October 24, 2021 -
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Sheva: Early Learning Framework

https://asoft4115.accrisoft.com/phillyjcc/clientuploads/PRESCHOOL/Sheva/Sheva-One-Page-Flyer.pngWe are very excited to introduce a new framework for Early Childhood Educators, Sheva. The number seven has extraordinary power in Jewish thought and practice. Because of its deep roots in Jewish tradition, the word Sheva, seven, was chosen as the name of our early childhood education initiative. The seven core elements of Sheva are firmly rooted in the latest research in child development. 

Ongoing Learning - A Jewish Value
Early childhood education has been a centerpiece of JCCs for almost a century, and historically it has been a gateway into JCC programming for families with young children. Just as the early years are a critical time for a child’s individual development, the time spent in early childhood centers is also a critical time in a family’s identity formation and connection to their local JCC. Our early childhood director will be participating in a Sheva learning community with directors from around the continent. They will be studying together using the seven core elements as the foundation and bringing their discoveries to our early childhood staff and community.

 7 Core elements of Sheva:

  • Children as Constructivist Learners

  • Early Childhood Directors as Visionaries

  • Early Childhood Teachers as Professionals

  • Families as Engaged Partners

  • Environments as inspiration of Inquiry

  • Discover CATCH as Shmirat HaGuf (taking care of our bodies)

  • Israel as the story of the Jewish People

https://asoft4115.accrisoft.com/phillyjcc/clientuploads/PRESCHOOL/Sheva/icon_purple.jpgChildren 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 more deeply invested in the process.


Early Childhood Directors as Visionaries
Visionary leaders galvanize a process for creating and living a shared vision for the school. Inspired by the richness of our Jewish expression of values, we work with parents, teachers and lay leadership to create an environment that cultivates a diverse and vibrant community. While all ECE directors serve their communities, JCC ECE directors must be visionary leaders focused on nurturing the minds, souls, and hearts of children and their families.


Early Childhood Teachers as Professionals
At the JCC, educators view themselves as lifelong learners, constantly engaging in the pursuit of learning opportunities, as prized by our Jewish tradition. The combination of education, experience, and passion enriches educators’, children’s and families’ lives. We listen with the understanding that the relationships between school leadership, colleagues, children, families and community members depend on the richness of each conversation.


Families as Engaged Partners
We view family engagement as essential to building a healthy school community. Every early childhood program includes family events, newsletters, and committees. JCC early childhood centers go beyond this to actively listen to and incorporate parents? perspectives into how we think about teaching and learning. JCCs support and encourage families? Jewish journeys.

https://asoft4115.accrisoft.com/phillyjcc/clientuploads/PRESCHOOL/Sheva/icon_palms.jpgEnvironments as inspiration of Inquiry
Early childhood programs are rich with materials that inform, instruct and engage children. Our vision for the early childhood learning environment suggests an intentional place for children that provokes wonder, curiosity, intellectual engagement and creativity with endless possibilities. Children and families approach the environment with questions. Attention is given to indoor and outdoor classrooms and common spaces to create community, build connections, and encourage and support opportunities for Jewish living.


Discover CATCH as Shmirat HaGuf (taking care of our bodies)
To help address the nation?s critical obesity problem, JCC Association, in collaboration with the University of Texas School of Public Health and its CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) program, has created Discover: CATCH Early Childhood. Based on a foundation of Jewish values, Discover: CATCH Early Childhood nurtures a love of physical activity in children ages 3 to 5, and encourages them to develop life-long healthy eating habits.


Israel as the story of the Jewish People
For thousands of years without the benefit of modern technology, Jews managed to create powerful images and representations of Israel?a place that most Jews had never seen or experienced. A Jewish child was born into a relationship with the ?Israel of the imagination,? which was fostered by linking that place to everyday actions and rituals, to significant events in the flow of the year and of life, and to communal myths and memories. Israel thus permeated the lives of Jews, visited and revisited in the mind throughout the course of a lifetime. When such images of Israel were vivid in the hearts and minds of parents, a connection to Israel could be transmitted at an early stage and in a natural way to young children. Now that such images have become less and less a part of most parents? reality, educators are called upon to make up the difference at the crucial developmental stage of early childhood.