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Early Childhood Center registration open-now with extended day to 6pm - see below!

Greenburgh Hebrew Center Early Childhood Center: serving the Rivertowns: Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley, Irvington, Hastings and beyond

A private, non-profit preschool for children from 2 to 5 years of age.

Call it a Nursery School, call it a Preschool, we call it the Greenburgh Hebrew Center Early Childhood Center!

You are welcome to visit us and observe our children and staff enjoying their school day. The GHC Early Childhood Center offers a combined secular and Judaic pre-school curriculum in a warm, emotionally supportive, creative and fun atmosphere. We are committed to a high-quality learning environment and follow the standards of the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children).

School Philosophy

Our purpose is to create an environment for two, three and four-year olds where self-confidence and self-expression are encouraged and supported. In the process, our children also learn responsibility, respect for others, and decision making skills.

All of our activities are age-appropriate and appeal to a variety of learning styles and personalities. Our teachers understand the differences in the development of the young child, and therefore all activities in the classroom are hands on and relevant to each child. Projects are open-ended and focus on the process rather than the product. Consequently, children of all abilities can succeed and self-esteem grows.

In each age group, learning is implemented through a hands-on, play oriented approach. The general goal of our program is to develop strong social, fine motor, gross motor and communication skills.

The Judaic component is an essential element of our children's educational experience at GHC. We feel that through the introduction of an age-appropriate Judaic curriculum in the pre-school years, our children will acquire a lifelong love and devotion to Judaism and the Jewish people. We strongly believe in teaching and practicing Jewish values. Our children are exposed to and participate in Jewish rituals, cultural practices, and holiday celebrations through song, story and art.


Greenburgh Hebrew Center Early Childhood Center follows a pre-school curriculum with experiences in:

  • Emergent literacy through story time and literature related activities
  • Pre-math skills
  • Science and nature exploration
  • Arts and crafts
  • Creative movement
  • Cooking and baking
  • Shabbat and Jewish holiday celebrations
  • Dramatic play
  • Music
  • Tzedakah projects
  • Outdoor and indoor play
  • Local field trips
  • Guest visitors

A typical day for our children includes time for individual and group experiences. Each day allows for the young child's need for high, moderate and low-level activities.


Our teachers have specific goals for their classes, and during the school year, work to implement and achieve these goals. At each age level the teachers structure the curriculum to foster the development of important basic skills.

In the two-year old class, the emphasis is on helping and encouraging children to achieve separation from their parent or caregiver. It is also very important at this age for children to learn to transition between activities without upset. During this year growing communication skills are encouraged, and this growth allows children to begin to change their play patterns from parallel to cooperative play.

In the three-year old class, language further develops as children are encouraged to talk about their creations in the block corner, describe their art projects, participate in finger plays, and listen at story time with increased understanding. Children learn about math through play and the activities of the classroom. The refinement of fine motor skills is an additional goal of the threes. As the three-year-old sense of self becomes stronger, the children become more socially aware and friendships take on new importance.

A major goal in the four-year old class is kindergarten readiness. One of the ways we accomplish this goal is by enhancing the pre-reading skills of the children. An experience chart is used on a daily basis familiarizing children with a group of sight words and the concept that letters make words and words make sentences. Children practice writing their names, and dictate and create class books throughout the year. Math skills are taught through sorting, counting, patterning, number recognition, and comparison through voting and measurement. Equally important in the fours is the growth of emotional development. This is accomplished by providing an environment where children learn to care about one another, embrace diversity, feel part of a larger social group, and embrace friendships.

Other Activities at GHC

Depending on interest, the school may offer a Mommy and Me Toddler class for one-year olds, designed to provide toddlers with a "taste" of preschool. Children in the Mommy and Me program may attend with either a parent or a caregiver. Consistent with our philosophy of Jewish education, all children and parents are invited to Mishpacha (family) Shabbat at GHC, as well as for lunch following services. Mishpacha Shabbat is designed for children 0-6 and their parents, and it is held once per month.  This is a very interactive service for young families where they will pray, sing, dance and play games.  Attendees will also enjoy a hands-on project dealing with the current holiday or Torah portion.  All GHC Early Childhood Center families are welcome and encouraged to participate in all activities and events at the Greenburgh Hebrew Center.
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If you have any questions regarding our ECC program, wish to take a tour or wish to learn about our rate structure, please contact our Director of Education, Amy Kessler, at or call the office at 914-693-4260.  If you would like an admission application, please go to drop down menu on the Learning section on our home page.  
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Meet the Teachers

The warm and nurturing staff at the GHC Early Childhood Center is well educated, with extensive experience working with young children.  Each head teacher has years of teaching in the field of early childhood education.  The primary concern of every staff member is to meet the needs of each individual child. Frequent communication between school and home is crucial to your child’s success in nursery school and formal conferences with parents are scheduled twice during the school year as well.  The staff stays current with new developments in education by attending Early Childhood workshops every year.  All teachers are certified by the American Heart Association in Adult, Child and Infant CPR and First Aid.

