This framework was designed by the JCC Association of North America and is implemented in all JCC early learning spaces.
SEVEN CORE ELEMENTS OF SHEVA:
- Children as Constructivist Learners
- Early Childhood Directors as Visionaries
- Early Childhood Educators as Professionals
- Families as Engaged Partners
- Environments as Inspiration for Inquiry
- Discover CATCH as Sh’mirat HaGuf (taking care of our bodies)
- Israel as the Story of the Jewish People
SEVEN JEWISH LENSES:
- Masa: Journey (Reflection, Return & Renewal)
- B’rit: Covenant (Belong & Commitment)
- Hit’orerut: Awakening (Amazement & Gratitude)
- K’dusha: Holiness (Intentionality & Presence)
- D’rash: Interpretation (Inquiry, Dialogue & Transmission)
- Tzelem Elohim: Divine Image (Dignity & Potential)
- Tikkun Olam: Repair of the World (Responsibility)
At the Denver JCC Early Learning School, we believe in organizing our core values through seven Jewish lenses. These lenses inspire us and inform all aspects of our practice. They act as a compass, navigating our interactions and providing us with a language to articulate our shared vision for our youngest citizens and future generations. The lenses are at the heart of our approach and perfectly overlap with our Constructivist inspired philosophy.
Here are just a handful of examples of the ways the lenses live in our school:
The lenses impact both our work and the physical spaces we occupy. For example, the Jewish lens Masa encourages reflecting on the past to inform our future choices. To practice this, we regularly reflect on our learning by writing blogs and creating wall documentation that tells the story of our educational journey. By doing so, we are able to create a tool that can be used by children, educators, and families to reflect on our learning and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
The Jewish lens K’dusha reminds us to bring sanctity and intentionality into our practice. This lens guides us in our celebration of Shabbat at the end of every week, giving Shabbat a feel that is different from the rest of the week, a day that we deliberately slow down to intentionally enjoy one another’s company. It’s a day that we invite families to join us in communal song and eat braided challah bread to remind us of life’s sweetness. Together, we ritualize the lighting of the Shabbat candles to signal educators, students, and families to replace the rigors of the regular week with the gentle joys of early childhood.
We believe it’s important to think with children how to be responsible citizens who care about the world around them. The concept of Tikkun Olam is a Jewish lens that teaches us to make the world a better place by repairing it wherever it appears broken. In line with this value, we have incorporated sustainability into experiential learning; Read the article to see how the of lens Tikkun Olam lives in the school. Earth Month: Tiny Humans Making a World of Difference – JCC Denver