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Kehillat Israel Early Childhood Center

16019 Sunset Boulevard
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

(310) 459-7539


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught 'Activities and learning centers include opportunities for the following: dramatic play, block play, manipulative and other toys, art experiences (with the emphasis on process not product), sand and water play, writing, books and pre-reading, cooking, science experiences, puppetry, music, movement, and many outdoor activities. The Early Childhood Center instills in each child a sense of pride, joy, and love for their Jewish heritage. Through the sounds, sights, smells, and tastes of the holidays, learning begins and provides a powerful emotional base on which later more sophisticated knowledge can be built. ' -- Extracted from the Kehillat Israel Early Childhood Center Handbook

From the Director:

'We know that young children view the world concretely. Opportunities for learning must build on the child's knowledge and experience. By interacting with their physical environment (indoor and outdoor) and their social environment (other children and adults), they continually broaden their frame of reference. Our program looks at this when planning the environment, activities, and routines. Though teachers will have a planned curriculum based on the needs and developmental tasks of young children, child directed emergent curriculum will always take precedence. Teachers will foster the children's own sense of self by providing an environment where the child feels and is competent, capable, and loved. This year we will be implementing school wide curriculum themes: from September to the winter break, the theme will be animals; from January to the spring break, the theme will be growing; and from May through the end of the school year, the theme will be ocean life. Though each class will have a planned curriculum, our teachers will always be flexible and able to change the day's plans to explore a child's emerging idea. Our Judaic content and celebration of our holidays are always major themes. Additionally this year, the entire school will learn about and celebrate a different Jewish value every six weeks. It is necessary to create an environment for children that supports their natural desire and ability to learn. We provide the opportunity for children to develop a sense of competency and initiative. This is accomplished by asking open-ended questions, providing materials and activities that are age appropriate, and building on the child's interest and experience. This environment invites children to observe, to be active, to make choices, to experiment, and to learn in the way that young children learn best - through play.' -- Extracted from the Kehillat Israel Early Childhood Center Handbook

Day in the Life

General School Mission

'In the Early Childhood Center, our philosophy and curriculum are based on our understanding of the ways in which young children learn. We believe that each child develops individually, and at their own pace. We are committed to respecting, encouraging and supporting each child in the process of growing socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively. Our emergent curriculum evolves around the Jewish calendar in a way that enables the teachers to weave Judaism into every facet of the child's experience. Teachers foster the child's own sense of self by providing an environment where they feel competent, capable, and loved. Social justice is an integral part of our philosophy. We believe that by modeling developmentally appropriate conflict resolution skills, and respecting each child's individuality, we are allowing children to learn through experience what it means to be a valued member of the community.' -- Extracted from the Kehillat Israel Early Childhood Center website

A Typical Day

'The daily schedule and routines form the basic structure for each day. The schedule offers a balance between active and quiet times, large group activities and small group activities, time to play alone or with others, indoor and outdoor play times, and time for children to select their own activities. Consistency is an important characteristic of the daily schedule. Children find a sense of security in knowing what is going to happen and when it will happen. This consistency does not preclude flexibility or spontaneity.' -- Extracted from the Kehillat Israel Early Childhood Center Handbook

