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Our Philosophy

Over the past 1.5 years, I have been so grateful to the staff and educators at the Childcare Centre. My son started in the Childcare and easily transitioned to Preschool and over that time has developed great friendships and has blossomed so quickly. It is remarkable to see how much he has learned in such a short period of time. The teachers and leadership team go above and beyond to provide a caring and supportive environment and I know that day after day he is in the best hands as he grows and develops while also learning more about Jewish traditions through the curriculum.  During Covid I have been beyond impressed with the measures that the school has taken to ensure sure our kids are safe. It has been a relief at a time when there is so much worry that my son can go somewhere and continue to learn and socialize without worry that we are putting our family at great risk. 

Our "Learn Through Play" philosophy encourages the children to freely explore their surroundings. Our program is child-directed and teacher supported. The primary goal of our centre is to provide the children with a warm and respectful place where they feel safe and content. We celebrate the importance of social relationships and promote meaningful and collaborative learning. Throughout the day, children will have a variety of activities available to them including outdoor play, fun in the gym, music classes and creative activities. Our classrooms will be rich with sensory exploration and age-appropriate toys and materials.

We strive to provide a fun, stimulating and creative environment for the children in our Toddler, Preschool/JK and School-Age Programs. Programming is based on children's interests and skills, and documented. Children take the lead in their learning and use their imaginations and creativity to set the tone for the planning.


We hope to inspire a journey, not a destination, that is not linear or prescriptive, and that reflects the ongoing evolution of a discipline. A central part of the process is our Sheva Learning Communities, in which our early childhood educators network with each other in dialogue over the core elements, exemplary practices, critical incidents, knots in their work and more. 

Our philosophy: 

  • encourages each child’s positive image

  • guides children to develop problem-solving, time management, self-help and social skills

  • is child-directed, therefore demonstrating to children that they are an important part of our world

  • fosters a learn-through-play environment. Children learn best through their own hands-on experiences.
    They are offered endless amounts of opportunities to play productively. Teachers offer guidance and assistance
    when necessary to ensure that children are gaining all that is possible through their activities.

  • stimulates curiosity

  • guides children to be empathetic, moral beings

Seven Core Elements of Sheva 
The Sheva Early Learning Framework is coherent with the culture and teachings of Judaism in everyday life, values and principles. The Jewish lenses serve as a tool, a prism through which we overlay our traditions, our study, and our Jewish philosophy. The core elements are the fundamental components of our early childhood programs and are deeply rooted in the latest research on child development.

  1. Children as Constructivist Learners

  2. Early Childhood Directors as Visionaries

  3. Early Childhood Educators as Professionals

  4. Families as Engaged Partners

  5. Environments as Inspiration for Inquiry

  6. Discover CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) as Sh’mirat HaGuf (taking care of our bodies)

  7. Israel as a Source and Resource

These lenses articulate our approach to our work. They inspire as much as they inform. Ideally, they are manifested daily in our centre: in the ways in which we structure our time, our curricula, and our classrooms; the quality of our relationships with our students, our faculties, our host institutions; and the partnerships we forge with the families in our communities. They improve and sharpen our vision, and enable us to see our world more clearly and in a particularly focused way. Judaism is not exclusively a matter of the “what” or “when” in the world of ritual and faith, but includes the deeper matters of the “how” and “why” of the totality of our lives and our relationships to the world as a whole. It welcomes diversity, inclusion, reflection, and innovation. For each lens, there is a Hebrew word that captures the essence of the lens, a literal translation of the Hebrew, and a more interpretive word or phrase, which illuminates our understanding of the core value within each category.

Although Sheva is based on Jewish lenses, the values that they portray are universal and inclusive to all.

Using the Ontario Ministry of Education's “Early Learning for Every Child Today” (ELECT) in conjunction with the Sheva Framework, our programs meet and exceed Ministry requirements for curriculum planning and implementation. 


We believe in the importance of communication with families. This is done through daily feedback, observations, documentation, parent-teacher interviews (Preschool/JK) and through our newsletters. Our Kaymbu app allows communication with families to be easy and it is simple to use. 

