Preschool, Synagogue and Temple Staff

In addition to our Preschool staff, the Beth Israel Synagogue and Temple Emanuel are here to assist you to assure that your child receives the best learning experience possible.

Chen (Hannah) Greenberg: Director

Diane Brucker: Administrator, Librarian

Li-Or Harnik Bitton: Head teacher

Alex Martin

Alice Olsen Gordon

Alisha Gaskins

Andria Tran

Beth Rodriguez

Holly Weiss

Idan Orange

Jessica Bookout

Jessica Cain

Joan Quaderer

Juliette Mahgerefteh

Martha Herrera

Matthew Neil

Megan Lee

Melissa Farris

Mollie Thompson

Olga Gurevich

Rashel Mahgerefteh

Sophie Rainer

Trey Brookman

Uliana Vlasiuk

Carla Nelson: Music Teacher 

Rabbi Kathy Cohen:  Temple Rabbi

Rabbi Jama Purser: Synagogue Rabbi

Cantor Amanda Edmondson:  Temple Cantor, Brightwheel Administrator

Patty Kiser:  Administrator (Temple Emanuel)

Rachel Rorer:  Administrator (Beth Israel Synagogue)

If you have concerns, complaints or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact the Director.


History of the Jewish Community Preschool

The Jewish Community Preschool was established by the congregation of Temple Emanuel and Beth Israel Synagogue in 2005 to offer a comprehensive preschool experience while promoting an understanding and love of Judaism. Our focus is the personal development and growth of each child, as well as building a positive self-image. We strive for each student to feel good about who they are and excited about who they can be. Children are allowed to explore a wide variety of activities and materials available to them. Each child is given many opportunities to learn, to share, to respect the feelings of others, and to get along in a large group of peers. We are positive that your children will thrive in the loving environment created within our congregations. 

Visitation Policy

The Jewish Community Preschool has an “open door” policy in regards to parental visits during the school year. Drop-in visits are welcome. Please check in with the Director upon your arrival. 

There are many opportunities to observe your children in action, such as weekly Shabbat celebrations and holiday parties.  

Volunteer Opportunities

We strive to have parent involvement within our program

  1. Substitutes:  Please let us know if we can contact you in case we need an occasional substitute.
  2. Special Talents:  If you have a special talent (music, arts & crafts, gymnastics, dance, science, etc) that you think you can share with the children, please let us know.
  3. Planning Committee:  This committee plans family events and fundraisers throughout the year.

If your family is interested in doing something for the program, please let us know-we’d love to have you!!!

Preschool Philosophy

The mission of our preschool is to help families nurture and educate their children in a Jewish environment. We welcome children or inter-faith families who are comfortable with the program’s Jewish focus. The preschool is child-centered, with hands-on approaches to learning. Children are given opportunities to develop physically, socially, cognitively, and spiritually.

Teachers serve as guides, helping children to discover things for themselves. The children are encouraged by doing. 

Curriculum Information

We serve children ages 1-5 and provide the following guidelines for curriculum:

  • Focus on kindergarten readiness
  • Focus on basic concepts (shapes, colors, numbers)
  • Focus on Jewish concepts, such as holidays, Torah, values, and cultural identity
  • Shabbat activities each Friday
  • And many other exciting adventures!

Teachers prepare an age-appropriate environment, always being responsive to the developmental needs of the individual child. Because young children love experimenting, in our classrooms, they are allowed to do things themselves, to learn and gain mastery. We encourage this type of growth process by providing a long work/play period daily.  There are daily snacks, circle time, center time and gross motor time to exercise growing bodies.

Our curriculum includes a full program of emergent math and early literacy activities, which are consistent with the most current philosophy of early childhood education.  We also emphasize science, music and movement, art and social skills appropriate to the age level of the children so they can experience the excitement of learning and of the world around them. 

The study of Judaism is an integral part of our program. Our curriculum includes specific activities and celebrations for Shabbat and other Jewish holidays. 

The children are exposed to music rich in Jewish values, morals, and prayers throughout the school day.  In addition, they are also given many special musical opportunities.

What is Shabbat?

