The JCC Block and Dreeben School for Young Children, providing care and education for children ages 6 weeks-4 years old, is the only Jewish NAEYC-accredited program in San Antonio. Our purpose of education at the JCC’s Block and Dreeben School for Young Children is to develop young children’s minds, bodies and emotions, and to produce individuals who are self-directed, lifelong learners.

The Environment of the Block and Dreeben School

  • Fostering Jewish identity through an experiential approach to Judaism.
  • Generating a relaxed Jewish atmosphere that provides openness, spontaneity, creativity, joy, and love.
  • Providing an array of stimulating activities to promote aesthetic and cultural awareness, academic readiness, motor development, and social skills.
  • Encouraging independence, a feeling of self-confidence, respect for others, and a sense of belonging in a group.
  • Offering love and support to each child and family.

 

2019-20 Calendar 2019-20 Handbook

Each day we provide a supportive, nurturing environment which promotes the emotional, social, physical, cognitive, and spiritual development of young children. Our program offers a child-centered curriculum which is based on children’s interests while promoting academic development. We are inspired by the values and philosophy of the early childhood programs of Reggio Emilia, Italy where the child is seen as a capable and competent learner and the environment is filled with beautiful natural materials which stimulate learning. We provide hands-on-experiences which promote creativity, discovery, exploration, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills.

Each classroom serves as a laboratory for a growing child’s experiments in the mastery of new skills. Our program encourages active exploration of the environment, from the youngest child learning how to crawl across an open floor space to the oldest investigating the physics and chemistry of the world around him. We promote curiosity, individual interests, creativity, problem-solving, literacy, and the development of self-esteem through play, the vehicle by which children learn and develop.

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About the Sheva Framework

The Block and Dreeben School for Young Children is proud and excited to announce our participation in Sheva, an early childhood learning framework shaped by the latest brain and child development research. In Hebrew, Sheva means ‘seven’, and titling the program Sheva is a nod to the significance this number has in Jewish tradition. An initiative of the Jewish Community Center Association (JCCA), Sheva is comprised of seven core principles that work together to encourage participation of all members of the early childhood program—the director, the teachers, the children, and the families.

Seven Core Principles of the Sheva Program

  1. Children as Constructivist Learners
    Children are natural learners. A Jewish expression of values emphasizes that our teachers inspire children to question their world and appreciate multiple perspectives. Based on an image of the child as a capable and competent learner full of potential, teachers and children engage in research as a way of co-constructing knowledge. When children are agents of their own learning, they will build life-long critical thinking skills and are more deeply invested in the process.
  2. Our Early Childhood Directors as Visionaries  
    Our program directors inspire a shared vision for the school based on Jewish values. We create, share, and foster a vision for the school that focuses on nurturing the minds and hearts of children and their families.
  3. Supporting Early Childhood Educators as Professionals
    At the JCC, our teachers view themselves as lifelong learners, constantly engaging in the pursuit of learning opportunities, prized by our Jewish tradition. The combination of teachers’ education, experiences, and passion enrich the learning of young children and their families. We provide time for teachers to study and learn.
  4. Seeing Our Families as Engaged Partners
    We view family engagement as key to building a healthy school community. Our program offers opportunities for families to volunteer, to participate in family events, and to attend parenting classes. We go beyond this to actively listen to and incorporate parents’ perspectives into how we think about teaching and learning. Families are invited to partner with us in the education of their children. We support parenting by viewing families as competent thinkers, by offering insight into our educational philosophy, and by celebrating Jewish life together.
  5. Using Environments as Inspiration for Inquiries
    Our classrooms, hallways, and indoor and outdoor spaces invite and spark curiosity and wonder for our children. Our vision for the early childhood learning environment suggests an intentional place for children that provoke a sense of wonder, curiosity, intellectual engagement and creativity with endless possibilities. Attention is given to indoor and outdoor classrooms and common spaces to create community, build connections, and encourage and support opportunities for Jewish living.
  6. Discover CATCH as Shmirat HaGuf (taking care of our bodies) 
    Research shows that children are able to learn and play in more meaningful ways when they eat well and get enough activity; therefore, we nurture a love of physical activity and we encourage children and families to develop healthy eating habits. The JCC Association in partnership with the University Of Texas School Of Public Health and its CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) has created Discover: CATCH. At the JCC we promote a lifetime of healthy diet and exercise.
  7. Israel as the Story of the Jewish People
    We celebrate everyday life through a Jewish lens and create meaningful images about Israel, allowing ancient and modern Israel to come alive through music, dance, stories, food, and life connections with children across the sea.
Interested in Our School?

Learn More About Enrolling

Although you do not have to be Jewish to enroll in our program, membership to the JCC in a Family Category is required.

For information about registering your child(ren), please call the main phone number listed below. 

Contact Information: