Parenting Center

At Central Synagogue

The Parenting Center at Central Synagogue, a free-standing program within the Early Childhood Department for children who are not quite nursery school age, offers classes for children, learning opportunities for parents and caregivers, and social interactions for all.  Staffed by experienced early childhood educators who also teach in the Nursery School, Parenting Center classes provide young children with a nurturing, appealing, and safe environment in which to explore, and parents with a supportive community in which to share questions, concerns and the joys and changes that parenthood brings.  Caregivers also are welcome!

All classes are held in two adjoining rooms, an arrangement that aids in the gradual separation process, as adults and children have easy access to each other during their time in school.

Toddling Tots

16 to 23 months

Toddling Tots meets once a week on Tuesdays from 8:45–10:00 a.m.

In this interactive and engaging class, children are introduced to blocks, puzzles, art materials, music, movement, and stories.  While parallel play is the norm at this age, children enjoy being together, and begin to learn how to be part of a group.  Jewish holidays are celebrated in engaging and age-appropriate ways. While adults and children interact much of the time, time is set aside each week for adult discussion facilitated by an early childhood expert who is equally at home playing with the children and leading conversations with grown-ups.

Two by Two

2 to 2.4 years

Two by Two meets twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Two by Two is a gradual separation class that provides young two year olds with a gentle introduction to an early childhood classroom setting.  By attending class two times a week, children begin to internalize routines and expand their trust from parent or caregiver to experienced early childhood teachers comfortably and at their own pace, taking initial steps toward independence.  Structured and unstructured activities are offered, giving children opportunities to engage with a range of materials and each other during free play time, as well as cook, do art projects, learn about Jewish holidays and rituals, celebrate Shabbat (on Thursdays!), play outside on our roof playground, sing, and participate in circle time. Children in Two by Two have music and movement class with our specialists once a week.

A parent or caregiver is asked to remain in the adjacent “grown-up” room until each child feels comfortable and ready to separate. Both child and adult are supported throughout this process by the teachers, and an early childhood expert facilitates discussions that address issues and provide answers to questions in real time as concerns arise.

Please note that this class will become part of the Nursery School for the 2014–15 school year, with hours from 8:45–11:30 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday (refer to the May Family Nursery School pages of this website for details).


Limited spaces are available in Parenting Center classes for the 2013–14 school year. Classes begin in early October. Please contact the Nursery School office at 212-838-5122 ext. 4003 for details.

Parenting Center 2014–15

A schedule of new and exciting classes for the 2014–15 school year will be announced early in 2014, in time for parents to plan for and enroll in classes for fall 2014.  A variety of classes will be offered, reflecting a range in ages and interests for this youngest age group (birth to two years) and their parents.

To register for Parenting Center classes, parents must complete and submit an online application.  Acceptance is first come, first served, and is dependent upon the number of available spots per class.