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  • Ettie Zaklos


The holidays are a time of joy and family. A time to make connections, celebrate traditions and build relationships. At Preschool of the Arts, we love to use the holidays as an opportunity to bring our entire community together for special celebrations. We know that the largest educational gains occur when teachers, students and parents work together towards the same goals. Creating a joyous community atmosphere for our students and their families allows our community members to meet and greet one another in more social settings and fosters stronger and deeper relationships that benefit all.

This year, that presented a unique challenge, as our classes have been separated into learning pods, parents and visitors cannot visit our campus, and teachers wear masks at all times. While all of these measures, and many more, have been incredibly effective in keeping us safe and our children learning and thriving in the classroom, they are not the most conducive for communal celebration. Still, we were determined not to let Covid stop our POTA family from celebrating our biggest event of the year: our Musical Thanksgiving Performance. With careful planning and logistics, we were able to pull off a safe, socially-distanced, in-person event in Cambier Park.

This event brought our school community together in person for the first time since the pandemic began. Though we were six feet apart, there was such a special power and magical camaraderie that comes with seeing each other face to face instead of through a screen. The children performed with great fanfare, sharing songs all tied to our theme of the event, “Live With a Grateful Heart”. At a time of much turmoil, focusing on nurturing little grateful hearts and finding the silver linings in the storm was deeply meaningful to all.

The Thanksgiving event also kicked off POTA’s new initiative “Art With Heart” which will help us transform and upgrade our indoor and outdoor Studios of the Arts for our children. Parents and children had the opportunity to paint a part of a unique art installation that will beautify our new indoor studio. We love involving our parents in opportunities to expand our offerings to ensure our POTA children are receiving the best of the best. We know that the creative arts support the emotional wellbeing of children, allowing young children to reflect on gratitude and joy. Our new nature-inspired studios will unleash our children’s imaginations, ensuring a stronger, more confident future.

The holidays are also a time to stop and reflect, and I want to express my tremendous gratitude to the devoted and talented staff who make our preschool possible – especially during Covid. From our nurturing and professional teachers and staff to our Specialists in art, gardening, science, sports, music, dance and more, to the support staff who work so diligently behind the scenes – our office staff, security officer, on-site staff – each one plays a critical role in building a supportive environment where the children can thrive. I am so grateful that the Naples community has rallied around our vision for excellence in Jewish early childhood education. Our school has been recognized for our cutting-edge programs and dedication to quality, but it is our parents and stakeholders who whole-heartedly believe in our school’s mission that drive our tremendous growth.

To learn more, schedule a tour to experience the magic of POTA and our state-of-the-art campus for yourself. Enrollment is now open (and quickly filling up!) for Preschool of the Arts 2021-2022, as well as our acclaimed Summer of the Arts programs. We are all excited at the prospect of another fulfilling and growth-filled year at Preschool of the Arts.


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