Director of Early Childhood Learning: Ellen Dietrick
Children's Center Learning Committee Chair: Michele Markley
Administrator: Rachel Oblath
Teachers are the foundation of a quality educational program. For this reason, at Temple Beth Shalom Children's Center we maintain high standards. Our teachers are well versed in child development, both by educational training and relevant experience. Their hiring is reflective of their love of children and commitment to introducing children to a supportive, creative Jewish learning environment.
Our teachers support learning and exploration by closely observing each child and planning learning experiences based on the progress and interests of the children. Our teachers are certified as early childhood teachers by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care and participate in intense ongoing professional development which includes Judaic studies, early childhood education, special education, and curriculum development.
Shamayim Class: Judi Appelstein & Rebecca Levine
Keshet Class: Savita Brewer, Nancy Donahue & Mary Ann Woods
Tel Aviv Class: Lauri Cohen & Sasha Kopp
Kohavim Class: Jesse Feigenbaum & Maria Gonzalez-Griffith
Levana Class: Tina Golden & Gabi Soble
Haifa Class: Sauci Saffitz & Alison Simpson
Whole School Teacher: Rohan Turel
Etzim Class: Laura Walsh & Julia Wise
As a teacher I encourage children to feel secure and good about themselves and the decisions that they make. In my classroom I help children learn to negotiate conflicts and solve problems and to make new and solid friendships. The children in my classroom learn to cooperate and become members of a team, and most importantly, we have fun!
It's hard to believe that I'm beginning my fourteenth year at TBS where after many years with four and five year olds I started teaching three and four year olds last year. I also bring a degree in business administration and many years of experience as a volunteer in local community organizations and schools.
As a teacher, I look forward to providing an environment where a child will have rich and meaningful experiences and feel valued and where they feel safe to take risks and make mistakes. It is important that in my classroom children are supported in developing social and emotional skills and will learn to express their ideas and feeling while they share in collaborative efforts and experience the power of working together.I believe that the learning process is a collaboration among parents, teachers and the child. I look forward to working with families and strive to build a shared sense of responsibility in learning and the growth of the child as well as working together to give children the strong foundation for a lifelong love of learning.
I joined the TBS teaching team last year after teaching toddlers at FACE Children’s Center in Natick. I have a BA in International Relations and Psychology from Boston University and have also taken child development classes at Massachusetts Bay Community College.
To me parents and families are the most significant persons in the child’s life. I strive to work in a partnership with families to benefit the child. My door is always open to families at all times. Parents and family members are encouraged to actively participate in our program. Children are best served when the school and home environments work together.I believe that each child is a unique individual who develops at his or her own rate.
I strive to provide a developmentally appropriate program that focuses on the process of learning and helping children enjoy successful experiences.In my classroom the environment sets a tone that supports community building among children and adults as central to the learning experience. Children will learn to share in collaborative efforts and experience the power of working together. I believe in positive guidance techniques by establishing consistent, age appropriate limits. I strive to design a program to develop a child’s sense of independence, confidence and responsibility.To have the opportunity to participate in your child’s early learning experience is both an honor and a privilege that I will always treasure!
After studying education at the University of Rhode Island , I taught in a shelter for troubled adolescents, the Jewish Community Center in Providence RI, Chelsea Public Schools and several other preschools. I am thrilled to be starting my fifth year at TBSCC.
As a teacher, I work to provide the children in my care with a stable, safe, and secure environment where they may both explore and initiate activity. I seek to empower the children through play and adventure. I believe that children are intrinsically motivated to learn. I find their curiosity and their sense of wonder about the world inspiring.
In the nurturing and stimulating setting of our classroom, I will encourage the children to take risks and to make mistakes. I will allow them to see me do the same as we learn together. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be your child’s first teacher and I look forward to collaborating with you and to supporting you as a parent.
I have a BA and MA in computer science from Boston University. I also bring many years of experience as a community and school volunteer to the classroom. I have enjoyed working as a Kids on the Block puppeteer teaching elementary aged children about diversity, creating sets and props for a middle school drama program, and helping to create a school library. I am excited to begin my fourth year teaching at TBSCC.
Children are intrinsically motivated to learn. They are strong and capable of much more than we sometimes assume. They are curious and filled with rich imaginations. For young children learning can occur at every moment. It's an honor to have the chance to witness this learning.
