Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

South Orlando JCC Preschool celebrates 5 years in new building


Just five years ago, if a mom at the Jewish Community Center in South Orlando wanted to visit the office of Early Childhood Director Brenda Sher, she faced the prospect of getting drenched in the rain before she arrived on foot at Sher’s portable.

That was then, and this is now.

Five years ago, in fall 2009, the JCC opened its new state-of-the-art facility at the Jack & Lee Rosen Southwest Orlando Campus, and the rainy walks parents had made to-and-from portable classrooms since 1994 became forgotten to beautiful, modern, light-filled classrooms and hallways.

Sher remembers the feeling of newness well.

“As I toured families around the school, I could sense their excitement about having a ‘real’ JCC for their children. It was so uplifting and emotionally rewarding to help my staff prepare their classrooms for the start of school.”

Perhaps the biggest missing ingredient from the Early Childhood Learning Center pre-2009 was an infant and toddler program, as the school’s participants had to be at least 18 months old to attend. As a result, a major priority of the building was the grand opening of the Dr. P. Phillips Foundation Infant and Toddler Center, which allows the JCC to serve babies as young as eight weeks old. The center offers consistency of care, low infant-to-toddler ratios, beautifully designed classrooms, and a covered outdoor patio specifically for that age group.

That first group of infants from fall 2009 graduated from Pre-K this past May. In fact, a total of 133 students have graduated from the school since the new building opened.

The school has evolved into an elite, well-sought-after early education program in the Southwest Orlando area.

“We have established ourselves as a school of excellence with regards to the staff and age-appropriate, creative curricula with a strong balance of social and intellectual development.”

Additionally, last year, the school earned accreditation from the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education programs, like the credential held by the Roth JCC’s Richard S. Adler Early Childhood Learning Center in Maitland. They have also partnered with JCC Association to add a health and wellness component—“Discover: CATCH”—to their program.

As a result of the facility, early childhood graduates now continue their JCC journeys and friendships, by participating in Camp J, sports leagues, the J University after school program, and enrichment classes.

The future is bright for the school. Leaders plan to introduce a kindergarten program, special needs programs, as well as parent/child classes. They are also planning for an outdoor natural habitat for learning, where students will explore science concept, grow herbs and vegetables, and work on construction, engineering, and visual-spatial skills.

There are only clear, blue skies ahead.

To learn more about the JCC’s Early Childhood Learning Center at the Jack & Lee Rosen Southwest Orlando Campus, visit http://www.orlandojcc.org or call 407-239-7411. The center is located at 11184 S. Apopka-Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32836.


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