Over the past four years, the Deborah Koenig Early Childhood Center at JCC Rockland has educated and cared for over 100 infants, toddlers and preschoolers from diverse backgrounds. The Center provides play-based, child-directed learning, “infused” with Jewish values and traditions.
While the Early Childhood Center is open to families of all faiths, Director Miriam Pedler says that Jewish values play an important role at the Center. “We look at all elements of the curriculum through a Jewish lens,” says Pedler. “We believe that Jewish values are human values.”
Many programs at the Center are integrated with Jewish themes, including math, science – even lunch time. According to Pedler, “The JCC C.A.T.C.H. program (coordinated approach to children’s health), which seeks to educate children on making good food choices and keeping their bodies healthy, is connected to Hebrew language and Torah stories.” Holidays at the Center are interwoven with the science, math and art curricula as well.
The Center also boasts a strong connection to the greater Jewish community. A Jewish Curriculum Facilitator is on staff and is responsible for family engagement, both within the Center and in the larger community, building bridges to synagogues and community organizations. Clergy members visit the Early Childhood Center as well. “We welcome a rabbi-in-residence from a different local synagogue each year, to steep our children and families in our beautiful traditions.”
The Deborah Koenig Early Childhood Center is supported through a Compelling Needs® grant from the Jewish Federation & Foundation of Rockland County. Watch our new video highlighting Federation’s support of many JCC Rockland programs.