Ezra Academy, which already had been transformative for our daughter, has been a total lifesaver during these difficult times. The transition to distance learning has been smooth, and the teachers have been present, prepared, and patient the whole time. They haven't lost a step. Even the gym teacher has sent home fun conditioning exercises for all the kids! It's been exactly what we hoped for from a Jewish day school, a focused, personal attention on the whole child. The parent community, too, has rallied, supporting one another. Ezra Academy has been a blessing in a time when we need more blessings.
–Mark Oppenheimer (current parent)
My three daughters recently enrolled at Ezra Academy. My oldest daughter is in 4th grade; my middle daughter is in kindergarten, and my youngest daughter is in the Montessori preschool. I highly recommend Ezra Academy as a superb educational experience – and my husband and I believe that enrolling our children at Ezra is one of the best decisions we have made as parents. We lived in Old Saybrook until a year ago, where our oldest daughter attended public school. We moved to Cheshire in 2018 and enrolled our daughter in public school. Even though our daughter attended some of the best public schools in the state, we have found that Ezra provides a unique and phenomenal educational opportunity that public school simply cannot offer. In the public school, the school day was rushed and stressful. With only a short recess each day (which often times was spent indoors) and only 20 minutes for lunch, there was simply inadequate time to eat, play, and socialize. Much time was spent on classroom management rather than teaching. Large class sizes and a “one size fits all” teaching method were the norm. We love that Ezra Academy has longer recess, longer lunch, and time to pray, socialize, and be in nature. We are thrilled that the low teacher to student ratio allows our children to be taught in a way that speaks to them. Our children end the school day happy and calm rather than stressed and angry. Our oldest daughter has become so much more confident in her academic skills since starting at Ezra Academy. Even though she is a very bright child, the way that math was taught in the public school was confusing to her and she thought she was bad at math. The mathematics instruction at Ezra is flexible, allowing children to use a variety of problem-solving methods. Our fourth-grader has gotten her confidence back and knows that she can succeed at math as well as all academic pursuits. The Judaic learning at Ezra is outstanding. Our fourth grader had previously attended religious school at a reform temple, where she learned only very minimal Hebrew. We were very concerned about how she would adapt to a curriculum that is so rich in Hebrew. She has learned so much so quickly at Ezra. Our kindergartener is learning so much vocabulary in Hebrew and is so happy to teach it to me! She loves to correct my pronunciation of Hebrew words and insert the occasional Hebrew word into regular communication. They all are very interested in biblical stories. Even our preschooler loves to sing Hebrew songs! They all love learning about Judaism and the Hebrew language so much that they voluntarily attend religious school at our synagogue on Sundays (even though we told them that it isn’t necessary). At Ezra, our children feel completely comfortable being themselves. There is a culture of kindness and children are respectful and caring to one another. The teachers and students mutually respect each other. They embrace others’ differences rather than ridicule each other for them. Even though Ezra Academy has a less diverse student body than public schools, we have found that our children have more diverse friendships. Rather than spending all of their time with a small social “clique” of children who are just like themselves, they spend time with children who are younger and older than them and with kids of both genders. Ezra Academy’s emphasis on kindness and ethics has made my job as a parent much easier. Around the time of Yom Kippur, I overheard my older daughters apologizing to each other for the times they had treated each other poorly. They learn to give tzedakah, care for the planet, and advocate for their beliefs. The Montessori program is quite amazing. My daughter, who is not even two years old, has become extremely independent in her short time at Ezra Academy. She is communicating; climbing; opening up water bottles; feeding herself; expressing her needs; and working on dressing herself. She has far fewer tantrums than my older children did because she is learning how to communicate and address her own needs. She cried every single day I dropped her off at a regular daycare for almost an entire year – but she is now happy to come to school at Ezra each day. The warm and caring teachers, stimulating curriculum, and kind friends make all the difference.
–Allison Barasz (current parent)