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BHA Preschool

BHA Preschool is a progressive, garden-based, Jewish learning community for children ages 2 to 4.  

We are currently operating 100% outdoors in our school garden and yard,  Tuesday through Friday mornings from 9:00 am until 11:55 am.

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Please contact with your questions about our preschool program.

Click here for information on ENROLLMENT FOR 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR

In Spring, we will announce information about Summer Garden Camp.



At our preschool we believe that children are innate learners and spiritual beings. Their work is to play - to explore with their senses, test their theories, and observe closely the world they live in. They do this best in an uncluttered, materials-rich environment. Teachers nurture, guide, and inspire them with kindness, clear expectations, and the Jewish tradition’s emphasis on wonder as a way of life.



Our days balance practical work and community routines with investigations and projects that emerge from children’s interests. The garden is one of our classrooms, where we connect mind, body and spirit with the cycle of the seasons, the foods that nourish us, and our Jewish traditions.

Our typical schedule:

  • Arrival & Choice Time: Explorations into art, science, literacy, and math that engage all of the senses. Squeeze our own grape juice for Rosh Hashanah, sculpt winter nests for garden creatures, create puppets and movements inspired by a story read aloud....
  • Circle Time: Routines, songs, movement activities, and sharing of new material/question/student project.
  • Snack time: Washing hands, sharing fresh, wholesome foods and water, giving thanks, and cleaning up.
  • Extended play and investigations, including activities that focus on tending the garden and observing the ecosystems surrounding it, digging, climbing, scooting, and building.
  • Closing meeting: We reflect and share about our morning, read a story, sing a song, and say good-bye.
  • Dismissal

Our days have rhythm and routine, while each is unique. We'll be:

  • Digging, planting, baking, sweeping…

As our children partake in the caring activities of life, they develop healthy relationships with themselves, their friends, and their world.

  • Singing, dancing, sculpting, painting… 

Our children express their hearts and minds; the teachers guide and support their creative processes.

  • Looking, touching, tasting, listening...

Our inquiry-based approach values our children’s curiosity and capacity for constructing knowledge from hands-on experiences.

  • Living Judaism is the air we breathe - and the air is full of magic. 

We grind wheat to make challah, share gratitude for the food we grow and prepare, form beeswax into candles, make glorious Shabbat flower arrangements, decorate our Sukkah, and much more. Our preschool offers a Judaism that is simple, nourishing, and exciting.




Director and lead teacher Ilana Friedman began BHA Preschool in September 2016 with teacher and flower farmer Diana Cowdery and the support of the BHA Community. Ilana comes to BHA with a Masters in Teaching from Brown University and more than thirteen years of experience teaching in progressive classrooms in New York. Dedicated to creating playful, child-centered learning communities for local children, Ilana founded Beacon Craft Workshop and co-founded the Camp @ the Camp, a program of Beacon Recreation. Ilana loves making art, singing, hiking, and most of all spending time with children. She lives in Beacon with her husband and two children. Ilana feels extremely grateful to work with the encouraging, resourceful, and spiritually open community of BHA. 

Helen Lowery is an early childhood educator and litigation attorney who is dedicated to nurturing children's self-expression and creative thinking.

Adonia Larson-Moore is an early childhood educator with experience in outdoor learning and a background in the Montessori method.

Rabbi Brent Spodek and Cantor Ellen Gersh, Education Director Julia Gross Alexander support this team of teachers.

A wide community of preschool families and volunteers have built our preschool from the ground up, designing and building the garden, donating time and equipment, and lending advice and support. Our preschool is a true blossoming of community.




  • We lovingly potty train your child when they are ready.
  • We go outside (rain or shine) daily. Children grow and learn best with fresh air, outdoor play, and a connection to the earth.
  •  We use eco-friendly practices. Our commitment to protecting our Earth and maintaining a safe, clean environment is integrated into our curriculum. We compost, recycle, reuse, and use only earth-friendly products for your child and our staff. Wholesome foods fill our bellies. You can learn more about the overall food policies of BHA here.
  • Our preschool is a little community within a much wider community. We embrace the generations. Our elders visit for story-time and special events. Our parents come to our impromptu bakery for fresh, warm hamentashen. We sing special songs with Cantor Ellen and practice meditation with Rabbi Brent. Our preschool is part of Masa, which means journey in Hebrew. Masa is the robust youth education program of the BHA.
  • We welcome children and families from all backgrounds.

  • Children are required to be up-to-date on NYS mandated vaccinations.

Is your child ready for preschool? Here is our criteria for participation in the BHA Preschool.


Enrollment this year on a trimester basis, with the hope that families will stay for the entire academic school year.  Our program currently runs Tuesdays through Fridays from 9:00 am until 11:55 am. You may select 2-5 mornings per week, pending availability of space.

School is closed on major Jewish and national holidays. School also is be closed when Beacon City School District calls for closure due to weather conditions. 


Fall Trimester: Sept. 9-Nov. 24, 2020

Winter Trimester: Dec. 1, 2020-March 12, 2021

Spring Trimester: March 16, 2021-June 18, 2021


Sat, January 23 2021 10 Shevat 5781