Last Thursday our school celebrated two special events, our Pre-K Graduation and our 25th Anniversary. This was the perfect time to look back to our roots and forward to our future. When Fern Moscav started the program here at Beth Shalom, it was a 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. program with 8 students and 4 teachers. We now are a 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. program with over 100 children and over 30 teachers. We have new leadership with Jennifer Slattery transitioning into the director position, Maria Dougherty into the Master Teacher position, and Kara Olson into the Web Specialist position. As our community grows and changes, we change with it but still keep our commitment to excellence.
It was a privilege to honor Fern Moscav with a Scholarship Fund named after her. Fern made sure that each child had access to a quality education, and we wanted to uphold that tradition. Fern was our new director’s preschool teacher, and Jennifer has the same level of commitment and care for educating each and every child. We also recognized Morah Bernie Lundy for all of her years of hard work and dedication and Stefi Kirschner for all her work with our school when she was President. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child, and we truly have a beautiful village of people here at Beth Shalom.
Part of our philosophy here at Beth Shalom is to practice the Reggio Emilia Philosophy This approach to education, which began in Reggio Emilia, Italy, focuses on the educators and students as co-learners. We have really seen our educators shine this year. We have integrated Reggio Emelia into all parts of our learning including a new Art Studio. This practice gives our students a more prominent role in guiding their education and how they learn. It is said that educators learn just as much from their students, and practicing Reggio Emilia truly makes this so.
So on Thursday night, we celebrated 25 years of educating children, but most importantly we celebrated with an amazing group of Pre-K students. There was dancing and singing, and some of their artwork from the studio was displayed around the ballroom. One of the final songs was the Hatikvah. If you have never heard our Pre-K class sing the Hatikvah you are missing something breathtaking. Rabbi Werbow then gathered all the Pre-K students to the middle of the room, and the teachers assisted in wrapping the children in the Torah. The teachers held the Torah around them, and we sang. Everyday at school we symbolically wrap our children in the Torah. We teach the roots of Judaism, the traditions, and how to love each other. We create a strong foundation in every child, and that is something that truly makes us outstanding.