An educator reflects on a recent visit to a Reggio-inspired preschool
By Carol Garber
Carol Garber offers the following refection after visiting the Chai Center Preschool in Dix Hills on November 3, 2014. This was the first In-site-ful Journey visit for the 2014-2015 school year. Each year schools are selected as examples of innovation in Jewish early childhood settings. Zoey Saccks, Early Childhood Director, led the participating educators on a tour of the school and their outdoor nature play space. (SC)
I was totally impressed by the Chai Center. As soon as you walked into the building you felt the warmth, love and inspiration.
As I observed their outdoor space, I was taken back to my own experiences, of going under the sprinklers in the summer and just playing outside. I was able as to experience playing in mud and just being a child in the great outdoors.
The vegetable garden brought me back to the time when my youngest daughter and I would go every spring to Hicks Nursery and buy vegetables. We would pick out our plants with care, and plant them in our garden. After my husband got tired of pulling the weeds, we went to container gardening, where it was easier for us to get to the weeds.
To see the love and inspiration that Zoey created in her school was so totally impressive. I applaud her for following through on her vision and dream and I hope that I will be able to follow suit on a very small scale with my dream.
Click here to see a short video clip of Zoey sharing where she gets her materials from and the importance of setting up the environment in a way that helps share out the school’s values.
Click here to see a 1 minute video documentation of children in the garden which showcases the importance of unstructured outdoor play.
Carol Garber is the Nursery School Director at East Meadow Jewish Center on Long Island.