Reflections on a Month at Gan Ami

Reflections on a Month at Gan Ami

Dear Gan Ami families and friends,

On June 8th, Gan Ami reopened our spaces in a changed world.  Masks, thermometers and drop-off car lanes were new additions and we all wondered if it would change the feeling, the neshama, the spirit of Gan Ami.

We as faculty were full of anticipation for that first day.  Drop off came and went and as I walked back to my office, I heard the amazing sounds of little voices, laughter, and stories being told.  It felt so normal, so real, so overdue.  We were home.  We all were at peace, even with the changes.

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The weeks that followed exemplified the vibrancy and dedication of our faculty – messages and photos sent via Remini, creative experiences in and out of the classroom, and so many outdoor magical moments.  We all marveled at the squeals of laughter during water play, the looks of wonder on the K4 children’s faces as they explored nature here at the JCC, and the sweet faces and smiles of the babies who grew into toddlers during our time apart.  These educators knew that we had to rediscover what exploration looks like for children, we had to provide as many hands-on experiences as possible, preserving the learning and growth opportunities that we know children need to flourish.

What have we learned in the past month?  We are still inclusively Jewish, celebrating Shabbat, Havdalah and every day moments with much joy and care, interacting with Miss Wendy via Zoom, saying blessings together, and noting God’s gifts to our natural world.

We know our most important job is still cultivating relationships – between teachers and children, teachers and families, and the school and our community.  While these relationships may look different through the lens of a computer or behind a mask, this strong and beautifully intimate connection is deeply felt and treasured by us all.

We are on a journey, a masa, in connection with one another.  We know there will be uncertainty ahead.  We will continue to provide high quality educational experiences in an inclusive Jewish way.  We will continue to build relationships, becoming creative even with physical distance as an obstacle.  We will belong together – as one Gan Ami family, our mishpacha.  We are home.

In gratitude,

Stacy Synold
Director of Early Childhood Education