Enrollment at the early childhood level for the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR) has increased from 11 to 14 total classes this year, and includes more than 50 new children, according to school officials.
As a result, the nursery division was expanded to accommodate the increased enrollment, requiring renovations and changes in the Lower School. The two buildings that make up the Lower School were ready for the changes this year, said Leslie Gang, HAFTR’s director of admissions and communications.
“The Lower School has always had two buildings: one for just the kindergarten and the other was for grades one through five,” Gang said. “This year, what we did was take the kindergarten building and we gave that to the nursery division. Then we moved around our classes in the other Lower School building to accommodate for growth, placing the kindergarten classes there.”
Cyndy Goldberg, HAFTR’s early childhood director, said that she is excited to start the new school year with the additions and changes. “HAFTR’s reputation as an outstanding educational institution is well known throughout the Five Towns,” she said. “As a result, there has been resurgence in enrollment.”
Goldberg said that HAFTR now has four toddler classes – classes for 2-year-olds – one more than last school year. The number of classes for 3-year-olds has remained the same – four classes. This year, there are five Pre-kindergarten classes (4-year-olds), one more than last year. The school has also started a program for toddler-aged children known as Transition to Twos to accommodate HAFTR faculty members.
“The Transition to Twos program is part of our program this year as a trial basis,” Goldberg said. “We will see how it goes this year to see if we want to continue it and open it up for everyone next year.”
Other improvements to HAFTR’s early childhood center for this school year include the addition of a sensory gym, renovations to their multipurpose room and updating their playground.