This article was provided by Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

The E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation is open, and we are providing an enriching, loving and safe childcare every day.

Toddler class enjoying a picnic lunch outside.
Toddler class enjoying a picnic lunch outside. (Provided Photo)

Starting in June, the Safe Reopening Task Force comprised of parents, educators and Baltimore Hebrew Congregation lay leaders diligently worked throughout the summer to ensure when the school reopened everyone had an understanding of CDC, the State of Maryland and Baltimore City safety requirements. Every moment of the school day was examined. We are razor-focused on cleaning and sanitizing, helping our children socialize while maintaining an appropriate physical distance, and keeping everyone in the building safe. The result speaks for itself as the E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center is safely thriving.

After five months of being away from the E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, we opened our doors on Aug. 24, 2020 at 8 a.m. Classrooms are once again filled with the sounds of laughing, giggling, and singing. We are back in the place, which brings smiles to the faces of our dedicated teachers and all of the children.

Toddlers navigating the busy train table.
Toddlers navigating the busy train table. (Provided Photo)

Any early childhood educator will tell you how each day is different from the next. However, our new COVID-19 regulations and responsibilities are a constant, our new reality. Drop-offs and pickups are very different. Temperatures are taken, and goodbyes are said at the car and not in the classroom. Gone are the adorable character or monogramed lunch boxes replaced with brown paper lunch bags or plastic grocery bags.

One father in our Toddler Class draws amazing pictures on his son’s lunch bag. Children and teachers are washing their hands many times a day.

Pre-K class sharing the spoils of their nature adventure.
Pre-K class sharing the spoils of their nature adventure. (Provided Photo)

The Threes and Fours are doing a terrific job wearing their masks. The older children enjoy walking down the hallway to their classrooms. The teachers are doing a wonderful job of maintaining an atmosphere of love, encouragement, and kindness while keeping everyone safe.

We are in the midst of a pandemic; however, it is not stopping our children from exploring space, dinosaurs, nutrition, going on nature walks, traveling around the world, or feeling the squishy insides of a pumpkin. Beautiful paintings and drawings adorn the classrooms and hallways, and teachers are emailing pictures and posting on the app we use for parent communication.

On Friday there is a special energy in the school for Shabbat, which is celebrated via Zoom with a member of our amazing and supportive Clergy.

Is this the way we want to celebrate Shabbat? No, however, there is still a lot of ruach (spirit). It is wonderful to see the developing friendships.

Infants class getting a head start on their reading.
Infants class getting a head start on their reading. (Provided Photo)

In our Two-Year-Old classroom, there is the friendship of Ari and Sadie, who are inseparable. Liora, as she is getting out of her dad’s car, asks every morning if Travis is in school today.

In the Toddler classroom, you will find children sitting on the floor together reading books. In our infant room, the children enjoy playing follow the leader with push toys as they practice their walking.

We are a family at the E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center, and we celebrate happy times and help each other when someone is having a rough day. My hope is for the children to continue their love and excitement of learning and for the families to maintain their connection to Baltimore Hebrew Congregation for years to come.

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