Launch of a parental center at TEPV


It was the right time, said Richard Tannenbaum, executive director of Temple Emanuel in the Pascack Valley.

After all, the Woodcliff Lake Synagogue had just hired a new rabbi, Loren Monosov – who herself has two young children – as well as a new director of early childhood education, Debbie Wanamaker. And last year, TEPV welcomed a new cantor, Alan Sokoloff. The stars, so to speak, seemed perfectly aligned.

“It was almost organic, Mr. Tannenbaum said. Especially since the YJCC closed in Washington Township, “we’ve been talking to parents about the things they need.” With new staff in place to meet these needs, the synagogue was ready to go.

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“We are very excited, because in this area a program like this does not really exist,” Tannenbaum said, noting that while other institutions in the region offer courses on child rearing, TEPV’s new parenting center will offer a comprehensive, unified program “with a distinctly Jewish mix.”

“I know Hackensack Hospital has something for young parents, and there are programs at 92 Street and at JCC in Tenafly, he said. (To be exact, he’s talking about 92nd Street Y in Manhattan and the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades.) But a dedicated parenting program with a uniquely Jewish mix is ​​certainly a new addition to the community.

The center will include a parents’ lounge, where people with preschoolers can visit, have coffee and talk to friends; a list of speakers, drawn from experienced early childhood educators, and hands-on programs for infants and toddlers.

“The speakers will cover things that are of concern to parents, whether it is anxious children, child development, how to communicate with your child, or routines and rituals,” Mr. Tannenbaum said. . “We provide a service to the community. All members of the community are welcome and some programs, including lectures, are free, he added.

“Rabbi Monosov is committed to this,” Tannenbaum said. The rabbi took office in mid-July and soon after, she established an open-air classroom near the playground where the children gathered to share stories and watermelons on Friday afternoons. . “She calls it Shabbat in the shade,” he said.

While organizers plan to target specific concerns already expressed by parents, “as parents come together we will listen to their needs,” Tannenbaum said. He also noted that although the program is open to the community, “a lot of what we do will be in a Jewish context.” Just as some synagogue preschools serve both Jews and non-Jews, “that doesn’t change the character of the program,” he said.

Debbie Wanamaker, the synagogue’s new director of early childhood, said the mission of the new center is “to offer insight into the experience of being a parent, serving as a one-stop resource to provide support and education. parents who face the daily challenges of raising children.

“At the same time, it’s a place where parents can spend time with their young children and socialize with other parents.

These parents may well include Rabbi Monosov, who sees the center as “a parental partner”. In most cases, parents and children will attend classes together. The intention is that while children play and learn, parents interact with their peers and teachers.

The parental center program will consist of three components.

Parents with babies up to 12 months old can participate in a free walk-in playgroup, parents and toddlers 12 months to 18 months old can participate in the Come Play With Me program, and parents with toddlers 18-24 months of age will be offered a Toddler To-Be program, gradually transitioning to the On My Own class.

According to Mr. Tannenbaum, the playgroup “will give parents the opportunity to play with their children and talk to other parents. It will give them a sense of comfort, ”he said. The Come Play with Me course, which the synagogue previously organized, “will now be under the aegis of the parent center. There is more foundation for learning and discovery. It begins the children’s experiential journey of learning. Toddlers will be offered circle time, music and, at some point, some separation from their parents. “Parents are taking a step back,” Tannenbaum said. “Social interaction is the key. “

The parenting center will officially open in mid-September and will continue throughout the year. Based on the synagogue’s past experience with early childhood programming, Tannenbaum initially expects “at least two dozen” attendees, but is confident attendance will increase through word of mouth. . “We’re the address in the Pascack Valley,” he says. “When the parents move in, they call us.

Playgroup schedule
on Fridays, twice a month,
9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Fall dates: September 23
October 7 and 21, November 4 and 8,
December 2 and 16

Come play with me
Wednesday, 9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
September 28 to December 14,
12 week session
Cost: $ 240

Toddlers in the making
Thursdays from 9:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
September 29 to December 15, 10 week session
Cost: $ 25

All classes are held in the Temple Emanuel Youth Lounge, 87 Overlook Drive, Woodcliff Lake. Registration is compulsory. For more information and to register, call Debbie Wanamaker at (201) 391-8329 or email her at [email protected], or email Cheryl Mazen at [email protected]

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