I’m excited to share with you what’s new at Shaare Torah for families with children 5 and under. First off, in case we haven’t met, my name is Allison Colker and my role at Shaare Torah is two-fold: I direct our early childhood center and private kindergarten, and I lead our family engagement, special events, and Shabbat and holiday experiences for families with children 5 and under.
Monthly Tot Shabbat
I hope that you and your family will join me and Rabbi Annie or Rabbi Yosef for Tot Shabbat on the first Saturday of each month. Please come and bring a friend. It’s a casual gathering for families with children 5 and under. We sing songs and prayers, read a Shabbat book, and have grape juice and challah. Families often stay and play on the STECC playground afterward. It’s a great opportunity for parents to socialize! Tot Shabbat is at 10:30 am and you are welcome to join us beforehand for the Torah parade in the main service at 10:15 am.
Weekly Shabbat Morning Childcare
We are excited to announce that we are now providing childcare weekly during our Shabbat morning services on Saturdays 9:30 am-12:30 pm. One of our STECC teachers, Tanice Smith, will be in room 107/109 on the main level. We invite you to drop off children ages 2-7. You are welcome to stay in the room and play with your child under age 2.
Shabbat Children’s Activity Cart
We hope you and your children will enjoy our new Shabbat children’s activity cart. We have a cabinet in the back of the sanctuary filled with quiet toys and books for young children to enjoy during Shabbat services. At Shaare Torah children of all ages are always welcome in our main service. As Rabbi Annie says, “We have a no shushing policy!”
“Makom Shalom” (Place of Peace) Wellness Lounge
We hope you will make yourself comfortable in our new “Makom Shalom” (place of peace) wellness lounge. We’ve created a new space on the second floor where parents or caregivers can go for lactation, feeding babies, a quiet room, a sensory break, or a moment of zen for yourself or your child. We have a rocking chair and a comfy couch. Please feel free to bring toys, snacks, and lactation equipment.
2s and Under Family Programs
One of my favorite series of programs at Shaare Torah is our 2s and under family programs. We gather a few times of year at the home of one of our families for a Shabbat or holiday meal, playdate, songs, and story. These are wonderful programs to meet other families in the area with children 2 or younger, and to get to know the Shaare Torah community.
5s and Under Family Programs
Another favorite of mine is our 5s and under family programs. A similar program, but with a broader range of families with children 5 or younger. We gather a few times of year at the home of one of our families for a Shabbat or holiday meal, playdate, songs, and story. These are wonderful programs to meet other families in the area with children 5 or younger, and to get to know the Shaare Torah community.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at any time about anything and everything related to Shaare Torah, families with young children, your children, parent coaching, resources, and referrals, and of course our early childhood center or private kindergarten. I hope to have many opportunities to celebrate and socialize with your family.
Director of Early Childhood Education and Engagement