Week of the Young Child: A Daily Celebration
As a proud member of the nationally accredited NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) community, JCC Chicago feels that every week is a celebration of the young child. Although it’s nice to get national attention for one week a year, our children are the center of what we do every day, every week…all year!
We view every child, from infancy throughout their preschool journey with JCC, as capable, competent, and infinitely unique. Their sense of wonder and curiosity is valued, and our curriculum emerges from their interests and experiences.
Our babies explore the world through touch, sound, taste, smell, and sight. Every song they hear, every hug they receive, every toy they touch helps them understand the world, trust other people, and learn HOW to learn.
Our toddlers are eager explorers. They want to know everything, and we give them endless opportunities to figure things out. We focus on how they move, how they communicate, how they interact with people and things. They are learning to be “big kids”, to enjoy friends and adults, to run, climb, build, speak, and inquire.
As children continue to grow through the preschool years, their opportunities for exploration and inquiry continue to grow as well. Our classroom environment reflects our trust that children are capable. Materials for constructing, creating, writing, and building are always available. They can record their thoughts and words in drawings or in print. They can dance, sing, act, paint, calculate, categorize, estimate, predict, and plan from the very beginning of an idea all the way through the individual or group process that they embark on.
I take tremendous pride in our team of dedicated educators and visionary directors. Every day they bring their passion into their classrooms where both our children and their families benefit from their commitment. They understand and value how important it is to partner with our parents to build strong, meaningful connections between classroom and home.
This week, we had the opportunity to share our important work with a broader audience. I hope we are bringing smiles and good feelings to those who have their eye on us. However, I am lucky because I get to walk our halls every day and catch glimpses of a teacher deeply listening to a 3 year old explain the castle she just build out of paper towel tubes …..or a baby gazing up to his teacher as she reads a story…. or a toddler climbing up a small hill and rolling down while giggling with pride. These images are what make being a part of the JCC community so special for me and our wonderful team of educators.
By Wendy Newberger, Director of Early Childhood, JCC Chicago