About

Hi  đź‘‹ I’m Nina, and in 2018 I started ChefLab The Science Kitchen – a Montessori inspired after-school program that teaches science through cooking. My primary focus is on teaching social, cultural, and practical life skills that will stay with each child as they grow. The following paragraphs introduce the colorful mosaic that make up the ChefLab brand and express what we are all about.  

about nina

There is no I in team, but there is an I in win”. – Michael Jordan

In other words: To be responsible, keep your promises to others. To be successful, keep your promises to yourself. 

Born in New York, and raised in Israel, Nina studied education in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem before relocating to NYC to teach science and Judaic studies in a progressive Montessori day-school and attain a psychology degree from Excelsior college. 

Bringing with her an understanding of child development and creative methods of elementary education, Nina made a promise to improve upon the education she received in a traditional Israeli elementary classroom.

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Returning to Israel knowing that children deserve an integrated education philosophy, Nina chose to follow her gut (literally!) by combining her love for teaching with her knack for cooking, and started ChefLab.  

To date, Nina’s “recipe” for ChefLab’s success combines equal parts individuality and community, a pinch of basketball, a heaping scoop of Wonder Woman and a generous sprinkle of patience. *Store in a warm creative environment to rise…

About montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori (or as I like to call her, the Gal Gadot of 19th century education) developed a holistic approach to teaching children. Based on her observation that children have an innate desire to be independent, Montessori education is an individualized learning process that empowers children to develop their independence by offering self-correcting activities that promote freedom and self-discipline that arise from within.

The ChefLab Montessori-inspired materials and unique classroom environment encourage exploration, and foster independence as individuals within a community.

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More About Montessori

Guiding principles:

Curiosity:

Children don’t stop asking questions because they lose interest. Rather, they lose interest because they stop asking questions. In a Montessori classroom, children’s natural curiosity what drives the lesson forward. 

Calm and Peaceful Environment:

We do not survive so we can learn, we learn so that we can survive. When the brain’s safety needs are met, it will allow its neurons to transmit information freely without interruption

Demonstration:

Show and not tell. The role of the Montessori teacher is to give the child tools for self-exploration. Lovingly and respectfully interacting with the child as an equal rather than as his superior helps build and foster an environment of safety. 

 

 

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FAQ

Most frequently asked questions and answers

All members of the ChefLab community are immersed in the values of our commitments to ourselves as well as to each-other.

I will be Safe. Safety first. This includes health standards, age appropriate materials, adult supervision and child behavior. 

I will be Kind. We use kind language and practice kind gestures. We reinforce kind behaviours between friends.

I will be Gentle. We keep our hands to ourselves. We are gentle with our bodies, voices and classroom materials.

I will be Respectful. We do not discriminate. We listen to each-other, welcome differences and try our best to learn from one another.

This common misconception wouldn’t be very safe or calm would it? NO.

Montessori is based on the principle of free choice of purposeful activity. If the situation calls for it, the teacher will intervene and re-direct the child either to more appropriate materials or to a more appropriate use of the material.

In the Montessori classroom, learning materials are arranged on low, open shelves. Children choose which materials to use and may work for as long as the material holds their interest. The materials themselves invite activity. They are simple to use, aesthetically appealing, and self-correcting. The child is able to solve problems independently, building self-confidence, analytical thinking, and the satisfaction that comes from accomplishment. As the child’s exploration continues, the materials interrelate and build upon each other.

Our Montessori twice-a-week Learn then Lab class model is purposefully designed to maximize internalisation and child autonomy. Made up of presentation, lesson activity, and independant work time, children internalize the material before entering the kitchen-lab. Once mastered the children return later in the week for reinforcement and edible expression!

Our combined once-a-week Learn & Lab class model provides a more traditional taste of both dimensions. 

Learn then Lab 

Learn:

Presentation: The first 15 minutes are dedicated to lesson presentation and group experiment

Lesson Activity: The next 15 minutes are spent applying our understanding in a lesson related project or activity

Independent Work Time: For the remaining 15 minutes children make their own work choices before coming back to the circle to share what they’ve learned.

Lab: Welcome back!

The first 10 minutes are dedicated to a lesson review, child sharing and refreshing our memory. The next 25 minutes are dedicated to cooking up a storm! Then, while our food is in the oven or refrigerator changing states of matter, the children have independent work time for 10 minutes before coming back to the kitchen and eating the fruits of their labor!

