All of the EBECS classrooms use the JCCA Sheva framework as a guide to creating environments, directing investigative projects and planning daily activities. 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.
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 Sheva framework school, Ellen Boniuk Early Childhood School embraces the Jewish Community Center Association of North America’s Sheva Early Learning Framework as our primary curriculum source. 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.
These seven core elements are:
- Children as Constructivist Learners
- Early Childhood Directors as Visionaries
- Early Childhood Educators as Professionals
- Families as Engaged Partners
- Environments as Inspiration for Inquiry
- Discover CATCH as Sh'mirat HaGuf (taking care of our bodies)
- Israel as the Story of the Jewish People
What Does "Play Based" Mean?
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 a number of 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.