Philosophy & Mission
The ECC is a proud Jewish community that welcomes families of all ethnicities, faiths, sexual orientation and backgrounds. Together we celebrate and appreciate Jewish traditions and values while being respectful of everyone in our population.
With our world becoming increasingly complex the ECC is committed to ensuring that our very young are learning how to be good people who are sensitive, kind to one another and conscious of the natural world around them. We weave Jewish tradition into the fabric of our curriculum highlighting universally relevant values, such as generosity, gratitude, respect for one another, appreciation for our environment, forgiveness, open-mindedness, and kindness. We explore these values through day-to-day activities and Jewish celebrations. Our goal is to provide learning experiences that are sincere, relevant and meaningful to young children so that they may carry these values with them after they have graduated from the ECC.
We are extremely fortunate to have a large, private, outdoor space that supports a variety of plants, animals and insects. We have a thriving vegetable garden where we grow organic vegetables and herbs the children start from seeds in the spring. Each season we grow a “crazy crop” which is something a little out of the ordinary. In the past we have grown spinning gourds and luffa sponges. Our butterfly garden features an array of host and nectar producing plants designed to attract all sorts of butterflies and moths. We recently completed a renovation of our playground replacing old equipment with beautiful structures that complement our natural environment.
All of our classrooms have large windows that afford us views of the sky and trees and an abundance of natural light. We are currently in the process of refining our classroom designs. Our goal is to make them them less cluttered and noisy in favor of a more natural, aesthetically pleasing and peaceful environment.
Drawing is Important to Us
Our curriculum recognizes that language plays a key role in a young child’s education. Recently, we have made drawing a foundation of our program because we see the value it has in the supporting pre-literacy skills as well as sensory and emotional growth.
Drawing provides an additional language for children, a window to express thoughts, emotions and observations. Children’s use of language, either verbal or visual, plays a key role in their intellectual development. Simply, drawing helps children see details, make choices and tell stories.
While drawing is an activity that many children do naturally it is, often times, not consistently supported or encouraged. Throughout the creative process teachers, parents and caregivers can offer guidance and instruction to make the experience meaningful and productive. We have have been teaching the children to think about what they draw beginning with their own faces and body parts. Later we teach them how to embellish faces with expression. Examples include drawing eyeballs to indicate where the character is looking (up, down sideways or straight ahead), as well as the shapes of mouths and eyebrows. We also talk about environment and clothing to encourage and support the storytelling attributes of their picture.
We are committed to providing children an opportunity to draw on a daily basis and encourage parents to support this practice by having crayons and paper available at all times.
Our Jewish Community
Celebrating our Jewish traditions
Interwoven into our program is a basic introduction to Judaism. As part of the Jewish experience children celebrate Jewish holidays. The Jewish holidays are celebrated through developmentally appropriate and engaging activities. Children cook traditional holiday foods in the classrooms and sing songs and read stories related to the holidays. They also make Judaica such as, working menorahs and Kiddush cups, that can be brought home to be used to celebrate the holidays with their families. The children observe Shabbat by visiting the sanctuary, meeting with the clergy, and learning prayers and songs to share with their families.
Friday Morning Shabbat
One of the highlights of our program is our school wide Shabbat celebration. Every Friday morning all the ECC children come together in our beautiful Sanctuary to participate in a joyful observance of Shabbat lead by the Rabbi and Cantor with music and lots of singing. Parents are invited to join their children in our 3, 4 and pre-K programs, celebrating birthdays, are honored with a special blessing and song. We want everyone to be comfortable during this service. It is not necessary to know or say the prayers when you are on the bima. The ECC also arranges families to purchase a challah on Fridays to bring home each week to continue the celebration of Shabbat.
On the first Friday of each month, families with young children participate in the Shabbat experience with beautiful music and exciting stories. Children will learn beginners prayer, sing and dance. We begin in the lobby with the lighting of candles, tzedakah and an opportunity to bless each other. In the sanctuary, we continue with an abbreviated service and story ending with challah bread and juice. Families are also invited to a pizza dinner following Tot Shabbat services.
The Rabbi Robert A. Rothman Center for Jewish Learning (CJL) seeks to engage your child in powerful Jewish learning that will ignite your child’s soul and provide a moral foundation to guide daily life.