Shabbat is our very special holiday which we celebrate each week on Fridays.  Shabbat is the celebration of the creation.  Shabbat begins Friday night, and it continues until after sundown Saturday night.  We celebrate Shabbat in the preschool by joining in songs and stories.  We also share the prayers over grape juice and Challah-special bread prepared for Shabbat. This is a very special time for the children and we welcome you to join with us. 

For more information about celebrating Shabbat with your family, please see your child’s teacher, the Cantor, or the Rabbis.

What is Tzedakah?

Tzedakah is the Jewish idea of giving.  This usually means giving to larger purpose or goal, such as collecting coats to give to those without any during the winter months.  Our preschool also contributes to these efforts by bringing Tzedakah on Fridays.  Each child is to bring in one (or more) non-perishable food item. These will be taken monthly to the Ram House location downtown.  Teaching children to give to a greater cause and to understand that there are those less fortunate than themselves is a substantial concept.  However, it is one that we feel, if demonstrated early enough, will grow in the hearts of the children we touch.

Responding to Your Child’s Preschool Experience

  • First Day Tips

Your child is likely to be as excited and apprehensive as you are about entering preschool on the first day.  Make the transition easier with some advance preparation.  Talk about what your child is likely to find as school:  other children, toys, art materials, books, pleasant surroundings, and most importantly, caring adults. 

  • Children’s Art

When presented with the results of your child’s artistic expression, remember it is the process more than the product that is important.  The creative process can include new knowledge about oneself, about colors and shapes, and improved skill in coordination, language, and socialization.  A good response is, “Tell me about it.”  Your child can help decide which pieces to keep which to send to relatives, and which to discard. 

     Dressing for Preschool

  • Dress your child for active and outdoor play.  Expect paint, mud, and food spills as a by-product of the preschool experience. Smocks can be provided by the school to try to protect clothing.  Please send in safe foot wear. Sandals, flip flops, etc. are dangerous since children tend to trip in them.
  • Please send extra, weather-appropriate clothing for your child in case of accidents or mess.


Operating Hours

The Jewish Community Preschool is open from 7:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Students can attend half days from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., or full days from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Parents can also opt for early drop off if they need to drop their child off between 7:45 a.m. and 8:45 a.m.

Because we are a small and growing program, we can adapt to serve the needs of your families and schedule with some flexibility.  Please talk to us about which days work best for you.


Please be on time for the beginning of class each day.  There is nothing more confusing to a child at the beginning of the day than to have to come into the middle of a class project or story.  The interruption is also disrupting and discourteous to the other students and to the teacher.

It is also important to pick up your child on time.  It is upsetting to a child to be anxious about his or her caretaker’s late arrival at the end of a school day.  In addition, the teachers have duties to perform after class and cannot give your child the one-on-one attention he or she needs when you are late.  Please be considerate of your child and the teachers.

If you know you will be late please call the director of the school.  Our late pickup policy is as follows:

  • $5 for the first 5 minutes late and $1 per minute after that.  For example:  1 minute late is $5, 5 minutes late is $5, 6 minutes late is $6, 10 minutes late is $10, etc.
  • The Brightwheel clock will serve as the “official clock.”



The preschool will follow the Roanoke City schools calendar, in addition to observing all Jewish Holidays.  We will have several special days throughout our school year, in addition to field trips.  Please check the monthly calendar for more information on these activities!  You will receive a detailed calendar at the beginning of the school year.  We also send a weekly update each Fri.  Please check your child’s folder for any communications. 


Brightwheel is a childcare management app that allows for seamless communication between our school and our families. This is the best and easiest way to share information with each other, such as upcoming school events, late drop-offs or early pick-ups, or just general communication throughout the day. Additionally, parents/guardians will receive monthly tuition invoices via the app. Payers can easily set up payment by adding bank account or credit card information and can set up auto-pay, if desired. Payers are still able to pay with a check, but all invoices and charges will be sent through Brightwheel. Once a parent/guardian has an account with the app, they will be assigned a unique check-in/out code to be used at drop-off and pick-up. For help with using Brightwheel, please reach out to the JCP Brightwheel Administrator.


Inclement Weather Procedures

The preschool will follow the Roanoke City Schools closing and delay schedule.  It will work as follows:

  • Roanoke City closed- we are closed
  • Roanoke City 1 hour late- we are late (opening at 10 A.M.)
  • Roanoke City 2 hours late- we are late (opening at 10 A.M.)


