Tell us a little about yourself: your education, your experience in early childhood education, and which class you are currently teaching. 

My name is Jessica Laudenbach. I am a mother of three children, Addison-13, Miles-11, and Olivia-7! I love to read and am a big movie fan. (I also love Target!) I went to UC Irvine, where I attained my bachelor’s degree in psychology and social behavior, followed by one year of graduate school in film, television, and radio. When I realized my real passion was for teaching, I left my graduate program to teach in a classroom and attended UCLA at night to obtain my certification in early childhood education. I currently teach one of the 4-year-old classes at JPS.

As a new teacher at JPS who has worked in different early childhood centers, what do you most enjoy about JPS?

First and foremost, I love the staff. It is like a big extended family. We take care of each other, and I enjoy coming to work each and every day. It is truly a blessing. I have worked in many different places and have never felt so at home.  Tell us about a unit you have done with your students.  This year has been moving at such a rapid pace, and we have already covered so many topics. One I loved in particular, though, was the farm. We focused on agriculture one week and on farm animals the next. Not only did we have many farm materials in the classroom for the children to explore, but also we worked on science experiments, popped popcorn, painted with
corn, built wagons from popsicle sticks, and read many amazing books. It was such a fun unit, and the children really enjoyed all the activities we did together!

What is the most challenging way in which COVID-19 has affected your teaching?

I think the biggest challenge has been trying to keep the children at a distance from each other during the day. Children have very little sense of spatial awareness when it comes to playing with each other, so that has certainly been difficult.

What is your favorite thing about teaching in a Jewish preschool?

I would say the traditions.  I love being a part of teaching children traditions that they will practice for many, many years to come.

What are your goals for your 4-year-olds this year? 

Kindergarten readiness is an important goal of mine. Providing them with a school environment they love to come to every day is a major priority! I work hard to ensure that each day is filled with fun and learning and
plan many activities that are geared toward preparing the students for kindergarten.