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Early Childhood Center

by Nancy Isaacs, Early Childhood Director



The Early Childhood Center of the Jewish Community Center of Harrison is dedicated to enriching the life of young children spiritually, emotionally, socially, intellectually and physically.

We work to enable children to know who they are as Jews - to gain knowledge of our traditions, history, observances and language and to translate that knowledge into Jewish living. We are respectful of all family backgrounds and traditions and welcome the diversity of modern life.

We are committed to an early childhood setting that is respectful of people and their differences, in an environment steeped in creativity that encourages an active curiosity about the world in which we live.

In partnership with parents and the synagogue community, we aim to provide a lifetime love of learning.

As such, we believe that play is the most important "work" of the young child. Through play, children construct their understanding of the world and acquire the physical, intellectual and social skills that will be the foundation of their later success in school. Play helps children to work cooperatively, communicate feelings, express and work through conflicts, and follow rules. Play promotes imagination, creativity and memory. It provides ongoing opportunities to experiment, explore and learn. Here at the Early Childhood Center, we have carefully created an environment that encourages and values children's play.

The Early Childhood Center is licensed by the NYS Office of Child and Family Services and is registered with the University of the State of New York Education Department.


Parenting Center

Baby and Me at the JCC

Meets monthly to facilitate friendship amongst new parents and discussion of parenting topics. The group is led by a certified social worker.


"Almost Two"

This program meets weekly beginning in January for children turning 2 between January and September. This is a program of partial separation from parent or caregiver.

Two's (Garinim - seeds)

During the two year old program, the process of gradual, supported separation of child from parent or caregiver begins. Implemented on an individual basis and taking into account each child's unique timetable, our approach to separation respects maturation and experience. Our goal is to gently develop the trust and confidence your child will have in the ECC as a safe, comfortable place. Two year old programs meet three, four or five mornings a week.

Pre School

In our programs for three year olds (Shorashim - roots) and four year olds (Prachim - flowers), children explore an environment rich in materials that promote social, emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual development. Structured activities and unstructured play are offered under the guidance of warm, caring and professionally trained teachers. We offer a five morning program for threes and fours (9:00-12:00) with the option of four afternoons (12:00-2:15) for special enrichment activities. Children may bring lunch from home or purchase hot lunch here.


Summer Program

This summer the ECC will offer an Almost Two Program on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:00-11:00. It will be open to all children eligible for a September Two’s program.  This is a program of partial separation.The ECC will also offer Summer Preschool Camp for children eligible to enter a three’s program in September.  The summer group will meet Monday through Thursday 9:00-1:00.  The children in this program will have lunch at camp – either brought from home or purchased from camp.  Both groups will be led by warm, nurturing and creative early childhood teachers.  Camp activities include outdoor water play, Nature, Yoga, Creative Movement, Music, Camp Crafts and themed weeks. Both programs are for 6 weeks.

Please call or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more info about any or all ECC programs.


For Families...

The Mabel and Harry Berman Mishpachah Program is designed for 3 and 4 year old children with parent(s) to learn about and explore together value-based themes. Mitzvot that young children can understand and relate to are presented through stories, a craft activity and music, followed by a pizza dinner. An illustration of the mitzvot learned, such as caring for animals or welcoming guests, is displayed on the hallway Mitzvah Tree, right next to the photo collage of the children's experiences during "Our Jewish Year".

Tot Shabbat and Share-A-Shabbat

Saturday morning Tot Shabbat services are held monthly from 11:00-12:00. ECC teachers lead a musical service for children ages 2-5 filled with puppets, flannel board, stories and dancing with the Torah. Following the service, children are invited to the main service to bring the challah to the Rabbi for motzi. All are welcome to a festive kiddush lunch that follows.  Over the course of the calendar year, Friday evening Share-A-Shabbat services followed by dinner take place from 5:45-7:15. Families with young children are invited to participate in a brief kabbalat Shabbat service of welcome. Rabbi and Cantor sing with the children and march in a celebration with everyone carrying a Torah. Following kiddush, motzi and the blessing of the children, all are invited to enjoy a Friday night dinner followed by gym time.