Other days may be affected and you will be notified by telephone if changes in the schedule will happen.  Those decisions will be made by the JCP Director.

Please check your Brightwheel messages, or watch the local television stations and radio stations for the closing and delay information for Roanoke City.  If you still have doubts, call the director for clarification. 

Emergency Procedures

The Jewish Community Preschool is committed to providing the safest possible environment for your children.  In the event of an emergency—weather-related or due to conditions in our county—parents will be notified via Brightwheel or called by the staff of the preschool to notify them of what actions need to be taken. 

Discipline Policy

Children need limits!  At the JCP, discipline is approached in a warm, positive manner where rules and routines are clearly established, expectations are age appropriate and positive reinforcement is stressed.  Gentle reminders, redirecting a child, providing choices, and offering a quiet area often help reduce conflicts.  The ultimate goal is to teach children appropriate behavior, self-control and positive ways to work through a problem. 

Medication Policy

Our staff is not able to administer medicine to our students at school. If your child has to be given medicine during school hours, you (the parent) will be required to make arrangements to come in and administer the medication to your own child.

Suspicion of Child Abuse

If the Preschool staff has suspicion of child abuse occurring at home or by another staff member, they are required by law to report these concerns to the proper Social Service authorities.  

Bathroom Procedures; Diaper and Potty Training

We feel that each child should be allowed to develop at their own rate and level of comfort.  Because of this approach, we do not require that children be potty trained to enter our program.  We do ask that when your child is ready to begin this new experience, that you inform the teachers how you are doing this at home.  We want to continue to support your child at school in this endeavor in the most consistent way.

Children who are in diapers are required to bring in their own diapers and containers of wipes.  We also ask that you share with your child’s teacher any special things that might make this easier for the child at school.  For example, how do you ask your child to come change their diaper?  Your help in these matters will allow us to maintain the close relationship and assure your child a positive experience.

Snack Procedures

The Jewish Community Preschool will provide kosher snacks.  If you would like to bring in a special snack, please keep in mind things that are good for you and fun and easy to eat.  All commercially prepared foods must be marked with a kosher symbol, generally either a U or a K.  Fresh fruits and vegetables do not need a kosher symbol.  Also keep in mind disposable plastic spoons, forks, and paper plates that might be needed for serving and/or eating the snack!  In addition to providing snack for the week we will also provide the Challah and grape juice for Shabbat on Fridays. 

Lunch Procedures

All children have the opportunity to eat lunch at school.  Dairy lunches should be brought from home. To best be able to observe the laws of Kashrut, please do not include meat or shellfish in your child’s lunch.  

Please let the teachers know if items need to be placed in the refrigerator or if it needs to be heated in the microwave.  We will have the motzi (blessing for bread) before each meal.  Lunchtime is a time for the children to calm down and enjoy the company of those around them. 

Birthday Celebrations

Please let us know if you would like to bring in a special snack treat for your child’s birthday.  Please do not bring special favors to be handed out in class.  If you are having a party outside of the classroom, please provide invitations for all the children in the class.  You can give invitations to the Director to be placed in students’ folders.


Procedures for dropping off and picking up

  • Children should enter the building through main classroom door (lower level at Temple Emanuel) through the carpool lane.  You may walk your child in, or if a teacher is at the door, allow the child to walk in by him or herself. 
  • Parents walking their child in or out should park in the main park area.
  • Preschool doors will remain locked throughout the day.  Please ring the bell or knock so someone can let you into the school.
  • Please notify the staff via Brightwheel if you will have a late drop-off, early pick-up, or absence.
  • Please also notify staff via Brightwheel if someone other than parents/guardians will be picking up the child. Every individual picking up a child from JCP must have a Brightwheel account with their own unique check-in/out code. That individual should also be sure to bring a picture ID with them. 
  • Encourage children to put their own lunch boxes, coats, and other items into their cubbies themselves as they come into the classroom.


Field Trips

We hope to provide the most positive enriching experience for your child, in order to do this we will provide opportunities for field trips several times through out the year. We often take the Lions class next door to the Brookdale Nursing Home to visit the residents. When we have field trips that are not in walking distance, either a sign up sheet will be provided for parents to drive, or each child will be expected to ride with his or her own parent(s).  We do not have a vehicle large enough for everyone, so we depend on you to help us transport the children. 

