Lillie Brandt Early Childhood Center: The Discovery Years

The Lillie Brandt Early Childhood Center nurtures the whole child as he or she learns to become increasingly independent during the early discovery years. The ECC offers a developmentally-based program for infants through Junior Kindergarten. Our creative, engaging teachers provide a variety of project-based and interactive experiences through which children grow cognitively, socially, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and technologically. Through a values-driven approach, children build character and personal identity. Community Service and Tikkun Olam (healing the world) are infused into everything that we teach and do, encouraging children to take responsibility as both Jews and members of the greater community. GRTWA is committed to providing leading-edge technology to support child development in the modern world, while retaining the core teacher-child relationship as well. Ongoing professional development opportunities keep our teachers and staff up to date on the latest research on child development strategies and child-centered projects and curricula. Children in the Two-Year-Old through Junior Kindergarten programs participate in global school events and The Fifth Grade/ECC monthly Buddy Program. The ECC curriculum balances strong academics with a joy of play and exploration. GRTWA children develop a life-long passion for learning that begins in the ECC.

The Neshama Project was created through a gift from Alan and Ricki Rubin to provide ongoing enrichment programming in the Lillie Brandt Early Childhood Center. This fund allows for several yearly programs that enrich the ECC curriculum and bring joy and learning to the students. Programs include puppetry, introduction to music, the arts, animals, drumming, and more.

Infant Room for children 3–18 months:

  • Our youngest members of the GRTWA community are loved, nurtured, and kept safe while the staff paves the way for their next steps in the ECC.
  • Flexible hours include full-day and half-day programs with options for before and after hours.
  • Infants are integrated into ECC special events, including music, when appropriate.

Young Twos for children 18–24 months:

  • As part of our infant care option, this program supports the needs of children turning two mid-way through the school year in an independent setting.
  • Children become familiar with the preschool setting, gaining increased comfort with group play and transitions and encouraging independence.

First Steps Together (formerly Ima ve Ani/Mommy and Me) for children 16–24 months:

  • Children attend First Steps Together with a parent or caregiver.
  • Classes meet once-a-week for 1.5 hours.
  • First Steps Together helps guide parents and caregivers to choose age-appropriate activities for their youngsters through modeling language, activities, and strategies that support the growth and development of each child’s language skills, play skills, and social skills.
  • Classes engage children in activities that help develop fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and large muscle movements.
  • A variety of cultural activities are included, such as integrated Jewish cultural, holiday, and Shabbat experiences throughout the year.
  • Music and singing activities help children learn basics such as counting, rhythm, finger-play, call and response, creative movement, listening skills, and literacy skills. Learning new songs and singing together gives the children a sense of encouragement and self-esteem, as well as fostering the home-school connection when singing these new songs at home.


  • Parents may choose programs ranging from two mornings to five full days a week.
  • A play-based, child-centered structure provides the ideal environment through which the children become a cohesive class, while moving from one developmental level to the next.
  • The theme-based Two-Year-Old curriculum is filled with literature, art, music, manipulatives, fine and gross motor experiences, Hebrew language, and library.
  • The children use both the outdoor playground and indoor play space daily.
  • Two-year-olds participate in the ECC Kabbalat Shabbat each week, and families are invited on a rotating basis.


  • Parents may choose programs ranging from three mornings to five full days a week.
  • The program fosters a growing sense of independence while enhancing language skills, social skills, and play skills.
  • Students learn to work and play together while bonding as a class family.
  • The three-year-old classroom challenges children to explore and grow, working together in small groups to achieve a common task.
  • Each week the three-year-olds enjoy special curricular enhancements in music, physical education, Hebrew immersion, library, and science.
  • The curriculum challenges the three-year-olds with strong academic goals by differentiating for the varied levels and learning styles of the class. Daily experiences encourage getting messy, having fun, and delighting in the joy of childhood.
  • Three-year olds participate in the ECC Kabbalat Shabbat each week, and families are invited on a rotating basis.

Junior Kindergarten:

  • The four-year-olds may attend half-day or full-day programs.
  • The JK program cultivates learning, risk-taking, and self-esteem through play experiences, while providing enriched academics to help children gain comfort in meeting the challenges that will support their growth from one developmental level to the next.
  • The multi-faceted literacy curriculum is designed to address the learning styles and needs of individual children, supporting their continued engagement and success. The pre-reading program includes individualized sight word vocabularies, beginning decoding experiences, writing, listening, comprehension, creative dramatics, story-telling, and whole language learning.
  • The JK classroom is set up with small-group centers that balance hands-on learning experiences in science, math, social studies, and literacy development.
  • The GRTWA Lower School teachers complement our JK program with special curricular additions in music, art, Hebrew language immersion, science, library, and physical education.
  • JK children participate in the ECC Kabbalat Shabbat each week, and families are invited on a rotating basis.


Click here for the Junior Kindergarten Curriculum: Junior Kindergarten

Click here to request additional information about the Lillie Brandt Early Childhood Center for your child: Inquiry Form