Meet Monica Buchnik, The Mandel JCC’s Glantz Early Childhood Learning Center Assistant Director
The Glantz Early Childhood Learning Center is located at the Mandel JCC on Jog Rd. The school serves children ages 3 months to VPK for 4 year olds. We sat down with the Assistant Director to find out more her and the preschool.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I worked at the JCC of Staten Island for 25 years. For 19 of those years, I worked with the preschool as a teacher and then as the Assistant Director. I moved to Florida in June 2017, after the passing of my husband. I needed to start a new life, and over the past six months surrounded by family, great friends, and my new career at the JCC I have really felt like this is my new home.
What do you love most about working as the Assistant Director?
I love working with children and watching them flourish. I remember the first day of school watching the children come in a little timid and uncertain and it’s incredible to see them now running in smiling and excited to come to school. Many of them embrace me with hugs when they see me and with each hug I’m reminded of why I love what I do. Who wouldn’t love to start every work day with a big hug?
Tell us about the school’s philosophy.
The Glantz Early Childhood Learning Center is unique because it combines the 7 Jewish lenses of the JCC Association’s Sheva Early Learning Framework with the Palm Beach County curriculum. So in other words, during morning circle time, a child starts talking about a topic he/she is interested in such as baking cookies and our teachers work it in to the curriculum and teach the children about science (through the mixing of different ingredients), math (measuring ingredients), verbal and logic skills (explaining the order of inserting ingredients and how cookies are made), writing skills (writing down the ingredients needed) and then they also may incorporate Jewish values (donating cookies to a cause or helping their friends). We set all children up for a smooth transition to kindergarten—giving them not only the knowledge and skills but the confidence and passion for learning that they need to succeed.
What makes the preschool stand out?
Our school provides education for our children but it also provides a social outlet for parents and Jewish community for many families. Unique to many other preschools, we are also part of a larger community center that provides family programming, after school classes, fitness, swim lessons and so much more as part of enrollment in the preschool. Many of our children graduate from the preschool but continue on in our afterschool program or summer camp or sports leagues. When you join our early childhood learning center it’s not just a four year commitment to a preschool; it’s a decision to make Jewish community a priority in your life.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I enjoy swimming, cooking, and socializing with family and friends.
What is something someone might not know about you but is interesting?
I speak Spanish, Hebrew, and English fluently; and am able to hold conversations in both Italian and German.
Is there anything you would like to add?
People often ask me if they need to be Jewish to come to our preschool. And the answer is a resounding no. Our values of improving the world, decency towards others, respect, working hard, etc. are values we all want for our children. The Sheva framework incorporates family engagement, learning through our environments, and healthy living- again, all elements we want for each of our children regardless of background or religious affiliation. Every single child and every single parent that enters our preschool doors is a part of our JCC family— welcome hugs are waiting! For more information or to schedule a tour of the Glantz Early Childhood Learning Center call 561-732-7620.