If you will it, it is not a dream. Theodor Herzl said these words when he had the vision to establish a Jewish state for him and his children. Jewish parents, educators, and professionals still have the same vision when it comes to establishing a Jewish future for their children.
The Cohn Early Childhood Learning Center is in the process of implementing a new program called Sheva, meaning seven. This program was developed by the JCC Association. The number seven has a very sacred meaning in Jewish thought and practice. There are seven days of the week, and on the seventh day, we observe Shabbat, the Jewish peoples’ resting day. Because of these deep roots in Jewish tradition, the seven core elements of Sheva are firmly embedded in the newest research on child growth and development.
ECLC Director, Barbara Traweek, believes that the first years of a child’s life are very critical in his or her development. Social growth, as well as the time spent in our early childhood program, is likewise critical in their family’s individual establishment. The first core element is Children as Constructivist Learners which encourages creating curriculum from the children’s ideas, abilities, and interests. The second core element is Early Childhood Directors as Visionaries which develops schedules and routines for faculty that arranges for compensated regular time to learn, grow and reflect with their colleagues, families, students and the community. The third core element of Sheva is Early Childhood Educators as Professionals in which teachers seek to create learning opportunities for personal and professional growth. The fourth core element is Families as Engaged Partners meaning diversity among families is embraced and communication about each child’s development is ongoing, relevant and supportive. The fifth core element is Environments as Inspiration for Inquiry which gives children freedom to interact with the environment and manipulate materials as well as natural world elements represented in the classroom.
The sixth core element is Discover CATCH as Sh’mirat HaGuf which includes teaching children how to take care of their bodies and learn what is healthy and not healthy. We are extremely excited and fortunate that several of our staff members went to Boca Raton in October to be trained for Discover Catch. They have brought their expertise back to the LJCC and trained other staff so the entire JCC can be involved in the program.
Finally, the seventh core element is Israel as the Story of the Jewish People which engages families and children with stories, customs, and tradition from the Holiest place for the Jews. It also allows for the child’s imagination to grow and make whatever they dream a reality just like Theodor Herzl.
At the LJCC, we are very excited about this program because it gives our preschoolers many important avenues of growth in a Jewish way. For more information, please contact Barbara Traweek, Director of the Cohn Early Childhood Learning Center at 205-510-9011
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