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Early Childhood Education


Or Ami Early Childhood Education Center was founded in 1977 with a small group of preschoolers and has grown to serve the community and surrounding areas. We offer classes for children ages two through five. Baby Steps, Bright Beginnings and Little Learners classes address the development and activities of children under two. Our school year begins after Labor Day and continues through early June. Camp is an eight week flexible program with weekly themes, instructional and recreational swim, specialists and fun for all. Additionally, we now offer full-time year round programming to address the needs of those families who require extended hours for their children.



ece director, Michelle ruder


The ECE Center happily welcomed Michelle Ruder as its new Director in July of 2012. Michelle comes to the school with a wealth of experience in early childhood education. She worked as a lead teacher at the Ann Newman Preschool at Temple Sinai in Dresher, Pennsylvania, for 13 years. She spent over ten years of that time teaching the two-year old class and most recently taught the four-year old class. Her experience there also included running the “before school early hours” program, teaching an afternoon kindergarten enrichment class, and teaching four year old enrichment classes for which she also created the curriculum. The enrichment classes included a Torah Time session. Michelle is passionate about early childhood education. She loves spending time with children and watching their development. She subscribes to a play-based educational philosophy and believes in an experiential, hands-on approach to learning. Significantly, she considers a warm and nurturing environment the most beneficial for early childhood education. It is particularly important to Michelle to work in a Jewish setting. “I believe Judaism teaches the important themes of tolerance and caring,” Michelle says. “Incorporating these lessons, Jewish values and mitzvot into the classroom experience is a wonderful way to reinforce the Torah’s rules for guiding our behavior toward others and toward the world around us. Children who attend our school should complete their education as confident, competent and curious students who exhibit pride in their identity as Jewish children.”

For information about the program, please contact Michelle at MichelleR@or-amiorg





The Baby Steps infant program provides a warm, nurturing and supportive environment for infants ages 3-12 months where babies feel safe and secure.  Babies are engaged in experiences that foster curiosity and invite exploration, while laying the foundation for later learning in language, cognitive, motor skill and sensory development.  The program is staffed by warm and nurturing caregivers who provide individualized attention and experiences and who forge meaningful partnerships with parents, as well.


The Bright Beginnings class is the next step after the infant room.  Our young toddlers ages 12-18 months are hard at work learning how to accomplish tasks on their own, such as eating, playing and talking.  As these new abilities emerge, young toddlers are excited to explore the world around them.  Under the guidance of our nurturing and experienced staff, our toddlers enjoy hands-on experiences and social interactions in a safe and engaging environment.  The Bright Beginnings class provides daily opportunities  for learning experiences that foster and promote toddlers’ emerging independence and social skills, while helping to build self-confidence.


This class is designed to provide a warm and nurturing introduction to the routines of our school for toddlers ages 18-24 months old.  The program provides stimulating, interactive activities for children who are engaging in their first independent school experience.  Activities are planned which provide opportunities for children to interact with their peers and to become acquainted with a structured group environment.  The program includes circle time, play time, art, cooking, snack and more.

TWO YEAR OLD PROGRAM (Fulltime or Half Day)

Our classes are designed to provide our 2 year old students with a secure and caring environment and to make their first steps away from home safe and comfortable.  This program of gently structured educational play based activities includes circle time, music, story time, cooking, creative arts and crafts, science, literacy, numeracy and outdoor/indoor play activities – all in a supportive and loving atmosphere.

THREE YEAR OLD PROGRAM (Fulltime or Half Day)

3 year old classes emphasize developing social skills such as making friends, sharing and taking turns.  This comprehensive program stresses the child’s individual development and understanding of the world around them.  By exploring nature, the seasons, the community and the family, the children become more aware of themselves, their environment and others.  The program incorporates language acquisition, science, math, cooking outdoor/indoor play, creative movement, music and library.  Special activities help the children develop responsibility and independence along with sensitivity towards others.  


Our Pre-K classes are designed to prepare the children for Kindergarten.  Our program enhances self-esteem, listening skills, attention span and the ability to follow directions.  We continue to emphasize independence and self-reliance.

We use kindergarten readiness materials that provide solid preparation for kindergarten in both public and private schools.  Language Arts and Math concepts are integrated into the daily classroom experience.  The children are exposed to science, nature, geography, imaginative storytelling, cooking, art, computers, creative movement and indoor/outdoor play.  Our teachers work at bringing out the best in each child.  The program also promotes each child’s social development, including consideration of others, self-sufficiency and self-discipline in a happy, nurturing and productive setting.


