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Educator recognized for dedication

SJCC PTO honors longtime early childhood educator with celebration

Ellen Carpenter talks to children during "Welcoming the Shabbath” in front of a mock Western Wall in Jerusalem during the SJCC annual “Israel Trip,” which transforms classrooms into various scenes from the country.

Ellen Carpenter talks to children during "Welcoming the Shabbath” in front of a mock Western Wall in Jerusalem during the SJCC annual “Israel Trip,” which transforms classrooms into various scenes from the country. Submitted photo

— “(Carpenter) knows childcare, she knows this business backwards and forwards from what it takes to run a great childcare facility to being up to date on all the state regulations,” Weintraub said. “She was very quick thinker and very bright. I learned a lot from her in terms of how to run a terrific childcare operation.”

Weintraub said Carpenter was dedicated to the children and enjoyed running programs from them.

“She really had a big heart and affection for the children that were under her care,” he said. “There are people here who walk in this building who are (in their early 20s) and they remember being in kindergarten and preschool with Ms. Carpenter.”

Andrea Leighton, who took over most of Carpenter’s duties, agreed Carpenter was very passionate about children and the importance of play based education.

“She was all about letting kids play and I hope that I will continue that legacy,” Leighton said. “She wanted people to know that kids learn through play.”

Carpenter said children learn from hands-on, interactive activities and it is important to let them explore their own interests.

“The children are able to choose what they want to do, but there is some guidance in it,” she said. “They are learning all the time while they play and it helps them to be creative thinkers,”

Whether it is playing with blocks or sand, she said they are learning various things tied to the interactive experience. Early childhood education has evolved over time, but she doesn’t believe it has always changed for the better.

“It has evolved in ways that may not necessarily be the best practices for children,” she said. “I think we are so worried these days about testing … that in some cases early childhood programming has become more structured and test orientated. In my opinion that is not a good thing.”

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