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

'PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCES: The Parent/Teacher conferences will be held on December 7th and 8th, 2005 as well as on March 22nd and 23rd, 2006. School will be closed on these days to allow you and your child's teachers to focus on your time together. As there will not be any supervised or organized activities for children, if you are unable to find alternative care for your child during your scheduled conference time, please let the Director know so that arrangements can be made. These conferences are a chance for you as parents to meet with your child's teacher and to share information about your child's experiences in school and how it has affected your family. This is not an evaluation of your child. Children are always growing and changing and it is important for parents to have the opportunity to talk with their child's teachers. For those children who are preparing for Kindergarten, these conferences are an excellent opportunity for you as parents to discuss your plans for elementary education. PARENTING PROGRAMS The Early Childhood Center has a full range of programs for parents. This year we are introducing our Parenting Breakfast Program. Highlights this year include programs with the KI Scholars in Residence from the Reconstruction Rabbinical College. A. BREAKFAST PROGRAM Wednesday, Sept 21 9:30 to 11:00 AM (Light Breakfast) Topic: Kindergarten: Choosing the Best Elementary School for Your Family Kristi Ramsey, Director of the ECC Monday, October 17 9:30 to 11:00 AM (Light Breakfast) Topic: Discipline vs. Punishment: Conflict Resolution in the ECC Classroom Kristi Ramsey, Director of the ECC Monday, February 6 9:30 am to 11:00 AM (Light Breakfast) Grandparent/Special Friend Day Topic: Intergenerational Dynamics Rabbi Dayle Friedman, Director of Hiddur, The Center for Aging and Judaism, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College Thursday, May 18 9:30 to 11:00 AM (Light Breakfast) Topic: Teaching the Ethics of Tikkun Olam to Kids Rabbi David Teutsch, Director of the Center for Jewish Ethics and the Louis & Myra Wiener Professor of Contemporary Jewish Civilization at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College B. ECC COMMITTEE SPEAKER SERIES The Early Childhood Center Committee will present a second season of its very successful speaker series fundraiser focusing on parenting and Jewish family life. The series is open to the community and will address issues relevant to all families. All proceeds benefit the ECC Restricted Fund and are used to enrich the ECC curriculum, sponsor ECC community events, and enhance the ECC facilities. The success of ECC fundraising efforts depends on the support of the entire ECC community. For more information, please contact ECC Fundraising Chairpersons Beth Abrams (310-230-1476 or or Melanie Speiser (310-459-5122 or Program pricing: $35 per session $30 per session when you purchase four or more $25 per session when you purchase eight or more Advance registration is recommended. Self Esteem in the Young Child and Discipline Techniques Alan Yellin, Ph.D. and Marty Nislick, MFTA September 26, 2005 7:30 - 9:30 PM Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive Mary Hartzell M.Ed. November 14, 2005 7:30 - 9:30 PM Affluenza: The Perils of Over-Privilege Betsy Brown Braun, Parenting Pathways December 1, 2005 7:30 - 9:30 PM Parenting for Character Michael Josephson, Founder, Josephson Institute and CHARACTER COUNTS! January 23, 2006 7:30 - 9:30 PM Jewish Holiday Workshop: Understanding and Making Holidays Meaningful for Your Family Rabbi Sheryl Lewart, ECC Director Kristi Ramsey, and author Debra Mostow Zakarin February 21, 2006 9:30 -11:30 AM Marriage After Children: Strengthening Connection and Keeping the Spark Alive Barbara Lazarus, Ph.D. and Andrea Lazarus, MA March 2, 2006 7:30 - 9:30 PM The Birds and the Bees: The Child's Path to Learning About Sexuality Betsy Brown Braun, Parenting Pathways March 29, 2006 9:30 - 11:30 AM Friendships and Sibling Rivalry Alan Yellin, Ph.D. and Marty Nislick, MFTA April 25, 2006 7:30 - 9:30 PM Fatherhood Edward A. Dreyfus, Ph.D. May 15, 2006 7:30 - 9:30 PM' -- Extracted from the Kehillat Israel Early Childhood Center Handbook

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are required to make donations ourselves
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Small group sessions
  • Parents in classroom early on

Handling Separation: From the Director

'The Early Childhood Center's 'separation policy' is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of our program. Beginning school is a significant occasion, which can be a source of positive growth for everyone involved - children, parents, and teachers. Our separation policy is individualized and flexible. Parents are asked to stay as long as their child needs them. The amount of time will vary from child to child. Separation is a process, not a problem. You and your child's teacher will work as a team to determine when it seems appropriate for you to leave, beginning with short periods of time and increasing to the whole school day. Please read the enclosed handout, 'Separation, How to Begin Preparing Your Child for the Transition into Preschool.' Additional copies of this handout are available in the Early Childhood Center office.' -- Extracted from the Kehillat Israel Early Childhood Center Handbook