ENHANCING THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE
WHOLE CHILD & FOSTERING JEWISH VALUES
Music with Menucha and Shabbat Sing with Jody
At Yaldaynu, we strongly believe in the power of artistic experiences, specifically in their ability to transform early childhood programs into a tight knit community and family. Music is a unique language that is able to convey meaning and emotion through the act of singing songs and making music. Engaging children through song is a multi-sensory activity and provides opportunities for children to concretize ideas and concepts they are learning, as well as create meaningful connections.
The children sing with Menucha and Jody each week, as they introduce an array of songs, in both Hebrew and English. Each music session is joyful and engaging, as the lyrics of Raffi, Ella Jenkins, Peter and Ellen Allard, Malvina Reynolds, The Beatles, and so many others fill our classroom spaces.
Jody is delighted to be back at Yaldaynu! She has dedicated her life to teaching and celebrating the joys of Jewish life with young learners. With guitar in hand, Jody has taught and performed for children on both coasts and in China, Europe and Israel. She has been an integral addition in synagogues and programs in NY and LA as a Music/Drama and Classroom teacher. Her residences and training include Harlem School of The Arts, CSUN, Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Hunter, Montessori and Orff Scheulwerk.
Jody has previously taught at Purple Circle and Ansche Chesed Hebrew School, as well as at Yaldaynu's Summer Camp this past summer.
Shabbat Sing Music Teacher
SPARK with Menucha
SPARK (Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids) was created in 1989 to help fight child obesity and heart disease in America. Menucha, who is certified in SPARK, bases her movement activities on the SPARK program, while making alterations based on the ages and abilities of the children at Yaldaynu.
Each session begins with creating a bubble of personal space and stretching. Children develop and strength their large and small motor muscles, as well as balance, coordination, and body awareness. Additionally, our movement activities encourage creativity and boost self esteem, improve focus and attention, and provide a foundation for understanding how our bodies move. Every session ends with a resting period, which allows for the children to focus on their breathing, calm their bodies, and refocus before returning to the classroom.
Soccer with Coach Jason and his team
British Soccer Academy is a creative skills-based soccer program. Coach Jason and his team focus on developing children's ball skills and technique through fun drills and games. Skills include, but are not limited to, dribbling, running, passing & shooting. Additionally, children work on balance, coordination, completing multi-step directions, as well as working with peers.
Jason Shela, born and raised in London, is a parent of three Yaldaynu graduates and has been Yaldaynu's soccer coach since 2007. Jason founded The British Soccer Academy, which is one of the largest youth programs in NYC and was voted PSAA Coach of the year. He played rugby football in England for Wasps RFC, Fulham RLFC and has represented Middlesex County, London and Great Britain. Jason has coached Hunter MS teams to multiple New York City Championships and serves as Director of Athletic Education for the Elephant Soccer Club of Harlem. In 2019, Jason was awarded MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in the 2019 New Year’s Honor’s List from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for his services to youth soccer education and pioneering work creating programs for youth with disabilities.
The children, together with the Yaldaynu teachers, engage in artistic exploration. Although some may regard art education as a luxury, simple creative activities are some of the building blocks of child development. Learning to create and appreciate visual aesthetics are supportive of developing and strengthening motor skills, language development, decision making, visual learning, inventiveness, cultural awareness, and improved academic performance.
Yoga with Deb
Lotus for Kids yoga classes are designed to enhance body awareness, creativity, play, communication, and socialization. Animated poses, stretching, and gross motor games promote strength, flexibility, and coordination. Children will learn to follow multi-step directions and increase gross and fine motor skills. Additionally, they will learn about animals, nature, and basic anatomy through yoga. Finally, yoga is the perfect context to develop self-esteem, respect for one’s self, and respect for others.
Deb J. Gruber, MEd, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA is the President of Lotus Behavioral Consulting, LLC. She has been working in the field Education and Special Education for over 30 years. Deb completed research includes teaching yoga to young children with developmental delays with teachers in the school environment and parents in the home. She holds a doctoral degree in Behavior Analysis and a Master’s degree in Education and Special Education. Additionally, Dr. Gruber is an adjunct professor at Queens College in the Department of Educational and Community Programs, as well as an adjunct professor at Daemen College for the Applied Behavior Analysis Distance Learning Program.
Deb has been practicing yoga for 20 years, and completed the Karma Kids Yoga Teacher Training Program. She has been the yoga teacher at Yaldaynu since 2010. "Yoga Deb" is a beloved Yaldaynu staff member!
Swim Lessons with Imagine Swimming
Imagine Swimming, New York City’s premier learn-to-swim school, is committed to instilling a love of the water for life. Safety, of course, comes first, but at Imagine it’s not just about surviving in water, it’s about thriving in it. It’s about fostering a lifelong passion for swimming.
When people ask What makes Imagine different? the answer is simple: It’s the teachers! They are focused on creating small aquatic classrooms where every lesson is unique, with every child on a different path of improvement. Diversity defines their teaching staff, just as it defines the city we live in. International and creative, unconventional and innovative, Imagine Swimming reflects the spirit of New York City.