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The primary goal of The Springboard School is to help each child reach his or her best potential, providing a foundation for future success.


Many of our students eventually thrive in mainstream settings and go on to college, graduate school and professional careers. Most importantly many have succeeded in achieving happy and productive lives.

A Program For Children and Parents TOGETHER

We believe that our students make dramatic long-term gains because the parents are included as collaborating partners in their child’s treatment. Parents or other caretakers are invited to attend classes, interact with teachers and participate in weekly parent counseling and peer support groups. Parents use what they learn in the program to help their children at home and in the community.

 

The Springboard School Welcomes You

The Springboard School (formerly The Therapeutic Nursery of the JCC Palisades) is a nationally recognized program for bright preschool children with a variety of developmental challenges, including communication and learning disorders, ADHD, emotional and behavior problems, and high functioning autism.
 

We are a developmental, language-based, parent-child program that addresses the social, emotional, behavioral, language and cognitive development of each child. Our staff is comprised of a well-trained interdisciplinary team including speech and language therapists, special education teachers, occupational therapists, school social workers and child development specialists.

 

The Therapeutic Nursery model was created in 1978 by Doris A. Allen, EdD at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, and was brought to the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in 1995. As of September 2019 the school will be located at 11 Harold St, Tenafly NJ 07670 on the premises of Lubavitch on the Palisades.

 

Click here to visit our webpage on the Lubavitch on the Palisades site. 

OUR SCHOOL

Making A Difference

The Springboard School can change the lives of young children and their families.

A THERAPEUTIC PROGRAM

We address the children’s emotional lives along with other aspects of their development. We help them understand and express their feelings. We also help the parents develop new ways of empathizing and communicating with their children. As the children learn to replace inappropriate or out of control behaviors with appropriate ones, self-confidence is enhanced and learning becomes possible. When parents are helped to use these principles at home, the children’s capacity to develop expands still further.

 

 

A LANGUAGE BASED PROGRAM

Speech and language therapists and special education teachers collaborate in the classroom at all times.  In addition, children receive individual and small group pullout language therapy.

A COMPREHENSIVE CURRICULUM FOR TEACHING SOCIAL SKILLS AND BEHAVIORAL REGULATION

The curriculum focuses primarily on social skills and emotional and behavioral regulation. The children who come to the Springbpard School are intelligent, however they have difficulty with communication, socialization and emotional and behavioral regulation, which prevents them from succeeding in mainstream environments. Our curriculum is unique because it focuses on these core issues, and teaches these critical skills directly. We use a comprehensive social skills curriculum based on Michelle Dunn’s S.O.S: Social Skills in our Schools (2005). Through puppet and role play, pictures, scripts and stories, the children are taught directly how to play, interact socially and modulate their emotions and behaviors. Graphic organizers are used to help the children verbally interact with others. Parents practice these lessons at home with their children, to insure that these new skills and behaviors are internalized and generalized to all settings.

AN ENHANCED ACADEMIC CURRICULUM

We provide a highly stimulating academic curriculum, including lessons in science, social studies, geography, music and yoga. By consistently stimulating the students’ intelligence and curiosity, we not only increase their knowledge of the world, but we also harness their intellectual strengths to overcome the difficulties they may have in focusing, attending, listening, taking turns and making transitions. In this way we prepare them to succeed in a future school setting.

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY CURRICULUM

Occupational therapists help the children process sensory information which increases their ability to self-regulate. In addition, the therapists work to develop gross and fine motor skills, motor planning and visual motor skills, as well as self-help skills.

 

INCLUSION 

CHILDREN ARE INTEGRATED WITH MAINSTREAM PROGRAMMING AT LUBAVITCH ON THE PALISADES

Our Springboard students are encouraged to join classes and a variety of programs for typically developing peers, at Lubavitch on the Palisades Preschool. Our staff works closely with the mainstream staff to insure maximum success for our students.

www.LPSNJ.org

 

ADMISSIONS & REFERRALS

We are currently accepting applications for limited spots for the 2020-2021 school year. We accept children ages three to six years old for a 10-month program. Classes meet in person, five days a week, from 12:30-3 pm. Class size is limited to 9 children. The Springboard School is a non-sectarian program.

Please contact Lois Mendelson, director of The Springboard School, to schedule a virtual information session. Lois can be reached at 917-692-8298 or lemendelson@gmail.com.

Referrals to the Springboard School come from physicians, psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and nursery schools as well as parents. Students may be accepted into the program anytime during the school year.

STAFF

The Springboard staff brings decades of experience to help both our students and their families thrive.

Lois Mendelson, PhD, Director

Lois has been with the program since its inception in 1978 and has been its director since 2002. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College, a master’s degree from Columbia University and a PhD from NYU. She completed a seven-year training program in child, couples and family therapy from the Institute for Child, Adolescent and Family Studies (ICAFS) in New York.

Lisa Bernholz-Balsam, MS, CCC/SLP, Speech Pathologist and Audiologist

Lisa is an ASHA certified, state-licensed speech and language pathologist and audiologist, specializing in the treatment of pediatric speech and language disorders. She earned her MS at the City University of New York, Brooklyn College, and has been with our school since 1998. She also has a private practice in Englewood.

