Shabbat Boxes at the DuBow Preschool: Bringing the joys of Shabbat to our Families One Box at a Time
One of the reasons that so many of our families love the DuBow Preschool and Galinsky Academy is because Judaism floods the classroom, halls, and hearts of our teachers and students. The rhythmic routines of the days and weeks on the school calendar are constant opportunities to infuse Jewish life into our time.
The Shabbat Box Program, sponsored by the Galinsky Academy PTA, is a way that we take that education and energy and send it home to our families. While we may all have different traditions remembering and honoring Shabbat, the excitement that a child gets when it is his/her turn to take the box home and share it with their family adds delight and wonder to the students’ Shabbat experience like no other. Observing our students reading the hand decorated labels to find which of their friends has this honor each week and then making sure that their friend is aware only reinforces the excitement. This program gives our students the ability to own the idea that they can bring the tools necessary to complete the mitzvah of observing Shabbat.
The PTA stocks the boxes weekly. The boxes hold candles and candlesticks, two challahs, juice for Kiddish, a tzedakah box to encourage giving to the needy, a book of Shabbat blessings and songs, and also a couple of small treats to celebrate!
“Sometimes You Wanna Go Where Everybody Knows Your Name” By Emily Carpenter
I was two weeks postpartum with my second baby when I Googled “Jewish preschools in Jacksonville”. I’d had no intention of sending my 3 year old to preschool… until we added a newborn to the mix and I was suddenly trying to nurse a baby while wiping a tushie. It was then I realized, I needed help! When we had our second child, we’d only been living in Jacksonville for 10 months… we did not know many people. I called one of the preschools that popped up in my results and made an appointment for a tour. From the moment I walked in to DuBow Preschool and met Shereen Canady, the director, I could feel the warmth. With no local family or close friends, I’d never left my daughter with anyone for more than a few hours, but I was surprised to find I felt excited for her to experience all the adventures the preschool offered.
Over 5 years later, our family feels like the preschool is a second family. We aren’t alone. When I shared my story with some of the other DuBow Preschool moms who also do not have family nearby, they expressed similar feelings.
After moving to Jacksonville in May and having a baby in June, I was quite concerned with how my family would adapt to such changes, especially without any relatives nearby. With its warm and nurturing environment, The DuBow Preschool has made the transition for my 3-year-old significantly smoother and more pleasant. Additionally, the various “Mommy & Me” classes that are offered have enabled me to connect with other local mothers, and have been a wonderful experience for my baby girl. -Tmima, mother of three
When we moved to Jacksonville over a year ago we knew no one. The preschool was so welcoming. My children settled right in and the teachers and staff were so supportive. I could not have asked for a more welcoming place to send my children. -Whitney, mother of two
When my daughter started preschool this fall, she would barely leave my side. She had terrible separation anxiety, which is why I wanted her to go to preschool. We got such a warm feeling when we visited the DuBow Preschool so I knew it was the right place for her. Since she started school, she’s a whole new child! She’s friendlier, more outgoing, and plays so much better with other children. I know she’s safe, loved, and well cared for at the DuBow Preschool! -Cara, mother of one
The transition of moving from another city, especially away from all of our family and friends, was made so much easier because of our experience at DuBow Preschool. My children have been loved and nurtured and have absorbed more information than I could’ve dreamed! It has given us such peace of mind to know we are part of the DuBow family. -Natalie, mother of three
My first visit to the DuBow Preschool was with my son during the end of my second pregnancy. I was concerned about the impending move away from our family to a new city, the acclimation to a new school during the school year, and the new baby that would change the dynamic of our current family unit. My fears were all dismissed during my visit! My son loved the school and staff, people could not be more helpful, and we acclimated rather quickly surrounded by a community that ensured we would feel included. -Suzie, mother of two
So, I have learned that it truly does take a village to raise a child. And many of us have our “tribes” spread far and wide and have to find that village each time we come to a new place. We count ourselves lucky that we found our village here at DuBow Preschool.
It’s Snowing At The DuBow Preschool
It’s snowing in Florida? Well, not quite! The children at the DuBow Preschool are learning a great deal about winter, and the Arctic regions of the world. So, how do our teachers help our Floridian cuties learn about these concepts when many have never experienced snow or wintery conditions? Books, ice experiments, ice painting, Skyping with scientists at Sea World, and a “Snow Room”! The teachers are reading great books such as Lois Ehlert’s Snowballs, and Shirley Netzel’s The Jacket I Wear In The Snow and singing songs such as, “Ten Tiny Snowflakes”. They are creating great wintery works of art using ice paint, glittering shaving cream, cotton balls and a variety of collage materials in wintery shades. Everyone is learning how to put on mittens, scarves, and to button their sweaters and coats. Each class made something to add to the Snow Room. One class made a giant snowman out of boxes for the kids to build and take apart. Another class made white glitter playdough, while another created a snow sensory bin. Our science teacher, Ms. Amanda Watsky created an ice table, led the children in several chilly experiments, and taught them about arctic animals. In P.E. the children are engaged in dancing and moving through a “snowy maze”. The week culminated in a pajama day with guest readers, hot cocoa, and playtime in the Snow Room.
Tasty Gardening Fun At The DuBow Preschool, by Amanda Watsky, Science Teacher and Outreach Coordinator
We started off the fall by planting some of our usual favorites, as well as some crops that were new to us! As I am walking through the halls of school, or even setting up one of our market tables, I often get just as many questions about our garden as I do looks of amazement that our students are growing such amazing plants!
Our garden is a ‘tasting’ garden, and it is just as educational as it is delicious! We often do not get enough of one particular type of food to make entire dishes for our classrooms, just based on the amount of space and student body we have. So our focus goes to giving each student an opportunity to learn about gardening in general, specific plants and what they look like and how they grow (when to decide when things are ripe and when to pick them is a big topic!!) and also how each edible tastes! Our classrooms also cook with the items…
In our garden, we do not use any pesticides. Composting (or fertilizing with organic methods) is kept to a minimum. By starting off with really great soil, our plants do pretty well when given a consistent water supply. We do wash the edibles before they are served.
As part of our gardening lessons, we have been learning about where seeds are located on many different plants and specifically on some of the plants that we are growing! We pulled the wilted flowers, or ‘deadheads’, off and we took out the seeds on the inside and dried them. We have flowers in our garden beds to help promote beneficial insects, and we also have an entire floral bed devoted to our butterfly garden that we will be setting up in the spring.
The seeds that we have been collecting can sometimes be found on our DuBow Preschool Farmer’s Market table. We are also using the seeds in some very special ‘thank you’ gifts that will be given to parents and faculty that have gone out of their way to help our garden grow.