Bertha Alyce Early Childhood School

About Us

The Bertha Alyce Early Childhood School (BAS) is situated in the heart of southwest Houston within the Meyerland community. We welcome children ages six weeks to five-years-old on our campus.

Our Programs

Merfish Family Infant Care Program
The Merfish Family Infant Care Program focuses on providing a caring, safe, and stimulating environment for students beginning at 6-weeks-old. Teachers and staff focus on physical, social, and emotional development, cognitive skills, and language development with our youngest students. Our infants participate in weekly Shabbat programming, music, active play with CATCH, which is the Coordinated Approach to Children’s Health, and much more. BAS teachers and staff work in partnership with parents to ensure a comfortability with current classroom schedules, activities and ensuring students work towards meeting developmental milestones.

Young Toddler & Toddler
BAS’s Young Toddler (starting at 18 months) and Toddler (2-years-old) programs focus on establishing self-control, trust, building on language skills, separation from parents and caregivers and continuing to learn how to interact with peers. Through a variety of activities including music, movement, Shabbat and CATCH, these students’ days are busy learning and moving in the classroom and surrounding areas.

The Preschool program encourages students ages 3 to 4-years-old to build initiative and confidence through classroom activities and involvement. Activities created by teachers and staff promote problem-solving, critical thinking and creative play, just to name a few important skills. Students enjoy art, writing, science, sensory and discovery, Judaic programming and much more.

Our goal is to prepare students for the transition to kindergarten during their time in PK-4. Handwriting, letters, numbers, and social and emotional development are a sample of what our students focus on. Through child-initiated topics which can include gardening and outdoor learning, travel, the human body – our teachers aid in molding minds for the future and skills which students will carry with them to elementary school.

Bertha Alyce Early Childhood School

5601 South Braeswood, Houston, TX 77096
Mon-Fri | 7:30 AM-5:30 PM

Learn More About BAS

An essential component of our curriculum is the element of project-based learning, which ties together literacy, mathematics, science, arts, and Judaic learning within the context of long- and short-term classroom projects. Project work and long-term experiences evolve from the children’s ideas and interests. Teachers, children, and parents collaborate to resource and research these ideas, and from this, children develop the critical thinking skills that are necessary to succeed in their future academic schooling. Teachers also document children’s progress, validating the children’s abilities and enabling ongoing assessment. This approach helps children to develop curiosity, creativity, differing modes of communication, concentration, listening, negotiation, and observation skills.

Play, as the vehicle for learning, develops self-regulation while promoting language, cognition, and social competence. Children of all ages love to play, and it gives them opportunities to explore the world, interact with others, express and control emotions, develop their symbolic and problem-solving abilities and practice emerging skills. Our school helps children build capacity in life skills and “soft skills” while developing the pre-academic and social learning foundations necessary for elementary school.

As a Jewish school, we frame our work through Jewish lenses, values, and culture. Our early childhood education program emphasizes the development of a positive Jewish identity through experiences involving Havdalah, Shabbat, Jewish holidays, blessings, culture, and values which are all important aspects of the life of the school.

Using The Jewish Community Center Association of North America’s Sheva Early Learning Framework as our primary curriculum source, teachers focus on ways to extend children’s ideas and interests through observation and inquiry.  Sheva (the number seven in Hebrew) has extraordinary power in Jewish thought and practice. Signifying the seven core elements of exemplary early childhood practice, the Sheva framework is deeply rooted in the latest research on child development, as seen through a Jewish lens. Teachers and students are on a continuous cycle of asking questions, researching answers, and co-constructing knowledge together.

Reflection, Return, and Renewal
In order to move forward in a meaningful way, we must reflect upon the past. Our travels are more important than the destination.

צלם אלוקים
Dignity & Potential of Each Person
The image of the child as capable and competent is a core Reggio philosophy value. We view children, families, and colleagues with dignity. This is a lens of accountability, empathy, and self-worth.

Belonging & Commitment – Community
A bound and trusted relationship allows us to unite with others in pursuit of a shared vision. It enables us to grow, take risks, and share with honesty.

The spirit of inquiry within human nature is the drive that aides in reflection and growth. To question, to debate, to interpret, and to communicate are all essential components of the Jewish tradition.

When we as adults take the time to slow down, we become more aware of the miracles that exist in every moment, allowing gratitude to flow freely through us. Young children are more apt to wonder, naturally embracing life with exuberance.

תיקון עולם
Repairing the world is done with a spirit of generosity and a partnership with families and children to continuously make a difference in our community. There is a sense of responsibility to perform social “acts of kindness” every day.

We envision holiness in terms of sacred time, spaces, and intentions.  We find holiness at distinct times in the Jewish calendar, such as Shabbat and holidays. We also unearth holiness in our daily experiences as we observe the interactions of children, listen to their voices, and discover life togethe

Learning through play describes how a child can learn to make sense of the world around them. Through play children can develop social and cognitive skills, mature emotionally and gain the self-confidence required to engage in new experiences and environments.
Children possess a natural curiosity to explore and use play as a way to explore the world around them. In the book Einstein Never Used Flash Cards, five elements of children’s play are listed:

  • Play must be pleasurable and enjoyable.
  • Play must have no extrinsic goals; there is no prescribed learning that must occur.
  • Play is spontaneous and voluntary.
  • Play involves active engagement on the part of the player.
  • Play involves an element of make-believe.

Some additional resources on Play-Based learning and the research behind the approach from NAEYC:

Our play-based, Sheva curriculum, is based on the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education.

BAS is located on the campus of the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC which provides a unique learning experience for our students. As part of our school day, students participate in several enrichment programs including but not limited to CATCH, music, movement, outdoor learning and gardening, Shabbat, Havdalah, and special events during Jewish holidays. During the summer, children participate in age-appropriate water experiences.

With access to the JCC camps, BAS students and families also have access to the health & fitness facilities, pools, gymnastics, and dance programs.

Specialty classes in swimming, sports, dance, gymnastics and more will allow your child to find hidden talents, learn new skills and have fun! Instructors will come to BAS to transport the students to their programs and back to class, so you don’t have to be present to take them to and from.

Summer camp at the J is when children have the chance to just be children. We provide an enriching, safe and active summer experience for 3- and 4-year-olds that ensures every camper has the best summer ever! Camp is more than fun and games; we also focus on building friendships by learning social and emotional skills. Registration for preschool and Pre-K summer camp is separate from registration for the school year. First consideration is given to children enrolled in BAS.

The curriculum and learning at BAS is enriched through community and curriculum-based partnerships with local and national organizations. These relationships help our school provide children with unique learning opportunities and our staff with ongoing professional development. Currently we partner with the following organizations:

Emily Jones

BAS Director of Early Childhood

(713) 551-7214

Meredith Sakowitz

BAS Assistant Director of Early Childhood

(713) 595-8175

Leslie Lerner

BAS ECE Financial & Scholarship Coordinator

(713) 551-7221

Sasha Akatkin

BAS Preschool Administrator

(713) 551-7200

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