Observance of Holidays

As our schools are within a Jewish Community Centre, we celebrate the Jewish holidays and Shabbat. These holidays are introduced in a non-religious fashion. We base the focus on the story rather than the religious aspect of the holiday. We welcome information from other cultures and will happily talk to the children about other cultural (not religious) holidays as well. We have big celebrations for Chanukah, Purim and/or Passover.

Weekly Suzuki Early Childhood Music Classes 

The Suzuki philosophy compliments our beliefs of what a successful learning environment should be and we are pleased to bring it to our children!  This class develops rhythmic and melodic awareness, as well as memory and social skills in children. The curriculum is built around a repertoire of lullabies, action songs and nursery rhymes for children ages 18 months to five years old. With a strong emphasis on a positive and nurturing approach to learning music, the classes will be a wonderful beginning to a child’s appreciation of music. Children will learn skills that will benefit them in all aspects of their life such as confidence, self-regulation, listening, mental focus, memory, increased vocabulary, language, socially acceptable behaviour, sensitivity and numeracy development – all while having a blast! Classes will be taught by a registered Suzuki Early Childhood Education instructor.

And just for our JK’ers!
In addition to our weekly music class, our JK children will receive an additional weekly Suzuki class with a focus on playing the violin!  We will work on basic posture, coordination, and listening skills, working on and off their self-made instruments. Throughout the year the class will focus on mastering the Suzuki Twinkle variations.

Yoga is also enjoyed in our preschool and JK classes.  Yoga helps strengthen children's growing bodies and helps them improve their flexibility, while also providing opportunities for learning strategies to express themselves. We also offer weekly recreational swim for our preschool and JK children. 


Our Hebrew Engagement program uses the Jewish calendar to teach the children about the holidays, special dates and associated Hebrew vocabulary in a fun and interactive way. This is included in our childcare, preschool and JK programs!

Our Faculty


Our teaching staff is made up of both Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) and experienced Educational Assistants.  Our educators are hired based on their experience, passion for children and their belief in our centre’s philosophy. They are all nurturing, warm and compassionate individuals with strong ethics and a commitment to professionalism. All are trained in Standard First Aid Level C, and have valid Vulnerable Sector Screening. Some are also trained as certified food handlers. Professional development opportunities are always available and encouraged.

A staff ratio of 1:8 (2 & 3-year-old rooms) and 1:10 (J.K. rooms) is strictly maintained in accordance with the Childcare and Early Years Act.

Hours of Operation


Our program runs daily from Monday to Friday from 9:00 am - 3:45 pm.  

To accommodate families we also offer before and aftercare options: 8:00 - 9:00 am and 3:45 – 5:30 pm

Classes follow a standard academic year, beginning in September and ending in June.
The school is closed for Rosh Hashana & Yom Kippur, statutory holidays, winter break, Passover and 2 Professional Development Days.

Register Online

for September 2024 - June 2025

Returning students of the Preschool and Libbie Cowan Childcare Centre (and their siblings) will be given first priority of our available spots once registration opens for the following year. The remaining spots will be offered to children based on receipt of application and deposit. There can be a maximum number of children in each age group. This takes priority over admission request dates. Enrollment is for the full school year and no fee deductions will be made for temporary absences.  

Contact Us/Book a Tour

If you have any questions or would like to arrange a tour, we would love to hear from you. Please complete this form to be placed on the waitlist. Someone will contact you to confirm receipt of this form once submitted. 

Please note: the Thomas & Marjorie Schwartz Preschool Centre & Junior Kindergarten is a full day program for children ages 2 ½ - 5 years; we do not offer part time spaces. 


Thanks for submitting! We'll be in touch soon!

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Cheri Szereszewski.jpg

Cheri Szereszewski 

Director, Early Childhood Education

Cheri's substantial career demonstrates a passion for creating inclusive, nurturing environments for our children, families and educators.  Early on, Cheri taught in the ECE program at Seneca College and created a program for immigrant women to earn certification to open their own home childcare programs. Most recently, she spent 13 years at the Prosserman JCC, first as the Assistant Director and then the Director of the Daycare and Preschool.   Cheri brings to our community a strong commitment to growing our existing ECE programs. She is a founding participant of the Sheva Centre for Early Childhood at the JCC Association of North America and completed a Supervisor Leadership Certificate with Toronto Children Services AQI (Assessment for Quality Improvement) and George Brown College. Her dedication to Early Childhood Education led her to complete the Curriculum Design and Pedagogical Leadership Certificate through George Brown College as well as a Certificate in Children’s Mental Health through Durham College.  Cheri loves to read, travel, go for walks and spend time with her family and cats.


