JCC early childhood programs are the largest platform of Jewish early childhood education in North America, touching thousands of young lives annually. Recognizing that reach and responsibility, the Sheva Center has been created, an innovative approach to early childhood education, empowering teachers and directors, and positioning JCC early childhood education centers as examples of excellence.
Sheva, which means seven in Hebrew, is a powerful number in Jewish thought and practice. The Sheva framework employs seven core principles of early care and education and contemporary and ancient texts, using seven Jewish lenses to reveal universal values. Sheva classrooms weave these values throughout their educational day.
1. Children as Constructivist Learners – Curriculum emerges from the children’s ideas, abilities, and interests in an environment created for children to reflect and build upon experiences
2. Directors as Visionaries – Directors work closely with faculty, parents, and lay leaders to create exceptional learning environments
3. Teachers as Professionals – Faculty seek to create and embrace learning opportunities for personal and professional development while provoking wonder, curiosity, and engagement with our children
4. Families as Engaged Partners – Parents are included as part of the learning process through celebrations, communication, and adult learning opportunities
5. Environments as Inspiration for Inquiry – Environments are created to incorporate exploration, connection, and a sense of belonging
6. discoverCATCH as Sh’mirat HaGuf (taking care of our bodies) – An innovative program that is designed to encourage healthy eating and exercise habits for young children and their families
7. Israel as the Story of the Jewish People – ECE provides an engaging and innovative way for families and faculty to begin or continue their Jewish journey through School Twinning and faculty visits to Israel