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Mission Statement
The Beth Shalom Early Childhood Center is committed to providing excellent quality childcare for all young children in a safe, nurturing environment that is also rich in Jewish content.

Judaic Curriculum
Our school community includes people from a variety of backgrounds. Our Jewish families include those from reform, conservative, orthodox and secular communities. We strive to make all families feel included and not pressured.

Vision Statement
The ECC welcomes all children and their families, including those involved in Jewish life to varying degrees as well as non-Jewish families. We respect and value diversity, individuality and family culture. We strive to create a comfortable environment and be an extension of home. We value families for their strong bonds and commitment to their children and seek continuous communication. We integrate Judaism and Hebrew into our creative and child centered curriculum. Teachers plan curriculum based on the skills and interests of each individual group of children. We work to meet the needs of the whole child: socially, emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually.

Like us on Facebook.   Director: Leah Lemchen   Phone: (206) 985-2516


Emotionally responsive
In all of our interactions, we try to think carefully about the messages we send. We strive to relate with empathy and withhold judgment.

Respect for children
We respect children as individuals who are learning and growing on their own path. We show respect for each child in all of our interactions. We alert children before we pick them up, change their diaper, ask that they help clean up, etc. We treat children as people with valid thoughts and feelings. We respect their individual needs and temperaments.

Jewish culture and celebrations
We view our classrooms through Jewish lenses. We immerse ourselves in Jewish culture. We celebrate Jewish holidays in a meaningful and developmentally appropriate way.

Hebrew language
Our school has families and teachers for whom Hebrew is a first language. Additionally, we have English speaking teachers who understand and speak some Hebrew. Children are exposed to both English and Hebrew every day in a very organic way.

Connected community
We value families and find that we do our best work with children when we understand them deeply. Teachers visit the homes of children early in the school year in order to form closer bonds and understanding. Families often provide food for a staff meeting or show support for the teachers in our school in a variety of other ways.

Home-like environments
Our school has couches or comfortable chairs in the classrooms, so teachers, families and children can be comfortable together. We use real dishes and cutlery rather than paper plates. We want children to experience real life and learn to handle items carefully. Our classrooms have plants, pictures in frames, natural materials and are painted colors that feel home-like.

Children represented in environment
We have framed family pictures in our classrooms to represent each child’s home life. We encourage communication from families to help us represent their child. We hang up pictures of children in their school life around the classrooms.

Healthy Food
We put a lot of thought into planning our snack menus. We make sure to include a variety of healthy foods. We communicate with families about their values regarding food, nutrition, preferences and sensitivities. We work to avoid high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils.

Self-expression and creativity
We strongly value creativity and self-expression. We provide open ended materials for children to explore. We allow children to take time to explore freely and create with as few restrictions as possible.

Emergent curriculum
We plan our curriculum based on the individual children in each class. We observe children’s play and behavior to help us know what activities and materials to provide. We think about skills, interests, challenges, temperament, and needs rather than using pre-made curriculum. We also include seasons and Jewish holidays in our curriculum.

Whole Child
We work to meet the needs of the whole child: socially, emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually.

Children as competent
We view children as competent. We recognize that children are constantly learning and growing and we work to support them in that growth. We do not rush in and do things for children that they can do for themselves. Although it takes a lot of time and patience, we do not want to deprive children of the sense of pride that comes from doing things they are capable of doing. We understand the value of helping children take responsibility for their environment and their choices as they grow into members of our community.

Problem solving
We work to teach children how to communicate, collaborate and solve problems. We know that children can begin to be competent problem solvers at a young age. In our toddler classroom, you might hear a conversation that sounds like, “turn please?” “Two minutes”. In our preschool classroom, you might see children negotiating about taking turns and then go get a timer to help them enforce the plan they come up with.

Communication with families
We work hard to have regular, meaningful communication with families. We will always be honest and share any and all information with families. We know that in order to provide the best care for children, teachers must partner with their families.


We take pictures of children engaged in activities at school to share with families. We work hard to minimize the disruptions to children as we take pictures and rarely if ever take posed or staged photographs. We know that is nice for parents to have a visual representation of their child’s time at school. We also make notes about children’s development and keep a portfolio of each child’s school experience.

