Preschool Early Bird Registration Begins March 1

The JCC’s “Best in Class” Early Childhood Education program, with sites on College Avenue, in northwest Columbus, and in New Albany, is excited to announce its Early Bird Registration deals for the 2015-2016 school year. On March 1, currently enrolled families are eligible to receive an additional $100 discount off their deposit, plus the $200 Early Bird discount.

For families new to the program, our Early Childhood Early Bird Enrollment week officially kicks off March 2. Through March 5, JCC members who wish to enroll for the 2015-2016 school year may qualify for Early Bird discounts, including $200 off tuition per each registered child.

New this year is a special Community Synagogue Enrollment Day, on March 4 from 8 am to 5 pm, during which synagogue members who do not already belong to the JCC may obtain a voucher from their synagogue office to receive special Early Bird pricing. Beginning March 5, enrollment registration to the preschool opens to the general public.

What makes the JCC preschool the first choice for many Jewish families in central Ohio to send their children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old?: The quality of the program and its staff, which go above and beyond expectations. Weekly Hebrew and Judaics lessons are central to the stellar program that begins with even the youngest learners. Led by Judaic specialist Marsha Polster and Hebrew specialist Shira Heching, infants through Pre-Kindergarteners learn Hebrew and Jewish values through songs, plays, puppet shows, activities and more.

Following the principles of Sheva— JCCA’s seven new guiding principles on early childhood education firmly rooted in the latest research on child development— our ECE program brings to life the Hebrew language, and with it Israel, through a specialty curriculum created by Polster and Heching.

Making the learning fun with stories, nursery rhymes, and music helps the children to really engage and explore what being Jewish means to them. “The children all love the stories and value lessons that go along with them. I enjoy teaching them Torah – bringing in the Jewishness and why Judaism is important,” explained Judaic specialist Marsha Polster.

Polster and Heching each bring decades of experience to their work as educators at the JCC.

With degrees in elementary and early childhood education, Polster led the Congregation Agudas Achim preschool for 25 years before joining the JCC as Judaics specialist 15 years ago. In the last few years, the Judaics program at the JCC has expanded, with Polster responsible for implementing the expanded curriculum involving Biblical stories and an emphasis on Jewish values, holidays, and helping children cultivate a love of Israel.

“When you see their minds opening up, it’s really incredible,” Polster explained her love and dedication to teaching at the JCC. “We just learned a story about Jacob that the kids really enjoyed. We talked about how Laban tricked Jacob and how it’s not nice to trick people. So the kids were talking about the difference between tricking people to be silly and tricking to be mean and how that’s not good. Every story teaches at least one value, and usually two or three,” she explained.

With an arts and music education background, Hebrew specialist Shira Heching began her career 10 years ago, using music therapy to reach special needs children in Israel. Born in Chicago, Heching moved to Israel when she was just six years old, so she is fluent in both Hebrew and English. About three years ago, she came with her husband and children to Ohio. In addition to teaching Hebrew at the JCC, she has also worked part-time at the preschool at Congregation Ahavas Shalom. No matter whether she is teaching art, music, Judaics, or Hebrew, the versatile educator is happiest when working with young children such as those at the JCC. “I’m really enjoying working at the JCC. Working with little kids, it’s just this magical world where everything is possible.”

Heching uses classic children’s books like Frog and Toad and The Little Red Hen to gradually increase the level of Hebrew usage as the year goes on, increasingly swapping out the English words and phrases in the story for Hebrew ones. “They feel safe learning the words when the frame is familiar,” she explained. She also teaches new words through songs, games and a play-based structure to the weekly lessons. “We used the song ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It,’ and talked about the different feelings in Hebrew, then we acted them out with a puppet show,” Heching said. In this play-based learning environment, the children feel safe and secure to explore new concepts as they are ready.

To learn more about the JCC’s fabulous “Best in Class” preschool experience, contact Nikki Henry at nhenry@columbusjcc.org to schedule a tour, meet our teachers, and get pricing information. Take advantage of these Early Bird discounts and register your child for fall!