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OZ Full Circle Preschool

“What matters are not buildings. What matters are education and teaching and teachers. That is what allows a civilization to endure. Without education all else fails.”

“Schools are where we make children our partners in the long and open- ended task of making a more gracious world.”

Rabbi Dr. Sir Jonathan Sacks

OVERVIEW 

OZ Full Circle Preschool is the way Ohavi Zedek cares for and nurtures the youngest in our community. We offer high-quality, holistic care and nurturing for infants through five-year-children in five classes. Our program centers on child-led learning and exploration, along with Jewish values of kindness, generosity, and community from the youngest ages. OZ’s Full Circle Preschool is Jewish in content, character, and calendar, while also whole-heartedly welcoming interfaith, non-affiliated, and non-Jewish students and families. Inclusion, warmth, and kindness are the foundation of all we do.

We are a state- accredited program.

PEDAGOGY + PHILOSOPHY

At OZ Full Circle Preschool, we embrace a Reggio-Emilia emergent curriculum. We respect the child’s need to generate their own questions and aim to help children make sense of their experiences. Using the project-based approach, we encourage teachers, children, family, and other members of the community to collaborate in ongoing projects based on the children’s interests. Children’s work is deeply respected, and is used by educators and families to better understand children’s development and thinking processes. Children are fully supported in their expressive and creative endeavors. Children are encouraged to reflect on their work and the works of others, and to lend words and meaning to their creative processes. We believe strongly in providing children with inviting spaces that encourage creativity and exploration. We believe that in order to provide children with opportunities for independent and collaborative learning, we must ask open-ended questions and provide children with the proper language and materials to further explore their innate curiosities. While the Reggio Emilia approach is specific to the region in Italy, we understand that our approach is uniquely based upon the values, needs, and resources of our Burlington community, and the Jewish teachings interwoven throughout our daily learning experiences.

JUDAISM

Judaism holds education as an extremely high value. Through the preschool, Ohavi Zedek provides a place for our youngest to form their identities at a synagogue, feeling safe, supported, loved, and nourished in the context of Judaism during their formative years. Our Jewish values of chesed (loving kindness), tikkun olam (healing the world), and knesset (community) will all be woven into the curriculum, helping young children develop strong values and ethics from the very beginning.

We employ a “Jewish council” created by Rabbi, Hebrew School Director, Executive Director, and lay leaders to support with the ongoing Jewish content of the preschool. Each of these people shares time weekly to support the Judaism element of the program, leading songs, telling stories, and sharing holiday celebrations with the children.

NATURE CONNECTION 

At OZ Full Circle Preschool, we believe children are born scientists and explorers with innate curiosities about the natural world around them. As children make sense of their surroundings, it is essential to help them understand the natural world and how they fit into it. We believe that offering inviting outdoor learning environments is an important way to support children on their quests to explore beauty, natural elements, life cycles, and open space. We strive every day to connect children to the outdoors by creating environments rich with natural materials, plant and tree life, and sensory opportunities to enhance learning, engagement, and active play while offering opportunities for scientific exploration and discovery.

Children’s direct interactions with nature in modes like gardening, observing insects, smelling flowers, exploring flowing water, working with mud, watching the clouds, and building forts among trees and shrubbery all contribute to a connection with nature and place while encouraging nourishment, mindfulness, and respect for all living things. By providing children with these early experiences outside each day, OZ Full Circle Preschool helps instill an enthusiasm for nature that will positively impact the way children regard, respect, discover and explore the natural world while strengthening their abilities to take risks, develop more self-awareness, and foster a lifelong appreciation for the Earth.

TEACHER BIOS

Erika Geremia: Program Director and Lead Toddler Teacher

Erika was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut. She moved to Vermont to attend Saint Michael’s College where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2012. In her senior year of college, she began volunteering at a local preschool where her passion for early education became more prominent. There she worked her way up from volunteer to assistant teacher with young toddlers. In January of 2014, she became the Lead Toddler Teacher. She holds a Master’s Degree in Early Education with a focus on Administration from Champlain College. Erika believes strongly in allowing children to be the architects of their days as they construct their own knowledge of the world around them. Through observation and interactions, she strives to provide each child with the materials and language they need to expand upon their interests and needs on a daily basis. She places great emphasis on classroom design that encourages children to independently explore and learn directly through cause and effect relationships with materials and their peers. Erika is in her second year as OZ Full Circle Preschool’s Program Director and Lead Toddler Teacher.

Racheal Ouellette: Lead Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Racheal was born and raised on the shoreline of Connecticut. She came to Vermont in 2010 to attend the University of Vermont, where she obtain her BAS in Cultural Anthropology and Linguistics.  In 2016, Racheal enrolled at the Community College of Vermont as a continuing education student where she completed her teaching credentials in Early Childhood Education and obtained her Level III Ladder Certification. Racheal has plans to pursue a Vermont Teaching License in the coming year.
Racheal began her career in Early Childhood Education in 2012. Over the years, she has worked as a preschool teacher, pre-Kindergarten teacher, and Atelierista (early childhood arts educator) helping educators implement ongoing child-directed projects in their classrooms and in the art studio. Racheal’s background in cultural and linguistic studies has helped her better define her role in early education as one who supports and encourages children’s continuous re-descriptions of the world. She has a deep admiration for children’s artistic expression and the development of emotional intelligence. She is dedicated to providing children opportunities that celebrate individuality and promote self-expression through process, and reflection. Racheal currently serves as OZ Full Circle’s Lead  Pre-Kindergarten teacher.

Caley Gervais: Lead Infant Teacher

Caley grew up in Enosburg Falls, Vermont. She has been working as an early educator in the preschool setting for over 7 years, alternating between teaching infant and young toddlers. She initially studied Gender Studies at Saint Michael’s College, where she also worked at the SMC Early Learning Center. From there, she discovered her passion for working with young children. After realizing this passion and happening upon a job offer from a local preschool, Caley decided to take a hiatus from school to pursue this opportunity. It quickly became clear that this was the right career path for her. While working full-time in the field, she earned an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the Community College of Vermont. Caley believes strongly in incorporating music into children’s daily learning experiences while encouraging independence and self-expression. She currently serves as the Lead Infant Teacher at OZ Full Circle Preschool.

 

Izzy Rose: Lead Young Toddler Teacher

Izzy is a born and raised Vermonter and a recent graduate of Keene State College, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and Psychology in 2018. At Keene State, Izzy developed practicum and internship experience working with children from birth to grade three. She was also involved in one of the largest student organizations on campus serving their executive board as the hospitality coordinator. Izzy has a shared passion for the Reggio-Emilia teaching philosophy, as she embraces an emergent curriculum with the children in her care. She is committed to outdoor nature based education and assisting Full Circle in developing a stronger outdoor education philosophy. She is overjoyed to serve as OZ Full Circle Preschool’s Lead Young Toddler teacher.

Morgan Lachance: Lead Preschool Teacher

Morgan grew up in Cheshire, Connecticut. She moved to Vermont to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at The University of Vermont. She has previously worked as a private nanny, a camp counselor, and a co-facilitator of The Girlhood Project, which sparked her passion for working with children. Her background in gender studies has helped Morgan understand the importance of helping children feel valued and that they belong, in order for them to develop a secure sense of self. Morgan believes strongly in creating environments which allow children to be their authentic selves and explore their interests. She is especially excited to incorporate music, art, and nature play into children’s learning experiences. Morgan is thrilled to be a part of OZ Full Circle Preschool as an assistant preschool teacher.
Alison Mott: Assistant Teacher
Alison graduated from Bryn Mawr College with an undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology, particularly focused on African Studies. Since graduation, Alison has held jobs in the Education field in diverse age groups and ability levels from infants to high school aged children and lived in Philadelphia, Boston, and finally, in Vermont. She has been a nanny for infants, a teacher for children with Cerebral Palsy, and a para-educator in two different middle schools in Vermont. For the last ten years, she has been the owner/director/teacher at Green Mountain Music Together – music and movement classes for families with young children. She teaches classes at the Flynn, the King Street Community Center and The Burlington Children’s Space. Alison is a trained singer and dancer and will bring movement and music with her throughout the learning community. She believes in creating a classroom and school environment where children feel safe and loved. Alison focuses on exploring music and movement through play while creating nurturing spaces for artistic expression in all it’s forms.

OZ FULL CIRCLE PRESCHOOL MONTHLY TUITION RATES FOR 2019-20

Infant + Young Toddler Rooms (3 months-2 years)

DAYS/ WEEK SCHOOL DAY (9 am- 4 pm) EXTENDED DAY (7:45 am- 5:30 pm)
5 $1150 $1350
4 $925 $1085
3 $735 $855
2 $525 $605
1 $250 $290

Older Toddler Room (2-3 years)

DAYS/ WEEK SCHOOL DAY (9 am- 4 pm) EXTENDED DAY (7:45 am- 5:30 pm)
5 $1075 $1275
4 $865 $1025
3 $690 $810
2 $505 $585
1 $235 $275

Preschool + Pre-Kindergarten Rooms (3-5 years)

DAYS/ WEEK SCHOOL DAY (9 am- 4 pm) EXTENDED DAY (7:45 am- 5:30 pm)
5 $850 $1050
4 $685 $845
3 $540 $660
2 $380 $460
1 $190 $230

*We are a religious organization, and as such do not qualify for Act 166 funding. However, we are working with the state on receiving income-based reimbursement for preschool. Please let us know if this would be applicable and useful for your family.

TO APPLY: 

Here is the OZ Full Circle  Admission Form 19-20. Please fill out and remit to [email protected] along with the registration fee of $75.

If you have any questions regarding the program, email communication is preferred. Please email Erika, Program Director at [email protected].

Full Circle Preschool 2019-2020 Calendar

August 2019
August 26: First Day of the New School Year

September 2019
September 2: Labor Day, school closed
September 30: Rosh Hashanah, school closed

October 2019
October 1: Rosh Hashanah, school closed
October 9: Yom Kippur, school closed

November 2019
November 28 & 29: Thanksgiving break, school closed

December 2019
Please note: All through the month Full Circle will close at 4 pm on Friday.
December 23-December 31: Holiday break, school closed

January 2020
Please note: All through the month Full Circle will close at 4 pm on Friday.
January 1: New Year’s Day, school closed
January 20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, school closed

February 2020
Full Circle Preschool will take a one-week February break in alignment with the Burlington School District (Date TBD by Burlington School District)

March 2020
No Closings

April 2020
No Closings

May 2020
May 25: Memorial Day, school closed

June 2020
No Closings

July 2020
No Closings

August 2020
August 27 & 28: Teacher In Service, school closed
August 31: First Day of New School Year