Westchester Jewish Center Welcomes New Director of Early Childhood Center and Launches Music and Movement Program

This October, Westchester Jewish Center in Mamaroneck launched a monthly music and movement program called ShaJam for preschoolers and younger. In September, it welcomed Ann Pardes as the new director of the Early Childhood Center.

In the style of mommy-and-me classes, ShaJam is a free singing and music program. Sessions take place once a month on Thursday mornings from 9:30-10:15am. The next session will be on Nov. 8. 

“There’s nothing else of this kind, for free, in Westchester,” says Aleza Kulp, education director. “Anywhere else you go there’s always a kind of fee.”

For more information about ShaJam, contact Kulp at 914-698-2960 or [email protected].

The WJC ECC provides classes for kids ages 1 to 5, with extended care available from 9am-12pm Monday-Friday for children ages 3 and 4.

A ‘Supporting Early Emotional Development,’ or SEED, school, ECC partners with licensed social workers to facilitate staff training and effective curriculum development. An emphasis on active learning is evident as well. Each classroom contains a number learning centers, such as art stations, reading areas, sensory tables, and block corners. The small teacher-to-student ratio ensures that each child receives appropriate attention.

Pardes’ commencement at ECC in August marked her 20th year as a director in Jewish education. In addition to fostering a growing enrollment, she would like to share her love of gardening and establish an indoor garden through which students can engage in harvesting and cooking opportunities year-round. Passionate about helping young families, Pardes is also excited to connect with parents on a more personal level.

“I love children and I love working with families,” says Pardes. “I’m one of the luckiest people in that I get to do what I love for work.”

ShaJam was made possible by a grant from PJ Library, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Children do not have to be enrolled in ECC to participate in ShaJam. 

Image: Westchester Jewish Center is a conservative synagogue that offers educational and extracurricular programming for people of all ages.

Courtesy Westchester Jewish Center