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Infant Care & Beyond

infant careThe SJCC is so thrilled to start 2018 with our new Director, Early Childhood, Carrie Stull. Carrie comes to the J with more than 15 years of experience directing preschool and infant care programs in the Seattle area, including directing Minor Ave. Children’s House and building Evergreen Academy Montessori from the ground up.

Much of Carrie’s infant care and early childhood leadership experience is Montessori and play-based, which translates well to the Reggio-Emilia philosophy of our school.

Jewish Learning + Universal Values

Carrie and her family belong to Temple Beth Am in Seattle’s north end, and she has always been enthusiastic about Jewish education. “I love working with children and I’m passionate about Judaism, so I can’t think of a better job.”

Although our preschool is part of a Jewish Community Center, you don’t have to be Jewish to attend—families of all kinds are welcome. We do learn about and celebrate Jewish holidays, but in ways that resonate with children—whether that’s learning about taking care of the environment by visiting our garden or reading The Lorax on Tu B’Shevat (the new year of the trees), or singing songs about friendship and sharing meals every Friday on Shabbat.

infant care jewish valuesThe Jewish values that we incorporate into our classrooms aren’t focused on the religious aspect of Judaism so much as on the values of Jewish living. “You don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate the values of common courtesy, welcoming others, and community,” Carrie says. “Those are just some of the values we infuse into our classrooms, and they’re beneficial for preschoolers and adults alike, no matter your religious affiliation.”

To learn more about the J’s Early Childhood School, head here.

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Preschool is About More than Play

The SJCC Early Childhood School is different than most preschools. We embrace the Reggio Emilia philosophy, where children learn through real-life authentic experiences within a social context.

preschool reggio playWhat does that mean? It means we embrace wonder and discovery every day. Children may be in preschool, but they are still competent and capable protagonists in their own learning.

Our teachers educate children on social and emotional levels and empower them to embrace individuality. “Children are given independence and provocations to explore,” says Director, Early Childhood, Carrie Stull. “They’re encouraged to think for themselves.”

Documenting the Preschool Learning Process

One unique pillar of the Reggio-Emilia philosophy is daily documentation. At first glance, this may appear to simply be pictures of cute children having fun at school—but it’s much more than that.

preschool reggio play“Documentation is an explanation of learning,” Carrie says. “It’s not just playing with blocks, it’s about learning through play.”

At the end of the day, our school has three main goals, says Carrie. “We want the kids to be safe, to be loved, and to be learning. If we can ensure all that, we’re doing our jobs.”

To learn more about the J’s Early Childhood School, head here.

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Finding a Preschool Community

preschool communityFinding a great preschool for your child can seem daunting. Finding a top-notch preschool where your child can learn, grow, and build their own community—and you can find community too—may seem even more unattainable. But it isn’t! At the Stroum Jewish Community Center’s Early Childhood School, your family will find all that and so much more.

When your child enrolls in preschool at the J, your tuition includes a membership so your entire family becomes part of our community. You get friends to workout with or attend concerts with, older kids have amazing summers at J Camp or shoot hoops with friends after school, grandparents play bridge and attend talks with world-renowned authors.

Being part of the larger J is such a wonderful opportunity for our families, and it’s something you certainly won’t get at most preschools or infant care programs, says Carrie Stull, Director, Early Childhood. “When you enroll in ECS, you automatically belong to the J. And ‘belong’ truly is the right word – you feel like you’re part of something bigger.”

Creating Community-Minded Preschoolers

This sense of community is also something we teach in the classroom. “Community” is one of the values in our school, as well as in the wider J. “It’s important to teach children about being part of a community, about valuing relationships, and working with others,” Carrie says.

Your Preschool Home Away From Home

community preschool

Having two layers of built-in community—both in the school and in the wider J—helps our school feel like home.

“Both the children and the parents have more fun because everybody knows everybody. It’s like a big family,” Carrie says.  “It’s different than just a daycare where you drop your kid off and leave. We want our parents to hang around and be part of the school.”

To learn more about the J’s Early Childhood School, head here.

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