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All of the 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.

Sheva Lab Community School

The Bertha Alyce Early Childhood School has been identified by the JCC Association of North America as a Sheva Lab Community School. Out of 128 JCC early childhood centers, only nine schools compose the Sheva Lab Community Schools. Each Lab School is committed to serious and regular professional development by educators and administrators so that the school can model educational practices in the art of teaching.

The Sheva Lab School Community serves the larger JCC early childhood community with training, educational workshops, conferences and more. Sheva Lab Community Schools create learning opportunities rooted in foundational Jewish ideas and values through which our educators and families experience the world.


As a Sheva Lab Community School, Bertha Alyce 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.

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. 

Enrichment Classes

Our location on the campus of the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC of Houston provides a very unique learning experience for our students. As part of our school day, students participate in a number of enrichment programs. Students participate weekly in a variety of special enrichments including gymnastics, Discover CATCH, music, gardening for PreK, Shabbat, Havdalah and special events during Jewish holidays. During the summer, age appropriate water experiences are also included each week. 


With access to the entire campus of the JCC, Bertha Alyce School students and families can also have access to the health & fitness facilities, pools, gymnastics and dance studies and the associated instructors.

Specialty classes in swimming, sports, dance, gymnastics and more will allow your child to find hidden talents, learn new skills and have fun! In many cases instructors will even come to Bertha Alyce School 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 classes.

Summer Camp is that time of year when children have the chance to just be children. We provide an enriching, safe and active summer experience 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 PreK summer camp is separate from registration for the school year. First consideration is given to children enrolled in the school year program.