Learn and Lab

The first 15 minutes are dedicated to class presentation, group activity, and experimentation.

The next 30 minutes are spent in the kitchen-lab where we express what we’re learning through food preparation.

The remaining 15 minutes as our edible-creations take their form, the children choose a material to work with around the room before regrouping for eat & tell!!

Hebrew speaking children  join Hebrew classes and English speakers join English classes. The reason for not opening English groups for Hebrew speakers  is because Montessori Materials are designed for independent manipulation. Focusing on teaching English as a second language, including English reading and writing would distract from delivering on this ideal. If you choose to enroll your Hebrew speaking child in an English class anyway, they will be welcomed to our twice-a-week class model with pleasure. In which case, they will have the option to use Hebrew text materials (and vice versa)

Enrollment is for 11 months and payed for on the website alone. We accept credit card instalments, bank transfers, cash and checks. 

If your child misses a single class, they will have the opportunity to join another group that week.  In the event that you choose to un-enroll for the program mid year, you will be refunded  the remaining amount to your original method of payment, minus a 10 % cancellation fee of the original sale price. Alternatively you can opt to be refunded fully as credit to be used toward any ChefLab event or merchandise. For more information please see our Terms and Conditions. 

Montessori schools combine “grades” into co-aged classrooms, traditionally in  three year groupings. Here are a few benefits I have found behind the method.

Familiarity = Safety: In traditional schools, by the time children become comfortable in their surroundings they are uprooted and moved to a new classroom setting – often with new teachers. 

Safety = Confidence: When a child feels safe in his environment – he builds confidence (compare children’s behvaior at home to public or new settings)

Confidence = Leadership: When a child feels confidant, he naturally leads his younger classmates around the classroom.

Leadership = Patience: A successful leader listens. Older children serving as examples to their younger classmates help to develop patience and listening skills.

Most of our cooking does not require cutting. We focus on mixing, blending, seasoning, baking, boiling (with adult supervision). However, children will on occasion cutting.

Children use cutlery designed for smaller hands and the tools they use vary based on age. Our 3-5 year olds are given small introduction knifes. Older children are given tools appropriate for their age. 

Safety is key and our lessons  begin with knife and heat skills percussions. Our parent workshop teaches this as well – I recommend signing up for an event!

 

Guide each child on an individual path. – Proverbs 22.6

ChefLab welcomes and supports all beliefs and practices. While we are a science-based program, we do not disregard or disrespect creationism in any way.

At ChefLab, every unit is woven into another to form a web that supports a child’s innate drive to find meaning in life. We embrace our cultural, religious and educational differences and teach our students to engage in respectful dialogue, creating a cultural mosaic reflective of our community and the world.

The ChefLab kitchen is kosher and vegetarian. 

ChefLab Tzaharon is a private English speaking daily afternoon program which offers an integrated Montessori style model of purposeful play through art, language, and cultural studies. 

Children reach our care after a day in gan, excited to see their friends, (and possibly “hangry”!) Once they get sustenance in their bellies they are given clear guidelines to help transition from one academic structure to another.

Our Team

Jessica Kraft

Born and raised in Boston, MA, and residing in Tel Aviv for the past four years, Jessie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Emory University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and a Master’s degree in Integrative Health Studies & Behavior Change from the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Prior to moving to Israel Jessie completed her thesis on cultivating social-emotional well-being and emotional resilience in children through an approach rooted in neurobiology and science.

Jessie brings her knowledge and training as a certified yoga/mindfulness teacher and as a Connected Parenting coach to the ChefLab leadership team where she will focus primarily on children’s social-emotional needs, inclusion, and parent communication.

Michelle Glazer

Born and raised in Ohio and residing in Tel Aviv for the past  year, Michelle has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from The Ohio State University, and a master’s degree in special education from Hunter College, City University of New York.

Prior to moving to Israel, Michelle was a general studies and English language arts teacher in a mixed-age kindergarten and first grade classroom at the Luria Academy of Brooklyn, a Montessori Jewish day school in NYC where Nina was trained and taught as well.

Before joining ChefLab, Michelle taught at Zarkor in Beit Hanan. Michelle brings her knowledge, experience, and training to the ChefLab leadership team where she will focus primarily on English language curriculum development and direction.

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