Our curriculum is designed around the basic premise that children are central to the evolution of their school experience. Our teachers teach and learn about children from a learner's perspective. Our teachers ask questions like:
"What's going on?"
"How does this child create order out of the complexities of his/her everyday life?"
"How does this child become a member of a community of learners?"
"How does this child lead others in problem-solving situations to arrive at workable solutions?"
Because our teachers ask these questions, our classrooms are different. The power of teaching from the learners' perspective is that we narrow the gap between theory and practice. Individual children become central to the educational process and decisions are made to support each child's level of learning.
Our curriculum meets all the developmental needs of young children. Early childhood is a time quite different from any other stage of development. Young children learn best:
through direct interactive experiences
by touching and manipulating materials
by sharing thoughts, not just listening
when they choose an activity
through play and imitation; and
At the heart of the curriculum is our belief that:
Learning is tied to development
each learning style is unique.
At the AJCC Preschool you will see lots of forms of play. Children at play are actively involved in creating themes; exploring and establishing environments, solving problems, and developing shared understandings.
Preschool provides children with the opportunity to use all their senses to make discoveries. How heavy is it? Does it smell? Can I find another one that feels the same? As they interact directly with their environment, the children at the AJCC Preschool not only gather sensory information, they also refine their motor skills.
In our program, we try to think of good questions to ask children. You might hear one of our staff say to a child, "Tell me about your picture", "What else can you do with the playdough", "What do you think would happen if..."
Children reap great benefits as they think through their responses to express what they want to say, and with their answers, we find out more about what they think and feel and use this information to refine and revise our curriculum activities.
The Judaic component of our curriculum emphasizes the teaching of Judeo-Christian moral and ethical concepts: mitzvoth (good deeds), tzedakah (charity) sharing, caring, compassion and helping others. Through bible stories and celebration of the Jewish holidays, we strive to impart knowledge, appreciation and enjoyment of the Jewish heritage through creative activities including art, crafts, songs, drama and cooking.
We use a curriculum book entitle, "Teaching Torah to Young Children", which promotes Jewish values and ethics through stories from the Old Testament.
The Music Program at the AJCC Preschool integrates our early childhood education philosophy with the music curriculum. A music specialist is brought in weekly to teach the children the concepts that comprise the elements of music: pitch, rhythm, tempo, timbre, and dynamics. This is achieved through singing, chanting, and playing instruments. The music, puppetry and finger play is also used to introduce the children to Jewish holidays, customs, and songs, as well as Hebrew letters and simple Hebrew words.
The director and staff of the AJCC Preschool want you to feel welcome to our program. If we begin the home/school relationship with an open, sharing approach, we can build trust. Then, when issues arise, even "sticky ones", we can talk about them without hesitation. Your child's teachers are here to listen and respond to your input. Please feel free to come to them for answers to questions or to offer support. The director also welcomes your feedback and maintains and "open-door" policy. So stop by or call for an appointment and meet with us as we continue to work to make positive decisions for your children.
Parents and grandparents are welcome to visit at any time. We ask that you notify the director prior to the visit. Visits should not interrupt the child's routine care. Visitors may observe or participate, however, we ask that the child not be removed from the group.
One of the main objectives of the Early Childhood Program is to help children develop a greater self-responsibility and self-control over their actions while at the same time fostering the children's self-esteem. To ensure this, we provide a positive approach to guidance characterized by:
developmentally appropriate expectations for the children
accepting the children's feelings and encouraging emotional expression
modeling and reinforcing positive behaviors
anticipating children's behavior and gently enforcing consistent limitations
redirecting children's inappropriate behaviors to a more acceptable alternative
encouraging problem solving.
Time outs will be used inside the classroom when needed, but will not exceed one minute per child's age in years (i.e. no longer than 4 minutes for a 4-years-old). If misbehavior, non-compliance, and/or defiance is continuous and uncontrollable and affects the well-being and integrity of the program, and repeated efforts to correct these problems by conferences and counseling have been unsuccessful, the child may be required to leave the program. Registration, activity and tuition fees paid up to the time of dismissal are non-refundable.
Formal conferences are scheduled twice during the school year. During these conferences, teachers and parents have the opportunity to discuss the child's progress, share concerns, and plan together to meet the child's developmental needs. Parents and teachers are encouraged to schedule additional conferences any time the need arises.