Be sure to check the JCCH and/or ECC calendars on this site for dates of these and other family programs offered throughout the year. Please contact Nancy Isaacs, ECC Director for more information about all the programs we offer.

What's Happening at the ECC PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 23 January 2014 10:32

By Nancy Isaacs:We crossed from 2013-2014 on a high note (no pun intended) with a FUN Bobby DooWah Dance Party on December 29th. Those families who were in town for the winter break, got a break and a chance to socialize while their children enjoyed music, gym play and pizza dinner.

January’s abbreviated first week (thanks to our first snow day) ended with our best-attended Tot Shabbat of the year. Eight families braved the snow and cold to celebrate a musical Shabbat filled with puppets and dancing with the Torah. The next Tot Shabbat is February 1st at 11:00- be sure to join us!

Baby and Me at the JCC has become a monthly destination for parents and their babies or toddlers. The group continues to grow with each session. Shari Baum from WJCS’ Partners In Caring Program is providing a wonderful support group and warm environment for parents and children to make new connections.

Tu B’Shevat was celebrated with a “snack” seder shared by the 3’s and 4’s. The children enjoyed tasting different fruits and mixing the colors of grape juice as 3’s teacher Debi Neustadter explained the meanings of the different things that they tasted. The celebration concluded with a round of Israeli dancing led by 4’s teacher Janet Meltzer.

The ECC is so fortunate to have a grant renewed this year from WJCS’ Project SEED for teachers representing  each age group to participate in a PLC (Professional Learning Community). The teachers are gaining a deeper understanding of emergent curriculum and putting what they have learned into practice.  Each month, a different teacher presents a case study of emergent curriculum in action in their classroom. The plan and its outcomes are presented and discussed by the group as the teachers reflect on both the process and the outcome. As always, our goal is to raise the bar in the ECC program and provide the best possible learning environment for all. We were also pleased to host the Project SEED Advisory Committee meeting this month and have one of our own PLC teacher participants – Debbie Handler, 2’s teacher – share her experiences with the committee.

Even though it is cold outside, thoughts are turning to planning the ECC summer programs. The six week session offers outdoor water play, themed weeks, nature with live animals, yoga and – new this year – weekly sessions with much-loved local children’s musical entertainer Dawny Dew.

Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information and to enroll for the summer and the 2014 ECC school year programs.


Last Updated ( Thursday, 23 January 2014 10:37 )
Thanksgivvukkah PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 06 December 2013 11:40

By Nancy Isaacs: Well, we made it through Thansgivvukkah without confusing turkeys and latkes, candles and stuffing, dreidels and potatoes!  For the children in the Early Childhood Center, both holidays provided us with the two most important themes for this age group – sharing and family. We were also fortunate to have school in session for most of Hanukkah, giving us a chance to experience and learn by seeing and doing on a daily basis. We enjoyed sing-a-longs of favorite Hanukkah songs, a latke-making factory in the threes and fours, stories and daily candle lighting.

The annual Book Fair was a great success as was the “It’s A Wrap” Hanukkah lunch and party. Gifts were wrapped by the children and donated to My Sister’s Place – they were thrilled to receive them!  Dawny Dew entertained all with her music and puppets. Author Alyssa Satin Capucilli read her book “Biscuit’s Hanukkah” to an attentive group of children, who followed up by decorating Hanukkah placemats at the PJ Library event on Sunday 11/24.

Baby and Me at the JCCH meets next on Wednesday, December 4th at 9:15. All children birth thru one are welcome to bring a parent with them as they meet first friends. Shari Baum, LMSW moderates the group where parents can discuss “topics of the moment” in parenting.

A mini-break during the December break! All 2-5 year olds and recent alumni (with parent) are invited to a Bobby DooWah Dance Party on Sunday, December 29 at 4:00, followed by pizza and playtime in the gym. Please rsvp to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it so we know to expect you

New Program for January!! Almost Two starts January 6th on Monday mornings 9:00-10:30. Children turning 2 between January and September 2014 come and play with parent/ caregiver in the gym before moving to the classroom for music and play facilitated by early childhood teachers. Please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more info.