Play based 
We believe that children learn best through play. We value providing long blocks of time for children to engage deeply in play. We provide many ‘real” materials for children to use in their play. We also think carefully about the environments we set up so that children have an opportunity to gain both academic and social skills through their play.

We know that children feel safe and do well when there is a predictable structure and routine in their classroom. Our classrooms have predictable schedules and children know the rules and guidelines for their class. We balance this with flexibility.

Freedom to take risks
Our school is a place where children can take risks as they learn and grow. They know that they will not be shamed when they make a mistake. Teachers will provide support, encouragement and help children to think about their choices.

Our Staff

We have highly qualified, skilled staff at the Beth Shalom Early Childhood Center. All teachers are required to complete 30 hours of basic Early Childhood Training and 10 hours of annual continuing education. All staff members are certified in CPR and First Aid. We seek loving and nurturing teachers who truly enjoy working with children, are supportive of families and respectful to children.

Leah Lemchen (she/her)
Click here to email Leah Lemchen

I am very proud to have been Beth Shalom’s Early Childhood Director since September of 2010. I feel honored, proud and grateful to work with children, families and teachers. I love our school and strive to create an extension of home for families. My husband Matt and I have three unique and amazing daughters, Heather, Madeline, and Hannah.  I have worked in the field of childcare for over 30 years and it is extraordinarily fulfilling to have some children of parents I cared for many years ago attend the ECC now. My experience includes supervising school-age programming at the Jewish Community Center, teaching extended day kindergarten and preschool, teaching at an English immersion preschool in Japan, running my own home based childcare, and working as the Mentor Teacher. I received a degree in Early Childhood Education from Bellevue College in 1998. I love spending time with my family, taking vacations and day trips, celebrating birthdays and holidays, photography and scrapbooking.

dates & Rates

Monday – Friday: 8:30-4:30  (before and after care available depending upon capacity)
We close early for Shabbat on Fridays October-March.

There will be some 3:30 closures.

We are open regular hours on Fridays during the spring, summer and early fall.
2023-24 School Closures– list of closures & early pickups with dates for the 2023-24 school year.
Subscribe to our closure calendar.

Schedule of Days Off and Holidays: In order to operate in line with the standards of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Congregation Beth Shalom Early Childhood Center is closed or has early dismissal on the following days when they fall during a school week:
Erev Rosh Hashanah – 3:00pm dismissal
First and Second Day of Rosh Hashanah
Erev Yom Kippur – 3:00pm dismissal
Yom Kippur
Erev Sukkot – 4:30 pm dismissal
First and Second day of Sukkot
Erev Shemini Atzeret – 4:30pm dismissal
Shemini Atzeret
Simchat Torah
Week of Passover
First and Second Day of Shavuot

We also close for the following national holidays:
Thanksgiving and next day
Winter Break (1 week in December)
New Year’s Day
Martin Luther King Jr Day
President’s Day
Memorial Day
American Independence Day
Labor Day

Classes and Rates - 2024-2025




Toddler &
Young Preschool 



5 days/week
$2500 $2330 $2000

3 days/week
$1900 $1800 $1600

2 days/week
$1375 $1350 $1220



The first step in enrollment is scheduling a tour. We do tours in small groups of families to provide an opportunity to gain a genuine understanding of our school. As part of the tour we will talk about potential openings and start dates.

When we have a mutually agreed upon start date, a deposit of one month’s tuition is required to hold a spot. This deposit eventually becomes a last month’s tuition, as long as proper notice is given. Priority is given to siblings of children already enrolled and then to Beth Shalom members.

Tuition and Fees - Tuition and fees are set yearly and are based on annual costs to run the program. Therefore, there is no rate reduction for short months. Tuition and fees vary depending upon the age of the child and the hours of care. Your specific fees will be stated in your individual contract.

Days Not Attended - You will be charged for days your child is enrolled regardless of attendance. This includes sick days, snow days, vacation days, etc. It is helpful to know if your child will be away or if they are ill so please email the director and or your child’s teacher to keep us informed if your child won’t be at school.

