Nursery School
Nursery School

Welcome to the Temple Shaaray Tefila Nursery School!

The Nursery School began in the fall of 1993 and has been a thriving place of learning and exploration for children, providing them with an experiential and creative learning environment that fosters growth and development. Our dynamic and experienced teaching team recognizes children as individuals with varied strengths, abilities, and interests and develops a child-centered curriculum rich in the Reggio-Emilia philosophy. Our curriculum and teaching philosophy allow for the children to construct their own learning in a deep and meaningful way. Fostering children’s curiosity and giving them room to negotiate with their peers within an environment that enables them to grow and successfully transition into kindergarten is a cornerstone of our program.

Interwoven into the curriculum and throughout the school year are Jewish rituals and traditions. We learn about holidays in an age-appropriate hands-on way and celebrate Shabbat each Friday with a school-wide Shabbat sing-along. Interaction with the clergy, both with the rabbis and the cantors, is an integral part of the children’s curriculum as they make their first connections with Judaism.

As a former teacher for 20 years, one of my favorite things to do is to visit the classrooms, get to know the children, and learn about what they’re doing each day. My door is always open to parents, whether they want to chat and catch up, need help navigating the exmissions process, or need support and guidance when dealing with a difficult situation.

I look forward to meeting with you and sharing all the wonderful aspects of our school and temple community.

Warm regards,

Bonnie Blanco

Early Childhood Director

Learn more about…

  • Bridge Classes

    Children turning two years old between 10/1/2019 and 12/31/2019
    Tuesday/Thursday, 9:00-10:30am

    Boker Twos
    3 day (children turning two years old between 7/1/2019 and 9/30/2019)
    Mon/Wed/Fri 9:00-11:00am

    Boker Twos
    2 day (children turning two years old between 4/1/2019 and 9/30/2019)
    Tuesday/Thursday, 9:00am-12:00pm

    Nursery Classes

    Children must be two years old by June 30, 2019

    Three-Day Twos
    Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 9:00am-12:00pm

    Five-Day Twos
    Monday-Friday, 9:00am-12:00pm

    Young Threes
    Monday-Friday, 8:45am-12:15pm

    Older Threes
    Monday-Friday, 8:45am-1:00pm M-Th; 12:15pm dismissal on Fridays

    Fours/Fives (Pre-k)
    Monday-Friday: 9:00am-2:30pm M-Th; 12:15pm dismissal on Fridays

  • Early Drop-Off Program (Breakfast Club)

    We are pleased to offer all of our families an early morning drop-off option. The Breakfast Club is available Monday through Friday beginning at 8:00 am and will meet in the Yarok Room (room 33) on the third floor. Any day there is school for the children, the early morning drop-off option is available to you.

    During Breakfast Club the children will have the opportunity to play together in the Yarok Room under the supervision of classroom teacher, Tonya Mossey. Please note that while breakfast isn’t served, your child(ren) may bring their breakfast and eat it during this time. Your child will be brought directly to his/her classroom at the appropriate arrival time.


    After School Clubs & Lunch Bunch

    It is our pleasure to be making this special enrichment available to students ages 2.2 and up. Clubs give your child the opportunity to participate in art, theater, science, cooking and playing sports. The Fall 2018 semester begins in September and ends in December (the new session will begin in January 2019). All classes are taught by nursery school teachers and meet daily for one hour, Monday through Thursday.

    Program for 4’s/5’s »
    Program for Older 3’s »
    Program for 2’s »
  • Teachers

    The Nursery School teaching staff is comprised of 35 teachers, including specialists for music, movement, and Hebrew, as well as a social worker. All of our classrooms have three teachers with at least one head teacher and two assistant teachers. Our head teachers all have Master’s Degrees in early childhood education, as do some of our assistant teachers. Several of the head teachers have combined degrees in early childhood and special education. We also have members of our staff who have the roles of support staff or floater teachers to help facilitate the day or fill in during a teacher absence. The Nursery School also benefits from the close connection with the Temple. The rabbis and cantors join us throughout the year to lead the children in songs and stories, especially in conjunction with Shabbat and the holidays.


    Isabel Schein, Social Worker
    Tonya Mossey, Atelier Art Room
    Paige Hamer, Hebrew Specialist
    Paige Borden, Music Specialist
    Jenna Robichau, Movement
    Stephanie Weiss, Camp


    Thank you for your interest in Temple Shaaray Tefila Nursery School. Our online application for children turning two by December 31, 2020 will be available beginning on September 3 through November 10, 2019. If you have any questions about the process, please call 212-535-2146 or e-mail Ethel Alhale at

    Admissions Process

    Priority is given to: 1) Siblings of children currently enrolled in the Nursery School, 2) Temple members (within this group, priority is given according to the length of your membership), and 3) Siblings of children previously enrolled in our school. Acceptance letters will be mailed to all families in late February 2020.

    Every year, most of our spaces are filled with members and siblings. While we can never predict in advance how many spaces we can offer non-members, each year we do offer spots to non-members through a random selection. We would like to accommodate everyone, and we will do our best to do so.


    Please Note: The application deadline for the 2020-2021 school year will be Sunday, November 10, 2019. If you have any questions, please call 212-535-2146 or email Ethel Alhale and include the best phone number to reach you.


The exmissions process is a partnership between Bonnie and you, our Nursery School parents. The spring before your child enters Pre-K, you’ll attend a group meeting outlining the Kindergarten admissions process. Bonnie then follows up by scheduling individual meetings to discuss goals for your school search. Together, you’ll compile a list of appropriate schools and are encouraged to attend spring tours. In the fall, you’ll reconnect with Bonnie to share ideas and check in on your final school list. Bonnie’s door is always open, and she is here for you every step of the way.

At Temple Shaaray Tefila Nursery School, we understand that this process is not one-size-fits-all, tailoring our approach to your family’s needs. We share a common goal, and together we’ll find a school that’s a fit for your child and you.

See which schools our graduates have attended over the last five years…
  • Abraham Heschel School
    Allen Stevenson
    Bank Street
    Birch Wathen-Lenox
    Columbia Grammar
    Ethical Culture
    Friends Seminary
    Horace Mann
    Lycee Francais
    Park East Day Ramaz
    Rodeph Sholom
    Solomon Schechter Spence
    Speyer Legacy
    St. David’s
    Stephen Gaynor
    Trevor Day
    We Grow

  • PS 158
    PS 183
    PS 6
    PS 290
    PS 151
    PS 267
    PS 527

  • Anderson
    Lower Lab
    PS 198