Michele Imhof, MS Ed, Special Education Teacher

Michele has 20 years of experience as a classroom teacher. She holds teaching certificates both in NY and NJ and has three master’s degrees from Bank Street College of Education: early childhood/elementary education, early childhood special education and early childhood leadership. She has been with our school since 2015. Prior to joining our staff, she was the early childhood director at the Grosvenor Neighborhood House YMCA Tender Care Program in NYC, a SEIT (Special Education Itinerant Teacher) for The Jewish Board and a pre-k teacher at the Weekday School.

Julia Grammer Kislevitz

Julia joined the staff of the Springboard School as an assistant teacher in September 2020. Julia earned her BA degree from Wheaton College in Massachusetts. In 2019, she began working towards a master's degree in teaching at Drew University. She has worked as a substitute teacher in the Demarest School District since 2016. Since 2012, she has been the director of stitchery and beading at the Lindgren Summer Camp.

Michelle H. Roth, MS, OTR, Occupational Therapist

Michelle earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and an MS in occupational therapy from Columbia University. Prior to joining our staff in 1996, Michelle worked in Manhattan at several special education schools and early intervention centers. For the past 17 years, she has also been a senior occupational therapist at Focus Children’s Therapy Center, where she provides occupational therapy for children in a clinic setting.

Lisa Sternbach, MSW, LCSW, Clinical Social Worker

Lisa graduated from Fordham University Graduate School of Social Services. She has been a clinical social worker with our program for 18 years. She provides weekly parent counseling and parent support groups, as well as play therapy for children who need it. She has also served as the Parenting Center Coordinator at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades for 20 years. She maintains a private practice in Cresskill.

Yonit Weiss, MS, CCC-SLP

Yonit is a certified speech and language pathologist in both New York and New Jersey. She joins us with over 15 years of experience working in both clinical and school settings. She received a bachelor's degree in speech and language from Queens College and a Master of Science in speech and language pathology from Brooklyn College. Yonit specializes in working with the school-age population, specifically children in grades K-8.

 
 

To say you saved my fabulous daughter, Claire, is only half the story. You also saved me. - Alumni Parent

During my time at [Springboard], I never felt there was anything I couldn’t accomplish…. I loved each and every one of my teachers, and my teachers loved me. - Alumnus

Lois Mendelson guided us through every step of the way and and the staff could not have been more kind and compassionate. Fast forward 13 years and Chase is completing 10th grade. Chase is in all honors classes and is a straight A student on the highest honor roll. He has excelled in school and is very driven, focused and social. 
- Alumni Parent

[When we toured the program,] my daughter seemed to sense this was a ‘good place.’ While she wasn’t very verbal at that point, you could tell by her body language that she felt at home. We ended up moving to NJ to attend the program, convinced it was our best chance to make a difference in our child’s future. We were right. - Alumni Parent

Lois and her staff were unbelievable in their knowledge, skills and support. They empowered Connor, his siblings, and me to become advocates not only for him, but for others. I know one of the most powerful gifts we were given was that of hope. 
- Alumni Parent

We, as parents, would not be where we are today, and Eitan, as an individual would not have achieved as much, if we had not been lucky enough to attend the program. We will be forever grateful to Lois and her amazing team.” - Alumni Parent 

The program was life changing for us and for our family—the teachers and therapists are passionate about what they do, are caring, and knowledgable—they saw his potential, worked on his strengths, and believed in him. We often wonder what the outcome would have been had we not enrolled him. We will always be indebted to Lois and [the Springboard School] for the gift of giving our son the support he needed early on to build a productive and successful future. - Alumni Parent

The program was life changing for us and for our family—the teachers and therapists are passionate about what they do, are caring, and knowledgable—they saw his potential, worked on his strengths, and believed in him. We often wonder what the outcome would have been had we not enrolled him. We will always be indebted to Lois and [the Springboard School] for the gift of giving our son the support he needed early on to build a productive and successful future. - Alumni Parent

Hi! I'm Spencer. I attended the Therapeutic Nursery when I was little, and boy did it help! If not for that, I wouldn't have been able to do half of what I've done! Currently, I'm a rising sophomore at the Bergen Academies, specifically, the Academy for Technology and Computer Science. I've always hoped of going there, and...well, now I am! As the Academy name would indicate, I've focused heavily on programming. This even carries over into my free time, where not only do I play a ton of video games, but program my own mods for them. Both at school and in the online gaming community I feel like I have found my tribe, so to speak. But the important thing is...if I hadn't gone to the Nursery, I likely wouldn't have been able to accomplish any of this. - Alumnus

Our son, Spencer, attended this program when it was in its former home [at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades]. Neither we, nor he, can ever have enough gratitude for all that it gave us. He had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder and ADD. At three, we wondered whether he would ever be able to master the complexities of the world around him. By five, when he graduated the program, we had every reason to believe he would. He is now 15, and a largely happy soon-to-be sophomore at the Bergen Academies. He accepts his own quirks, and for the most part, so does everyone else. The foundation we all got from this program was irreplaceable—not only in teaching him skills and us strategies, but in having a support system like none other I have seen or heard of. - Alumni Parent