My goal is to provide an environment where children feel safe enough to seek out challenges and make mistakes. Where children are encouraged to communicate, problem solve, and work through conflicts. Where we all experience a sense of wonder and a passion for learning. I strive to create a community where children and adults alike build strong relationships and work together to develop new possibilities.
I am thrilled to be in my third year as Director of Early Childhood Learning at TBS. Before arriving at TBS I earned a masters in teaching from the University of Virginia and spent ten years directing a Jewish early childhood program in Charlottesville, Virginia.
I believe children learn best when they feel safe, when the learning experiences are relevant to their lives, and when they feel comfortable taking risks as learners. I feel children learn best when they feel they are part of a community. As a teacher my goal is to develop an understanding of each individual child. I thrive on the challenge of creatively adapting and generating curriculum to meet the state standards, as well as, the children’s individual needs and the class as a community. In my classroom learning is geared towards the needs and emerging interests of the children. Through my graduate studies I have discovered my true passion for developing and implementing science curriculum in the early childhood years. I believe young children are naturally curious about the world around them. Developing inquiry skills early in life fosters children’s curiosity, understanding of the natural world, and their love of learning.
With a BA in early childhood education and a masters in curriculum and teaching with a focus on science for young children, I come to TBS this summer after teaching at the Early Childhood Learning Lab at Boston University.
Children have the right to places of beauty. Preschools need soft places, natural, gentle lighting, living plants, quiet areas and parent-child spaces. The use of home-like furnishings made of natural materials adds to a sense of connectedness between home and school. With the addition of books and a peaceful place to appreciate them, bonds between the child and adult are strengthened.
As a Jewish educator, I turn to Jewish sources for wisdom on raising and educating children. We must make our best effort as parents and teachers to work together as a team for the benefit of all our children. By sharing our Judaic heritage at TBSCC, children and their parents have an opportunity to engage in a rich and meaningful Jewish communal life.
My work with young children and their families spans many years. I studied psychology at SUNY Albany and early childhood education at Mass Bay Community College. I have taught at TBSCC for the past four years, returning to the classroom, where I find the greatest satisfaction, after 16 years as a director of a small preschool in Brookline.
Children come into our classrooms with an intrinsic sense of wonder about their world and their surroundings. My role as an educator is to nurture that sense of wonder and excitement about their world by supporting their interests and providing opportunities for discovery. Children’s ideas, interests, and personalities are an integral part of our learning environment.
Recognizing children as active learners in the acquisition of knowledge, my role is ensure that there are abundant materials available that expand children’s experiences and stimulate their thought process. I support and encourage opportunities for children to search for answers, take risks, make theories, and express them in a safe environment. As an educator in a Jewish school, I feel my role is to support and encourage an atmosphere of inquiry, dialogue, and transmission of Jewish history in a manner that is meaningful to preschool children. I strive to provide an environment where we see ourselves as stewards of this world, responsible for taking care of one another. Respect, kindness, and love towards all God’s creatures is encouraged.
While in high school, I worked with children as a volunteer at Lanterman State Hospital, where I learned to focus and appreciate and look at children for what they CAN do and to look at these institutionalized children as people first. I continued my education at California State Northridge with an emphasis on children with special abilities focusing on learning sign language. I am looking forward to my fifth year at TBSCC.
I had the opportunity to study early childhood education in Copenhagen, Denmark and work at an outdoor preschool program. I learned about their theories of the “the competent child” and I deeply believe that children are very capable. As a teacher, I want to create opportunities for my students to gain independence and confidence in the skills they have. It is incredible exciting and rewarding for me to watch children grow and learn about the world around them.
I want school to be messy, fun and exciting for you children. It is important to me to hear laughter and enthusiasm each and every day. I care about your children’s feelings and want them to feel valued in the classroom. It is important to me that your children learn about feelings, their own and others, through imaginative play. To me, play is learning. Through play students problem solve, share, grow and use skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.
I graduated from Brandeis with a degree in sociology and educational studies where I had the wonderful opportunity to work part time at an on campus preschool and work at an early childhood center in Copenhagen, Denmark. Before beginning at TBSCC last year, I taught four and five year olds at Lemberg Child Care Center in Waltham.
I love children! I love how they think about themselves and the world around them. I enjoy watching them interact with each other. I am delighted to watch their achievements - both big and small. I find tremendous joy in seeing their growth and their ability to take on new challenges as time goes by. I can’t imagine doing anything else!