Save the date of Friday, January 24th at 5:45pm for our next Share-A-Shabbat service and dinner. Everyone had a wonderful time welcoming Shabbat last month so we are doing it again!

Enrollment applications for the 2014 school year are now available. We are offering 3,4, or 5 morning 2’s programs, 5 morning 3’s and 4’s and up to 5 afternoon enrichment programs. As you meet people new to the area or any families looking for an outstanding early childhood experience, please remember to refer them to us!

Bobby DooWah Dance Party!

Snday, December 29th – 4:00-6:00pm

Pizza and play included

All children ages 2-7 welcome - with parents, grandparents and recent ECC alumni!  Mark your calendar and bring the kids for a wonderful afternoon.  RSVP to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it





Last Updated ( Friday, 06 December 2013 11:43 )
" Almost Two" PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 27 December 2012 09:53

By Nancy Isaacs:  The annual ECC Book Fair is a great success thanks in large part to the hard work of co-chairs Jenny Schwartz and Ursula Rozov and all the additional parents who volunteered.  The success of any ECC event is contingent upon the enthusiasm and support of the parents, and this year was no exception.  “Book Fair Week” culminates with Friday, December 7th’ “It’s A Wrap” Mitzvah project, lunch and party. The children and parents bring a gift to donate to children hospitalized during the holiday season and decorate the gift with handmade wrapping paper.  Event chair Ursula Rozov delivers the gift to the children at Blythedale Hospital, which are always received with much gratitude. The ECC children continue the afternoon with a latke lunch and a musical performance by Kurtoons.  “A mitzvah and fun all rolled into one!” The Book Fair continues through Sunday, December 9th, with all families invited to enjoy the Hebrew school Hanukkah celebration and ventriloquist’s entertainment.

We are looking forward to celebrating Hanukkah for a full week in the Early Childhood Center. The smell of latkes frying, the glow of the lights and the enthusiastic singing of the children as they play the dreidel game are reminders of all that is special about this holiday and its story. We celebrate with the parents on Wednesday, December 12 beginning at 9:00 with a sing-along in the youth lounge. If you’d like to join us, please do!

Hurricane Sandy delayed the beginning of next year’s enrollment, but that is now fully underway for both the summer programs and the school year. The deadline has also been extended for registration for our new program starting in January – “Almost Two”.  Please contact the ECC office for more info and refer to the complete info in this issue.  Chag Sameach!

“Almost Two”

A new program for January 2013 for children turning two between January 1st and June 30th starting Mondays, January 7th though June 3rd from 9-10:30am.

Play and activities will be facilitated by teachers with parent/caregiver in the classroom from 9:00-9:30am.  From 9:30-10:30am parent/caregiver will leave the classroom for the coffee room with the option of a brief and low-key discussion with Ellen Weisberg, MSW.  Enrollment is limited to 6 children.  Tuition: $700 JCCH member, $800 non-member.

To register now, please call Nancy Isaacs, Early Childhood Director or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 December 2012 09:55 )
Back to School CLothes for Kids PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 02 August 2012 09:34
Neediest kids receive clothes. Sponsor will receive a profile sheet with the child's name, sex, age, as well as style & color preferences.  Each child receives underwear, socks, 3 tops, bottoms, sneakers or a coat and a backpack with school supplies. Estimated cost to dress a child is $175 (shopping in stores like Old Navy, Target, or Wal-Mart).Teens shop with social workers or volunteers on designated "Teen Shopping Nights" at the Galleria. Donations of money & gift cards pay for the teens to choose their own clothing so they get exactly what they want.  If you are interested send check made out to WJCS to Joy Avidan at 38 Brae Burn Drive, Purchase, NY 10577. If you are interested in going shopping with the teens please let Joy know. We are Still Collecting… Please help us fill our Mitzvah Crib and Pack & Play by ECC and lobby with new baby items such as pampers, onesies, pacifiers, bottles, bibs, new little stuffed animals, wipes, rattles, hats, socks, etc.     
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