Worcester JCC
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November 18, 2018 |

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Early Childhood FAQs

JCC Early Childhood Program FAQs

1) What is your approach to early childhood education?
Our emergent curriculum is built on the premise that your child is a competent and capable individual with the potential to construct her own knowledge about our world. Our approach is inspired by the philosophy and educational practices of the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. We are guided by developmentally appropriate practice and believe that through the passionate pursuit of play, children focus on their interests and make meaning of their world.

Emergent curriculum together with Jewish values provide the core principles of our approach to early childhood education. Our teachers serve as guides and researchers as your child explores through sustained project work--a process that draws on deep knowledge of child development. Literacy, science and mathematical concepts are woven into the natural work of the classroom.

2) What will my child have gained when he or she leaves the JCC preschool? How do you prepare children for kindergarten?
We place a high priority on creating a supportive community--learning to care for others, be respectful and do good deeds. As your child progresses though the program, he will grow in self-esteem, a sense of security and belonging, independence, freedom of expression, and the ability to achieve success. By the end of preschool, your child will be well-prepared for both the academic and social requirements of the kindergarten class.

3) What is the classroom ratio of children to teachers?
For all of our classrooms, we meet or exceed state licensure requirements for student:teacher ratios as well as classroom size:
• Toddlers--9 children with 3 teachers (state requires 9:2)
• Three-year-olds--15 children with 2 teachers
• Four-year-olds and Pre-K--18 children with 2 teachers

4) How long have your staff been with the JCC? What is their educational background?
Our experienced team of early childhood educators is our most valuable resource. Many have been with us for at least a decade. Their professional training ranges from associate to bachelors degrees. They love their work, they love the children, and all are deeply committed to providing an excellent preschool experience. We consider ourselves blessed to have such a stable, seasoned and dedicated team.

5) Do you have to be Jewish to attend?
Children from all religious and cultural backgrounds are welcome to attend. We create an inclusive environment where we promote universal Jewish values of kindness toward others, caring for our planet, respect toward elders and the importance of caring for our community and for those less fortunate. We reflect Jewish culture by organically integrating values, traditions and customs into our curriculum through music, language, literature, expressive arts, cooking, dance and play. Every Friday we share in the beautiful Jewish traditions of Shabbat, and our children enjoy celebrating Jewish holidays through a variety of activities.

6) What is a typical day like?
Children arrive between 7:30 and 9:00 a.m., depending on their family’s needs. The day opens with an exploration period, when children play in interest areas such as art, science or a writing center, followed by a circle time and project activities. Then it’s time for outside play in our secure playgrounds (each classroom opens onto its own enclosed outdoor play space). Some children leave after this period at 11:30.

Lunchtime runs from 12:00 to 1:00, including time for quiet play and a story. Some of our children leave at 1:15, while others stay for rest, followed by mid-afternoon snack, activities, reading or outdoor play until it’s time to go home at 5:30.

On Mondays and Friday, our music teacher joins each classroom for a half-hour music class. Swim lessons take place on Tuesday or Thursday, depending on the classroom, for our three-, four- and five-year-olds. On Friday mornings, we all join together for a school-wide Shabbat celebration in our common room.

7) What kind of schedule options are available?
Our flexible schedule enables you to tailor a program that meets your child’s and family’s individual needs. You may select from full- or part-time options, for five, three or two days a week. Hours from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. are core to the program; however, we do also offer an afternoon-only schedule. Afternoon enrichment opportunities include swimming lessons, art and cooking.

8) Does my child need to be toilet trained to attend?
No, your child does not need to be toilet trained. We strongly believe that each child is ready to be toilet trained when and only when he is ready. We work closely with you and your child to reach this stage of independence, following your parenting philosophy. To facilitate the process, each of our classrooms includes a connecting bathroom with private, child-sized toilets.

9) What is your sick-child policy?
We do our best to balance the health and safety of all our children with the needs of working parents. Essentially, we will ask you to pick up your child if she has any of the following symptoms:
• A fever of 100˚F (by mouth) or 99˚F (underarm)
• Any rash suspicious of a contagious childhood disease
• Vomiting accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, rash or diarrhea

A more detailed Health Care Policy is available upon request.

10) Can I come and observe your classroom with my child?
Yes, you and your child are most welcome to visit! Please give us a call to arrange an appointment--even that morning is fine on most days. Contact Candace Callahan, (508.756.7109 x258 or [email protected]). We look forward to showing you our school.

11) How do you ensure my child’s safety?
We are as concerned for your child’s safety as if she were our own. Among our safety measures:
• Entrance to our preschool requires a swipe card.
• Anyone picking up your child must have your written authorization and an ID.
• We maintain qualified staff ratios at all times.
• All teachers carry emergency cards throughout the day.
• Attendance requires check-in and check-out.
• Playgrounds are securely fenced and supervised.
Above all, our experienced, caring staff are fully invested in your child’s well-being.

12) How often do you replace toys? What is your cleaning routine?
We replace toys whenever necessary, due to breakage or excessive wear. All toddler toys are bleached and air-dried at the end of each day.

13) How do you communicate with parents? How do you monitor my child’s progress?
Most teachers see parents daily at drop-off or dismissal. If we miss you, we’ll put a note in your child’s cubby about her day. Our teachers also write to your child in her personal journal at least twice a month, describing her experiences and progress. At home you will have an opportunity to write in your child’s journal, as well, and use it as a way to share.

Twice a year, in November and April or May, you will have a conference with your child’s teacher. The spring conference is an opportunity to see her entire portfolio for the year and discuss her progress. You may, of course, schedule a personal appointment to meet with her teacher at any point throughout the year.

14) What is your approach to discipline?
For this age group, we have great success using redirection as our primary strategy for teaching appropriate social behavior. We encourage children to use words to resolve conflicts.

15) What are your rules regarding food and food allergies?
All food served at the JCC is kosher, in keeping with Jewish dietary laws. Our preschool is nut-free. If your child has other food allergies, we adapt his classroom and class activities to accommodate his needs so that he will feel included.

16) Are you accredited? Licenced?
We are licensed to provide early childhood education by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and are fully accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

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633 Salisbury Street Worcester, MA 01609 | Phone: 508 • 756 • 7109 Fax: 508 • 754 • 3373