Our History & Commitment to Excellence
The Early Childhood Center began in Beth Israel Synagogue as a half day preschool. When the Jewish Community Center opened in 1984, it provided a home for the Beth Israel Nursery School. In 1987, the JCC moved into it’s current building and the preschool became part of the JCC. In 1987, the preschool began offering full day programs and hired the first full time director.
Over the years, the ECC has developed a culture of constant program improvement. Pursuit of excellence has led our staff to seek out voices in the early childhood education field that can help us enhance our practice.
Stops on our journey:
- In 1997 the ECC became Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Since 1985, NAEYC has offered a national, voluntary accreditation system to set professional standards for early childhood education programs, and to help families identify high quality programs. Today, NAEYC Accreditation represents a national standard that families rely on when looking for a high quality early childhood program.
- In 2007, the ECC entered into a community partnership with the HighScope Educational Research Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, founded in 1970 in Ypsilanti, MI. A pioneer in research-based early childhood curriculum development, HighScope promotes the development of children and youth worldwide and supports educators and parents as they help children learn. The HighScope curriculum is a child-centered approach that empowers children to find meaning in their actions. It provides the foundation of the ECC’s early childhood practice.
- In 2012 the ECC’s Infant/Toddler program became a Signing Smart Certified Center, supporting early language learners through Baby Sign. The ECC’s Infant/Toddler teachers sought out this excellent approach to using Baby Sign in a center-based program. Using sign language with pre-verbal children gives them the tools to communicate their needs.
- In 2013, the ECC became a Sheva Early Childhood Center. Sheva is an initiative of the JCC Association of North America supporting innovation and excellence in Jewish Early Childhood Education. Sheva, from the Hebrew word for “seven,” is a framework that includes seven core elements of exemplary early childhood practice, seen through a Jewish lens.
- In 2015, after exploring the New Zealand practice of documenting children’s experience using Learning Stories, the ECC’s teachers began to utilize Storypark as a unique tool for documenting the experiences of children and sharing them with families. Storypark is a powerful cloud-based application that allows teachers to write learning narratives about the children in their classes, and share them that day with parents, who can in turn respond. Parents can also write stories about their children and share them with their children’s teachers.
- In 2016, the ECC joined the fight against childhood obesity by implementing Discover CATCH, a world-class child wellness program developed by the University of Texas School of Public Health and the JCC Association of North America. Since the introduction of Discover CATCH into our program, we have seen children engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity daily, become more aware of healthy eating habits, and through exploration of our garden, grow intimately knowledgeable about where healthy food comes from.