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Early Childhood

Students making observations in EC Kachol class

Welcome to the Reggio Emilia-inspired Early Childhood Program at CDS!

A loving, safe environment where creativity and playful learning meet

At Community Day School, our Early Childhood Program for children ages 3 to 5 is a sanctuary of wonder, curiosity, and creativity.

Here, children are celebrated as unique individuals and become active participants in their own learning journey.

Rooted in the profound teachings of Judaism and inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy, our program fosters a love for learning through exploration, play, discovery, and sensory experiences.

Our Early Childhood program not only prepares children academically, but also nurtures their social and emotional intelligence. Children develop the confidence to explore, the empathy to understand others, and the knowledge to appreciate their rich Jewish heritage.

We’d love to welcome your child to our vibrant, caring community, where children laugh, learn, discover, and play each day.



Student weaving in EC Gesher classroom

What is Reggio Emilia?

Wonder. Curiosity. Capability.

This well-researched educational model prepares children for kindergarten―and for life. It envisions a world where all children are honored and respected for their potential, capabilities, and humanity. Students are involved in what we teach—and how we teach it—in a beautifully organic process that provides both the freedom and supporting structure children need to learn and grow.

Our son has found a loving, supportive, caring, patient, and understanding home away from home in the CDS Early Childhood community. It's a nurturing environment where he has gained so much more than 'just' an incredible secular and Jewish education. He is learning how to be a valuable and responsible member of a caring and understanding society. CDS is providing my child with the tools he needs in order to make this world a better place.CARIN BLAZER, CDS alum (Class of '98) and Early Childhood parent

Nurturing the Development of the Whole Child

Student painting in EC Zahav Class

Curiosity & Creativity

In our Early Childhood classrooms, curiosity is the compass guiding our educational approach. Questions are encouraged, imaginations run wild, and each child's natural curiosity is celebrated. Through art, music, nature exploration, and play, our youngest learners engage in activities that inspire creativity and critical thinking.

Teacher and students collaborate on art project in EC Gesher

A Love for Learning

Our experienced educators act as facilitators, guiding children to explore the world around them. By incorporating Jewish values and traditions into everyday experiences, we instill a strong sense of identity and belonging. From storytelling that brings Torah stories to life to hands-on activities that explore Jewish customs, our curriculum enriches both the heart and mind.

EC student during Shevatim

Building Community

Our classrooms are vibrant spaces where children, educators, and parents come together in a spirit of mutual respect. Strong partnerships between school and home enhance the development of our students, and we actively involve families in the shared learning process. Older students at CDS also become friends, mentors, and role models through our Shevatim (Tribes) program.

Early Childhood student holds Tzedakah box

Our Classrooms

The Early Childhood classrooms are thoughtfully structured based on developmental milestones rather than strict age groupings, creating a learning environment that celebrates and accommodates the unique needs and abilities of each child.

This individualized approach supports educational growth and nurtures a sense of belonging and self-confidence among the students.

Our three classrooms include:

  • EC Zahav (Hebrew for gold, 3-year-old class)
  • EC Kachol (Hebrew for blue, Pre-K)
  • EC Gesher (Hebrew for bridge, our new Transitional Kindergarten)

These names also signify our valued membership in the larger CDS community, as well as serve a reminder of how Jewish values and traditions are woven into our daily routine.

Students on Lower Playground

Flexible Schedules

We understand the varying scheduling needs of families, our flexible options include, but aren't limited to those outlined below. Extended hours are available for an additional fee, and kosher hot lunch and snacks are included daily.

Full-Day Hours 7:30 a.m.* - 3:30 p.m. - Monday - Thursday
7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Friday
Core Hours 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Monday - Friday
Part-Time Hours (EC Zahav only) 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Monday -Friday or 3 Core Hours days/week

* 8:30 a.m. start on Wednesdays for Professional Development, with free childcare starting at 7:30 a.m.

Learning happens best when children are given a supportive and caring environment in which to explore and discover the world around them. Each child has their own learning style, interests, goals, desires, and needs. It is our role as their teachers to provide support so that students can engage in learning experiences with confidence, excitement, and independence. Students should feel supported to try new things, encouraged to learn from mistakes and struggles, and take pride in who they are and what they are capable of.

Jessica Pindzola, EC Kachol Classroom Educator

Opening doors to bright futures

Aligned with our core Jewish values, we are committed to being an inclusive and diverse community. Our school receives funding from the Pittsburgh Jewish Educational Improvement Foundation to provide tuition assistance for Early Childhood students who meet the financial requirements of the program.

Contact CDS Enrollment Management Director Sarah DeWitt to discuss your family’s eligibility.

Tuition information

A Day at a Glance

Student working on weaving project in EC Gesher

Sample EC Gesher (TK) Schedule

Meet Early Childhood Head Andrea Erven-Victoria

Andrea Erven-Victoria

Andrea Erven-Victoria was appointed Head of Lower School and Early Childhood at Community Day School in 2019. "Morah Andrea" holds a Master of Science degree in Early Intervention with Special Education Certification from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Education, Elementary Education, from Bowling Green State University. Prior to joining the CDS family, she worked extensively with infants, early childhood programs, and K-6 schools, as well as teaching education courses and supervising dozens of pre-service and in-service teachers as an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh at the undergraduate and graduate levels since 2001. She has a proven track record of success in a wide variety of disciplines that are relevant to the goals we have for our youngest learners, all focusing on the core belief that pedagogy must always be considered in the context of relationships.