As a teacher, I believe it is my job to create a safe and nurturing environment where children feel comfortable to take risks, to try new things, and to grow socially, emotionally and physically. By acting as a guide for the children, I allow their natural curiosity to direct their learning. Children need the opportunity to discover for themselves and practice skills in authentic situations. I believe providing access to hands-on activities and allowing adequate time and space for children to explore is crucial to their personal growth.
Children are our most precious gifts. I believe that the communication between home and school is crucial to the individual successes of each child. I welcome all families into my classroom and hope to learn from you and your children throughout the year. I feel honored to embark on this very special journey together.
I am beginning my third year as a TBSCC parent and my second year as teacher.I have a masters in Teaching from Simmons College and was previously the secular studies coordinator at New England Hebrew Academy in Brookline for 1-8th graders where I also taught third grade.
I have been a member of Temple Beth Shalom since my husband began as a rabbi here in 2006. I quickly became involved in temple activities, especially those of the Children Center where my daughter Mia began at age 2. When asked to join the Children's Center Learning Committee, I was thrilled to be able to give back to the school that had so nurtured my daughter. Wanting to do more, I eagerly became the vice chair and now chair of the Children's Center Learning Committee. I enjoy learning about best teaching practices and helping to plan strategically for the Children's Center. My daughter, Mia, just graduated the Children's Center and my son Adam is in his second year, now in the Tel Aviv class.
I strive to recognize and appreciate each individual who is part of my classroom (families, students, and colleagues.) I will truly listed to each of their ideas, as well as my own, and make time to explore these ideas as opportunities for learning that can be meaningful for the whole community. I believe I can learn as much or more from others, as they can learn from me.
I am committed to practicing patience, honesty, and kindness within the classroom. I hope to provide diverse opportunities for student, families, and teacher to explore and actively participate in the learning process. I am open to diverse teaching styles and classroom structures that will help support the individual needs of students, families, and colleagues.
Before joining the TBS team as Administrator three years ago, I earned a BS in elementary education and math from the College of William & Mary and a masters of education in reading and literacy from Boston College. I also spent many years as a wilderness therapy and outdoor educator and currently teach the wilderness class for teens at TBS.
My philosophy of preschool education is child-centered. I believe that every child is an individual with her or his own pattern of learning and timetable for social, intellectual, emotional and physical growth. I strive to attend to the individual needs of each child, serving as a catalyst to spark each child’s interests and desire to experiment and explore.
Further, I strive to create a safe, nurturing environment that encourages growth and independence in all developmental areas. I believe that children learn through play. I provide opportunities for children to interact with their environment and each other in ways that are meaningful to them. I work to develop a “hands on” curriculum that reflects the abilities and interest of the children. I also believe in introducing children to new ideas and concepts in all areas. In general, I want children to develop a genuine pleasure in learning and to develop confidence in their ability to learn and accomplish new tasks.
As a teacher, I strive to challenge each one of my students each and every day. Children are capable of making their own discoveries and that process helps them find their own competencies and better understand themselves. I find that self-confidence and independence are intrinsically related, and they help children turn into the people they are becoming. I think that school should be both challenging and fun, helping each child grow.
I love having the chance to develop relationships with each and every student and discovering what he or she is passionate about. From that understanding, I see the classroom as a launch pad to creativity and development that is both educational and exciting for everyone. I think that each child’s voice is important, and it’s something to be cherished.
A successful classroom requires input from both teacher and student to function optimally. I strive to help children find their own strong voice to express their feelings and ideas.By working in a Jewish school, I have the opportunity to share my passion for Judaism with new minds. Sharing the Jewish stories that I grew up hearing helps me to revisit my own childhood and helps me rediscover the magic of learning these stories all over again.
I bring a degree in Geography and Political Science from the University of Vermont and experience teaching children of all ages in camp and youth group settings. This is my third year teaching four and five year olds at TBSCC and I can also be found with the teens of TBS in my work as Youth Educator.
I am thrilled to be returning as a teacher in the Levana class at Temple Beth Shalom’s Children’s Center this year. It is a privilege and an honor to work in a school environment that is child-focused, warm, caring, safe, educational and geared towards the individual development of each child. I continue to be inspired by teachers’ focus on the students while we create a creativity-inspired learning environment.I believe that each of us is both teacher and learner, regardless of age or experience.
