Hello to all reading this blog post. Please allow me to introduce myself; my name is Amy Jacobs. I am a Temple Member, a coordinator of the Shalom Tots program, and the acting Director of Early Learning here at Temple Ohav Shalom Center for Early Learning, or TOSCEL.
For those of you who are not already familiar, TOSCEL is an early childhood program that is guided by Jewish values and inspired by the philosophy of Reggio Emilia schools. We are proud of our commitment to supporting and welcoming families into our community no matter their background or their relationship to Judaism. At TOSCEL, children and families find a warm, nurturing environment where a love of learning is established and nurtured. We are proud of the educational opportunities we provide to area families and we are so grateful to have been able to welcome our existing families back this year and to invite new families into our community.
After a year-long hiatus of in-person programming due to the global pandemic, we returned for the 2021-2022 school year with a lot of work to do. We worked hard to recruit new families into our program while navigating our post-Covid world. With our Leadership Committee and the TOS Covid Task Force to guide us, we created policies and procedures designed to keep our community as safe as possible. We continue to have one of the most stringent Covid policies in the area preschools. Our standards, policies, and procedures have allowed us to minimize school and classroom closures, provide a safe working environment for our staff, and ensure the safety and health of our students.
Although this year had its challenges, it also brought a lot of joy. In addition to rebuilding our preschool, we were able to run and expand our programming for Shalom Tots. Shalom Tots is an initiative of Temple Ohav Shalom for families with children ages five and younger. The goal of Shalom Tots is to welcome, engage, and give young families in the community the opportunity to connect with each other while creating a foundation for the Jewish identity in our children. Shalom Tots offers a collection of programming, such as Friday night Tot Shabbat, Saturday morning Shabbat Sha-Brunch, and joint programming with PJ Library. In addition to our Shalom Tots program, we were proud and excited to be a part of this year’s Purim Carnival and Mitzvah Day among other events and we are excited to continue to show up for the youngest members of our community and their families.
We are excited to ring in the 2022-2023 school year with new programs, new partnerships, and new events, and we are excited to invite you along with us! If you would like to learn more about our current offerings, our plans for the future, or how you can get involved, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or to any one of our fantastic educators.
I am so grateful for our fantastic community. I would like to express my gratitude to Rabbi Weisblatt, Grant Halasz, Jackie Leicht, Aaron Brauser, Bob Gibbs, Beth Mongilio, Ellen Sapinkopf, and Cindy Harrison who have had a strong presence in the preschool and have shown incredible support for our program this year. I would also like to thank our fantastic educators and staff who have worked tirelessly to provide quality education and a warm, nurturing, and welcoming atmosphere for our students and families this year and in years past; Sandy Stover, Bonnie Valinsky, Jill Roskin, Deb Taylor, Jen Marinelli, Sara Devos, Shelley Piechowscz, Lisa Strabala, Charissa Ruth, Jennifer Mars, and Veronica Burke. And my final thanks go to our incredible families. Thank you for your ongoing support, your kindness, understanding, and flexibility in navigating this turbulent year, and for your trust in us. Thank you.