.m. Before care is available mornings starting at 7:30 a.m. and afternoons until 6 p.m.
Is transportation available?
Yes, Gesher currently provides buses and vans from Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, McLean, Reston, Herndon, and Vienna and will arrive to school by 8:20 am. We do our best to accommodate all families across our region; additional locations can be made available upon request.
What are the benefits of my 4 year old being included in the larger Gesher school?
One of the unique aspects of joining our Junior Kindergarten is making use of our amazing campus as well as our exceptional specialists in Art, Music, Technology, Library, and Gym. Also, the Junior Kindergarten (Gan Katan) class will be paired with buddies from other grades to build relationships that last a lifetime.
Who are Gesher students?
We serve a diverse array of families spanning all Jewish denominations as well as those who don’t affiliate with any movement. Our families live in over 41 zip codes throughout Northern Virginia.
Do I need to make my child lunch and snacks each day?
Each family can choose to order a hot lunch from our kosher GesherFresh hot lunch program, or they can bring in a dairy or vegetarian lunch from home. All snacks for Junior Kindergarten (Gan Katan) are provided by Gesher.