Welcome to the ECC!
Located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the ECC began as the synagogue’s Nursery School and Kindergarten in 1949. Values of progressive education, creative play-based experiences, and building a strong Jewish identity have always been central to our educational mission. We remain true to these core traditions, responsive to the changing needs of families, and committed to innovation and excellence.
Our philosophy is based on the world-renowned schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, which value children as capable, strong, and rich with wonder and knowledge. We believe in a constructivist, play-based approach to education. Through play, our children are empowered to explore their surroundings, form relationships with teachers and peers, and work with a wide variety of materials to create, experiment, and discover. Our children learn in meaningful contexts, using everyday moments as opportunities for growth and learning.
Families enrolling their children at the Early Childhood Center at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue must become synagogue members (and must be eligible for synagogue membership).
A Word from the Director
At the ECC, children are valued as capable and competent members of the community. As educators, we provide opportunities for children to learn more about the world around them as they teach us how to view the ordinary with wonder and joy. We work in partnership with parents to provide a strong foundation for Jewish identity and cultivate a love of learning while fostering a strong sense of caring for others.
– Miriam Kalmar
Explore the ECC
Language development and literacy, mathematical thinking, dramatic play, social skills, and artistic expression are essential components of each child’s experience at the Early Childhood Center.
Children learn and grow from every space they encounter. Our classrooms are carefully curated to be homelike, inviting, and responsive to children’s continual development. The ECC boasts a state-of-the-art rooftop playground and water play area and a whimsical indoor playroom
Our expert teachers have an unparalleled passion for early childhood education and many have been with our school for more than 15 years. We embrace the Reggio Emilia view that teachers are researchers who learning alongside their students, and staff development is vital to continued growth.
We view parents as essential partners in our work, and the ECC is extremely fortunate to have a close-knit community of active and involved parents. And our caring clergy play a huge role in shaping children’s early Jewish identities, and in bringing Jewish values and traditions to the classroom.
Our daily routine balances structured activity, academic inquiry, physical exercise, free choice, and quieter moments. And our interdisciplinary approach takes each child’s interests, developmental stage, and social, emotional, and cognitive needs into account.
The ECC is the first stop on your child’s academic journey. During their time here, our students develop a love of learning and the many skills they need to be ready for kindergarten.