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Our Curriculum

  At Har Zion Early Childhood center, children and teachers share ownership of the environment and the learning. By listening, observing and documenting, ordinary moments become extraordinary. We believe that children thrive when families partner with professional educators to create a lifelong love of learning through exploration, creativity, collaboration and Jewish tradition.  

Play Based Learning

At Har Zion Early Childhood Center, we believe that each child is capable of learning and that it is our responsibility to facilitate opportunities! We provide children with the support, props, time, and space to develop their play. Our role involves many dimensions, including when to intervene and when to stand back. We take the time to observe, consult, plan, and participate in play. Play can be quiet or noisy, messy or orderly, funny or serious, strenuous or effortless. It can take place inside or outside and develops as children grow and change. Children play for different reasons. Sometimes they are exploring or learning new things. At other times they are consolidating existing learning or practicing a skill. Play can also be a way of building or strengthening a relationship. They bring their own interpretations of situations, events, experiences, and expectations to their play.

Emergent Curriculum

We understand children are naturally curious and learn best retelling story old mother hubbardwhen they can actively explore, involve all their senses, manipulate real objects, work together with adults and other children, make meaningful plans and build upon what they already know. 


Our program reflects these needs while fostering independence, empathy, cooperation and creativity. In-depth exploration of a topic, which is directed by the children’s interest, excitement and curiosity, allow the Illinois State Standards to be met in a developmentally appropriate manner. Learn more here.



Inspired by Reggio Emilia

The Reggio Emilia philosophy inspires our program to encourage children and their teachers to explore, question, theorize, and draw conclusions in a rich and pleasing environment. Children learn through the processes of inquiry, investigation, and conclusion. Children can continue to refine their discoveries as they are nurtured and encouraged by the adults (parents, teachers, and community members) who facilitate their learning.  (learn more here and here)

Outdoor Play

We believe there is a critical need to develop a disposition for outdoor physical activities in our young children. We know many of the developmental tasks that children must achieve—exploring, risk-taking, fine and gross motor development and the absorption of vast amounts of basic knowledge—can be most effectively learned through outdoor play.

Children need opportunities to explore, experiment, manipulate, reconfigure, expand, influence, change, marvel, discover, practice, dam up, push their limits, yell, sing, and create. Outdoor play enables young children to learn about the world. How does ice feel and sound? Can sticks stand up in sand? How do plants grow? How does mud feel? Why do we slide down instead of up?  Much of what a child learns outside can be learned in a variety of other ways, but learning it outside is particularly effective—and certainly more fun!  

Outdoor play also enables children to enjoy the natural environment and learn to seek out exercise, fresh air, and activity.  Children need opportunities to explore, experiment, and push their limits. Using open space to fulfill basic childhood needs—jumping, running, climbing, swinging, racing, yelling, rolling, hiding, and making a big mess—is what childhood is all about!  Children need the opportunity to explore the unknown, the unpredictable, and the adventurous. They also need to be able to wonder at nature, from the worm gliding through the newly turned dirt in the garden to the monarch butterfly emerging out of the chrysalis and gracefully fluttering away in the summer breeze. 





Tue, December 7 2021 3 Tevet 5782