July 17, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Da’ehu Montessori Pre-School To Open in September 2021

The Passaic/Clifton and Northern New Jersey Jewish communities will be host to a new Montessori preschool beginning next fall. Its founder, Rabbi Gershom Tave, is excited to announce the opening of Da’ehu, which will serve Passaic and the surrounding areas beginning with the 2021/’22 academic school year. The program, geared initially for 3 to 4-year-old boys and girls, will be a student-centered, hands-on learning program, focused upon the children’s growing in their connection to Hashem, His Torah and His world. Registration for the innovative program is currently underway and Rabbi Tave is available to speak to potential families about his vision for the new school.

Rabbi Tave has been on an educational journey for the past 30 years. He received his BA at the University of Florida, followed by 13 years of yeshiva and kollel study in Israel, and is completing his Masters degree in Jewish Education at Touro. Upon returning to the States 12 years ago, he was exposed to the Montessori educational system, which became the driving inspiration behind his work as a professional teacher trainer in educational technology, serving public and private schools. He created a picture Torah scroll to allow pre-readers to study the parsha and a series of highly interactive smart notebook lessons on the parshiot of the Torah. These are publicly available on chinuch.org and have been downloaded around the world many thousands of times.

The Montessori educational system was invented in the early 1900s by Maria Montessori, an Italian physician. She discovered that all children flourish when approached in the right way. The Montessori method of education focuses on the individual progress and development of each child rather than on traditional, competitive measurements of achievement. Children of different ages share the same classroom and are encouraged to collaborate and help each other learn. Montessori-trained children of all backgrounds were found to display a “greater sense of community” while achieving social and academic skills equal to or greater than those fostered by traditional schools. Currently there are more than 5,000 Montessori schools in the U.S. alone and a growing network of Jewish Montessori schools as well.

Through the foundational education of Da’ehu, Tave hopes to create a community of learners for whom collaboration and cooperation are key components of the learning experience. Furthermore, special focus will be placed on building a personal relationship with Hashem in which tefillah becomes a more rewarding and meaningful opportunity in the day to connect to Hashem.

“In a religious school, Hashem should at least be in the mission statement. At Da’ehu, He’s even in the name,” shared Rabbi Tave.

Da’ehu will create for its students a continuum of learning that builds skills and knowledge systematically, one step at a time, to promote a solid foundation of real mastery before moving on. Abstract concepts will be presented in concrete ways through experiential and hands-on learning that engages multiple senses and intelligences, laying foundations for future success in learning. An integrated Judaic and general studies curriculum will promote connectedness to diverse disciplines and foster an awareness of Hashem’s constant presence in the world around us. Da’ehu is designed to create a culture of learning in which problems become challenges to be explored. Through self and peer-review, students develop a process and mindset for continual learning.

The Da’ehu staff will be deeply loving and creative thinkers who themselves are model learners and whose job is to engineer the environment of learning for the students through experiential and exploratory activities. They will be individuals for whom being a Torah Jew is a priority and thus are able to inspire their young students to develop a close and loving relationship with Hashem. This focus will be maintained as grades are added to the school, hopefully leading up to a full elementary and high school.

As Rabbi Tave approaches the implementation of his educational goal in creating the Da’ehu model of education, he is of the fervent belief that “school should be exhilarating and inspiring for students and staff alike and every day should be looked forward to with anticipation of the great discoveries to be made that day. Most importantly, a Jewish school should inspire a great love and appreciation for Hashem, His Torah and His children.”

For more information about Da’ehu, contact Rabbi Gershom Tave at [email protected] or call 973-356-3729.

By Pearl Markovitz

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