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Florence G. Heller, JCC

524 W. Melrose St.
Chicago, IL 60657

(773) 871-6780


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

"The classroom itself is well-organized with labeled materials that invite children to explore and discover. We know preschoolers learn best when they are having a good time, so we've designed the physical space of the classroom with clearly defined interest areas where children can do what they like to do most-have fun! Dramatic Play / Sand & Water / Computers Blocks / Music & Movement / Library / Art Toys, Puzzles & Games / Discovery / Outdoors The interest areas subdivide the classroom into spaces that accommodate a few children at a time where they can best concentrate in a small-group setting. Children also have several opportunities to work in large groups and independently. In addition, preschoolers spend time outdoors every day running, jumping, climbing, and playing on the playground because outdoor play is just as important as time spent in the classroom." - Taken from website

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

From the Director:

"We have developed nine content areas to help children build the knowledge and develop the skills and attitudes necessary for kindergarten readiness and later school success. These content areas are based on national and state education standards as well as the guidelines of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Chicago-based Kehillah Jewish Early Childhood Accreditation Project. Here's a sample of what you can expect your child will learn and experience. Jewish Learning Jewish values and practices, holidays, Hebrew vocabulary, Israel, Shabbat and Torah Social and Emotional Development Making friends, solving problems, sharing, expressing feelings and thoughts, respecting others, following routines Literacy Vocabulary and language, phonological awareness, letters, words, print, comprehension, books, and other texts Mathematics Numbers, patterns and relationships, geometry and spatial awareness, measurement, data collection, organization, and representation Science The physical properties of objects, living things, and the earth and the environment Social Studies How people live, work, get along with others, shape and are shaped by their surroundings The Arts Dance, music, dramatic play, drawing, and painting Technology Computers and their basic operations and uses Fitness and Well-Being Healthy kosher snacks, exercise, and time outdoors JCC teachers integrate this curriculum content into a combination of meaningful learning activities that address the unique needs of each age group. In addition, our teachers use every learning experience as an opportunity for expressing and imparting Jewish values and traditions. The preschool day is filled with what we call "teachable moments," opportunities to tease out a fact, practice a skill, encourage appreciation, or introduce a new word. Connecting Jewish words, objects or values with your child's natural curiosity is a simple extension of this process. As a result, children gain a deeper sense of their Jewish identity and an awareness that they belong to a diverse and dynamic Jewish community." - Taken from website

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"No other preschool can match our combination of caring, experience, dedication and expertise. We start with enthusiastic teachers who love children and love to teach; then we provide them with extensive training and continuing education. Our team of specialists is always adding new curricula based on the latest research — all to ensure that your child is having the best possible learning experience.

In fact, recent studies have confirmed what JCC has known for years — preschool children learn best through active exploration, rather than through drills, workbooks, or memorization. So, instead of rows of desks and homework... visualize your child making friends during circle time, learning new words in a story, counting colors while finger-painting, lighting Shabbat candles, experimenting with make believe, clicking icons on the computer, examining with a magnifying glass, playing hop scotch on the playground.

What's good fun to a preschooler is actually a carefully planned approach to help your child develop the social, emotional, physical, spiritual and academic skills so essential for school and for life."

- Taken from website

Home-School Connection

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • 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