WHIM (What Inspires Me) is a weekly post by Cathy Gardner, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton. Each week Cathy will discuss current events, important news stories and all things related to Jewish Federations and the Dayton Jewish community.
The ABC's of Preschool
At our most recent JFGD Board meeting, we spent some time discussing the JCC’s Early Childhood Education program. As one of our most important programs, our Early Childhood currently has 99 children enrolled, from 6 weeks of age through kindergarten.
I’ve always had the highest esteem for our Early Childhood, and the wonderful teachers and staff who work with our youngest community members. As I listened to the discussion at our board meeting, I realized this amazing program holds a very special place in the heart of our community.
For many of our Jewish families, Early Childhood is the beginning of their little one’s connection to Judaism. Children learn about mitzvot, tzedakah, and to be kind and responsible. Rochel Simon from Chabad of Greater Dayton visits weekly to teach Judaics. And if you have ever walked into our building on Friday mornings, you’ve probably heard the joyous voices and music coming from our multipurpose room, where the children gather to celebrate Shabbat.
For many of our non-Jewish families, the benefits of attending our program are immeasurable. Because our Early Childhood is based on Judaism, the children are exposed to cultural and religious practices they may otherwise not experience until later in life, or perhaps never at all. The children connect with each other ~ regardless of religious background ~ and develop a tolerance and understanding for those who may have different beliefs.
It was so refreshing to listen to our board members who currently have children enrolled, or have previously had children enrolled in our Early Childhood Education program rave about their experiences. Their comments shared a common theme, which is once they drop their children off for the day, they never have to worry or be concerned about their well-being. They know our staff is top notch, our curriculum is excellent, and our care is unsurpassed.
I am incredibly proud of Audrey MacKenzie (our Early Childhood Education Director) and her entire staff for providing families in our community such a wonderful opportunity for their children.