Read BEECC Director Robin Cohen's thoughts about BEECC and early childhood education, as published in Congregation Beth Emeth's monthly Shofar Newsletter.
January 2020: FROM DARKNESS COMES LIGHT
As many of you know, our dear long-time beloved congregant, Shelly Kaplan, passed away tragically in July. Somehow amidst the darkness in their grief, Shelly’s husband Mark and children Leslie and Jeff mustered up the strength to set up a fund in memory of Shelly at the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties called “Shelly’s Fund for a Beautiful Tomorrow.” Being that Shelly had a strong bond with her Jewish faith as well as taught for a year at BEECC (affectionately known as “Morah Gram”) Mark met with me to see if there was any way his foundation could support BEECC.
December 2019: 2020: THE YEAR OF PERFECT VISION
Two-and-a-half years ago when I first began as the director at BEECC I had a “perfect” vision for the preschool. If only visions were that simple to put into action! Making a vision a reality requires the ability to SEE: a different kind of “vision.” The ability to see beyond your own vision to notice and account for what’s in front of you.
November 2019: LONG-TERM INVESTMENTS
When you hear “long term investments” what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Your house? The stockmarket? Really, essentially anything having to do with money. I would like to change the paradigm for a moment and suggest that we think less tangibly. I’m thinking of values...
October 2019: OUR COMMUNITY IS ALL WIRED UP!
Keeping with our intention of Inspiring Deeper Connections, the teachers and I were inspired for our Back to School Social to host an event that would not only help deepen the connections amongst the members of our community, but simultaneously create something tangible together that would represent our connection.
September 2019: INSPIRING DEEPER CONNECTIONS
This summer, we were blessed to have many new families decide to enroll their children in BEECC and join our community. Tour after tour, the feedback I received was how warm and welcoming our school feels. Creating a positive school culture coupled with building a strong sense of community is something that has been and still is a priority for me as the director of BEECC...
August 2019: TEACHERS AS RESEARCHERS
Last month I attended a NAREA (North American Reggio Emilia Alliance) conference in Atlanta. It was the closest I felt to my study tour in Reggio Emilia, Italy itself three years ago! It’s like I went through a proverbial car wash and my focus on this upcoming year feels clean and refreshed - I’m shining!
July 2019: “THESE LITTLE CHILDREN AT BEECC, WE’RE GONNA LET THEM SHINE . . .”
What do these three things have in common: gluten free cupcakes, fire alarms and wrappers? Give up? All three of these things emerged as topics of interest due to genuinely honoring and bringing to light children’s thoughts and ideas.
June 2019: JOY IN THE BATHROOM
As I was walking through the hallway in the preschool, I came upon the two-year-old class mid-transition from the bathroom to the classroom. I stopped in my tracks, for no matter how many years I have been working with children, I am always blown away by how much they grow and change over the course of the year. This is especially apparent in our two-year olds – their year with us is practically a third of their lives! Watching these children independently wash their hands,...
May 2019: HOME SWEET HOME
A parent who attended our BEECC led Friday Family Friendly Service last month shared with me as she left, “this was exactly what I needed tonight - to come here - it feels like home.”
March 2019: LOOKING BEYOND THE MASKS . . .
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Purim? Personally, I think wearing costumes and eating hamentashen are pretty neck and neck (with the Megillah close behind), but for today’s purposes I would like to focus on wearing costumes!
February 2019: RELATIONSHIPS, PARTNERS: "LOVE IS IN THE AIR"
But not the typical February kind of love you may be thinking. One of the things I love about our school is the relationships we build and foster with our parents. At BEECC, we view and treat parents as our partners.
January 2019: "I BEEN THERE!"
As I was walking a small group of children from the flex space to the classroom to make latkes last month, one child suddenly stopped in her tracks in front of the gift shop, pointed to the couch area, and said enthusiastically “I been there!”
December 2018: GEMILUT HASADIM: THE GIVING OF LOVING KINDNESS
“Each act may seem small, but together, we can light up the world.” The tragedies and dark events that have been happening in the world have confirmed to me just how important the work is that we are doing with the children in the preschool.
November 2018: SHABBAT SING: COMMUNITY, JOY, INQUIRY, AND RAINBOWS
If you come visit our school on a Friday morning, you will find that we stop everything to join together in the sanctuary. Shabbat Sing is a weekly tradition filled with singing, learning, and connecting.
October 2018: OUR EXCITING NEWS
How many languages do you speak? Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could speak hundreds of languages? Think of how much that would stimulate your brain. Think of how many ways you could express yourself. Believe it or not, here at BEECC we believe children do have hundreds of languages – hundreds of ways of expressing themselves...
September 2018: FEEDING YOUR SOUL
You never know how people are going to impact you and the impact you are going to have on others. Sometimes it catches you out of the blue – like it happened to me today.
August 2018: L’CHAYIM TO LEARNING!
“The most important thing is not what you did, it’s what you are going to learn from it.” When I was asked to write and (literally) frame the most powerful quote from my seminar to Reggio Emilia in March of 2016, this is the quote I chose.
July 2018: MYTH-BUSTERS!
Cleanses are all the rage these days, and being that this is the anniversary of my very first Shofar article, one year’s cycle of sharing my thinking surrounding the experiences at our preschool, I would like to do a little column cleanse.
June 2018: TRADITION AND TRANSITION
One of my favorite things about Judaism is how it is filled with traditions. As the school year comes to a close, I have been thinking a lot about the connection between Jewish traditions and life transitions.
May 2018: “BUD”DING SCIENTISTS
On a walk with my mom and children during my visit to Long Island over Passover, I discovered a huge branch covered with fuzzy buds lying in the middle of the sidewalk. I of course needed to figure out a way to take it back home to BEECC since it was filled with potential!
April 2018: IT TAKES A VILLAGE
Spring is here! And as those fresh tender new leaves are appearing on the trees, I have “growing” on my mind. There is so much growth happening in the preschool – on so many levels.
March 2018: CAPTURING HIDDEN LEARNING POTENTIAL
Have you ever taken the eye exam that tests your peripheral vision and you have to click a button every time you see a squiggly line?
February 2018: SHABBAT SING
Shabbat is one of my all-time favorite holidays – No matter how unpredictable a week you have had, Shabbat is a constant and consistency in our lives each and every week.
January 2018: THE GIFT OF TIME
As I spent time in the Gimel (3-year-old) classroom this morning, I couldn’t help but smile at what came to mind. Time. A refreshing version of time. The kind that reminds me of what life should be about.
As the holiday season was approaching, the faculty and I spent some time thinking about what this meant for our youngest citizens. How do we get them through the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and New Years with joy and purpose?
November 2017: THREADS
Imagine you are a quilter. You put a lot of time and thought into the kinds of fabrics and patterns you want to use. It can be the highest quality fabrics and the most elaborate and intricate designs, but ultimately, without the thread, it won’t all come together.
October 2017: NEW BEGINNINGS
In thinking about the values behind the High Holidays, and the school we aspire to be at BEECC, I cannot help but connect the two to the idea of “new beginnings”.
Last month I wrote about what is at the core of our program here at BEECC – our image, or view of children. We respect them as competent and capable thinkers and researchers. One important piece I didn’t get to was what we strive to do at BEECC to support this view.
At BEECC, we are inspired and influenced by many prominent researchers and theorists. We are also influenced by various philosophies. One of the main philosophies that we are inspired by is the Reggio Emilia Approach.