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The JCC’s Philosophy of Early Childhood Learning

Posted by Liza Baron on July 25, 2016

Reggio and Jewish Values Enrich Our Early Childhood Program

We often are asked how the Reggio Emilia Approach (REA) to learning–the philosophy that we embrace at the JCC Early Childhood Development Center preschool–prepares children for Kindergarten and for life.

As part of the Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative, which provides educator professional development opportunities and program support, ECDC actively melds Reggio principles with Jewish values. The world-renowned REA, inspired by the ideas and practices developed in Reggio Emilia, Italy, for the education of young children, provides interesting and meaningful learning experiences that support each child in developing high-level thinking skills.

The Reggio Emilia Approach values listening, participation and collaboration through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment.  Active involvement of educators and family members is essential to the success of our program. We see our children as capable and we value their diverse individualities, abilities and personal experiences. This approach resonates with JCC values and mission to create an environment that strengthens the physical, intellectual and spiritual well-being of individuals and families.

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We often use the term “work” when we talk about the many learning and play experiences the children participate in throughout the day. Educators and children discuss important information, issues and our projects, and we practice “reflection” to think together about our experiences and to form questions and answers. Parents are informed and always are welcome to join the conversation.

We recognize each child’s voice through small group work and access to a wide variety of quality learning materials. We believe this approach recognizes every child as gifted and fosters each child’s social and emotional development as well as independence, self-confidence and a lifelong joy for learning.

A recently completed $2 million renovation of the ECDC transformed our learning environment to mesh with our progressive educational philosophy for engaged learning. The inspired design embodies ECDC’s educational philosophy that considers the physical environment a fundamental aspect or our commitment to continuous quality improvement.

Our nurturing and experienced staff and specialists in studio, music, Jewish culture and physical education strengthen the learning opportunities for children in ECDC. Our program also is enhanced by access to the larger JCC facilities including swimming pools, gymnasiums, dance studios and our outdoor playground.

Limited spaces are available in some classes. The school year begins August 22.

Come meet us! We’re happy to answer your questions and show you what we do.


Liza Baron is Edward and Rose Berman Director, Early Childhood Development Center in Squirrel Hill

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