Registration for next school year at Mercaz Academy is still underway, and on Tuesday, February 7, interested parents were treated to an Info Night to gain a better understanding of the program.
After a well-received pizza and salad supper, children went to the Early Childhood Center hallway to enjoy supervised activities. This allowed parents, both current and prospective, to give their undivided attention to a presentation and question-and-answer period with Mercaz Principal Rabbi Kalman Fogel, Assistant Principal Ms. Karen Leeper, Mrs. Debbie Simpser (Director of the Mercaz Academy Learning Center), Morah Joanne Mlotok (Early Childhood Coordinator), and Mercaz kindergarten teacher Batsheva Berger and assistant Dalia Ozarko.
Parents asked questions on subjects as diverse as district busing deadlines, our Learning Center, after-school activities, and curriculum. Mrs. Mlotok explained the many benefits of an early childhood program located in an elementary school, with access to all the resources (such as one-to-one iPad ratios), staff, and enrichment programs, in addition to the longer available hours. She also discussed the rotation model used at Mercaz, allowing for differentiated and personalized small-group instruction. Mrs. Berger addressed the kindergarten Judaics curriculum along with Rabbi Fogel, and discussed the kindergarten secular studies curriculum along with Ms. Leeper. Parents found it helpful to have so many experts there to address their questions.
Meanwhile, the Mercaz rotation model was put into play when the children were divided into two groups. Director of Technology Lynda Last guided one group through ABC Kids, an iPad app that offers a fun alphabet review incorporating sensory and auditory participation, with the help of assistant Sarah Last. While this took place, the second group was busy with whole-body music and movement, led by Debbie Gold and Ellen Zimmerman. The groups traded places halfway through the program so everyone had a chance to participate in both activities.
Afterwards, parents and children reunited in the cafeteria for a delicious dessert of cookies and chocolate milk, and with a better understanding of all that the Mercaz Academy ECC and kindergarten have to offer.