A community synagogue for progressive Conservative Judaism, welcoming to all.

Early Childhood Center

Meet Ann Pardes, Director, Early Childhood Center

Children at Early Childhood CenterThe Early Childhood Center of the Jewish Community Center of Harrison is dedicated to enriching the life of young children and their families spiritually, emotionally, socially, intellectually and physically.

We value children… for their individuality, their extraordinary wealth of inborn abilities and potential, their strength and creativity. We view children as capable and competent human beings. They are active participants in the development of their identities, autonomy and creative intelligence.

We value staff… for their vision, their delight in children, their skill, dedication, knowledge and commitment to families.

We value families… for their bonds and traditions, their commitment to career, home and community, and their vision for their children’s education.

We value Judaism… for the spirit of its teachings, values, traditions, culture and heritage. Jewish values, traditions, culture and heritage are infused into everyday learning experiences. We encourage families to embrace Judaism at their own comfort level.

Parent and staff partnerships are fundamental to the foundation of our school community. This reciprocal relationship is built on mutual respect, cooperation, and shared responsibility. Our collaboration enables an effective communication network that enriches the growth, care and development of each child.

Our developmentally appropriate program provides a balance between preparing for the future (intellectual development) and living fully in the present (social-emotional development). The balance that is created is different for every child on the basis of the child’s academic needs, temperament, environment, and family’s needs. Children learn through discovery, multi-sensory, child-centered, organized experiences and rich adult-child interactions.

We believe that play is the most important “work” of the young child. Purposeful play helps construct their understanding of the world and acquire the physical, intellectual and social skills that will be the foundation of their later success in school. We encourage children to work cooperatively, communicate feelings, express and work through conflicts. Learning experiences in and out of the classroom promote imagination, creativity, and provide ongoing opportunities to experiment, explore and learn.

The Early Childhood Center is licensed by the NYS Office of Child and Family Services and is registered with the University of the State of New York Education Department.

Going Beyond

We take particular pride in our support of families with young children who are at risk for speech, learning, or gross/fine motor skills weaknesses. We provide confidential referrals and comprehensive guidance for parents navigating through the maze of assessments, forms, committee meetings and therapist appointments. Our staff are particularly attuned to recognizing children who exhibit special needs, strengths and abilities.

Parenting Center

Early Childhood CenterBaby, Toddler and Me at the JCC
Led by our ECC Director, Rabbi or Cantor.
Parents and children gather monthly and form new friendships through music, exploratory play, short stories and parent chats.
Weekly Music Classes beginning Oct. 2017

Almost Two

The Almost Two program runs October 18, 2017 – June 6, 2018 for children turning two between November 2017  – April 2018.  This is a twice weekly program of gradual separation with half year with parent or caregiver & half year separation.  The Program meets on Wednesday’s and Friday’s as follows:

9:15 – 10:45 am (October – December)
9:15 – 11:30 am (January – June)

Preschool

2’s (Garinim – Seeds)

During the two year old program, the process of gradual, supported separation of child from parent or caregiver begins. Implemented on an individual basis and taking into account each child’s unique timetable, our approach to separation respects maturation and experience. Our goal is to gently develop the trust and confidence your child will have in the ECC as a safe, comfortable place. Two year old programs meet three, four or five mornings a week.

3’s—Shorashim (roots) & 4’s—Prachim (flowers)

Children explore an environment rich in materials that promote social, emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual development. Structured activities and unstructured play are offered under the guidance of warm, caring and professionally trained teachers. The classroom environment embraces and reflects successful models of early childhood practice. The natural outdoor environment surrounding the JCCH is also considered the children’s classroom and is a vital aspect of the curriculum.

We offer a five morning program for threes and fours (9:00-12:00) with the option of four afternoons (12:00-2:30) for special enrichment activities. Children may bring lunch from home or purchase hot lunch in school.

Summer Program

Open to children ages 2 to 5. Summer Camp meets for 8 weeks Monday- Friday 9:00-12:00 or 1:00. Families can customize this program by choosing some or all weeks according to their summer needs. Groups are led by warm, nurturing and creative early childhood teachers.

Weekly themed based camp activities include outdoor water play, nature & gardening, yoga, creative movement, music, crafts and special events such as pony rides, a petting zoo and a luau.

For Families

The Mabel and Harry Berman Mishpachah Program 
Designed for 3 and 4 year old children with parent(s) to learn about and explore together value-based themes. Mitzvot that young children can understand and relate to are presented through stories, a craft activity and music, followed by a pizza lunch or dinner. 

PJ Shabbat
We welcome Shabbat every Friday morning with “It’s A Challah Day” sing-a-long from 9:00-9:30.This festive celebration is fun for toddlers and preschoolers.

Our clergy lead a musical service for young children and their families on select Friday nights from 5:30-7:00. Dancing, instruments and a PJ Library story are incorporated to celebrate the joy of Shabbat. Then, families gather for dinner and dessert before heading home for bed time.

Holiday Happenings
We offer holiday activities throughout the year for children from toddler to 5 years old and their families. Some of our favorites are “Pizza in the Hut” during Sukkot, Purim Palooza and “Silly Seder” during Passover.