Ellen Boniuk Early Childhood School
Welcome to the Ellen Boniuk Early Childhood School (EBS). Our program is one of West Houston’s finest preschools. Our caring professional staff provides high quality infant and childcare while maintaining smaller class sizes.
We are a 4-Star Texas Rising Star School and a satellite campus of the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center. We are committed to providing a nurturing environment where young children learn through an emergent curriculum founded in play.
At the Ellen Boniuk Early Childhood School, we celebrate Jewish heritage and traditions through Shabbat, Havdalah and holiday celebrations. Our child initiated and teacher led experiences allow us to incorporate Jewish values and customs into daily learning.
Children learn through active investigation of their environment and in partnership with peers and teachers. For young children, academic and social-emotional learning is developed as children construct their knowledge through hands-on individual and group educational experiences.
Our teachers help children become independent, self-confident, and inquisitive learners, while aiding in their social-emotional, cognitive, language and physical development. We maintain a low child-to-teacher ratio with talented, credentialed educators who foster self-reliance, independence and self-regulation.
Our programs are designed to help each child:
- Develop a positive self-concept and confidence
- Inspire curiosity and inquiry
- Create a positive Jewish identity
- Form trusting relationships
- Increase self-regulation and independence
- Utilize critical thinking skills
- Enhance executive functioning skills
- Develop cognitive, social, physical and language skills necessary for lifelong learning
Learn More About EBECS
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.
TZELEM ELOKIM/DIVINE IMAGE
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 [MOU1] 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.
TIKKUN OLAM/REPAIR OF THE WORLD
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 together.
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.
- “Research News You Can Use: Debunking the Play vs. Learning Dichotomy”
- “The Case of Brain Science and Guided Play: A Developing Story”
- “Play Games, Learn Math! Explore Numbers and Counting with Dot Card and Finger Games”
- “The Beauty of Early Childhood Mathematics: Playful Math = Engaged Learning”
Our play-based, Sheva curriculum, is based on the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education.
As part of our school day, students participate in several enrichment programs. Students participate weekly in a variety of special enrichments including Discover CATCH, music, gardening, Shabbat, Havdalah and special events during Jewish holidays. During the summer, age-appropriate water experiences are also included each week.
The curriculum and learning available at the Ellen Boniuk Early Childhood School are 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: