Early Childhood Center Introduction
The Community Synagogue Early Childhood Center prides itself on having a child-oriented environment. Our program is based on the belief that children learn best through hands-on activities. We offer a variety of learning experiences in a creative and enriched environment where children can develop, socialize and grow under the supervision of our trained and caring staff.
We respect each child’s right to grow and progress socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually. Each child develops to his or her greatest capacity. Our teachers promote positive self-esteem balanced by a healthy respect for the feelings and rights of others. To help children grow in skill and confidence, we provide opportunities for group experiences, as well as individual attention.
We seek to foster in each child a love of Jewish heritage, customs and holidays. The children learn about Jewish culture through song, dance, arts and crafts and celebrations.
Staff of Early Childhood Center
Gail Tuthill - Interim Director of the Early Childhood Center
Gail comes to us from the Roslyn Public Schools where she has spent the last 32 years serving as a Kindergarten and Pre-K teacher. Gail is passionate about Early Childhood Education and strives to create programs that are developmentally appropriate and child centered. During her tenure in Roslyn, she developed classroom curriculum, organized and facilitated workshops for both teachers and parents, served as a mentor to new teachers, and was an active member of numerous school wide and district committees. She has written and received several grants for educational materials and was honored to be the recipient of the prestigious New York State PTA Jenkins Award, commonly referred to as “Teacher of the Year.”
Gail attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Campus, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Reading from Long Island University, CW Post Campus. In addition, Gail has taken over 1000 hours of Professional Development training in areas that include the mainstreaming of children with special needs, allergy awareness, health and safety, mindfulness, and classroom management.
Gail is a former ECC mom who resides in Port Washington with her partner, Scott, and her son, Matthew. She loves to spend time with her friends and family and can often be found walking her dog, Hazel, or running through town as part of her CrossFit training. Gail is thrilled to join the ECC team and looks forward to making sacred connections with the Community Synagogue family.
Jen Schiffer - Assistant Director of the Early Childhood Center
Jen Schiffer grew up in Montclair, New Jersey. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, and received her master’s degree in 2007 from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education, Culture, and Human Development. After graduation, Jen taught in NYC, New Jersey, Syosset and at Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens. Since moving to Port Washington, Jen has worked at Gan Shalom Nursery School in Plandome, NY. In her tenure there, Jen wore many hats - teaching 2s and the Come Play With Me (non-separation) classes, children’s yoga, as well as leading Shabbat and High Holiday educational programs. Jen is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Jen is passionate about Jewish education and strives to create meaningful experiences and learning opportunities for children of all ages. She is thrilled to bring her years of experience in leadership and teaching to her role as Assistant Director of the ECC. Jen and her husband Michael live in Port Washington, NY with their two sons, Jonah and Nathan.