JCC preschool earns top marks

My siblings joke that mother couldn’t make a decision to save her life. After agonizing over the choices for an eternity, she makes a decision. But, wait a minute, maybe she should do this other thing. Of course, option one does have its merits. And, around and around we go.

Making an important decision is much easier when you have defined benchmarks on which to evaluate one option with the other.

In choosing an early childhood education program, it is impossible for a parent to do an in-depth assessment of a school’s potential. Parents need meaningful, consistent standards to evaluate a program’s quality. That’s why the many organizations that assess schools and report on their findings are so valuable in assisting parents in making informed choices about the best care and education for their children.

The Dave and Mary Alper JCC early

childhood learning center (ECD) has fared quite well in those rankings this year.

The school earned the five-star early learning award from Quality Counts, a voluntary rating system that evaluates early learning centers and family child care pro- grams and offers service and financial sup- port to help providers reach their goals. This recognition puts the school in the top ten percent of early learning programs in South Florida.

But the JCC preschool leadership was not content to rest on its laurels. The school also completed the rigorous process that culminated with the prestigious A.P.P.L.E. Accreditation (Accredited Professional Preschool Environment) through the Florida Association of Childcare Management. A.P.P.L.E. Accreditation provides valuable insights into how a preschool or child care program emphasizes learning, along with good health and safety.

But wait, there’s more. ECD earned the Florida Gold Seal Award as a result of achieving national accreditation.

And last but not least, the school has completed the implementation and training for the transition to the High Scope Curriculum, a new approach to learning which views children as active learners who learn best

from activities they plan, carry out and reflect upon. The role of the adult in the High Scope approach is to plan activities based on the children’s interests, facilitate learning through encouragement and engage in positive adult-child interaction strategies.

The Alper JCC offers the Voluntary Pre- Kindergarten program

(for four-year-olds), with a focus on the High Scope Curriculum. In this year’s graduating class, the children are academically ready to enter kindergarten this fall, and many of them are reading on a first grade level. There is no regis- tration fee and JCC membership is not required for the PreKindergarten pro- gram which runs daily from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 1pm to 4pm. Reduced rate full day care (7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and extended day care (9 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.) are also available.

Many parents of three- and four-year- olds, have chosen the JCC ECD program because it includes water safety swimming classes in the extended and full day pro- gram. Toddler and preschool programs are offered half-day (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.), extend- ed-day (9 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.) and full day (7:35 a.m. to 6 p.m.). There are also a wide

variety of after school enrichment classes for preschoolers including swimming, base- ball, basketball, kickers, dance, Spanish, art and movement.

Infants eight weeks to 12 months are lovingly cared for in the state-of-the-art infant room week days from 7:35 a.m. to 6 p.m. The program is designed to help infants feel safe and protected, in a setting that is warm and homelike. The experienced, nurturing staff offers the best quality care available outside your home.

The J’s early childhood development pro- gram encourages growth, curiosity, confidence and a life-long love of learning as well as an appreciation of Jewish heritage in a warm and caring atmosphere.

Registration is now open for the 2012-13 school year. Confidential financial assistance is available. For more information, call 305-271-9000, ext. 301.

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