Children's Education Overview
Early Childhood Philosophy
Our Early Childhood Education Program seeks to provide an educational environment that fosters each child's self-image, curiosity to learn about the world, and confidence in his or her developing physical, intellectual, and social skills. Our intent is not to teach a selection of specific skills in preparation for the academic world of the elementary school. Rather, it is to instill in children an image of themselves as capable learners. It is to provide each child an environment rich in possibilities for child-initiated and directed, teacher supported learning, through active exploration and play. At the JCC, we believe that the best preparation for the academic work of the years ahead begins in an early program that nurtures children, reinforces their natural disposition to ask questions and find answers, and strengthens children's ability to function as both strong individuals and as caring members of a child-sized community.
The History of the JCC Early Childhood Education Program
The JCC opened its first nursery school program in 1951 and in 1989 the JCC moved to its present building. With this move, we renamed our program, JCC School for the Early Years. In 1998 we opened a second wing to our early childhood hallway with 3 more classrooms. These rooms now house our child care children, ages 18 months through 5 years. In 2015 we added an additional 3 classrooms and a motor skills room which allowed for 55 more children. We currently care for approximatly 185 children in our ECE Program.
Our program offers the York community several options for structured early childhood classrooms.
- School for the Early Years - for children ages 2 through 5, provides care from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. during normal school year months.
- Lunch and Learn offers and extended day for children ages 3-6.
- Early Years Discovery Camp - (9 to 11:30 AM) is a summer camp for children ages 3 to 6 years old, June through August.
- Child Care Program - for children ages 18 months to 6 years, including before and after school care for kindergarten children. This program offers a full-day, full-year care and education program with a full-day schedule during the summer and on school holidays.
Our E.C.E. program is staffed by a committed team of early childhood professionals. Head Teachers in each classroom are degreed at either the Bachelor's or Master's level. Assistant teachers must work towards a minimum of the Child Development Associate Degree within a year of joining our staff. Many assistant teachers hold degrees beyond this entry level. All teachers understand the importance of working closely with families and of meeting the emotional and educational needs of individual children.
Recognizing that the quality of our program rests to a large extent on our staff, we recruit individuals with a strong interest in supporting the growth and development of the school age child. All staff are screened with a Pennsylvania Police Record, a Child Abuse Clearance, and an FBI clearance.
Staff complete at least 24 hours of training annually on such topics as child development, age appropriate program and activity planning, and effective guidance for school age children. The staff have regular meetings with the Director to review program policies, children's behavior, and current trends. In addition, staff receive annual training on Pediatric first aid, CPR and child abuse prevention.
For more information on our policies, please refer to our Early Childhood Education program Family Handbook.
For more information about the JCC's Child Care and School for the Early Years programs, contact the Director of Children's Education and Development
, Heather Miller
Director of Children's Education and Development
In 1991, Heather started volunteering with the preschool program at the York JCC. While finishing her BA degree in Elementary Education from Penn State University, she continued volunteering and working summers for the Early Childhood program. In 1995, Heather joined the newly started child care program. She obtained her Masters degree in Early Childhood Education in 2007. She has worked with infants through school-age children. Heather is a certified Red Cross Instructor and PQAS Instructor.