Gan Shalom Nursery School

Gan Shalom Nursery School fosters positive early childhood education, creativity, and growth. Contact Lisa Erkus or Sara Rubin, Gan Shalom Directors, for days, times, an application and additional information at 516-627-6274 or email at


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Schedule of Classes

Toddler Classes: 3 and 5-day options
  9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. or 5-days 9:00 am - 3:00 pm (full day option)

Three-Year-Old Classes: 5-day program

   9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. or 5-days 9:00 am - 3:00 pm (full day option)

Four-Year-Old Classes: 5-day program

 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. or 5-days 9:00 am - 3:00 pm 

Gan Shalom Nursery School Offers Expanded Hours We now offer a wrap-around program to our regular nursery school classes.  From September-June we offer the following:

  • Our nursery school is open from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 am for before care
  • We are open until 5:30 p.m. for aftercare

Gan Shalom is staffed by our award-winning teachers. We are participants in the Port Washington Universal Pre-K program and Quality Stars NY.  

Gan Shalom is

  • Licensed by the New York State Office of Child and Family Services
  • Registered with the New York State Department of Education
  • Rated 4 Stars in Quality Stars New York Program
  • A participant in the Port Washington Universal Pre-K Program


Begin with the child

We provide a safe, cozy, stimulating, and nur­turing CHILD-RESPONSIVE environment in which teachers are sensitive to the developmental stages of young children and to each child as an INDIVIDUAL. With many and varied developmentally appropriate materials available, the children learn through play with one another.

Our Home–School Connection

At Gan Shalom we strive to create a PARTNERSHIP between home and school. We invite families to share Shabbat and Birthdays with us.

Our Values-Based Curriculum

Our innovative curriculum focuses on teaching children how to be COMPASSIONATE, accepting, caring individuals.  Jewish activities are integrated into the program through play, music, art, cooking and Shabbat and holiday celebrations. The rich and enthusiastic introduction of early positive Jewish experiences encourages the development of a strong Jewish identity.  In addition to the classroom activities, parents together with their children, are invited to participate in regularly scheduled synagogue programming. Workshops focusing on child development issues and Jewish family experiences are offered frequently.

A School Where Children:

  • Develop an appreciation for literature and other school-readiness topics
  • Delight in their own creative efforts -- artistically, musically, and through movement
  • Are encouraged to be curious and explore their natural surroundings
  • Investigate cause and effect relationships
  • Hone social skills with other children
  • Make connections through STEM exploration
  • Interact in a Jewish environment and experience ritual at an age-appropriate level

View our Gan Shalom Photo Gallery

Our Directors 

We are delighted to announce that, following a careful search, the RSNS Board of Trustees has appointed Lisa Erkus and Sara Rubin to be the new Gan Shalom Co-directors, beginning on July 1, 2021. We could not be more excited to open this new chapter in our beloved Nursery School.

Lisa Erkus has been with us since 2019, serving as a head two’s teacher both last year and this, and serving this year as our Interim Administrative Director. Before joining Gan Shalom, Lisa was with Mid-Island Y JCC Nursery School for 15 years as a teacher. Lisa has a B.A. from University of Hartford and is a Child Development Associate (CDA) as awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition.

Sara Rubin has been with us this year as a head three’s teacher. Prior to fall 2020, Sara held senior positions at the nursery school of Community Church of Douglaston (2019-2020) and abc Early Learning Center (2017-2019). Sara has over 13 years’ experience as a teacher, childcare provider and administrator. Sara has a B.A. from State University of New York – College at Oneonta, a Masters in Special Education from Dowling College and a NYS Early Childhood Education Certificate. 

Our Exceptional Staff

Our LOW CHILD/TEACHER RATIO ensures individual attention for your child and family.  All of our teachers are credentialed, certified, or have been approved by the New York State Department of Education to be members of our UPK site. Two of our teachers have been awarded the prestigious Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION. Our teachers hold education degrees or toddler credentials, and are all experienced in working with young children. Additional staff includes our music, sports, movement, and gymnastics specialists. Our clergy also are an integral part of your child’s learning. 

Programs & Facilities

Programs are open to non-members unless otherwise stated.

We provide a safe, cozy, stimulating and nurturing child-responsive environment in which teachers and clergy are sensitive to develop- mental stages of young children and to each child as an individual. With many and varied developmentally appropriate materials available, the children learn through play with one another. 

Come Play With Me

1 - 2 Year Olds *Pending OCFS regulations*
Children along with their parents/caregivers play, paint, sing and share snacks.

Nursery School

1.9 Years – 5 Year Olds
This program offers a quality Jewish preschool experience in a safe, relaxed and nurturing environment. We believe in fostering each child’s natural curiosity, imagination, problem solving skills and creativity. Children are encouraged to experiment with a variety of materials while participating in individual and group activities. The curriculum includes story time, music, art, movement, yoga, as well as the celebration of Shabbat and Jewish holidays and more.

Summer at Gan Shalom

1.9 Years – 5 Year Olds
This program is the perfect time to help your child transition into the preschool environment. It offers children a variety of activities appropriate for their age and development. Children play indoors in air-conditioned classrooms and outdoors where sprinklers and a water slide are available. Themes and special activities are planned for each week and include Red, White and Blue, Under the Sea, Pajama Day and Camp Olympics.

Before & After Care

3 – 5 Year Olds
Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 5:30pm
Our all-day program wraps around our traditional nursery school class- es and includes indoor and outdoor gym playtime, afternoon snack, story time and art. Minimum enrollment required.

PJ Library with Morah Miriam & Our Clergy

Birth - 8 Year Olds
Monthly on Wednesdays, 5:30 - 6:30pm (Be sure to check the calendar for exact dates)
Join our PJ Family! The RSNS clergy and Gan Shalom Nursery School partner with PJ Library (a national program) to fill your lives with Jewish songs and books. Enrolled families receive Jewish-themed books monthly through the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. The synagogue also offers monthly PJ Library programs which celebrate Jewish holidays with crafts, storytelling, and music.

To learn more about the PJ Library, go to

Shalom Shabbat with Cantor Eric & Yoga Jen

Birth - 5 Year Olds
Monthly on Saturdays, 9:00 - 9:45am
One Saturday a month, our youngest children, along with their parent/ grandparent/caregiver, celebrate Shabbat with challah and juice, songs, stories and movement. Both Gan Shalom families and non-members are invited.

Family Havurot supervised by Rabbi Jodie

Join a Family Havurah! Each Havurah is a small group of four to six families. We connect participants to each other and Judaism through a home- based experiential program that meets five times a year. We pair you with other family units OR you can make your own group. Non-members are welcome. Each Family Havurah is assigned a master teacher who mentors the Havurah as it engages in Jewish ritual, holidays and culture.


Gan Shalom Nursery School at the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore, a non-profit school, was organized in 1994 by a committee of dedicated rabbis, early childhood educators and child development professionals, with the goal of providing the best possible Jewish and secular experience for young children and their families. We are licensed by the NYS Office of  Child and Family Services and Registered with the NYS Education Department. Gan Shalom Nursery School is a proud participant of the Universal Pre-K Program of the Port Washington School District and  Quality Stars NY.

Contact Us

Thank you for your interest in Gan Shalom Nursery School. We would love to have the opportunity to speak with you and arrange a visit to our school.  

Contact Lisa Erkus or Sara Rubin, Gan Shalom Directors, for days, times, an application and additional information at 516-627-6274 or email at