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David and Ruth Asper Early Learning Centre

The general contractor for the renovation to the David and Ruth Asper Early Learning Centre was Westland Construction. Amalgamated Drywall did the drywall.

Gayle Waxman

Caporalini, Director of Child Care Services at the Rady JCC

Rady JCC's David and Ruth Asper Early Learning Centre 's Marks its First Anniversary-Lots of Successes

by Rhonda Spivak, Sept 27, 2017



It is the first anniversary since the David and Ruth Asper Early Learning Centre opened.  Gayle Waxman, Executive Director of the Rady JCC says that  she is thrilled with the way the David and Ruth Asper Early Larning Centre has worked out. "We are so pleased with how well the David and Ruth Asper Early Learning Centre has done.   The centre was filled immediately and the children and staff settled in very quickly.   We are fortunate to have incredible staff who under the leadership of our Director, Eleo Caporalini, have implemented the same high quality program we offer at the Kaufman Child Care Centre.   It is very rewarding to see the centre and the children are thriving. We are grateful to the Aspers, the donors and the family for making this happen.”   


Westland Construction was the general contractor for the Early Learning Centre project and the architect for what Waxman describes as this 'great space' was Calee Gushuliak from Architecture 49, and Grant Van Iderstine was also involved in a supervisory role. 


"The Centre has been so appreciated by families and it has met every single expectation...The building is very functional space that allows our staff to easily implement the early learning program,"  she says.


Eleanora Caporalini, Director of Child Care Services at the Rady JCC added that the space in the building has worked out very well and that everyone is pleased with its design, including the outdoor play area.


Caporalini recently participated in  in an intense one week training at the  Reggio Emilia International Study Group in Italy with a selected group of  only 5 Directors from JCCA [ the Jewish Community Centres Association of North America] in North America. " I was the only one from Canada in that group, " she said, noting that there were  were more than 400 educators from all over the world who participated in training. (Educators came from  Israel, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, United States, England, Netherlands, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Japan Vietnam, Katar, Colombia, and Bangladesh.)


As Caporalini explained the Reggio Emilia approach to early learning  education was founded by Loris Malaguzzi, and is  based on several  principles:

 . Children’s multiple symbolic languages: this means that the children construct their knowledge and are able to represent their understanding of the world in different ways.

. The environment as a third educator: educators organize environment rich in possibilities and provocation to explore and problem solve in small groups.

. Educators that design the curriculum based on children’s interests and their hypothesis.

. Documentation of the learning process as a tool for the educators to search  innovative ways and trends in education and also to make the learning process visual for the families and the community.


When I asked  about the ongoing need for more daycare spots, Waxman answered that "Our main concern is spots that are needed for children ages 3 months to 3 years. There is still some demand for spots for children older than 3, but  the biggest need is to accommodate children ages 3 months to 3 years. We could have another 75-100 daycare spots, but heavily skewed to younger kids  ages 3 months to 3 years." 


At present that space does not exist but Waxman says "The Rady JCC identified the need for additional early learning/child care spaces in our strategic plan." However, she added that providing for this need will not happen overnight. "It's not something that will happen tomorrow,"Waxman said. "We first must get licsences from the government and we have to feel that there will be sufficient support from the community to raise the funds to develop another centre. Our first priority was to get the new centre stabilized and operating to standard.   That happened quite quickly.   That said, we need to ensure that we don't bite off more than we can chew." At the same time, she noted that the Rady JCC is monitoring things closely.


"We'd probably be interested next in doing a daycare that has more than 48 spots [which is the amount in the David and Ruth Asper Early Learning Centre]," Waxman concluded.


Caporalini  estimates that "over 85% of the children in our early learning programs at the Rady JCC come from families who identify Jewishly." She adds that, " We are fortunate to have top quality staff, many of whom were teachers in other countries, particularly Israel as part of our early childhood education teams.   All staff is trained in how to integrate Jewish values and traditions into our programming.   Professional development is a high priority at our centre.  We have been selected by the JCCA (the Jewish Community Centres Association of North America) to participate in a pilot project with the Vancouver JCC early learning programs.   Through this partnership, we conduct joint training and access the latest trends on early learning education from expert leaders in the field of early childhood education. As well, our management team participates in monthly professional development webinars hosted by JCCA that supports the project and helps develop our expertise as early childhood educators in a Jewish early learning environment.  This has been a wonderful opportunity that has enriched our centres."




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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.