As part of Temple Sinai’s 50th anniversary “Million Dollar Challenge” campaign, the synagogue is preparing to renovate its preschool and Sunday school space. With the opening of registration for the 2019-2020 school year, families can look forward to new programs and a completely new atmosphere for their tots.
The current space has served as a good home for the preschool and religious school for the past 14 years, but it has created its fair share of challenges as a shared space with the Noar Sunday School serving kindergarteners through sixth-graders.
Jamah Maman, director of preschool and Young Family Learning & Engagement, explained that current furniture is stationary and heavy, making it difficult to transition for different needs.
“We wanted to pick out furniture that is modular and can be used for multiple age groups,” she said. “Storage has also been a big issue, and so the new space has more storage space that allows us to better transition between preschool and Noar Sunday School.”
A lot of thought went into how to share the space to better enhance education, she said, “and that involved research into methodologies and room layouts and what works best with teaching styles.”
Previously, Temple Sinai’s preschool only ran on a half-day schedule, allowing only a portion of Sinai’s families with children under 5 years old to participate. The new space is designed to meet licensing requirements to allow for full-day options.
Among the changes required for the licensing process are appropriate bathrooms, sinks and ventilation for diapering. Changes to the playground are also a requirement for licensing.
“These changes will allow us to use the outdoors as an extension of the indoors as we know that play is a core part of any child’s development,” Marisa Kaiser, director of the Center for Learning & Engagement at Temple Sinai, said in a video explaining the project.
The renovation is slated to begin this summer, and Sinai’s camp will be relocated to Springmont Montessori School while the work is being done.
The capital campaign runs from Feb. 1 to March 15, and all donations are being matched by the Walter and Frances Bunzl Family Foundation, up to $1 million.
According to Maman, the plan is currently to move back into the space during the second week of August, with the reopening expected for Aug. 19.