Welcome to CJDS!

It is through our faith and cultural heritage that we define the focus of our educational approach. The love for children and families, the emphasis on academic rigor, and the need to be involved with issues of social justice make our school a nurturing learning environment.

About Us

CJDS Points of Pride

• CJDS has served the Columbia community for the past 22 years.

• CJDS is the only demonstration site for the Program for Infants and Toddlers. Click on our “News” tab for more details.

• CJDS is accredited by NAEYC, the National Association of Education for Young Children (www.naeyc.org) and was one of the first schools in the state to gain the new NAEYC accreditation. Click on our “News” tab for more details.

• CJDS has received an AA rating from the State of SC. This is the highest possible rating of an early childhood center (the state offers A through C ratings and only NAEYC accredited centers can earn AA).

• CJDS is accredited by SCISA, SC Independent Schools Association (www.scisa.org).

• CJDS has a highly qualified and experienced teaching staff.

• The principal holds a Doctorate in Education. • The assistant principal and a number of elementary school teachers hold Master’s degrees. • Almost all preschool and kindergarten teachers hold four-year degrees. • 70% of the assistant teachers have degrees.

• The teacher-to-student ratios are among the lowest in the city resulting in many one to one interactions and individual attention for each student. • The ratios are 1:5 in the toddlers, 1:7 in the 2s, 1:9 in the 3s and 4s, 1:9 in the kindergarten class and 1:12 in the elementary classes.

• 97% of the students who graduate fifth grade are accepted in gifted, talented, and advanced magnet middle school programs. • Your child is loved. Many schools love all children but we love each child. The individual attention and love can be seen in the classrooms, on the playground, before and after school, and in teacher student evening calls and emails.

• Inquiry-based learning featuring expert projects is a focus of our academic goals. The school follows a philosophy of constructivist learning. We believe that the goal of education is for children to construct knowledge as opposed to memorize information. • Math is taught through a hands-on, minds-on process and all areas of study include the scientific method of asking questions, researching, constructing a hypothesis, testing a hypothesis, analyzing data, and publishing results.

• Our excellent literacy program includes student-created books, interactive writing, visits from published authors, and hundreds of read-alouds. • The school bridges the student’s experiences with the wider world through guest speakers and community experiences.

• The school’s technology includes classroom computers for K-2nd grade classes, a Google Chromebook for each 3rd-5th grader, and a mobile Chromebook lab. The computers are used to enhance the school’s inquiry-based approach by allowing the students to work on their own research focus, produce their own data, and continue their inquiry as new questions arise from their research. All classes also have access to a SMART Board for interactive lessons.

• Immersion Hebrew has children as young as kindergarten speaking and understanding Hebrew.

• CJDS has an open door policy for families and invite families to be as involved as they want to be in our learning.

• CJDS families feel a part of a strong school community through activities in and out of school.

• Excellent communication includes weekly e-newsletters from our principal, daily sheets in our 2 youngest classes, updates in our preschool and early elementary school, and regular updates from our upper elementary school. In addition 60% of our classrooms have class websites.

• The students are involved in multiple service learning projects each year. • CJDS is the only private school to have USC student teachers assigned by the College of Education. The school also enjoys a semester of USC “math buddies,” an interactive one-on-one opportunity for CJDS students to work with USC pre-service teachers.

• Warm Jewish teaching forms a positive Jewish identity, creates the beginnings of Jewish literacy, and focuses on character development. Your child will appreciate Judaism. Jewish heritage, culture, and customs are taught in a loving and respectful manner. Your child and family will have opportunities to build friendships and celebrate together with other families. You will be offered opportunities to participate in child development and Jewish life skills learning programs, together with a community of other parents. • Your child is guided to become a mentch (an outstanding person with integrity, empathy, and kindness). Through the staff being role models and encouraging student autonomy, children develop leadership abilities and life skills. Children also are involved in multiple social justice projects. One child commented that her school is so special because “she likes helping people while learning.”

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