Our Philosophy

The SIJCC is a center for Jewish education, arts, and culture on the east side of Los Angeles. Driven by the diverse minds of our community, our programs offer thoughtful, innovative, and enriching insight into the world of Jewish culture and tradition.

Our Preschool is play-based program—that is, foundational learning concepts are embedded in every activity, not explicitly drilled or taught. Our primary goals are to develop each child’s self-esteem, promote positive feelings towards learning, and to encourage social interaction within a preschool setting.

Each child brings their potential and curiosity to us—we treasure these gifts, and it is our job to provide many opportunities for them to investigate their surroundings.  This is the hands-on, child-centered approach that we use to interact with materials and ideas.  Children are encouraged to explore, to ask questions, to problem solve, and to experiment.  The focus is on engagement in the process, not the product.  Any medium can be used to spark discussion and to present opportunities for innovation.

 

Comprehensive Development

Our children need to learn through play—it is their work. This is not just the preferred philosophy of the SIJCC Preschool, this is the overwhelming finding of countless years of research in child development. However, it is sometimes hard to identify what is happening during play. This can (and should) be an ongoing conversation with your child’s teachers and the director. We are happy to provide developmental frames and linkages to the daily activities of the school.

 

Each Child is Unique

We recognize that children have their own special ways of learning.  Each child is a unique person with individual patterns and timing for growth and development.  The love of learning is instilled through active exploration, experience and interaction.  We provide endless opportunities for creativity, exploration and discovery.  Learning is self-rewarding, joyous and non-competitive.

 

Our Jewish Values: Traditions and Celebrations

The SIJCC’s early childhood program is open all members of the community regardless of cultural or religious affiliations. We strive to instill a positive identification with Jewish culture and people in a warm, creative environment. A rich and meaningful program of Jewish content is offered during our weekly Shabbat sing-a-longs (which include live musical accompaniment) and other varied holiday celebrations. Your participation in our weekly Shabbat celebration contributes to our feeling of “one big SIJCC family.”

The Jewish tradition is rich with values that are relevant and important to contemporary life.  Our goal is for these traditions to be presented to the children as accessible and relevant to their daily lives. Through song, dance, celebration and exploration of holidays, children become attuned to the changing of the seasons and to their own growth and development.

Our curriculum is based on Jewish core values. When possible, we tie experiences directly to themes related to ancient traditions and celebrations.   At every opportunity, we are looking to foster:

Self-esteem: A sense of identity, self-respect, and confidence—the knowledge that we are both valued and should value and appreciate others.

Competence: A sense of mastery of both body and mind. We care for our bodies through the food we eat, the interactions we have with others, and the joyful way in which we move. We share this joy with others when we move together and break bread together.

Peace: A sense of reasoning and responsibility and the ability to solve conflicts and move beyond difficult situations.

Community: A sense of our connectedness to one another. We get along and we take care of our members and actively try to bring people together. We do this as we celebrate together--when we come together we are greater than we are as individuals. 

Welcome: A sense that we want many different people together at our table. We do not just understand and tolerate differences, we see them as a path to enrichment and evolution of our community.

Creativity: A sense that we are open to inspiration. We innovate, we build, we make, and we maintain the desire and confidence to create with each other.

Mindfulness: A sense that when we listen, we love. We hear children when they express their fears and their wonder and we are whole enough to model appropriate ways to process those feelings. We create enough space between impulse and action so that choices can be made and we are grateful for these experiences.

Intention: A sense that we must be oriented to all of these values as we interact within our communities. We practice self-control and coping skills, and we rely on our inner strengths to navigate our worlds.

Justice: A sense that we should strive to extend the ideal of fairness to our interactions. We actively repair what has been ruptured and we aim to engage with each other without bias and unfair expectation. 

 

Helping Families Grow Together

Your family is an integral part of your child’s educational process.  Children reach their full potential when the teachers and family work together. We look forward to an open channel of communication between school and families.