Termination of Care - If for any reason you decide to terminate care for your child at CBS ECC, you must give 90 days' notice. You will be required to pay for 90 days once you give notice, regardless of if your child is continuing to attend or not.



Congregation Beth Shalom ECC provides quality care for young children in a safe and nurturing environment, rich with Jewish content. We are licensed through Washington State’s Department of Early Learning. The ECC uses pieces from several theories when designing curriculum. Our curriculum is emergent, child centered, and creative. We respect children as capable people who are able to make choices in their own learning. We believe that children learn best through play and hands on experiences. We design the environment to provoke children’s natural curiosity and interest in learning. We maintain low staff ratios, so teachers are readily available to provide support to children’s experience by asking open ended questions, facilitating problem solving and providing opportunities to expand or extend projects. Some resources we use include: The Creative Curriculum, The Project Approach, and The Power of Play.

Our program is set up to encourage free play, social interaction, and creativity. As a developmentally appropriate program, we encourage learning through child-initiated activities and open-ended materials. Through all different kinds of play, children are learning. As adults, we sometimes view learning as something that has to produce direct results or outcomes. For children, learning is a process rather than a product and the results are more discreet. Many activities have learning outcomes that are not obvious at first, but will appear again and again throughout the child’s life. Some examples of learning through play include:

Block Play:
Through block play, children learn the sizes, shapes, and properties of materials. They learn about spatial relations and how things fit together. Cause and effect is displayed through the natural process of stacking and knocking down. Children can work together to encourage each other and experience teamwork first hand.

Dramatic Play:
Children learn social skills in safe ways through imitation and exploration. They are able to experiment with emotions and get reactions from others. They learn about their world and can act out experiences that they either have had or may have in the future. We try to include aspects of each child’s home life into our dramatic play areas. We include props from Jewish life as well as every day kitchen materials and much more.

Children learn about using space and color. They are able to express themselves through different elements. They learn cause and effect in the ways that the supplies change as their work progresses. We provide materials to help children gain fine motor control and practice “writing” at whatever level they may be at.

Young children learn math concepts from hands on activities. We provide puzzles, manipulatives, and games to encourage math skills. We also do occasional cooking projects which provide a great opportunity for children to learn math and science concepts through measuring, mixing and creating.

Science and Sensory:
We have a sensory tub in each classroom which includes different materials for children to explore. It might be beans, rice, sand, clay, etc. We provide natural materials for children to explore and investigate. We set up activities that allow children to learn science concepts in their own way at their own pace.

Books and Stories:
Our classrooms are filled with books for children to read. We have picture books, story books, Hebrew books, books about Jewish life, values and culture, rhyming books, song books, classroom-made books, and more. Teachers read to children every day. We give children an opportunity to tell their stories and we take dictation. We provide many positive experiences with books and stories to set children up for a life-long love of reading.

All by Myself Spot:
Each of our classrooms has a space where children can go to have some alone space if and when they choose. These spaces are comfortable and include activities that are often calming for children including small squeezable toys and books. These spaces help teach children to regulate themselves and recharge when necessary.

We have musical instruments that children are free to experiment with. We sing songs and provide opportunities to listen to music each day. Music gives children an opportunity to express themselves and is a wonderful way for children to learn. We sing Hebrew songs and prayers to give children a wonderful sense of Jewish Culture.

Outside Time:
We provide regular opportunities for the children to play outside. The children will take walks around the neighborhood and “field trips” to the nearby public library and parks. Children go outside every day in order to breathe fresh air, run, jump, climb and increase their understanding of the environment.

Our goal is to provide a rich environment that will help children grow into capable, confident individuals with a life-long love of learning.

Judaic Curriculum:
We look at ourschool through a Jewish lens. Judaism is incorporated into our days and a part of our school culture. It can be recognized through our music, books, art and language. The smell of baking Challah fills our school on Fridays, as do the sounds of Shabbat songs and prayers. We celebrate Jewish holidays in our classrooms and together as a school community. Families are welcome and encouraged to join the greater Beth Shalom community for any events that interest them.

Sat, June 15 2024 9 Sivan 5784