An Ethical Start®
The Block and Dreeben School for Young Children is An Ethical Start® (AES) community. Previously AES has been focused only on our older children, ages 3-5. We have, however, expanded AES as a framework for our entire school. From our infants to children aged five years, all are included in this remarkable program that basically teaches children how to be mensches (good people).
This early childhood curriculum was developed by and for the Jewish Community Centers of North America and is exclusive to JCC early childhood programs.
The central character of the program is Peer K. Explorer® who gets his name from the classic Jewish text Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers. Just as Pirkei Avot, a tractate of the Mishna, is the classic guide to Jewish ethics, Peer K. Explorer® is a child's guide to the world of Jewish learning that is both engaging and challenging. The teachings focus on how we can live a moral and ethical life. For centuries, lessons from Pirkei Avot have fed an ongoing discussion on how to live, how to operate in the world and how to identify the values we should hold dear: friendship, community, and respect for all creation.
Through books, music, and other developmentally appropriate curriculum materials, teachers, children, and families explore lessons from the Jewish tradition and begin to apply the messages to our daily lives.