List of Materials

Please bring the following materials the first week of school:

  1. You will receive a list of school supplies to bring for the whole school.
  2. Extra clothes:  Pack a set of seasonally appropriate clothing, with extra pairs of socks and underwear as well to leave a school.  Please mark the clothing with your child’s name. Don’t forget to replace once the seasons change!
  3. Diaper Bag:  Please check for adequate supplies of diapers and wipes.  Staff will also let you know when supplies are running low. 
  4. Pictures:  Please send us a couple of pictures of your child. We post them in the classroom and use them to make personalized cubbies.
  5. Extras:  Please purchase a multi-pack of tissues, soft soap, and waterless hand sanitizer.

Registration Process

Enrollment includes returning a registration form with a non-refundable registration fee and upon acceptance, returning a signed contract and required child health information.

A child will not be considered enrolled with a spot secured at the school until the registration fee has been paid.

Applications will be processed by date received in the following order of priority: 

  1. Temple or Synagogue members with returning students and their siblings
  2. Temple or Synagogue members new in the school
  3. After April 1, space becomes available on a first come, first serve basis for ALL registering families


Wait List

If a spot is not available, you will receive a letter indicating your child has been placed on a waiting list until the first day of school and the registration fee will be held until that time.  You may choose to keep you child’s name on the waiting list once school has started in case a spot becomes available.  To remove you child from the waiting list, a request in writing should be sent to the JCP office and your registration fee will be returned.

Tuition Information

Tuition is due on the first day of each month, or can be paid in full with registration.  Tuition is the same each month.  No adjustment to tuition is made for holidays, snow days, or a student’s inability to come to school.  An annual materials fee is due with the first tuition payment.  Any questions regarding your account should be addressed to the Director.

If you decide to withdraw your child from the program, the JCP must be notified one month before the date or removal.

Preschool tuition is used for salaries and supplies needed to provide the program with quality teaching staff and supplies.  Although there is an annual materials fee, you may be asked throughout the year to help replenish classroom supplies. There is a separate charge for field trips.


A late fee of $15 will be charged if tuition is later than the 10th of the month UNLESS arrangements are made in advance with the JCP Director.  Failure to make payments will result in your child loosing his/her spot at the school.

Parents who are behind on their tuition payments will not be allowed to have their children attend preschool until their account is brought up to date, or satisfactory arrangements have been made with the Director.  Requests for need-based tuition assistance should be directed to either Rabbi Cohen at Temple Emanuel, or Rabbi Purser at Beth Israel Synagogue.


When your child is sick, the best place for him/her is at home, resting quietly.  If you bring your child to school sick, you will be asked to pick them up immediately.  If you know your child will be absent, please contact the Director or send a message via Brightwheel by 9:00 a.m. that day.

It is very important that you notify the teacher(s) if your child has any type of illness. 

There are several illnesses that come into play regarding preschool settings.  They need to be dealt with in the best manner possible.  Below, you will find a list of three of the main illnesses to watch out for:

Cold and Stomach Virus:

If your child is running a fever, or has vomited, they need to stay at home until the child is fever and symptom-free for 24 hours.

Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis): 

This is a very contagious virus.  Your child will need to be seen by a doctor and will not be allowed to return to school until all symptoms are gone.  With this virus, the eye is usually pink and may emit a yellow, runny matter. 

Head Lice:

This is not uncommon in preschool children, and unlike popular belief, it is not caused by dirtiness, so please do not let this upset you if it occurs.  If a child has head lice, they will scratch their head a lot, and lice or nits (very small eggs) may be visible in the hair.  Children may not come to school until they have had treatment and lice/nits are no longer present.

Keeping the Teacher Informed

Along with sicknesses, it is also important to keep the teacher informed about your child’s life.  This includes things like:

  • Stayed up past bedtime
  • Got a new pet
  • Having a new baby
  • Going through a divorce or other marital discord
  • Went out of town
  • Friends, relatives, etc. staying at your house

It is very important to keep your child’s teacher informed about these and other new/exciting events in his/her life.  It may not have seemed like much to bring a new puppy into the house, but to a 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5-year old child, this can sometimes be as big as having a baby.

Communication between home and school is extremely important. Please use Brightwheel to connect with us, or feel free to contact the director directly.