Who We Are
Opened in 1981, Gan Shalom is Temple Sholom of Chicago’s premier Early Childhood Education Center. We provide an enriched educational experience devoted to laying the foundation for lifelong learning and strengthening family life through the transmission of Jewish values and traditions through play.
We Partner With Families:
It’s not just children that participate at Gan Shalom. From volunteering in the classroom, attending weekly Shabbat services, serving on committees and similar activities, parents have a unique opportunity to be involved and partner with teachers, creating a more nurturing and holistic faith-based educational experience. We believe that communication between teachers and parents should be open and fluid to ensure children are progressing emotionally, socially, developmentally, and spiritually both at home and throughout the program.
We Guide Children Socially and Emotionally:
Although the development of cognitive skills is an important aspect of Gan Shalom – from learning how to use a paintbrush to cutting with scissors, as well as learning the ABC’s and 1-2-3s – the foundation of our program is rooted in teaching emotional and social growth to foster independence and confidence in children. That is why we focus on creating a caring environment that encourages children to progress developmentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially, and physically at their own individual rate. We strive to bring the outside world to children, to help broaden how they view the world and learn, and this, in turn, helps them feel ownership and develop critical thinking skills.
We Provide a Foundation for Emotional Growth:
Our focus on emotional growth is what differentiates Gan Shalom programs – we provide a warm and caring environment for children, and as part of this teachers are intricately connected to students and their families. Our nurturing atmosphere helps to ease the transition for younger children into a childcare setting – at their own pace.
We Invite Gan Shalom Families to Join our Jewish Community:
Gan Shalom is located within Temple Sholom of Chicago, one of the oldest and most historic reform synagogues in the city. As a result, children and their parents have a unique opportunity to be fully embedded in an entire ecosystem of the Jewish faith, learning and support, providing a front- row seat for children to live the traditions and culture and to become a part of the Jewish community. All classes observe Shabbat on a weekly basis – Candles are set up in each classroom to celebrate and everyone drinks grape juice, participates in the Shabbat prayers, eats challah, and sings and dances with clergy and Gan Shalom teachers. After the classroom Shabbat celebration, the entire class transitions to Temple Sholom’s Beit Midrash Chapel or Sanctuary to spend time with the clergy, where a Rabbi or Cantor sings and tells stories. Although most of the children who attend Gan Shalom are Jewish, people of all backgrounds and faiths are welcome and are part of the community – we seek to embrace children and their families so that everyone will feel at home at Gan Shalom!