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.
continued She said children need time to “just be children” to spur their imaginations. There are other area programs besides the ones at the SJCC that do continue to focus on play-based learning and not on rigidly structured programs, she said.
“I worry a little bit about the pressure we are putting on young children these days,” said Carpenter.
Another aspect to programming she focused on was bringing more faith education. Increasing the Jewish programming, she said, helped welcome children to the faith.
The center is open to people of all faiths and she said it was important to welcome others faiths and teach tolerance at an early age.
“What I am probably most proud of is that we were not only able to increase the knowledge of the Jewish children, but we were able to present to the rest of the community some positives about the Jewish religion,” she said, “and to teach the children that there are many different kinds of people in the world and we are accepting of all of them.”
Even in retirement she will still be at the center, whether it is to workout or visit with children and former colleagues. Over the years, she said many strong bonds were created with families.
“I made friends with people there that I am still good friends with,” she said. “That’s one wonderful thing about the JCC is that it is opportunities for not only the children to get to know each other, but the families to form relationships.”