Redefining excellence in early childhood education
Sheva, which means seven in Hebrew, is a powerful number in Jewish thought and practice. The Sheva framework employs seven core principles of early care and education and contemporary and ancient texts, using seven Jewish lenses to reveal universal values. Sheva classrooms weave these values throughout their educational day.
The Sheva framework provides us with opportunities in Early Childhood Education to focus on engaging families, providing learning communities for our faculty, and supporting educators as professionals. Being part of the Sheva community gives us the resources to foster these seven elements in our programs:
Seven Core Elements of Sheva:
1. Children as Constructivist Learners
We construct learning with young children when we understand and view them as capable and competent. We engage together in meaningful experiences that are relevant to each child as an individual learner. When we listen deeply and observe children intentionally, we create pathways for social-emotional and academic success.
2. Early Childhood Directors as Visionaries
A director who is visionary galvanizes a process for creating and living a shared vision for the school, which includes children, families, teachers and administrators. This vision focuses on nurturing the minds, souls and hearts of the entire community.
3. Early Childhood Educators as Professionals
When teachers are part of an ongoing learning community, afforded the sacred time for personal and professional development, and are viewed by the JCC as part of the professional staff; their education, knowledge, experience and passion enriches their lives and the lives of young children and their families.
4. Families as Engaged Partners
We invite families through ongoing, regular and meaningful conversations, to partner with us in the education and social emotional growth of their children. We value families as competent thinkers and learners and offer them opportunities to understand our educational philosophy. We support them on their parenting journeys and together joyfully celebrate Jewish life.
5. Environments as Inspiration for Inquiry
If our classrooms, hallways, indoor and outdoor spaces are an intentional place for children that provoke wonder, curiosity, intellectual engagement, creativity and fun, our schools will be a place that engages children in meaningful and lasting ways. Our spaces are flexible, materials are open ended and children have the freedom to interact with quality materials in their environments.
6. discover CATCH as Sh’mirat HaGuf (taking care of our bodies)
When we nurture a love of physical activity and encourage young children and their families to develop life-long healthy eating habits, they are able to learn, study and play in more meaningful ways.
7. Israel as the Story of the Jewish People
We create powerful images and meaning about Israel for young children to make ancient and modern Israel come alive through stories, music, dance, art and real-time connections (using technology) to children across the sea. We celebrate every day life with values we view through a Jewish lens.