Hopefully, the findings of the recent JECEI survey of Pittsburgh Jewish preschools discussed in last week’s Chronicle (“Early childhood survey charts potential, challenges for Jewish schools,” May 14) will help the schools identify areas that need improvement.
As all of us educators know, no school exists that can’t be improved. However, a front page article focusing only on the negatives of our preschools is a shame. I must take the opportunity to say publicly that my two children’s (ages 2 and 5) experiences at Beth Shalom Preschool have been spectacular in every way.
Most of the teachers in the baby rooms do not, as the survey notes, have the credentials to be Jewish educators. By the time children are 1 1/2, their teachers at Beth Shalom are knowledgeable Jewish educators.
My son sings dozens of Hebrew songs, says brachot before he eats, bakes challah most Fridays, loves shul and holidays, begs to make Havdalla all week, and literally talks in his sleep about giving tzedaka! And I know from other parents that he is more the rule than the exception among Beth Shalom 2-year-olds.
My daughter quizzes me on Hebrew vocabulary (hers is unbelievable), sings the first paragraph of the shema before she goes to bed (I didn’t teach her this), asks me questions like, “Mommy have you ever heard of Theodore Herzl?” She tells me about the parsha, and beams with pride as she sings “Hatikva.”
The results of the survey certainly surprised me and are not in any way reflective of our experience at Beth Shalom.
Sara London Rothschild