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Frequently Asked Questions for Early Childhood Families

It is with great pleasure that we announce that effective September 1, 2017, the Seattle Jewish Community Center’s (SJCC) North Seattle Early Childhood School (ECS) will become an affiliate of Temple Beth Am (TBA), under the auspices of a new nonprofit organization to be established by TBA.

How and why was this decision made?
Since 2007, the North Seattle ECS has been housed at TBA. That co‐location has been mutually beneficial and has allowed the two organizations to develop a deep and respectful working relationship. The SJCC’s recent strategic plan places more emphasis on broadened community engagement and strategic partnerships; this is one example of how those strategic partnerships can be leveraged. Adding an early childhood school – especially an established one built on Jewish values and a Reggio Emilia‐inspired, child‐centered approach – is consistent with TBA’s mission and values.

What changes will current families see?
Our joint goal is to make this a seamless experience for both families and staff of the ECS. Temple Beth Am will not change the Reggio Emilia‐inspired curriculum, management (including the leadership team of Jenn Magalnick, Dara McAllister, and Jennifer Birkner), or faculty – all of which have been integral to the success of the school. Current student‐staff ratios will also be maintained.

Do I have to be Jewish to enroll my child in the new Early Childhood School?
No. The school will continue to be a pluralistic and inclusive learning environment that incorporates Jewish values.

Will Temple Beth Am make changes to the curriculum?
Temple Beth Am is committed to retaining the Reggio Emilia‐inspired, child‐centered approach to growth and development, with a foundation in Jewish values.

Will there be any change in tuition?
Temple Beth Am will continue the SJCC’s policy of benchmarking tuition annually to reflect the market rate for an exceptional early childhood program.

Will scholarships still be available?  Yes.

Will this change affect enrollment priority?
Highest priority will remain with current ECS children, their siblings, and siblings of children who have graduated the program.

Will the school still have the same dietary restrictions?
Yes, Temple Beth Am will continue the policy that all food prepared or brought into the school must be dairy, pareve, or fish (kosher only – no shellfish). In addition, we will continue to be a peanut-free, nut‐aware environment.

What will happen to my SJCC membership?
For the first two years after the change in ownership, all current Seattle ECS families as of August 31, 2017 will continue to receive membership to the SJCC. After that, families may join the SJCC at regular membership rates.

What will happen to the ECS program on Mercer Island?
The SJCC will continue to run its Early Childhood School at the Mercer Island facility where families can also leverage the built‐in amenities and services available at that location.