Liza Baron on August 16, 2017
Sheva (the number seven in Hebrew) has amazing power in Jewish thought and practice. It is also the name of the JCCs of North America Early Learning Framework and represents the seven core elements of exemplary early childhood practice profoundly rooted in the latest research on child development seen through a Jewish lens.
Liza Baron, Director
What does this mean for the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh and its two Early Childhood Development Centers? As we prepare to embark upon a new school year, we are more dedicated than ever to engage deeply in our own study of excellence, professionalism, vision, inquiry and the powerful potential of children.
This week our two schools (Squirrel Hill and South Hills) gathered together to kick off our annual professional development week. Nearly 80 Early Childhood educators and administrative staff met to reflect and wonder together about Sheva and the limitless possibilities we have as a team to learn from one another. Across the United States and Canada, our entire peer network is doing the same thing. How powerful a feeling it is to be aware of the connection we have to our movement!
We have been engaged in a study of the Reggio Emilia Approach for a number of years. Involving the Sheva framework in what we do now is the next step on our journey towards excellence. Sheva gives us the opportunity to explore where we are on this journey and to be transparent about our goals, our vision, and our questions about how children learn. Our most important goal remains to create confident and engaged lifelong learners, and what better way to do this than to ensure our educators are equally as confident and engaged in their own learning!
Sheva provides our schools with tremendous opportunities for our talented teaching staff. Throughout each school year, our educators will participate in learning communities (inside each of our own schools, across the river, and around the country), exploring topics they feel inspired by such as Engaging our Families, Early Childhood Educators are Professionals, Universal Values through Jewish Lenses, and Children are Constructivist Learners. Professional development for our educators has always been an important aspect of the work we do at the JCC and this year we take a deeper, more intentional dive into those waters as a team. We will have those necessary, sometimes uncomfortable and complex conversations about WHY we do what we do and HOW we will do it each and every day.
We are proud to share that our schools were chosen by the Jewish Community Center Association to become a Lab Community, a selective group being recognized for commitment to excellence in early childhood education. Through a dedication to families, community and inspired learning, Sheva will help us continue to strengthen the values that are already essential to our vision.
School begins August 21. Join us as our Sheva journey begins.
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