Welcome To Temple Beth El!

Get to Know Keshet

We sat down with Mandi Warner, our Youth and Families Director, to get to know Keshet a little better. Here’s what she had to say:

What is Keshet? How long have we had it?
“We learn and play in a Jewish way” is our motto! Keshet is Rochester’s only synagogue-based preschool that focuses on learning through Jewish values and focusing on self-esteem first. Children learn best when they feel good about themselves, so through developing self-esteem, we are able to prepare our students for kindergarten. I believe Keshet has been around for about 17 years.

How many students are there right now?
There are a total of 58 students.

What are they up to on a daily basis?
Oh my gosh! Everything! There is circle time, gross motor time, Shabbat, Havdalah, music, arts and crafts, Judaic learning… When the weather is good, we go outside. When it’s not, you can walk down and find kids riding down the hall on Cozy Coupes. Everything is done to meet the children’s developmental needs and get them prepared for the next step. We foster their growth through music, art, math, science, critical thinking… so much goes on during the day!

What’s your favorite part as director?
So many things… The kids are my number one favorite part! Listening to them speak and watching them grow is the best part of it all! I also love getting to know the families and understanding their “why” for choosing a Jewish preschool. I love mentoring new teachers and getting to know their stories.

What is a current struggle?
There are a few things… We do have a wait list, so turning people away is something I’ve never had to do. 

How are the teachers doing?
The teachers love being here, because how could you be unhappy walking into a building full of the most adorable, smiling children ever?

Do we work with other organizations?
We work with the Shinshinim- they are here every Friday! We also have 4th/5th club with Hillel School, which is where our four and five year olds build relationships with their 4th and 5th graders.

What about professional development?
This is a high priority of mine. I personally just finished a certification through the Mandel Teacher Education Institute on leading good quality professional development. Our teachers see this reflected in our monthly staff meetings, along with several other Professional Development Days throughout the year. Besides MTEI, I also completed the Spertus Educational Leadership program, and pass a lot of that along to my teachers.

Tell me a story about Keshet!
Back in 2018, after summer vacation, several moms came in carrying “baby bumps”. Before we knew it, there were 9 pregnant moms in Keshet! The next thing I knew, these babies were born. Now they are all best friends in Gan Gadol, our four-year old room.