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Focus Stories

The JCC Preschool


Featured Photo from The JCC Preschool

Choose a preschool wisely – your child’s future success depends on it.

According to a study completed by researchers at Penn State University in 2015, kindergartners who display strong social/emotional skills are much more likely to have positive outcomes as adults. The impact extends to their future education, employment, criminal activity, substance use, and mental health.

“Being able to separate from loved ones, trust others, ask for help, and develop an ‘I can do it!’ attitude is more important than being able to recite the alphabet, recognize colors/shapes, and even read in preschool,” says Karen Duncan, a child development and parenting expert on the staff of the Richard S. Adler Early Childhood Learning Center at The Roth Family Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando, which has been a top-rated preschool in Maitland for 44 years. “That’s why, each and every year, the JCC places a significant emphasis on training our teachers how to foster social and emotional skills in preschoolers.”

Decades before the research validated the importance of early childhood social skills, the JCC put socialization and emotional development ahead of a rigorous emphasis on academics.

“Even when those who were supporting educational trends were pressuring us to change, we have never swayed from our deep-rooted belief that the acquisition of positive social/emotional skills is equally as important as the development of cognitive skills in early childhood,” says Karen, who also oversees Shayna’s Village at the JCC, which offers open-to-the-community classes in creativity for young children and their parents.

Our children are growing up in a busy world with very limited opportunities for unstructured social play. They do not get to experience the challenges and rewards of negotiating and cooperating as much as they should. Digital screens are mesmerizing and compete with adults and other children for a child’s eye contact and attention. Think about your own family.How will you help your child make a meaningful social connection this week?

The Roth Family JCC’s Richard S. Adler Early Childhood Learning Center is now enrolling children of all faiths, ages 8 weeks to Pre-K, for its award-winning preschool in Maitland. To schedule a tour, visit or call 407-745-1888.

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