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JRC Early Childhood Center

About The JRC Early Childhood Center

The JRC Early Childhood Center focuses on building relationships and fostering intellectual growth and curiosity within a framework of progressive Jewish values. With small class sizes and a homey feel, families experience personal attention and individualized care as our experienced teachers support each child’s social, emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual growth.

Everyone is Welcome

Classroom activities are developed by early childhood professionals who are in tune with our children and their families, and who are responsive to their diverse needs and interests. Our students and families come from all walks of life and diverse family structures.

What Makes Us Special

There is no doubt that our INCREDIBLE teachers (who truly are the heart and soul of our preschool) make this the most special center. But beyond that, JRC is genuinely a unique early childhood program for you and your child. Our small size, the sense of “ownership” our families have over our preschool and our congregation, the personalized, flexible care we provide for each family… There is nothing like the JRC community.

Our Philosophy

JRC Early Childhood Center provides high-quality early childhood education, with relationships as the foundation of a nurturing, joyful, and stimulating environment that supports children’s unique abilities to explore through play in order to build positive self-esteem and successful patterns of learning and problem-solving, and to develop empathy and appreciation for others. By responding to diverse backgrounds and interests, the JRC Early Childhood Center gives children and families the opportunity to explore Jewish identity and ritual, and to build life-long foundations for learning. Children learn in an environment that is designed to foster exploration, inquiries, and curiosity using an emergent curriculum based on ideas and inspiration from the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

Based on Progressive Jewish Values

Judaic values and traditions are woven into daily activities of fun, experimentation, creative play, and discovery. Jewish holidays and festivals provide a framework for exploration throughout the year, integrating traditions that promote kindness, giving, and justice. Through this exploration in our program—in activity centers, with art materials, songs, movement, playmates, teachers, parents, nature, and more—your child can construct the knowledge to interpret new experiences, develop Jewish identity, and, with their families, build a foundation for lifelong learning.

Relationship-Based Program

At JRC, our classroom practice is based on strong relationships with our students and families. Parents and family members are integrated into their child’s preschool experience. Teachers rely on relationships with each other as education professionals to create a compassionate, safe, respectful environment in which children can thrive. The relationship between the Early Childhood program and the JRC community is a vital one, and Early Childhood registration includes a complimentary membership in the congregation. Students and families are welcomed to build a relationship with the Rabbi and Cantor as well as other members of JRC.

“When my oldest started preschool, I never would have known how it would come to feel like family.  People were warm and welcoming when we were new, and that continues until today. 

The teachers truly care about the students, and treat them as their own. The JRC environment is nurturing, and the play-based environment is an ideal way for the kids to learn. My oldest didn’t want to leave when it was time to go to kindergarten.”

Rebecca, parent

“JRC is where they give love. It’s where I make friends. I bring home art projects almost every day.” 

Olivia, current student

“JRC is a loving place. The teachers are amazing and I still remember all of mine.”

Maya, former student

“This level of care, planning, and thoughtfulness, when combined with the skill, warmth and experience of JRC’s early childhood teachers is just so remarkable. What you provide for the students is so wonderful, I remain convinced that JRC is offering the best pre-K experience in the Chicago Jewish community.”

Naomi, parent

Be a Part of our Welcoming Community

Early Childhood Families are Gifted a Congregational Membership

JRC is filled with smart, savvy, creative people who represent a rainbow of passions and priorities. We celebrate community and thrive through our grass-roots, collaborative philosophy. Our focus on Tikkun Olam, life-long learning, and Chesed connect us and sustain us through the challenges we face as individuals, as Haverim, and as members of the global community. It is our pleasure to welcome all of JRC’s Early Childhood families into the JRC family with a gift of membership at no additional fee while your child is enrolled in our Early Childhood Center.

JRC Programming for Young Children

JRC’s early childhood programming spans well beyond our preschool walls. Join us for silly, fun, magical, Jewish experiences all year long. Experience Shabbat through a child’s eyes at our clergy led Tot-Shabbat services, sing, dance, explore, and create in our jBaby classes for tots and caregivers, let your imagination run wild with our Book Club for little ones, join us for creative sensory play (and adult connections) at our Baby Brunches, and bring a blanket and beach chairs for JRC’s Lakefront Shabbat! So many opportunities to find community and to make lifelong friends.

Early Childhood Committee

One of the best aspects of being a part of our Reconstructionist community is the role that members play. There is a great sense of ownership and input surrounding JRC programming and operations. Our Early Childhood Committee works together to determine policy and explore ways to support early childhood programming at JRC. Contact: earlychildhood@jrctogether.org

Spacious, Bright Classrooms and Natural Playground

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JRC Early Childhood Center is a participant in JUF Right Start.

JUF Right Start encourages Jewish early childhood education and strengthen a family’s bond to the Jewish community, JUF Right Start provides Gift Vouchers towards the cost of a Jewish early childhood education. Gift Vouchers from $500 to $2,000 are provided to families sending their children to a Jewish early childhood program for the first time. This program is funded and administered by the Jewish United Fund.

For more information or to apply, please visit: www.juf.org/rightstart