Partnership: What It’s All About
At the Jewish Enrichment Center, we partner with children in Jewish exploration. Principles from the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education and from project-based learning help the Jewish Enrichment Center meet our commitment to partnership.
Reggio Emilia is an approach to early childhood education which views every child as powerful, resourceful, and capable of making sense of the world. Curriculum emerges from children’s interests and questions. Educators are co-learners with children. We set up environments rich in possibilities and provocations that invite children to engage in ongoing exploration and problem solving.
As children explore, educators document children’s activity in pictures, transcripts, and videos. Educators use this documentation to understand more deeply what children are grappling with and to help children reflect on their play. Together, educators and children develop long-term projects, often in small groups, where children can practice cooperation, responsibility, and empathy.
Furthermore, drawing on Reggio Emilia and project-based learning helps the Enrichment Center be mindful of the many kinds of relationships we foster: among children, between children and their environment, children and educators, educators and parents, children and parents, educators and the larger Hyde Park Jewish community. In particular, we want children from across the community to become friends and value each other’s skills and experiences. We ask questions like: how can children be resources for one another? How do educators support one another in continuing to grow as professionals? How are children using the materials available to them, and how might educators change materials so that children see new possibilities for play? How does the Enrichment Center partner with parents and community members?
Partnership with parents is a core part of our educational approach. A child’s home environment, and his/her parents, play a tremendous role in growing the attitudes and capacities we strive for. As part of our partnership with parents, the Jewish Enrichment Center documents major moments in children’s Jewish growth, such as the first time a child reads publicly from a Jewish scroll, and a child’s burning questions about the Torah. Parents share in this multi-year portfolio, and they can add, e.g., videos of children singing Mah Nishtanah (The Four Questions) at home, or photos of family Jewish celebrations.
We grow with your child. Our plan is to continue to add one grade every year, offering high-quality Jewish enrichment for children and families throughout our community. Someday, though, we know that our children will be ready for something different. We’ll celebrate our children’s accomplishments and send them on to their next Jewish adventure, carrying with them the friendships, skills, and attitudes they grew at the Jewish Enrichment Center. Graduation from the Jewish Enrichment Center will take place in a Jewish ritual, and will include a certificate of completion. A certificate indicates competency in Hebrew language, knowledge of core Jewish texts and ideas, ability to study classic Jewish texts with a study partner, and a commitment to participation in Jewish communal life and ongoing Jewish learning. Before graduation, students complete a final, multi-faceted final project that demonstrates the full range of a student’s Jewish identity. The certificate of completion is accompanied by the student’s portfolio, which demonstrates a student’s growth through the years in Jewish thought, expression of ideas, and Hebrew language.
What would enhance our partnership with you? Please let us know.