Summer Camp



Our summer camp program offers children many varied experiences throughout the summer.  The children will spend time in our fully equipped, air conditioned classrooms, as well as time running and playing on our state of the art playground and our large, enclosed beautifully maintained property. Outdoor time also offers the daily opportunity to jump on our moon bounce and cool off while running through the sprinklers.

Once again, we will be offering instructional swim (toilet trained children ages 3-5) and recreational swim periods (all toilet trained children) everyday under the watchful eyes of our Red Cross certified swim instructors.  We also offer a variety of water play activities for children who are not yet toilet trained.  Camp offers sports, music, nature, arts and cooking activities centered around a different theme each week.  In addition to our regularly scheduled activities, there will also be weekly special programs throughout the summer.  As always, we look forward to celebrating Shabbat together each week!

Supplemental Programs

Creative Arts

Our elective Creative Arts Workshops offer afternoons of fun on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12:00-2:00 PM. Creative Arts Workshop offers high quality programs similar to those you might choose outside of school. There are two semesters of programming per school year and class choices may include:  Dance, Art, Music, Science, Language, Yoga and Sports.


Enrichment Programming is available in our 3 Year Old Program and in our 4 Year Old (Pre-K) Program.  The Enrichment Class meets on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 12:00-3:00 PM.  Students will delve into many theme based units incorporating hands on projects and activities.  These units are typically those that are not experienced during the morning class sessions.  Students will explore and learn through the use of songs, stories, theme based art activities, science experiments, cooking activities, dramatics, play, movement and games.  Our hands on approach facilitates imaginative and inquisitive learning. Examples of units that have been presented in the past include the following:

Three Year Olds: Music & Musical Instruments, Yoga & Nutrition, “Kitchen Science”, Sign Language and Transportation

Four Year Olds: Ocean Exploration, Native American Culture, “Little Scientists”, Space, Art & Artists and The Rainforest

Enrichment is an engaging and interactive learning experience for your children.

Extended Hours

Students have the opportunity to stay for an extended day, until 3:00 PM.  The children will have lunch, then settle in for time for free play, art or cooking and snack.

Early Care

Staff is available starting at 7:30 AM for early drop-off of half day students.  Children who arrive early enjoy informal time with the teacher.  Children will have an opportunity to finish breakfast from home, if necessary and then engage in free play.  Participants pay by the hour.  Use of Early Care requires 48 hours notice for use of program (drop-in basis).  Requests are subject to staff availability.

Late Care

Late Care provides an informal, play-date environment with ECE Center Staff supervision, Monday through Friday until 5:00 PM for half day students.  Activities might include:  art projects, story time, games and free play.  Participants pay by the hour.  Use of Late Care requires 48 hours notice for use of program (drop-in basis).  Requests are subject to staff availability.


Early Childhood Education Center Committee

The Early Childhood Education Center Committee is responsible for overseeing the policies and administration of the Early Childhood Education Center and supporting the school in achieving its greatest potential. Areas of focus are the development of programs and addressing parental and faculty concerns.

The Early Childhood Educaion Center Committee is comprised of seven congregants, including two parents of currently enrolled ECE Center children, the president of the PTO, two teacher representatives, the Early Childhood Education Center Director, an Executive Committee liaison, and the Committee Chair.

The Committee usually meets on the 4th Monday of each month at 7:15 P.M.

Any congregant wishing to attend a meeting is welcome, provided that the Chair has been notified in advance.


Early Childhood Education Center PTO

The ECE Center PTO meets on the first Wednesday of each month (time varies)

For more information on the PTO contact:

Kate Kornblau at or Autumn Levine at 


ECE Scholarships Available!

The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, in partnership with regional Jewish day schools and private pre-school/kindergartens, provides needs-based scholarships to lower- and middle-income families attending Jewish day schools and pre-schools through the Foundation for Jewish Day Schools. This program is available to students beginning at age 3 for families who qualify. If you are interested in applying for any available scholarship money, please take a look at the attached materials. There is an initial March 31st deadline for this program.

Please note the following information:

You may apply by use of the online, interactive, web-based application, which can be accessed by using the following link and creating an ISTS account:

You will be taken directly to the application after you have set up your account.  Click on “ADD NEW APPLICATION”

The program key for our scholarship program is: FJDS

If you have any questions, please contact ISTS customer care at or toll free 855-670-ISTS (4787).


Mon, August 2 2021 24 Av 5781