The Laura & Joel Greenzaid Early Childhood Center is an inclusive, welcoming preschool that, like Congregation B’nai Tzedek and the B’nai Tzedek Inclusion Committee, welcomes all families touched by special needs, and supports their inclusion in all aspects of synagogue life. GECC aims to ensure that students with special needs have the fullest opportunity to participate in all aspects of the preschool and to encourage an environment that embraces individual differences.
Early Childhood Development encompasses all the learning and growth that takes place between birth and five years of age. This is an exciting and ever-changing time for the young students attending the GECC. This is a time where there is more brain growth than any other subsequent period in one’s life. With this in mind, the GECC works hard to pay close attention to development and the scaffolding of skills necessary to build a strong foundation for later learning. If there is an area we feel needs support, we feel it is our responsibility to partner with you to address it.
The GECC has formal relationships established with child development consultants to assess and evaluate children suspected of having challenges requiring interventions. Additionally, Congregation B’nai Tzedek has contracted with the Jewish Social Services Agency for a consultant who provides support, staff development and guidance to professional staff, as well as counseling support services to families. GECC will, on a case-by-case basis, provide supports such as extra classroom staffing, one-on-one para educators, modifications and accommodations.
Open communication between parents and GECC about the needs of a particular child is essential to ensure that child’s success. The school follows the following procedures:
All parents are encouraged to fully and accurately disclose all physical, cognitive, behavioral, psychological and developmental needs of the child, including but not limited to learning differences, allergies, and communicable diseases that may affect the child’s ability to participate in the school’s activities or which may affect other children and individuals at the school.
When teachers or parents indicate a concern about a child’s physical, cognitive, behavioral, psychological, or educational development, the Director will observe the child.
Based on observations, the school may request guidance from a special needs consultant or professional in the field to assess the needs of the child. There may be situations where a thorough evaluation will be requested. Parents may be asked to sign a release that permits the school to discuss relevant information with other professionals who conduct the assessments and/or provide treatment or therapy.
The recommendations and evaluation will be discussed with the parents, who will be given a copy of any written evaluations that are produced.
Following the requested observations, a meeting will be scheduled that will include the Director, the parents, the child’s teachers and professionals and/or special needs consultants to discuss findings and recommendations. Considering all available information, a determination concerning whether the school is the best setting to provide the needed services may be made, and educational goals strategies will be identified. The school will strive to meet the special needs of the child, providing reasonable accommodations for the needs of the child. If the Director, in consultation with professionals or special needs consultants, determines that reasonable accommodations cannot be made, then the school may decline or terminate enrollment.
GECC is very receptive to having outside professionals from the county, or private individuals provide services to our children within the classroom during school hours. These outside services shall be arranged by the family in consultation with GECC teachers and the GECC Director. The GECC teachers will cooperate with the consulting professionals in order to maximize the benefit to the child.
GECC encourages one-on-one or shared para educators in the classroom to provide extra support to children who need it, and staff members will work collaboratively with para educators to ensure that they are integrated into the classroom. When it is determined that a student needs the support of a para educator in the classroom, GECC will work to identify and hire a para educator. Families are responsible for the expenses associated with a para educator, although limited financial assistance may be available and this issue should be discussed with the Director.
The Director and the child’s teacher will maintain contact with the parents and other professionals, such as therapists, who provide services to the child. The special needs consultants will provide consultations and recommendations for the child’s teachers and parents as needed.
GECC will employ all reasonable efforts to respect and maintain the confidentiality of information about children and families within the school and any of its programs.
GECC firmly believes that meeting the diverse needs of every child raises the bar for our school as a whole as our teachers use best practices and learn new techniques, and all students are enriched by the diversity of strengths and interests.