As a teacher, it is important to learn at every opportunity, and I learn something new everyday from every student in my classroom. I love observing children both at play and in structured activities, and I am continuously inspired by their curiosity about the world around them and their creativity. Children need safe and inspiring spaces to play, explore, and create, and I strive to do that in the classroom.
I love teaching in a Jewish school, I enjoy bringing various aspects of our rich heritage and tradition, music, stories, and holidays to all aspects of our curriculum. Shabbat is a favorite time each week, enabling me to share my own love of Shabbat and Judaism with the students. I love to teach Hebrew words and to invoke in the students a love for Israel and Jewish peoplehood.
I also hope to make each student a friend, as a way to model friendship among the children in the classroom. We are teachers and friends to the students, the parents, and the entire TBSCC community. I judge each person I meet as a potential teacher and friend, and I feel privileged to be among teachers who are not just inspiring and knowledgeable, but friendly and caring, as well.
My philosophy in working with children is based on a lot of ideas , beliefs, experiences and my love of children. I believe in process vs. product. and open ended projects. I like to create curriculum and develop it through and from the child's interest. My favorite activities for the children are hands on activities. I believe this is the best way to learn through experience.
Since nature is all around us, it's great to use all (almost all) natural materials in the classroom, such as wooden toys, fabric toys, wooden furniture, painting with pine cones, painting with leaves (and more). Let your imagination lead you!
In respecting children, I believe that furniture around the classroom and the school should be on children's level, even teachers. While engaging in play with the children I like to sit on the floor (or very close to it). I believe that children tune in to the most to calm and respectful tone of voice and I try to stay calm as often as possible so that children feel valued and respected.
Rohan has studied early childhood education at Mass Bay Community College and has taught early childhood and elementary students in the Boston area for the past five years.
Exploring the world with young children has always been one of my greatest pleasures. Working with young children is especially rewarding because, as a teacher, you collaborate so closely with the family. Together we spend the year exploring, observing, and discussing how your child views the world. For many children this is the first time they've ventured into the world without his/her parents. As a teacher it is a gift to accompany children as they experience things for the first time independent of their families - from making new friends, exploring new ideas and concepts, to learning how to put their lunches away. Watching the pride that emanates from children as they accomplish both small and large milestones during the year reminds me, on a daily basis, why I love to teach.
My goal for each child is to help them meet with success in the classroom by reaching their optimal potential. For a child under five this means exploring the world through play, reading wonderful books, learning new songs and poems, and engaging in activities that challenge and excite them. Most importantly, it means developing new relationships with peers and teachers that reinforce their self esteem and help them to grow.
After nearly twenty years directing and teaching at the Brookline Children’s Center, I joined the teaching team at TBSCC last summer.
As a teacher, my main educational philosophy centers around helping children develop and foster their own innate creativity. When given the time and environment, children are endless resources of artistry, imagination, and inventiveness. Supporting creative developments inside the classroom allow us teachers to guide children to create their own problem solving techniques. Creativity encourages young children to become confident, and goes along to further assist the development of critical thinking skills. In addition, creativity inside the classroom gives embodiment to children’s thoughts and ownership of their emotions.
It is a special kind of freedom and it also allows us to have fun! I find great joy in watching young children discover new talents and reach higher levels of understanding about themselves and the world around them through books, play, and hands on activities. I try to bring patience, learning, understanding, humor, and fun into the Children Center classrooms here at Temple Beth Shalom.
After studying philosophy and early education at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, I am currently studying expressive arts therapy at Lesley University and am beginning my third year at TBSCC.
Mary Ann Woods
As teachers, I believe that our role is “not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” I see children as strong and capable, natural researchers, and natural learners. Children benefit from loving adults who understand the importance of this incredible learning that happens during childhood.
I strive to foster a positive disposition toward learning through shared discovery with the children, and to work with families to support this goal. I share with the children my love of books, stories, poems and words. I believe that fostering a love of books is a way to “light the fire,” and open doors to lifelong learning. I try to bring to my teaching compassion, enthusiasm, flexibility, and a sense of humor. My own ongoing learning as an adult reminds me of the innate potential of each child; I am privileged to participate with them in their early school experiences.
I hold both a BA in psychology and sociology and a masters in teaching and special needs from Regis College. I have taught children of many ages at Charles River Acres Nursery School and the Natick Public Schools and this is my fourth year as part of the TBSCC teaching team.