At the JCYS Michael R. Lutz Family Center in Lakeview, your child will build a foundation of social, emotional, academic, and physical skills in preparation for Kindergarten and a lifetime of learning. We use a play-based curriculum that fosters a love of learning while nurturing children’s creativity and sense of wonder.
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In our toddler and preschool program, we bring nature into the classroom to promote exploration-based science education. The children go on nature walks to explore the world and bring back “treasures” like special rocks and flowers. We plant seeds in our classroom, keep them watered, and watch them grow. Every year, we order chrysalises for the children to watch as the caterpillars mature and turn into beautiful butterflies. Our educational guidance makes sure children get the most out of what they naturally do anyway: explore the world and learn about everything in it.
The play-based curriculum at JCYS Lakeview integrates social skills, emotional learning, physical development, and academic foundations into each day of activities.
Mealtimes at JCYS Lakeview reinforce the skills children learn through the regular curriculum while building healthy habits for life. Most of the food we serve is organic, with nutritionally balanced menus for breakfast, snacks, and lunch. Our teachers eat with the children to model healthy eating behaviors. Children learn self-help skills and fine motor skills by serving themselves and making decisions about food. They also learn to share food with other children and build social skills through mealtime conversations.
Creating a safe and healthy environment is our top priority. Our staff members are trained in CPR, First Aid, food handling, mandated reporting, diapering and handwashing procedures, emergency action plans, active shooter response, and weather emergency management.
At JCYS Lakeview, we communicate regularly with families to make sure parents stay informed about their children’s development. We post daily sheets for our preschool parents to keep families up-to-date on everything their child is learning. We also share formal evaluations with parents twice a year and hold conferences to help them better understand their child’s developmental growth.
Staff at JCYS Lakeview want you to be part of our incredible community of families. Community is one of our greatest strengths and building relationships is one of our most important goals. Our alumni have returned to us as teachers, parents, and counselors in our camp programs. We also support and give back to our community through food drives for the Lakeview Food Pantry, toiletries and diaper collection for the local women’s shelter, and coat and shoe drives.
JCYS programs are open to families of every faith. Children at our family centers learn about Jewish traditions and culture through inclusive celebrations. We observe Shabbat (the Jewish sabbath) every Friday and invite one child from each classroom to serve as “Shabbat helper” every week. The children’s parents join us in the classroom to read a book or enjoy a special activity. Then all classrooms gather together to sing songs, light the candles, and say the prayers. We also organize family events around major holidays, including a mock Seder for Passover, a Hanukkah party, and decorating the Sukkah for our Sukkot celebration.
Jewish cultural activities also connect to academic and social goals. For example, to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, we guide each child to make a “new year” card with pictures and collages and then sign the card before we mail it out to the family.