The Sheva Center
ECA embraces Sheva—an innovation in Early Childhood Jewish Education and Engagement, developed by The JCC Association of North America. Sheva outlines a dynamic vision of excellence in early childhood Jewish education. The Sheva framework views young children as capable and full of potential; as persons with complex identities, grounded in their individual strengths and capacities, and their unique social, linguistic, and cultural heritage. At the core of Sheva are the seven Jewish lenses, which provide an ethical model for living and teachings of Judaism in everyday life.
In addition to utilizing Sheva as an educational paradigm, we also utilize the learning benefits derived from including components of the Emergent Curriculum and project-based investigations. The Project Approach engages children in a series of “investigations,” such as language, mathematics, drama, blocks, music, and outdoors. In the Pre-K—4 classes, these investigation projects are also pursued in accordance with VPK standards. Investigation projects involve children in extended research into a topic in which their ideas, questions, predictions, and interests are tested through relevant activities and experiences. Substantial research has shown that this approach promotes intellectual development by engaging young children’s minds to observe and investigate their experiences and environment. It teaches them to make a hypothesis, predict, discover and engage in higher-level thinking skills. The Reggio Emilia early childhood philosophy is also incorporated throughout our curriculum. This approach includes child-directed learning and hands-on experience of the natural environment.
All Jewish holidays are celebrated through age-appropriate activities, including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, Simchat Torah, Chanukah, Tu B’ Shevat, Purim, Pesach, Yom Ha’atzmaut, Lag B’Omer, and Shavuot. Our weekly Kabbalat pre-Shabbat celebration includes interactive and fun activities, such as singing, dancing, blessings over the candles, “wine” and challah, and acts of Tzedakah for those in need.