This coming academic year, Kehillat Mogen David Education Center, (“KMDEC”), will welcome a new 2nd grade to its thriving education community. Only five years ago this fledgling orthodox school was launched in the city, promising a cost effective quality education. Currently the school takes children from age two until 1st grade but each year a new grade is added as the parents want to stay.
KMDEC is affiliated with Congregation Mogen David. The shul is headed by Senior Rabbi Gabriel Elias, whose efforts to build his community have resulted in an increase in membership, with the addition of 205 young families, which include over 100 children. In 2009, a decision was made to add a school that would serve the shul’s congregation.
KMDEC is led by Director Cecelie Wizenfeld, who comes to the school with over thirty years of experience in Early Childhood Education, including Shalhevet School, where she worked as Director of the Early Education program and the Director of Admissions. Additionally, she comes with 13 years of experience as the Early Childhood Director at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy.
KMDEC is a school that believes in children leading their learning with teachers that are happy to foster the children’s voice, their creativity, and their sense of community through experiential learning. The program is Reggio inspired and the school prides itself on being a progressive school, weaving in the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development of the students into everyday learning. The children love the vibrant atmosphere and this year have created space stations, weather stations, made fresh olive oil for their Channukiot, incorporated painting techniques from the grand masters, and more.
This year has also seen KMDEC incorporating an Ivrit B’Ivrit Hebrew immersion Program in which instructors speak only in Hebrew to build and encourage the growth of the Hebrew language for the children. Along with Ivrit study, the children are surrounded by Judaica, from an Orthodox approach.
Beginning with morning davening and prayer services for every age group, to rich lessons filled with exposure to the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and the spirit of every Jewish holiday, KMDEC builds a solid foundation for the practice and understanding of the Jewish religion and culture. One parent told Wizenfeld, “KMDEC provides a solid Jewish education and nurturing environment at an affordable rate in the heart of my Pico/Robertson community. The individualized attention is something my wife and I have literally never seen from any day school.” Another Parent added, “Everyone is very warm and welcoming. My child says the teachers tell us even though we come from different homes, we are together and we are one.”