The [Springboard] team gave my family consistency, honest feedback, practical advice, exceptional modeling, an opportunity to talk with others who get it, and a safe place where melt downs were considered learning opportunities.
- Alumni Parent

All the teachers taught me how to cope with situations and express my feelings so well, that by the time I graduated I was able to go into a preschool 1/2 day. In Kindergarten, I transitioned to a program for kids who were in elementary school but couldn’t go to an actual mainstream school. I was able to talk about my emotions with the counselor and express myself in a very mature way, (compared to the other kids my age, which shocked him) and that was amazing! Ever since then, I mainstreamed, and have been achieving tech dreams, and achieving what I want and what I like, such as: editor of my school newspaper, dancing on two competitive hip-hop teams, playing clarinet in my school band, singing with my school chorus and chamber choir, and earning a high red belt in Tae Kwon Do while being able to do it the safest and right way. But if it wasn’t for [Springboard], there is no way I would be who I am today. What I am today is because of these people. And I deserve to be proud to have graduated from the school and always will be. - Alumnus

All the teachers taught me how to cope with situations and express my feelings so well, that by the time I graduated I was able to go into a preschool 1/2 day. In Kindergarten, I transitioned to a program for kids who were in elementary school but couldn’t go to an actual mainstream school. I was able to talk about my emotions with the counselor and express myself in a very mature way, (compared to the other kids my age, which shocked him) and that was amazing! Ever since then, I mainstreamed, and have been achieving tech dreams, and achieving what I want and what I like, such as: editor of my school newspaper, dancing on two competitive hip-hop teams, playing clarinet in my school band, singing with my school chorus and chamber choir, and earning a high red belt in Tae Kwon Do while being able to do it the safest and right way. But if it wasn’t for [Springboard], there is no way I would be who I am today. What I am today is because of these people. And I deserve to be proud to have graduated from the school and always will be. - Alumnus

We are so grateful for the scholarship money, without which none of this would have been possible. I don’t really want to think about what would have happened if he hadn’t been able to go there. This program saved his life. - Alumni Parent

Sol was [at the Springboard School] for two years. She began talking, smiling, engaging others, playing, answering questions appropriately, laughing out loud and sustaining eye contact…. She was accepted to every Kindergarten class we applied for. Now she is a confident, happy, well-adjusted young girl, who has made great friends in and outside of school. 
- Alumni Parent

Today, her out of control behaviors at home have been reduced, she participates in social activities with pleasure, and she speaks regularly in the classroom with peers and teachers. Her transformation has been beautiful, uplifting and inspirational. - Alumni Parent

We would like to thank [the Springboard School] therapists, teachers, staff and supporters for creating a space where our family is understood. We are inspired each day by the hours and tremendous effort dedicated to all the children and families who participate in this very special program. - Alumni Parent

The multi-disciplinary staff is not only caring and nurturing but exceptionally professional, knowledgable, and dedicated. There was never a problem they could not address, never a question they could not answer, never a moment they would not spare for us. The gave him the language and skills he needed to get through daily life. They gave us the tools we needed to raise him. - Alumni Parent

Our experience at The Springboard School has been extraordinary. Within the first week we started to see Joey’s transformation from surviving everyday life, to enjoying, learning and thriving. Every member of the highly skilled team is dedicated to each child’s growth and to supporting and empowering parents. Lois Mendelson, director, is exceptional. She listened to every challenge big and small, compassionately guided us, and provided us with a wealth of tools that work. We are forever grateful to The Springboard School for understanding Joey, for helping him understand himself, for equipping him with critical foundational skills, and for inspiring confidence and hope. - Alumni Parent

 

Support The Springboard School

Charitable contributions of all types to The Springboard School are crucial to its success. Private philanthropy every year provides financial support for our scholarship funding. Please consider making a gift to ensure continued excellence.

Make a Donation

Make a donation earmarked for The Springboard School at Lubavitch on the Palisades. We are a fully tax deductible 501(c)(3) organization.

Donation Matching

Does your company offer donation matching?

Have your donation go farther in collaboration with your company matching program. Please contact Lois Mendelson, director of The Springboard School, at 917-692-8298 or lemendelson@gmail.com for more information about how you can help. 

Crowdfunded Donations

Looking for a meaningful way to celebrate a family occasion or milestone? Support the Springboard School! We will spread the word via our Facebook page.

Click here for a recent example of one such fundraiser by our alum, Joshua Peisach, who chose to support The Springboard School in honor of his bar mitzvah. We are so proud of him!

VIDEOS & TESTIMONIALS

Since 1978, our school has helped children and their families reach their full potential. Read what they have to say about the impact that The Springboard School has made on their lives.
 

Contact The Springboard School

11 Harold St, Tenafly, NJ 07670

CONTACT US: LEMENDELSON@GMAIL.COM; 917-692-8298