Liezel Garcia

Early Childhood Administrative Coordinator

Liezel is a Registered ECE who graduated from Sheridan College with her diploma in early childhood education in 2016. She has 7 years of experience in the field working with children from infants to school age. Liezel is passionate about creating inclusive environments and helping children develop to their full potential. In her free time Liezel enjoys spending time with her family including her cuddly cat and exploring different Toronto neighborhoods.


Tiffany Bien

Assistant Director, Early Childhood Education


Tiffany graduated from Seneca College with a diploma in Early Childhood Education in 2001. She then completed the Early Childhood Administration program at Seneca College in 2006. Tiffany has 20 years of experiences in the ECE field, ranging from teaching to supervising,  to being a quality assurance director. Tiffany loves children, understands the importance of child-directed learning, and believes in building strong family relationships.

Tiffany enjoys spending her downtime relaxing with her husband Joshua and their daughter.

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Kate Shaner

Instructor, Suzuki ECE Music Class

Kate is a dedicated and passionate Suzuki teacher, music educator and arts administrator.  Prior to moving to Toronto, Kate was the assistant director of Greenwich Suzuki Academy and head of
development for the Friends of Greenwich Suzuki Academy fund. She was also a primary member of the violin, viola, and SECE faculty.  In 2016, Kate was selected as one of Delaware’s top young professionals and received the Delaware Business Times “Best 40 under 40” award. Kate holds degrees from the University of Memphis (B.M.) and Ithaca College (M.M., Suzuki Pedagogy). In her spare time, Kate enjoys reading, playing chamber music with friends and gardening. She lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband Rabbi Jordan Shaner and their two rescue dogs.


CWELCC Program Details

The MNjcc early childhood program has been approved for enrollment into CWELCC in 2023 and we expect to continue in 2024.  We will review if continued enrollment in the CWELCC system will be of benefit to the Centre and its families annually, or as updated guidelines are released.  Any child enrolled in the Thomas and Marjorie Schwartz Preschool Centre and The Libbie Cowan Childcare Centre at the MNjcc as of September 2023 who is under six years old (or turning six) between January 1 and June 30, 2023 is eligible for CWELCC funding.


As of January 2024, should the MNjcc early childhood program NOT remain part of the CWELCC system, the parent portion of fees will increase to the full amount to cover operating costs.  In this situation, families will be given as much notice as possible and will have the opportunity and guidelines to withdraw from the program with no penalty.   Please review the fee schedule to ensure you understand the fees with and without CWELCC funding.


If you would like more information about the CWELCC system, please visit the Canada-Ontario early years and child care agreement website:


Please note that spots will be offered in sequence of place on the list. The exception to this would be for children who are offered priority for the spot. These include: 

  1. *currently enrolled children  

  2. *children of alumni families  

  3. children of MNjcc employees 

  4. open (public) enrollment 

    *(Libbie Cowan Childcare Centre, Thomas & Marjorie Schwartz Preschool Centre and Paul Penna DJDS) 

If anyone with priority requests a spot once we are filled, they will be placed at the top of our waitlist. Remaining spots will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis with the receipt of completed application forms. 

Any inquiries about our programs will be kept confidential. We will be unable to give you specific answers as to when and if a spot will be available. We will not divulge any information of names or any personal information of children on our list or in attendance. 

MNjcc Waitlist Policy

The Libbie Cowan Childcare Centre and The Thomas & Marjorie Schwartz Preschool Centre hope to be able to offer spots to all those that apply. Unfortunately, due to Ministry restrictions on numbers and room sizes, this is not always possible.

We do not accept the names of babies who have not yet been born. Please wait until your baby is born to contact us.

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