Amy Kessler:  

Amy Kessler has joined the Greenburgh Hebrew Center Early Childhood Center team in the capacity of Director in 2015.  Amy is a licensed social worker and educator with an M.S.W. from Hunter College and a B.A. in Psychology from SUNY Purchase. She has taught young children in a synagogue religious school setting for 14 years and has served as a Director and Assistant Director of a day care center in Scarsdale. She lives in Dobbs Ferry with her husband and two children.

Ilana goldstein

This is Ilana's first year at GHC ECC and she cannot wait to meet the Twos class.  Ilana has a B.A. in English Literature and Religious Studies from Lafayette College and plans to get her Master's in Childhood and Special Education.  Although it is her first year at the ECC, Ilana has been a proud member of GHC for sixteen years and a graduate of its educational programming.  She has extensive experience with students of all abilities and backgrounds, from preschoolers with special needs in Westchester County to adult asylum seekers in Haifa, Israel.  Ilana loves to teach preschoolers because of their curiosity and imagination.  

Tara Rubeo

This is Tara's 7th year at GHC ECC.  Tara has a BS in Child  Psychology with a minor in Elementary Education and a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education. Tara's extensive teaching experience and Teaching Certification is invaluable to our Early Education program. Tara enjoys working with preschoolers the most, and finds it extremely rewarding.  For Tara, watching the 4 year olds grow and learn throughout the year is a joy!

Debra Neustadter

Debi has been teaching three year olds for the past 28 years, including 18 years at a local Jewish nursery school.  This is her second year at Greenburgh Hebrew Center as Head Teacher of our Threes. Debi grew up in Manhattan and is the oldest of four children. Debi attended Syracuse University for her Bachelor of Arts, and then worked as a dress designer.  Debi and her husband Steven have been married for 36 years and have 2 grown daughters.  When her own girls left nursery school, Debi returned to work.  She began as an assistant teacher, found she loved it and returned to school for her Masters degree in Education at Iona College. Besides spending time with her family, Debi loves playing mah jongg, going to theater, movies and museums, and being part of book groups.

Ethie Steinfeld

A native New Yorker, Ethie grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, attending PS.6 and Barnard School for Girls. She has been living in the Rivertowns for the past thirty years, where she has raised her two daughters, both of whom are elementary school teachers. Ethie has fourteen years of teaching experience, primarily in prestigious Manhattan temple nursery schools, teaching four and five year olds. She earned a Master of Science degree in Education from Hunter College and her undergraduate degree from Boston University’s School of Education, cum laude. Ethie holds permanent certification in Pre-K through 6th grade as well as in School Counseling.

Ethie believes that early childhood is an important time in a child’s life, when he/she develops self esteem, and explores and discovers the world in which the child lives. It sets the foundation for life-long learning - socially, intellectually and cognitively. Ethie understands that children learn by using their senses, interacting with their peers, asking questions, engaging with their immediate environment and expressing themselves in a variety of ways. She has a passion for teaching young children and believes that it is of upmost importance to support and facilitate the learning styles of all children. As a teacher, Ethie begins with an assessment of each student, to sense the strengths and the kinds of methods most appropriate for that student. She believes that finding the right approach is key to a child’s success.

In addition to teaching children, Ethie enjoys working with children as a camp counselor in a private camp in Manhattan, planning and supervising activities and projects relating to the theme of the week, working as apart of a team with an Assistant and CIT, guiding the campers during special activities, and communicating regularly with families in order to work in partnership with them. Ethie loves creating art projects, going to museums, listening to music, and going dancing. In her spare time, Ethie enjoys spending time with her fifteen month old grandson. Ethie is very excited to be teaching at the GHC ECC, in the community in which she lives.


This is Tara's second year at GHC.  She initially joined our staff in our religious school as the Gan teacher in 2019, and shortly after joined the ECC as a substitute teacher and club lunch co-teacher.  While Tara's career history is in the fashion industry, her experiences raising her son led her to pursue more opportunities in early childhood education.  This calling brought her to the wonderful community at GHC.  She spent many years as a camp counselor and nanny, loves children and takes pride in building their self-esteem, nurturing their sense of self, and self confidence.  It is her ultimate joy to be there and care for your children as they have their first school experiences, make their first friendships and find their favorite activities!

Alexandria Rubeo

This is Alexandria's first year teaching at GHC ECC.  Alexandria has a BS in History with a minor in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Education.  Alexandria is also working towards receiving a Master's Degree in Special Education.  For the past four years Alexandria has worked as a Teacher's Assistant at a nearby public school.  She loves working with children and is excited to be working in the Threes Program at GHC.

Fri, June 2 2023 13 Sivan 5783