Shabbat candle lighting: 4:30pm

Sheva: JCCs of North America Early Learning Framework

The early learning framework provides a focal point for dialogue among JCC professionals across North America, so that together we can develop a common language and greater understanding of the vital importance of early learning for all young children and their families.

We hope to inspire a journey, not a destination, that is not linear or prescriptive, and that reflects the ongoing evolution of a discipline.

A central part of the process is our Sheva Learning Communities, in which our early childhood administrators network with each other in dialogue over the core elements, exemplary practices, critical incidents, knots in their work and more. These communities meet virtually on a monthly basis facilitated by one of our gifted professionals.

Seven Core Elements of Sheva 
The Sheva Early Learning Framework is coherent with the culture and teachings of Judaism in everyday life, values and principles. The Jewish lenses serve as a tool, a prism through which we overlay our traditions, our study, and our Jewish philosophy. The core elements are the fundamental components of our early childhood programs and are deeply rooted in the latest research on child development.

  1. Children as Constructivist Learners
  2. Early Childhood Directors as Visionaries
  3. Early Childhood Educators as Professionals
  4. Families as Engaged Partners
  5. Environments as Inspiration for Inquiry
  6. Discover CATCH as Sh’mirat HaGuf (taking care of our bodies)
  7. Israel as a Source and Resource

The work of the Sheva Center is rooted in foundational Jewish ideas and values through which we view and experience our world. We have grouped these core concepts, drawn from our ancient tradition, into seven interconnected categories, which we call lenses. These lenses provide an ethical model for living, a set of resources designed to help us experience increased sanctity in an increasingly confusing, commercial, and difficult world, and a language through which we can articulate a shared vision that we want to pass on to future generations. The lenses clarify transcendent Jewish values, serve as foundational and transformative guides, and are used in the classroom as well as the extended school community.

These lenses articulate our approach to our work. They inspire as much as they inform. Ideally, they are manifest daily in each of our early childhood centers: in the ways in which we structure our time, our curricula, and our classrooms; the quality of our relationships with our students, our faculties, our host institutions; and the partnerships we forge with the families in our communities. They improve and sharpen our vision, and enable us to see our world more clearly and in a particularly focused way. Judaism is not exclusively a matter of the “what” or “when” in the world of ritual and faith, but includes the deeper matters of the “how” and “why” of the totality of our lives and our relationships to the world as a whole. It welcomes diversity, inclusion, reflection, and innovation. For each lens there is a Hebrew word that captures the essence of the lens, a literal translation of the Hebrew, and a more interpretive word or phrase, which illuminates our understanding of the core value within each category.