MILLBURN, NJ - Children at the Hedwig Gruenewald Early Childhood Center of Congregation B’nai Israel in Millburn are busy learning the joys of giving at a very young age.

When Rochelle Baron, HGECC Director, first started there 19 years ago, she wanted to help children learn about and participate in the act of “tzedakah,” which in Hebrew means charity, righteousness and kindness. Every Friday morning as part of the weekly Shabbat program, the classes decide who the recipients will be for the month. Donations have gone to The Raptor Trust, the Interfaith Hospitality Network, Toys for Tots, the Valerie Fund, and Birthday Angels in Israel.

Baron is a hands-on director in the preschool, teaching “Together Time” for toddlers as well as a transitional Twos class. In the time that she has been at HGECC, she has added hours to the core program, updated and improved the curriculum, and oversaw the renovation of the school to its current state-of-the-art facility. Under her guidance, an after-school activities program was also added, including such activities as Preschool of
Rock, Happy Feet, Coach Rick, the Hartshorn Arboretum, Globetrotters and Hippity Hop dancing.

The HGECC curriculum is dedicated to nurturing each child’s individual growth in all subject areas as they develop emotionally, socially, cognitively and physically. The school is open to families of all faiths and backgrounds. Current attendees come from Millburn, Short Hills, Maplewood, South Orange, Union, Springfield, and Jersey City.

“We’ve created what we think is a very good environment for young people. We never know what the day is going to bring, but we look forward to working with and being with our little friends each day,” says Baron. Further information about the school can be obtained by calling 973-379-4040 or sending an email to