April 18, 2024
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IBECC’s New Reggio-Inspired Curriculum Is Inspiring Families

When the Iris Berman Early Childhood Center in Livingston, New Jersey, transitioned in September from a traditional Jewish preschool program to one incorporating a Reggio-inspired curriculum, parents’ interest was piqued. After all, IBECC had educated hundreds of youngsters in the region for more than 20 years and was known for its warm, caring and homey environment — what more could they ask for?

Now more than halfway through the school year, parents and community members are praising the decision noting just how much the kids have grown and learned when they are allowed to explore on their own.

“Each child grasps information differently and our world is ever changing. We are giving children the skills to be able to inquire, take risks and assess situations as they grow and learn,” says school director Rachelle Zomick, who was previously the director of the preschool at Chabad of Fort Lee and has more than 25 years of experience in early-childhood education. “Being inspired by the Reggio philosophy allows for us to include all of our Judaic and secular experiences while incorporating authentic, hands-on explorations for the children.”

Under the Reggio model, the children are presented with an environment that is set up to inspire and allow for their curiosity to be open-ended. It acknowledges individuality while showcasing everyone’s strength in building a community. Children are encouraged to ask questions, focus on their interests and are encouraged to make their work their own.

The school does all that while maintaining its warm, inviting atmosphere. Housed at Suburban Torah Synagogue in Livingston, IBECC’s stellar reputation draws in local families and those from surrounding Jewish communities as well.

“IBECC at Suburban Torah is an easy school to love,” declares Sheara Goldenthal, who has several children in the school. “It is a place where parents (even of children who have graduated) are involved because they want to be and programming is collaborative. Our director, Rachelle, exudes energy and warmth and works hard to accommodate the schedules, needs and requests of each individual child. She ALWAYS makes herself available, typically responding to emails or phone calls within minutes!”

Mom Ryen Freedman says, “My daughter does not come home with worksheets nor with projects identical to every other child. Every day she teaches us something meaningful. We are so fortunate to be a part of this unique school that it makes the 30 minute commute seem trivial.”

Because caring for the whole child is critical to IBECC’s philosophy, the school has a partnership with a therapy services group, including occupational therapists, speech therapists and a school psychologist, who give workshops to the staff and are on call all year for any questions and tips the teachers may need. Further, outside therapists that a parent may need to work with their child can meet with the child at IBECC as a way to make things easier on the family. IBECC also offers flexible day schedules, along with early drop-off and late-pickup times.

IBECC has instituted new programs for young families including CaféPLAY on Monday mornings and on Friday mornings BabyBOP Shabbat — both interactive classes are for caregivers with newborns until age two.

To arrange a tour and learn why families are raving about Iris Berman Early Childhood Center, located at 85 W. Mount Pleasant Ave. in Livingston, New Jersey, call Rachelle Zomick at 973-994-2620 or email her at [email protected].

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