Q: How old does my child have to be to attend the Jewish Community Day School of RI?
A: We are excited to share that we now welcome students as young as 3 years of age into Nitzanim our 3-year-old program. Nitzanim is a Hebrew word, meaning flower buds, and we feel that this is the perfect language to describe our youngest learners who are ready to learn, grow and blossom from the moment they enter our school! This means that all students must be 3-years-old by September 1st of the year they begin.
Kindergarten students must be 5-years-old by October 1st of the year they begin. As a private school, we are guided by the state guideline but we also maintain flexibility in our admissions decisions. We are committed to getting to know each child who applies for admission and together with parents, determining the best placement for that child.
Q: Given the dual curriculum, will my child learn enough general studies?
A: Absolutely. At JCDSRI, the General Studies program is guided by the same state standards used in schools across Rhode Island. Students do not get less, they get more! Our Judaic curriculum sharpens the skills students need to succeed in their General Studies learning. For example, our Judaic curriculum is based on text study and language (Hebrew). The text and language focus trains our students to question and analyze and become close readers — skills needed to be a strong reader and thinker in any language.
Our Hebrew language program starts in Kindergarten and is directed by an award-winning Brown University Professor. Studies show that introducing a second language to your child at an early age has numerous benefits that make them stronger students:
- Students fluent in two languages score higher on both verbal and non-verbal intelligence tests.
- Second language students have higher test scores in reading, language and mathematics.
- Second language education significantly strengthens first language skills in areas of reading, English vocabulary, grammar and communication skills.
- Students studying a second language display greater cultural sensitivity.
In addition, there is evidence that early language learning correlates with increased cognitive development and abilities, increased memory skills, and increased problem solving ability. Students who have studied a second language also tend to score higher on standardized tests.
Q: Our family is not observant, will we fit in?
A: JCDSRI respects students and families at all levels of observance and Jewish practice. JCDSRI is a rare place in which families become friends with people who they might have considered “different” from themselves. Our community encourages these connections and a mutual respect that is not dependent on levels of observance. It is our mission that each child and each family feel comfortable as part of our community. We know that our differences in Jewish practice actually make our community stronger and give our students opportunities to share, learn and consider many different ways of living a meaningful Jewish life.
Q: Is there diversity at JCDSRI?
A: Diversity shows itself in many ways at JCDSRI. There is a range of Jewish practice among our families, from Reform and cultural Jews through Modern Orthodox. The JCDSRI community reflects tremendous socio-economic diversity which comes from the philosophy that a Jewish education should be made available to any Jewish child who wants one. JCDSRI welcomes families from Russia and Israel as well as adoptive families, same-sex families and inter-faith families. Our children represent a diversity of learning styles, including special needs and highly accelerated. So, yes, we are proud to say, there are many kinds of diversity at JCDSRI.
Q: Where is JCDSRI and what is the facility like?
A: The Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island is in the heart of the East Side of Providence, on a residential street – walking distance to the Jewish Community Center, where many of our students participate in after school care and classes. The school is attached to, yet not affiliated with, Temple Emanu-El.
We take pride in our city campus, and display the essence of our school in the student- and parent-created artwork displayed in our three outdoor play areas. The walls of our three-story school are adorned with the artwork and accomplishments of our students and teachers. We keep appropriate grade levels together for a natural class flow and comfort level for each age group. Our large gym also functions as a place for us to put on shows and events as well as join in for assemblies and lunch together. Each classroom reflects the character of the class community within. The depth and breadth of learning is evident on classroom and school walls. Most of all, it is the energy in the building that speaks the loudest – the focus and joy of our students, the inspiration and dedication of our teachers.