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About JB

JB has been an incredible community for us from day one and has particularly stood up for and by us when I was in the hospital. Of the many things to be grateful for, near the top of the list was the fact that Isaac got to still get up and go to school every day with an administration and morahs who care so much about him and our family.

-Abby Bar-Lev Wiley, Current Parent 

Learn more about our programs by clicking the links below.

A Note from our Director

We’re glad you’re here.

At Jewish Beginnings, we serve the entire Jewish community; all are equal, welcome, accepted, and encouraged. Our families represent the broadest range of backgrounds and affiliations within our Jewish community.

Holding ourselves to the highest standards of early childhood education, each child experiences an accredited, rich, engaging, Judaic and general curriculum with a unique focus on developing the socio-emotional skills children need to thrive. Inspired by the award-winning Reggio Emilia approach to early education, we see each child as remarkably unique, capable, and resilient and it guides our approach to learning.

People don’t just “send their kids” to Jewish Beginnings, they become part of the JB family. In fact, many of our K4 students have been with us since infancy, progressing through each stage of our program and proudly graduating as the most senior students in the school. 


Over 50 years of instruction and impact, we have created a warm, inviting, engaging, and family-oriented community rich in Jewish tradition and educational achievement. From nutritious meals prepared in-house and our commitment to providing flexible year-round care, to our extensive variety of extracurriculars and family events, we are an extension of each child’s family, building upon, and supporting the learning, growth, love, and warmth that happens at home. 


We invite you to learn more about the JB community and experience it in person by scheduling a tour. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at (414) 962-2444 or I’d love to hear from you!


Mrs. Devorkie Shmotkin


Note from Director

Our Story

Throughout our 50-years as the premier Jewish preschool in Milwaukee, our name has changed, as has our “look.” What has remained constant is our passion for providing preschool-aged children, a loving environment to develop a passion for learning, share the joys of our Jewish heritage, and shape a positive self-identity rooted in their Judaism.


NAEYC accredited for 25 years with a long-standing 5-Star YoungStar rating; our curriculum is comprehensive, engaging, and rich in experiential learning.  A model of Jewish diversity and cooperation, we welcome and embrace families from the entire spectrum of Jewish observance and backgrounds. 


Our logo reflects the warmth and closeness we experience as a JB Family and community. Reaching for a Jewish star, the child strives upward, knowing they are safe to explore, question, and grow to their fullest, brightest potential, surrounded by the warmth and love of their teachers and friends.


We invite you to peruse our website and schedule a tour where you will see with your eyes and feel in your heart our sincerity, warmth, and commitment to excellence. Experience the amazement, possibility, and awe, where children blossom and thrive every day. 

Our Story

Jewish Beginnings is such an individualized, innovative educational program, with beautiful facilities, and wonderful staff. They manage to make us feel like one family unit and completely at home.


- L. S., Current Parent



We see each child as remarkable, unique, capable, and resilient. Guided by the Reggio Emilia approach and endorsed by NAEYC, we educate with sensitivity to each child’s needs, respecting their interests and learning styles. Experienced and passionate, our teachers are experts in early childhood education and are your true partner in your child’s academic growth, socio-emotional health, and physical well-being.


At Jewish Beginnings we:

  • Believe the environment is critical to learning: Classrooms and outdoor spaces, are designed to provoke curiosity and stimulate discovery and possibility.

  • Understand and encourage children’s multiple symbolic languages: Respecting and encouraging the various ways children express themselves through artwork, conversation, early writing, dramatic play, music, dance, and communication outlets.

  • Believe the teacher should serve as a guide: Teachers are researchers and co-learners with children. Their primary role is to learn alongside children, becoming involved in group learning experiences as guides and resources.

  • Greatly value and encourage home / school relationships: Children, teachers, and parents work together, building a community of inquiry, with the child’s well-being, emotional growth, and academic development always central.

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Curriculum and Judaic Values

Inspired to equip our young students to be lifelong learners with the academic and social-emotional skills to thrive in our ever-changing world, we see each child as remarkable, unique, capable, and resilient. Each child is educated to their needs, respecting their interests and learning styles, as inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach.  


Holding ourselves to the highest accreditation standards of NAEYC, our curriculum is comprehensive and engaging, blending Jewish customs, values, and traditions with early learning academic benchmarks.  Through relevant and joyful understanding and expression, Jewish pride becomes a meaningful and treasured part of each child’s identity.

Exhibiting significant growth, our students graduate from Jewish Beginnings as independent thinkers who are kind, passionate about learning, and prepared with the tools to develop healthy, positive relationships with peers and adults

Curriculum and Judaic Values



Safety is our number one priority. Trained security personnel guard our building, and our key entry system provides an additional layer of surveillance. We practice and uphold the highest standards of cleanliness and adhere to the strictest food preparation and serving guidelines. Our viral disinfecting and sanitizing cabinet operates all day and is the centerpiece of our comprehensive sanitizing and disinfecting program. Each night, a trained crew deep cleans and prepares our school for a new day of safe and healthy learning.


An extension of your child’s home, the classroom layout, furniture, and play items within, are chosen with intention and care. Teachers thoughtfully arrange our bright and cozy rooms to inform children’s play and provoke exploration. Guided by the Reggio philosophy, we see the classroom as the third teacher, designed to allow independent inquiry guided by children's’ interests. Wood furniture and natural materials help promote imagination. Your child will feel at home at JB.



Our trained chef prepares daily fresh, nutritious, certified kosher meals and snacks on-site. Asked often by parents for recipes of foods their child raves about at home, mealtime at Jewish Beginnings is not what you might recall from your days at school. Entering our halls, the delicious aroma of homemade meals welcomes you in, with the added delight of the scent of freshly baked challah wafting through the halls every Friday morning.



Every day, weather permitting, children enjoy outdoor play on our spacious playgrounds. The outdoor area is complete with Amish-crafted creative playthings, tricycle paths, a mud kitchen, and green space. A vegetable and herb garden offers hands-on learning, stoking curiosity and wonder through the process of planting, growing, harvesting, and enjoying the produce. Less than a mile away, students enjoy hiking adventures to Klode Park nestled on the bluff of Lake Michigan. An indoor gymnasium provides a bright alternative space for large motor indoor play and weekly gym classes.


We’d love to meet you and learn more about how Jewish Beginnings can best serve your family’s needs.

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