With a giant scissor, Murray and David Berman cut the ribbon to officially open the Berman JCC Early Childhood Center at 2221 Richmond Avenue. The school is the fourth location for the JCC’s Early Childhood programs throughout the borough. It offers a full range of services including infant day care, nursery school, Pre-K for All and First Foot Forward for children with special needs. Although it only opened its doors one month ago, there are only limited openings in its programs. Solomon Chemo, JCC Board President, attributed this to “the extraordinary reputation for excellence in early childhood education that the JCC has maintained for over 40 years.”
The school was named in honor of Murray Berman, long time JCC board member who has provided both expertise and generous support to the Center as it has expanded from its original site at 475 Victory Boulevard to the Avis South Shore JCC on Arthur Kill Road and the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC on Manor Road, each site including a pre-school.
Jayne Smith, Director of JCC Early Childhood Education, thanked Christine Cea, NYS Regent, and Stephanie Bianco and Youree Garcia of CPSE (Committee for Preschool Special Education) for their assistance and guidance. She also thanked her staff for their extraordinary efforts to open the school by the start of the new school year.
David Sorkin, JCC Executive Director, thanked LauraJean Watters, Program Officer of Staten Island Foundation, for its generosity in providing funding to furnish all the classrooms. NYC Councilman Joseph Borelli spoke about the importance of a quality early childhood education for all children and even more so for those with special needs.
Setting the celebratory tone for the ribbon cutting was STELLA, the JCC Early Childhood Mascot, whose name stands for STRIVING TOWARDS EXCELLENCE, LOVE, LEARNING AND ACADEMICS
Note: The building was already wellknown as a preschool, having served for over thirty years as the home of the innovative Foresight School founded by Dr. Barbara Berman.