Beth Emeth Early Childhood Center
The Beth Emeth Early Childhood Center (BEECC) focuses on meeting the developmental needs of children in physical, emotional, social, cognitive and spiritual growth. We offer small classes with low student to teacher ratios in a stimulating and loving environment. Our school is inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach, which is built upon the fundamental principles of child development and is known around the world for its innovative and child-centered philosophy. BEECC takes an experiential and intentional approach to teaching and learning. We believe that all children are naturally curious and have unlimited potential to become life-long learners. Our video below shows our approach in action.
A Deeper Look
What does being Reggio-Inspired mean to us?
One of the things that makes the Reggio Emilia Approach, founded by Loris Malaguzzi, so unique is that it is not a defined curriculum, rather it is a set of guiding principles — core beliefs, values and attitudes — that relate to every aspect of creating a culture of learning and teaching. That is why we refer to ourselves as Reggio INSPIRED. The image of the child is the cornerstone of the Reggio Approach. We view and respect children as competent and capable thinkers and researchers who are curious and filled with wonder and joy. Being cognizant and intentional about how we view children is essential for the teaching and learning we set out to achieve with them. It ultimately guides everything we do — and it is something we reflect and dialogue about on an ongoing basis at BEECC.
- What does the Reggio term “the hundred languages” mean?
“The Hundred Languages” is a key principle of the Reggio Approach — a metaphor for the extraordinary potentials of children, emphasizing the importance of providing children with 100 ways to share their thinking of the world around them. We believe children have hundreds of languages — hundreds of ways of expressing themselves — and if we set up our environment to foster these languages, “listen” closely enough, and make their learning visible, we have the privilege of understanding their perspectives, what they are thinking, and how they are constructing knowledge.
- How do we set our environment to support this view?
We strive for an environment that is inviting, joyful, and full of wonder on a daily basis. An environment that is stimulating and filled with potential; when you walk in, it feels alive and busy — bustling with children engaging with materials and each other in such a way that you can practically taste the enthusiasm for the work — or rather “play” — they are focused on. If children are researchers their environment is their laboratory. So rich, and full of flavor! Just like a delicious bite of your favorite food does for your taste buds, this kind of play heightens the senses, stimulates the mind and provides pure and genuine feelings of fulfillment and joy. This year we are delighted to offer children the opportunity to extend this into our atelier: a “studio” or a place of research and creation to include clay, wire, fabric, paint, and natural materials. (Learn more about our atelier)
- What about fostering academic skills?
We believe strongly in building cognitive and academic skills. Based on current research, we know that learning comes best if it’s organic and integrated into the daily life. The children develop academic skills through rich contexts that allow for the learning to be meaningful and relevant. Play is how children learn, and through their play – the engaging and challenging experiences we design for them – we intentionally foster their academic skills. We consistently expose them to pre-reading, reading, writing, mathematical and scientific concepts, and children connect to it in a way that they are developmentally ready to understand. Allowing children to access the parts of their brain that develop critical thinking, problem solving, and construction of knowledge creates citizens who learn to communicate, understand the world around them, and become competent members of society.
- How does the Jewish curriculum fit in?
Jewish traditions and values and the Hebrew language are woven throughout the daily life of our program. Our celebration of Jewish holidays includes programs and activities that encourage family participation. Shabbat, the Jewish sabbath, is special at BEECC and celebrated with a school-wide “Shabbat Sing” where students and faculty come together to sing and dance at a short Torah service. (Learn more about Shabbat Sing) We also celebrate Shabbat in each classroom with a rotating “Shabbat child of the week.” Shabbat family services enhance the children's introduction to Shabbat and other holidays through songs, dances, stories, discussions, and food.
- Do you need to be Jewish to attend BEECC?
Enrollment is open to all children, regardless of ethnic, cultural, or religious background. The Jewish values we instill regarding being a good, kind person transcend all religions! Students attending our preschool come from many parts of Northern Virginia, including Herndon, Reston, Fairfax, Chantilly, Centreville, Ashburn, Manassas, Great Falls, Oakton, Vienna, Gainesville, and Alexandria.