** **In efforts to reduce all unnecessary visitor traffic through our children’s learning spaces, tours of our early childhood program are temporarily suspended. We will be opening the calendar for tours again in the near future. Thank you for your understanding and assistance in protecting the health of our children and families.** **
2’s, 3’s, and Pre-K classrooms
Children’s physical, emotional, and cognitive abilities expand rapidly through the many engaging activities and interactions they experience at Shalom Children’s Center. Children ages 2-3 are immersed in a literacy rich environment that fosters language and pre-reading skills, along with activities and materials that encourage discovery of the world around them. Our two-year-old classrooms focus on language development and emphasize building relationships within the classroom family. Three-year-old classrooms encourage self-reliance, self-expression, and respect for others. Children participate in a wide array of activities that build their brains, such as daily circle and story time, indoor and outdoor free play, art activities, puzzles and sorting, music, and integrated lessons in Jewish values.
At Shalom Children’s Center Pre-K (ages 4-5), we build a foundation for long-term success in school by providing opportunities for children to explore new ideas through concrete experiences. We encourage children to take risks, to find peaceful ways to mediate conflicts, and to approach learning with hearty enthusiasm. Children gain self-confidence in the classroom by learning to make independent decisions, understanding how to negotiate relationships, and communicating about their own ideas.
Children as Constructivist Learners
Children are natural learners. A Jewish expression of values emphasizes that teachers inspire children to question their world and appreciate multiple perspectives. Based on an image of the child as a competent and capable learner full of potential, teachers and children engage in research as a way of co-constructing knowledge. When children are agents of their own learning, they build life-long critical thinking skills and are deeply invested in the process.
Our approach to learning consists of engaging the children in exciting explorations of themes and concepts to encourage learning across multiple disciplines. Children offer input, raise questions, and work together to solve problems. Through discussions and experiences, the children’s ideas and interests emerge into the thematic units demonstrated among learning centers. This is called the “emergent inquiry” or “Reggio-Emilia inspired” approach to teaching.
We immerse the children in a literacy rich environment, using books to reinforce the curriculum and offering numerous opportunities for written and verbal self-expression. Math skill development is a natural outgrowth of our daily activities with counting, measuring, sorting, calendaring, and a variety of games that are integrated throughout the children’s classroom encounters.
Children learn through experience
Shalom Children’s Center’s unique curriculum integrates the ideas and practices of emergent curriculum with the JCC’s Judaic values-based framework for the education of young children. Daily and weekly activities are adapted to develop skills and foster concepts that are appropriate for each child’s growing abilities and interests. Children’s physical, emotional, and cognitive abilities expand rapidly through the many engaging activities and interactions they experience at the JCC.
Some of the unique offerings in our curriculum include:
- Indoor and outdoor hands-on science and nature experiences
- Free play in classroom centers
- Numerous field trips to performances, museums, local farms, and more
- Daily circle time and story time
- Peaceful conflict resolution strategies and empathy training using “Theraplay” techniques and the “Love and Logic” positive discipline approach
- Gardening, including planting and harvesting activities, soil exploration, seed saving, environmental stewardship, and cooking what we’ve grown
- Hands-on activities and lessons incorporating Jewish values and festivals
- Weekly activities with visiting music and Judaic specialists
- Seasonal swimming lessons (for 3-5 year old classrooms)
For more information contact our Early Childhood department at 828-253-0701.