Ohav Shalom’s Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) incorporates play–based learning, Jewish education and enrichment activities for children from 18 months to pre-kindergarten. Children of all faiths enjoy attending the ECEC’s warm, nurturing educational experience.
Our class sizes are small so that our teachers can devote the time and attention children require to grow and thrive. We place a strong emphasis on the process of your child’s development. Our teachers provide positive reinforcement to help each child reach their potential for intellectual, physical, social, spiritual and emotional growth.
To accommodate the needs of all families, Ohav Shalom’s Early Childhood Education Center provides parents with a tremendous amount of scheduling flexibility. Parents can enroll their children for mornings only, or for full days. Ohav Shalom’s Early Childhood Center can accommodate partial days or full days, 2-5 days per week, for children 18 months to pre-kindergarten.
Drop-ins are accepted if there is space available and must be pre-arranged with the Early Childhood Director. Drop ins are $10.00 an hour.
Ohav Shalom’s Early Childhood Education Center has two integrated classrooms providing special education opportunities for children with special needs. For many years the center has collaborated with Capital District Beginnings to provide quality education opportunities in small size classroom settings for all children.
Our school hours are 9:30 am to 1:00 pm, with an early drop off program from 7:30 am to 9:30 am. We also offer an extended afternoon program with enrichment opportunities (Tae Kwon Do and cooking for example) from 1:00 pm to up to 5:30 pm Mondays-Thursday and until 5:00 pm on Fridays.
From 1:15 -2:00 PM we offer enrichment classes for our three and four year olds. There are variety of enrichment classes every afternoon including Tae Kwon Do, Amazing Athletes, Kindergarten prep, Drama, Cooking, and many other classes. We also offer Sign Language for 2-4 year olds that are interested in the morning from 9-9:30. This year we will start a science and nature program as well.
All children can sign up for enrichment classes during the year, even those who are not enrolled at Ohav Shalom’s Early Childhood Education Center.
Congregation Ohav Shalom’s Early Childhood School Director, Sheryl Welton has led Ohav’s Early Childhood Center since 2013. Sheryl is an inspiring, energetic person who has a passion for teaching children in an engaging and nurturing environment. She is responsible for the daily operations of the school and for developing programs that meet the needs of a diverse group of students. Prior to becoming the Early Childhood Education Center Director, Sheryl worked for 6 years as a Director at Head Start in Troy and for 12 years at the Albany Jewish Community Center as a toddler teacher, Summer Camp Director and as the Assistant Director of the afterschool program. Sheryl has a Master’s Degree in Creative Arts from Hofstra University, a Bachelor of Arts in Educational Psychology and a minor in Art from Oneonta State College and an Associates in Early Childhood from Dean College.
Sheryl’s responsibilities include developing and implementing the curriculum, supervising the nursery school staff, and recruiting and evaluating the teachers. She also communicates with the families of the nursery school as well as the Nursery School committee and synagogue staff and collaborates with the Rabbis to integrate the nursery school into the synagogue community. Under Sheryl’s tenure, the collaboration with Capital District Beginnings that allows Ohav to offer integrated classrooms has grown and developed in ways Ohav could not have previously foreseen.
For many years, Sheryl taught religious school on Sundays with first and second graders at Congregation Beth Emeth where she and her family are members. Sheryl is the mother of 2 boys. One is a senior at Ithaca College and the other is a sophomore at SUNY Oneonta. Sheryl’s entire career has been devoted to working with children in many different capacities, with special emphasis on incorporating art into her work with students.
Congregation Ohav Shalom’s Early Childhood Education Assistant Director and Toddler teacher, Tricia Smith has been part of Ohav’s ECEC family since 2006. Tricia loves being a part of our child-centric, inclusive school where every child is valued, heard and supported. Tricia believes in teaching each child in a way that he/she learns to the best of their own ability, it is that passion that drives her dedication to early childhood education.
Tricia has been working in early childhood for over 25 years where she got her start as a private nanny then transitioning to our head toddler teacher 15 years ago. Tricia went back to school in 2019 to earn her Associates Degree in the Administration of Early Childhood Education along with an Associate’s Degree in Business as well as in Early Childhood. In May of 2020, Tricia stepped into the role of Assistant Director and together with Director, Sheryl Welton, managed to successfully put our school back into full swing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tricia’s responsibilities include developing and implementing age appropriate curriculum, supervising the early childhood staff and supporting Director, Sheryl Welton with organizational and administrative tasks to include but not limited to, record keeping, grant writing and maintaining regulatory compliance records.
Tricia is the proud mother Georgetown University sophomore, Isabella Smith. Like mother like daughter, Isabella is also part of our Ohav family who works at our summer program while on break from college. While not at work Tricia enjoys spending time with her family and friends.