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Insights from the Intersection of Childhood and Education

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Welcome to Preschool!

Preschool officially begins this week but our teachers have been busy setting up the classrooms and preparing for back-to-school night (happening later today!). But really, they are not only fun and enthusiastic teachers, they're also fantastic interior decorators. Here are a few notes on how to create a welcoming, homey classroom (and home?):

The busy scene above resulted in this serene setting later on in the day...

There is clearly a retro phone thing going on! Remember the whirring sound of the rotary dial?

Inviting, cozy nooks abound.

One of the preschool's decorating secrets is that you'll walk around a classroom and suddenly you'll spot a little surprise that you did not notice before, such as Jack the Fish, who, it turns out, has been in the Blue Room for a few years!

Why put crayons in a simple box when they can be in cute little jars on a two-tier server?

On the closet door: No ordinary bland bags, oh no!

Baskets, wooden bins, cute bowls corral tactile bits and pieces to dig into: shells, glass beads, and blocks, but of course, no ordinary blocks...

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

An Akiba-Schechter Visit Echoes in China

Preschoolers in Beijing show off their gifts from Akiba-Schechter

At the end of May, our preschool hosted a group of early childhood educators from China. The multi-day visit was a highlight of the school year for our school, so it was especially meaningful to recently receive the following message and photos from our Chinese guests and hear how our children's messages and gifts made their impact in preschools in China: 

Here's the message we received from the trip coordinator:

"Thanks for being so open, warm, and willing to exchange ideas and thoughts. The arrangement to visit different classes, meeting with staff and teachers of different roles, and having a mom who speaks Chinese and is highly involved in your program really helped us to obtain a full picture of the school and gain an in-depth understanding of how teaching and learning takes place at Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School. Thanks also for giving the visitors opportunities to present their own programs and opening further discussions. We were all moved and inspired by the home-like environment, the harmonious atmosphere, the documentation, and the love at Akiba."

Some individual reactions from our Chinese visitors:

“The curriculum is what I would love to learn the most, it’s challenging but also opened my mind. The portfolio of the children were also inspiriting, thanks for being so open.”

“Reggio is really taking place there.”

“The Jewish culture has been well integrated into the daily life in the program.”

“The documentation was amazing.”

“Thanks for your generosity of sharing without any withholding”

“We find that this is the program that is most closely aligned with RYB’s culture, we would love to continue the conversation and sharing what’s going on both sides.”

“I would give 100 out of 100 for this learning experience”

“I would love to bring what I learned to my practice in China.”

We were happy to hear that in early July, our Chinese visitors shared their Akiba-Schechter learning experience in Beijing. More than 500 people watched the video, and they included early childhood professionals or parents with young children.

We look forward to continuing our relationship and to many more mutually beneficial exchanges!