About Us


Penn Family ECC - Educational Philosophy:

The primary goal of the Penn Family Early Childhood Center is to facilitate, strengthen, and encourage the social, emotional, intellectual, physical, and Jewish life of the young child. The program teaches the whole child by providing activities that emphasize literacy and language (reading readiness), math, science, and motor skill development (fine, gross and graphomotor), including dramatic play, cooking, music, movement, woodworking, art, and block building,

We strive to provide a program that is developmentally appropriate for every child. We believe that young children learn best through play and that the educators’ role is primarily to provide support so that the child’s play becomes as constructive and elaborate as possible. The Penn Family ECC program offers many opportunities for play and active exploration within a clearly defined, challenging, non-competitive and nurturing environment. Play is balanced with educator-directed learning moments. Skills spiral throughout the years and those emphasized are carefully selected with developmentally appropriate goals in mind.

At Penn Family ECC, we believe that each child is unique, with his or her own individual pattern and timing of growth as well as individual personality, learning style, and family background. Both our curricula and our interactions with children are responsive to these individual differences. We believe that children are born with a built-in capacity for growth and naturally seek stimulation and variety. Young children learn best through concrete experiences and active participation.

Oral language development is at the core of all our curricula, both secular and Judaic. We work with each child to meet them where they are in their language development and to enhance and enrich their ability to receive language and to express themselves using language. As educators, we know that these skills form the foundation of all later learning. Through rich language and literacy activities, we provide students with experiences they need to be ready to read and, more importantly, ready to learn about the world of literature.

Children at Penn Family ECC learn about their Jewish identity and, through this learning, they take pride in being Jewish. We teach them through daily experiences, rituals, and traditions that define us as a community. Children recite brakhot, listen to Torah stories, and celebrate Shabbat weekly and holidays as they occur. As a community, we aspire to connect our students to Israel and its importance to our people. Children as young as two learn about the Land of Israel through concrete visual, auditory, and tactile experiences. Our social skills curricula reflect the Jewish values of Gemilut Hasadim (acting with loving kindness), Hakhnasat Orhim (welcoming guests), Bikkur Holim (visiting the sick), Bal Tash’hit (not wasting), and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world).

We are a community that listens. We invite communication from parents that helps us know the developmental capacities of their young children, and we share ideas and knowledge with parents to help them understand and support their children’s intellectual, social, and physical growth at home.

Penn Family ECC encourages parents to take part in the life of the school and synagogue in a variety of ways both in and out of the classroom. In the classroom, parents share celebrations, parent-teacher conferences, and activities such as cooking. Outside the classroom, parents volunteer to help in a myriad of ways, including-serving as Penn Family ECC class representatives, editing the yearbook, and planning events such as the Winter Benefit, Tikkun Olam initiatives, and Vicki K. Wimpfheimer Mitzvah Day.

Our daily schedule includes time for:

• Oral Language Development
• Reading & Math readiness
• Art, Music, Movement
• Sensory and small motor activities
• Judaic studies
• Individual & small group activity periods
• Full group meeting periods
• Nutritious snack and food preparation
• Story time
• Quiet or rest time
• Large motor activities on roof or in Big Room in rainy weather

• Lunch: for 9:00 to 1:00 and 9:00 to 2:00 and 2:30 groups only (Dairy only or non-meat foods brought from home)

Our staff:

All of our caring and professional faculty members meet the requirements set by the Department of Health, Bureau of Day Care. Our Head Teachers are certified and hold Master’s Degrees. Associate Teachers all hold undergraduate degrees and many have their Master’s Degrees or are enrolled in Master’s programs. Assistant Teachers are typically beginning their career, and we invest in mentoring them through their journey. We also have two Rainbow Mentor Teachers who interact with all of our classrooms and who are seasoned in the field of early childhood education. Finally, we hire a Rainbow Teacher each year who functions as a permanent substitute that knows and interacts with every child in our school.

Parent Involvement:

We encourage parent involvement daily in our school in multiple ways. Teachers structure times for children to take turns sharing their classroom and its rituals with their parents. In addition, we have a thriving Parents Association that organizes various opportunities throughout the school year for parents to volunteer. We always strive to work in concert with our parents on behalf of our school.

Our Special Services:

In addition to our exciting and rich curriculum, each room participates in weekly music and movement specialty classes. Our specialists work in conjunction with the classroom teachers to create an integrated program that supports and complements our classroom curricula. We also have a team of expert consultants who are available to work with the teachers and parents. These include a Speech & Language Therapist, an Occupational Therapist and a Psychologist from the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services.

Our Separation Process and School Calendar:

Teachers visit all students who are new to Penn Family ECC at home before the school year begins. All returning students come to visit their classrooms before school begins. We believe these visits are integral to creating a trusting bond between our teachers and their students.

These visits are followed by orientation meetings for parents in which we discuss adjustment and separation. The school year begins with a gradual phase-in process to help children acclimate comfortably to school.

Penn Family ECC is open from mid-September to the beginning of June. We are closed for Jewish holidays, some secular holidays and parent/teacher conferences.

2017-2018 Penn Family ECC Program:

2’s Program (Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm)

Young 3’s Program (Monday - Thursday, 9:00 am -- 1:00 pm; Friday 9:00 am – 12:00 pm)

Older 3’s/Younger 4’s Program (Monday -Thursday, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm; Friday 9:00 am – 12:00 pm)

Pre-Kindergarten (Monday-Thursday, 9:00 am – 2:30 pm; Friday, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm)

 Our Class Grouping and Requirements:

Children must be born by June 30, 2016 in order to be eligible for our 2’s program in September, 2018. Our groups change yearly to allow for flexibility in accommodating returning children. Children in our classes are closely matched by age with an effort to achieve an equal number of boys and girls in each class. We modify groups based on age, gender, temperament as well as a variety of other considerations. Final grouping decisions are at the discretion of the administration.

Children entering the 2’s program are not required to be toilet trained at the time of entry. However, they are expected to be trained at, or about the time they turn three. We expect children entering the young 3’s program to be toilet trained.

Tuition Grants:

Requests for grants should be made before April 1st so that the Grants Committee can make decisions before May 15th, when the first tuition payment is due. You may request a tuition grant form from the director.