Mishkan Israel Nursery School and Day Care, Hamden
January 2013. Our two-year old has been at Mishkan since she was an infant and we have been incredibly happy with the care she has received. The teachers are wonderfully warm and loving and create the kind of joyous atmosphere we were looking for. We joined the congregation as well and love the sense of community fostered through conversations in the hallway and a number of after-school parties throughout the year. While we appreciate the exploration of Jewish holidays, we also like that the classes are diverse, with lots of international families and the scale tipped towards non-Jewish children. Activities tend to include craft projects, cooking, and outdoor time whenever possible. Most importantly from our perspective, the school emphasizes helping children learn through play in a free and open way. One example: I walked in at the end of one day to find all of the two-year olds who hadn’t yet been picked up gathered around a puppet booth watching one of the teachers improvise a show, then switching places with her and putting on a show together themselves. They were having a blast!
Although not as structured in parent-teacher communication as some other places, teachers treat each child as an individual, with teachers across all the classrooms knowing all the children in the school in a very individual way.
With respect to getting in, Mishkan tries to be responsive to the demand in the community— we currently have four two-year old classes to accommodate the lack of slots in the city but only one three and one four year old class due to the many options available for pre-K. As a result, it is one of the few daycares that operates without frustrating wait lists! Madeline R. parent
December 2012. Mishkan Israel….we went there for summer day care and loved it. I know many others who had more long term experience who love it too . Michelle M., parent
November 2012. My oldest daughter is 4 1/2 and she is in her second year at Mishkan Israel Nursery School. I also have a 2 year old that just started this year. We’ve experienced MINS as both a mornings-only preschool and as a full-day daycare and have been happy with both. We initially chose MINS because it feels like a school with individual classrooms for each age and also because of the warm and welcoming feeling that we got from all of the teachers. We are especially happy with the scheduling flexibility (both of our kids currently attend M, T, Th all day). I also like the add-on classes for the 3 and 4 year olds. My older daughter has taken dance and is now in Spanish. We have found that all of the teachers do a lot of crafts and other fun activities and my kids have learned so much but in a fun, playful way. Snacks are provided and are typically healthy like fruit and occasionally crackers. The kids go outside almost every day unless it’s really rainy or very, very cold.
The only negative is that there are a lot of Jewish holidays at the very beginning of the school year so there tends to be a lot of time off at the start of the year. Some days are consistent with public school closures like Yom Kippur but others are in addition (like Purim).
Jennifer P., parent
July 2011. My son has been in this daycare full time since he was 3 months old and it has been a very good experience so far. They generally have less babies per teacher than required by the state of CT, and the teachers are really loving and good. I feel that my child gets plenty of one-to-one attention, as well as stimulation from the other babies. The other good point is that they have kept the number of infants in the class under 10.
He is very happy there. I get a report every night, including a little description of his day, what he did, how he was, etc. As the previous review mentioned, it is affiliated to a synagogue, but non-Jewish children can join as well.
Laurence M., parent
April 2011. I sent my son to Mishkan Israel Nursery School when he was 19 months old (he is now 4 ½). They now take infants starting at 3 months, and my daughter has been there since she was 1 (she is now 2). MINS takes children up to 5 years/pre-K. I strongly recommend MINS for several reasons. First, compared to other childcare centers in the area, I found the prices to be extremely reasonable (please see their website for current rates). Also, they are extremely flexible in terms of scheduling: they offer full (7:30-5:30) and part-day (9-12) programs, and you can choose to go anywhere from 2 to 5 days a week. They also offer “occasional” daycare, which means that if you have your children in a part-time program, and need child care on an occasional or intermittent basis, you can pay a daily rate for just the days you need. Finally, the full-time daycare is open on most holidays and school breaks, and also on many snow days, making it especially useful.
The ratio of teachers to children is low, and my children get a lot of one-on-one, caring interaction. For children over 3, the school offers daily enrichment programs, such as yoga, science, dance, art, and Spanish. There is a very large playground, divided into a large lot for the older children and a smaller lot for the younger children – weather permitting, the kids get to go outdoors as much as possible. I LOVE the teachers (who are always available to meet and send home reports about the kids), and the director is very accessible and receptive to feedback. My children love going to school each day, and always come home having learned something new or with a new project. The school also plans many special field trips and parties at the school.
MINS is a religiously-affiliated (Jewish) school, but I am not Jewish and neither are many of the families who attend the school. The school observes the major Jewish holidays, and does introduce some religiously-based singing and rituals one day a week, but overall it is not focused on religion.
Asha R., parent
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