Jacqueline and Kevin Haney of North Caldwell wanted to send their children to a Jewish preschool, so last summer they took a look at the Early Childhood Center at nearby Congregation Agudath Israel of West Essex in Caldwell. Because they both work traditional full-time hours, however, they were dubious that a synagogue preschool — even one with “extended hours” — would meet their needs.
Jacqueline said that once they walked into the Agudath Israel preschool, “it was very clear it was the perfect environment. It was just very warm and welcoming and flexible.” And then, she said, they learned that the school’s hours really are “extended.” The center offers care from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. nearly every day of the year, including most Jewish holidays and during school breaks. The Haneys signed up their daughter Julia, and now that the CAI Early Childhood Center is adding a toddler class this year, they are also enrolling Julia’s younger brother, Ethan.
Across the Jewish landscape, Jewish preschools are making changes to meet the needs of parents like the Haneys. They have to.