Remodel Welcomes Kehillat Israel Preschool Students

By Sarah Stockman
Staff Writer

On Tuesday, September 5, students at the Kehillat Israel Early Childhood Center were greeted by a surprise: a completely remodeled school.

Construction took place over the summer, with only 8.5 weeks to revamp the entire building, from classrooms to bath rooms to front desks.

“We basically redid the entire welcome area, turning what had been a team lounge into a community lounge so parents have a place to hang out, redid all the floors and ceilings, some lighting, all the hallways and the bathrooms,” KI Executive Director Matt Davidson said. “It was a monumental feat, for sure.”

Kehillat Israel, which was founded on Sunset at Muskingum in 1950, opened the ECC in 1965 to provide schooling for children from 18 months through transitional kindergarten. The school was included in the expansive new synagogue, built in 1997.

A preschool child appreciates the view out of the new triangle-shaped window. Photo: Matthew Stockman

After 20 years, Davidson said, “It was time to bring the classroom and offices up to speed. That was really the genesis of the project.”

The project was funded in part by a capital reserve fund and partly by generous donations from the Resnick Family.

“We have a capital reserve fund [and] this is exactly what it’s for,” Davidson said.

“We also have the blessing of our former president of the board, who has now endowed the school with a lovely gift that will keep on giving for quite some time.”

This year the ECC welcomed a new director, Rose Orlovich, who previously served as director of the religious school for two years.

“The school itself is small, only 71 students this year, although more will join for the January semester,” Orlovich said. 

She is excited about the remodel and thinks it will help the education of the children.

“Our curriculum involves a lot of natural materials and the children constructing their own knowledge with the help of their teachers,” Orlovich said. “This space has more natural elements, to reflect our classroom supplies and our school’s philosophy.”

Senior Rabbi Amy Bernstein seconded Orlovich in an email statement to the News.

“With this renovation, I feel like our outside finally matches our inside. Our KI learning community is known for being warm, vibrant, open and welcoming. Our space now reflects that as well as the beauty and brightness that we celebrate in our children. The new design allows them to thrive in a comfortable, fully up-to-date environment designed to encourage curiosity, engagement and loving interactions. We are grateful to all of those who helped us reshape our ECC and excited to welcome families who want to join us in making it home.”

Along with preschool and transitional kindergarten, the ECC also offers early-care and after-care programs.

Jaclyn Lafer, the new parenting center coordinator, is “fantastic,” Orlovich said. “She’s an expert in the field. She knows where young children are developmentally and where young parents are developmentally.”

The ECC is associated with the synagogue, although the program welcomes students from any background.

“We’re pretty welcoming to interfaith families, all different kinds of backgrounds,” Davidson said. “There is a requirement that you have to join the synagogue to send the child to the school.”

Applications for the January session are now open, as is the wait list for the 2018-19 school year. There will be an Open House on December 10 that’s open to the community.

Visit ecc.ouki.org for more information. 

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