The Iris Family Center for Early Childhood Education

Registration for Preschool Summer Camp 2021 and Preschool 2021-2022 are now open.  Please log in to your Shulcloud account to register.  If you need to create a Shulcloud account please reach out to Andrea Dean ( or if you are interested in learning more about the Preschool, please contact the Preschool Director Carol Paster (

“Supporting the individual & creative growth of each child within a Jewish setting”

Individuality, creativity and communication are the keys to our educational endeavor. Children are encouraged to grow at their own pace in a stress-free, stimulating environment. Classrooms are designed with a variety of learning centers, each with a hierarchy of materials. These areas include fine motor and sensorial, language, math, and imaginative play as well as a quiet corner and an art area.

We focus on each child's developmental needs and promote a positive, secure, and accepting environment, enabling each child to grow with a sense of joy and wonderment.

This is a place where your child is recognized and cared for both as an individual as well as part of our family. We’ve had 26 successful years of innovative, enriching growth fueled by an experienced team of staff members as well as parental input.

The Iris Family Center welcomes more than children into our play-based program. We offer programs and supports for entire families, especially helpful to those whose parents, grandparents and siblings live far away. As we are located in a diverse neighborhood filled with people from around the country, we understand how important it is for the entire family to make connections and lifelong friends.

We strive to promote in our children a positive self-image and self-confidence. Children learn to be responsible for their actions and for themselves as well as learning the social skills that foster care and consideration for their peers.

Voted Best Preschool in Essex County, New Jersey

The Iris Family Center for Early Childhood Education recently received the Best of Essex 2019 Silver Medal, in the category of Best Independent Preschool in Essex County, and was also selected as a recipient of the 2020 Best Of South Orange Award. We are very proud of our reputation in the community as a school where individuals with all learning styles and physical challenges are welcome.

Please come and visit us! We would love to show you around and get to know your family.

If you have any questions, please contact the preschool office, 973-763-4600.


Carol Paster
Iris Family Center for Early Childhood Education

Preschool Spotlight Questions

Can you describe the age groups, activities and academic curriculum used at the school?

The Iris Family Center offers programs for children from birth - 24 months (with a caregiver) and drop off preschool for children ages 2-5 years.

As a play-based, inclusive, individualized program we offer a wide variety of materials and activities to ignite and excite your child’s love for learning. The curriculum is based on the needs of each child and built from the interests of the group. Your child will be guided to develop fine and gross motor skills as well as pre-reading and pre-math skills. Social skills are honed and we give your child the tools to cope with disappointment or mistakes. We provide support to those who need more time to transition to the next activity and offer more advanced options for those who are ready.

With two indoor playgrounds as well as three outdoor classrooms, your child will have time each day to explore, experiment and enjoy the freedom to dream, wonder and create their own concepts.

What are the regular hours at the school and what are the extended hours available to parents?

Regular hours are 9:00am-noon. We also offer early drop off beginning at 8 am as well as enrichment and extended hours until 3 pm.

What is the academic calendar? Is there a summer camp at the school?

School begins the week after Labor Day and continues until early June. We follow the South Orange/Maplewood township calendar for school closings and also close for Jewish Holidays.

There is a 7-week summer camp which begins the last week of June.

What is the registration process?

Registration is open to temple members and already enrolled families beginning mid-December through mid-January. Registration to the community for any available spaces begins at the end of January.

Do you have openings for the current school year?

We have a spot or two available in some classes.

Do you have any open houses, if yes when?

We prefer to offer individual tours on a daily basis, with notice. Please give us a call and we will be happy to arrange a visit. Allow at least an hour, or more, to see us in action, and to tour the facility, including our 3 outdoor classrooms, and our campground. 

Any other information that will help?

If you wonder whom to list as your emergency contact for your child while you are at work, TSTI can help you with that. What happens when you get a flat tire on your way to drop off your child at school? TSTI can help you with that. If you have a new baby and are feeling a bit overwhelmed and exhausted, we can help you with that as well. Please rely on us as your extended family. We are here for you…

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