From Ora: Preschool is a Team Sport And Today Caroline was the Quarterback

I could tell right away that something wasn’t right. Debbie came to get me in my office; she was worried about a young woman who had come to visit our school. After a few minutes visiting one of our classrooms, she was brought back to our office because she said she wasn’t feeling well. When Debbie brought me to the preschool office, I asked the woman if she was okay but I could see her shaking slightly, like someone who is very nervous. It looked strange, although not something to panic about, so I asked her for the name of someone who could pick her up, which she willingly gave me. I left the room and when I came back in I quickly saw that she was beginning to have a seizure. With the Mommy and Me class singing in the background – 15 moms and babies behind the office partition, I lifted her off the chair and laid her on the cool floor with a soft coat under her head. Call Caroline Cardullo, our aquatics director and our resident handler of emergencies; call the ambulance. Debbie and Hadas quickly made the calls. I sat on the floor next to her, letting her know that we were taking care of her, and Caroline was by my side ten minutes before the ambulance ever arrived. She knelt by the woman, holding her head and asked her a few essential questions, which at first she could not even answer. Caroline brought a calm command to the situation, holding the woman’s head, reassuring her and talking softly, reassuring us and helping us to calm our racing hearts. By the time the ambulance came, the young woman was coming to but clearly exhausted by the experience. The EMTs wheeled her out of the building, we put the office back in order, and the day continued. The children and mommies kept singing and playing, and the office phone continued to ring.

When Debbie, Hadas and I realized that there was something wrong this morning, we all three jumped into action and did not panic. What the three of us learned is that we are a good team, even in an emergency. The irony of the morning was that I had just hung the sheets in the office for the staff to sign up for CPR and First Aid. The incident this morning reminded me that we do this not just for licensing; we take these courses for the situations we hope will never happen in our preschool. All of these courses are taught by Caroline, who teaches the material, not only with knowledge and competence, but also with a great sense of humor, which makes the hours of training after a long day of work fly by. I am sure that the “action” mode I kicked into was in part thanks to Caroline, who taught my last CPR and First Aid course. Something she taught had stuck with me and everything she taught me can use a refresher course every two years, as mandated by the State.

Today I blew the shofar, I helped a class clean up after an encounter with pomegranates, I toured a prospective parent, I responded to emails, and I sent a young woman to the hospital. So it is in the life of a director; you never know what you will encounter on each new day, and if you are lucky, you have a solid team with you for whatever may come your way.




Gan Ilanot –

photo-12Time is passing and the class is becoming more familiar to all of us. As we’ve fallen into a more steady rhythm, we’ve been able to explore topics in greater depth. This week, much time has been spent discussing who we are and what our connections to one another are as well. I’ve been amazed at some of what I’m seeing and hearing. Its become obvious that our children place high value on their families and even on their new found friendships in class.  One clear example of this was Eric.  After learning that he had gone to the White House to have dinner and even met the PRESIDENT, I decided to ask him about it at our gathering time.

Sarah: Eric, I hear you had a really amazing dinner last night with a very, very special person!  Would like like to tell all of us who it was?

Eric: yes. It was my Aunt.

Completely charming and I hope that his Aunt hears about it.  It does go to show though, that family means more to these little ones than anyone. Even the President of the United States.

As part of our discussions on relating to others, we’ve worked on using our manners to demonstrate just how well we ARE beginning to work together as a group. We’ve even begun putting into place some of the ideas we’ve had to make snack and lunch a peaceful time to nourish ourselves and relax with each other. Earlier last week, the conversation started…

Brandon: it’s too loud! all the talking hurts my ears!
Sarah & Gera : yes, it is noisy. Is it hard to relax when it’s too noisy.
Several children: Yes!
S&G: Have you been anywhere that you did like to relax and be peaceful while you ate? How could we make this better?

Maya: I went to a restaurant and they had candles and it was really quiet.

Eli: Me too. I had macaroni and cheese and a hamburger.

S: hmmm, So what could we do to make our lunch someplace nice, like a restaurant?

Ari: I like restaurants.

S&G: why? what makes it better in a restaurant?

Kate: Flowers!

As our discussion continued, we ended up deciding that we liked dimmer lights, candles, flowers and soft music when we eat.  So far we have 3 of the 4 and the battery powered candles will come soon we hope!  Today snack was amazing!  We began with a chime and ate to soft, classical music.  The children were taking their snack from a family style bowl and then passing it along to their friends.   I heard many “please, thank you’s and excuse me’s”.   It was peaceful and the children seemed to take pride in their actions.  Sometimes something as simple as changing the environment can make all the difference in the world.  We’ll keep working on our 3 star “Ristorante Gan Ilanot”.  Keep an eye out at home for lots of beautiful manners!


Also on the topic of eating…theres been lots of talk of apples & honey with the upcoming new year holiday!  We even sang and danced in music to a song about them!  We would love to bake an apple tart or apple pie!  Do any of you have a fairly easy family recipe that they would be willing to share with us?  We’d love to know if you do something at home that we could also do at school!