TSTI Preschool: The Iris Family Center for Early Childhood Education

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel’s award-winning preschool, The Iris Family Center for Early Childhood Education, offers a warm, individualized, and unique program of early childhood education.  By focusing on each child’s developmental needs and promoting a positive, secure, and accepting environment, we enable each child to grow with a sense of joy and wonderment.

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 Reggio Emilia influence, and include a variety of learning centers that help children to grow in the areas of fine and gross motor skills, literacy, communication, problem solving, math, art, and imaginative play.

Using the Reggio Emilia approach, The Early Childhood Center promotes positive self-image and confidence in all children.  Children are encouraged to explore their individual interests in the world around them, both inside the school building and in the beautiful outdoor learning spaces.  Children learn responsibility and develop the social skills that foster care and consideration for their peers. 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.

Our preschool welcomes more than children into our play-based program. We offer programs and support for entire families, especially helpful to those whose parents, grandparents and siblings live far away. Shabbat, holidays and rituals, and the beauty of the Jewish experience are presented in an atmosphere conducive to curiosity and wonder as we lay a foundation for Jewish learning that is accessible and open to our entire community. Families do not need to be temple members to be part of our preschool. We value the diversity in our surrounding community and we understand how important it is for the entire family to make connections and lifelong friends.

How to Register

Contact our Director, Carol Paster or our Assistant Director, Jennie Rubin for more information.

School Hours

Our regular school hours are 9:00-12:00. We offer early drop off beginning at 8:00am as well as enrichment and extended hours until 6:00pm.

Our Academic and Camp Calendars

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 an 8-week summer camp which begins the last week of June. Families do not need to be temple members to be part of our summer camp community. 

Our 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.

Our Covid Protocols

The Iris Family Center has successfully been open for in-person preschool since September 2020. Our building meets or exceeds the State’s Early Childhood standards for air quality, and each classroom is equipped with an Aerus Pure and Clean air purifier. All staff are required to be fully vaccinated, and all children and staff who attend TSTI are required to wear masks both indoors and outdoors.

Calendar of Preschool Events