Our Mission Statement
The Shir Hadash Early Childhood Center creates a safe and nurturing Jewish early childhood environment, inspired by the philosophy of Reggio Emilia, rooted in our congregational community and Reform Jewish values.
Specific goals of the Shir Hadash Early Childhood Center (SHECC) are:
- To promote self-esteem and confidence
- To increase independence in meeting and solving problems through cooperation and other pro-social behavior
- To form a positive Jewish identity by exposing the children to Jewish culture and tradition through music, holiday celebrations, special Shabbat services and interaction with the Rabbis and Cantor
- To further intellectual development; to foster cognitive learning, concept formation, self-understanding
- To provide opportunities for large and small motor development through specific classroom activities
- To promote language development
- To develop fantasy play that facilitates imagination, ideas and creative thinking processes
- To foster awareness of the world by participating in a variety of experiences
- To help the child separate from the family, and learn to enjoy the classroom social group
- To foster creativity and free self-expression in art, music and socio-dramatic play
- To help the child learn control, restraint and good attending skills
- To encourage the expression of all feelings, such as fear, anger and happiness, in acceptable ways; to develop positive qualities such as the capacity for fun, humor and optimism
- To provide an environment that gives the child the opportunity to learn by doing—moving from concrete hands-on experiences to more abstract concept development
Our staff and children are encouraged to implement these values during their time at school. Our hope is that all our families will join us in adopting these values to live by:
- Chaverut—Friendship—Embracing and caring about all the people in our program
- Tzedekah—Justice and Righteousness
- Tikkum Olam—Caring for the world and our environment—locally and globally
- Torah—Study and worship
- Ruach—Spirit—To find joy in all parts of our lives.
- Klal Yisrael—Community and inclusiveness
- Chaknasot Orchim—Welcoming the Guest—being a gracious host to visitors of our school
The Reggio Emilia philosophy and approach to the education of young children began in Reggio Emilia, Italy in the late 1940’s – early 1950’s. The late Loris Malaguzzi was the principal innovator and leader in this approach. Over the years he guided the parents and teachers in Reggio Emilia in the development of the Reggio philosophy. It is founded in the idea that education is based on relationships–it encompasses the nature of children, learning, and teaching.
The Reggio Emilia approach is built upon a solid foundation of connected philosophical principles and extensive experience. Educators in Reggio Emilia have been inspired by many early childhood psychologists and philosophers, such as Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, Gardner and Bruner.
Therefore the Reggio approach is not an early childhood method or set curriculum, but rather a deep knowledge in theory and community-constructed values that have been and are continuously being translated into high quality early childhood practices. As a result, educational theory and practice in Reggio Emilia is strongly connected. To learn more about fundamental principles of the Reggio approach, read Lella Gandini’s article, “Fundamentals of the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education,” published in the November 1993 issue of Young Children or in the book Next Steps Toward Teaching the Reggio Way: Accepting the Challenge to Change, edited by Joanne Hendrick.
The Reggio approach seeks to help children connect to the knowledge they already have, expand upon that base of knowing and to internalize the skills of observing, communicating, questioning and information gathering. Connections to art, music, movement, and nature are built during this process. Not only are the teachers and children a part of this process, but families and the community are involved as well.
More information can be found at the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance website.