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Our Program

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About cdc@cbi

Our Philosophy

We are committed to fostering a caring and supportive community, and our primary objective is to provide a safe and healthy environment that is tailored to each child's unique developmental needs. To accomplish this, we maintain low teacher-to-student ratios, small group sizes, and employ highly trained educators. We supplement our core curriculum with enrichment programs including Yoga, Music, and Hebrew. 

We believe in the importance of providing young children with opportunities for holistic learning and growth. As a learning community, we co-construct emergent curriculum, driven by children's developmental and contextual needs to encourage further interest, incorporating need-based inputs, in a supportive and enabling environment. Our collaborative curriculum framework incorporates our community's Jewish values, the development of vital social and emotional skills, and a strong image of the children as capable partners in learning. We seek to provide educators and families with a common pedagogical approach that is inclusive of the myriad needs and abilities of all students. 

Our History

The Child Development Center was established in 1989 by a group of dedicated community members determined to meet the growing need for full-time, high-quality, student-oriented early childhood education. 


The founders of the Child Development Center recognized the need for providing exceptional early childhood education to engage families with young children to foster their connection to Judaism. To achieve this goal, we created an educational model that draws inspiration from two sources: the world-renowned early childhood schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, and Jewish ideas and values.

cdc@cbi has operated for more than three decades under the stewardship of Congregation Beth Israel, and continues to welcome children, toddlers, and infants of the congregation and the wider Austin community. 

Our Curriculum

The Reggio Emilia approach was selected for its alignment with Jewish values and ability to stimulate creativity and learning. This approach is based on the belief that young children deserve experiences that support multifaceted potential and cultivate a love of learning. Teachers in a Reggio-inspired program prioritize mutual respect with students and families, and use children's interests to customize learning experiences. The process and outcomes of children's projects are carefully documented using words and images, which serve as valuable tools for reflection and dialogue.


The Reggio Emilia approach uses an emergent curriculum approach. Emergent curriculum is based on the premise that children are most successful at learning when classroom experiences account for their interests, strengths, needs, and lived realities. Educators use observations of children throughout their day as a tool for guiding curriculum content. Meaningful learning opportunities are then provided in support of key developmental skills relevant to a specific age group. When ongoing opportunities for practice lead to a child mastering a certain skill, educators respond by enriching the learning experience through the planning and implementation of increasingly difficult tasks. As children repeatedly confront and master these “achievable challenges,” they come to view themselves as competent learners. In addition, the alignment of curriculum content with individual interests and social realities serves to validate all forms of diversity and inspires a lifelong passion for learning.


In emergent curriculum, both teachers and students have initiative and make decisions. This power to impact curriculum direction means that sometimes curriculum is also negotiated between what interests children and what adults know is necessary for children’s education and development. Ideas for curriculum emerge from responding to the interests, questions, and concerns generated within a particular environment, by a particular group of people, at a particular time. Thus, emergent curriculum is never built on children’s interests alone; teachers and parents also have interests worth bringing into the curriculum. The values and concerns of all the adults involved, both teachers and parents, help the classroom culture evolve.

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