Safe & Warm in an Unstable Time

A story by Yonit Parenti, February 2021

My family has been part of the APJCC community for the last 7 years. I remember the first time I attended the orientation. Walking on campus I knew immediately this was the place where my children would organically develop into who they are, make friends, express themselves, explore new ideas and be surrounded by warmth and tender care. I saw early on that this was a second home for our family as every adult we came into contact with, knew my son’s names.

The APJCC understands that it takes a village to raise caring, confident and compassionate children. These last 11 months have been something I could never have imagined. As a mother, and a mental health worker, I was concerned about the regression my children would experience both academically and socially. I remember when I received the email from Rachel and Cyndi [from the APJCC Preschool staff]  that the APJCC Preschool would be reopening. I was thrilled, excited, and relieved. I wanted my youngest son to experience his last year at the APJCC before kindergarten.

I was informed that teacher Ronit and Susan would be his teachers, and having loved each and every one of both my son’s teachers I had no requests; just feelings of gratitude for the immense effort they were undertaking by opening the preschool. On his first day I was skeptical if my son would walk over the threshold into the Tzabim class. He had lived within the confines of our home for months and had become very attached to me. I signed him in, he gave me a hug, waved goodbye and walked right in as if he had never left. My son, who occasionally puts his shoes on the wrong feet just to make sure we are paying attention, had not forgotten an iota of this place. That is the power of this magical place.

Later that day, I received an email from his teachers with a thoughtful, detailed summary of the day’s events and so many beautiful pictures to show the story. I smiled from ear to ear. These daily emails of our children playing, planting, building, creating, learning, singing, dancing, exploring, helping, sharing and laughing continue to reinforce my confidence in the excellent care, instruction, and attention my son receives on a daily basis. Seeing all of the extraordinary and innovative things the teachers plan is simply AMAZING! Masks on, with sleeves rolled up and as clear as day I can see the smiles reflected in their eyes. And just like that the APJCC rose to the occasion and created a safe, warm environment at a time when our world is unstable and unpredictable.

We love it here. We are proud to be members. We are so eternally grateful for all the hard work the amazing teachers and office staff put forth to provide stability and normality in frightening and uncertain times. I rest easy with the care and singular focus on safety the APJCC has maintained. This will allow our children to succeed in the future and be healthy in the present. My son is thriving in a very safe and loving place. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Yonit Parenti – Mom to Alec (7) and Jax (4) 
Lead School Counselor
SEL Coach and PBIS Specialist
Moreland School District