Early Childhood Center Celebrates 20-Years in Parkland
Miss Laurie and her 3s class. {Photo by Bob Hersh}

By Jill Fox

On a beautiful morning in Parkland, the Phylis J. Green Early Childhood Center (ECC) children sat in the sanctuary as they do every Friday. Only this time, along with Rabbi Bradd Boxman, Cantor Debbie Hafetz, and a Shabbat stuffed dinosaur, city officials took to the bima to announce something special in honor of the preschool’s 20th birthday.

“Can you say prawk-luh-may-shun?” Asked Commissioner Ken Cutler, who read a portion of the document before presenting it to the synagogue.

“…the City of Parkland City Commission hereby proclaims January 1 to 31, Florida Jewish History Month in the City of Parkland and urges all residents to join in the celebration of the many outstanding achievements of the Congregation Kol Tikvah community in Parkland…”

“Kol Tikvah and the ECC are the centerpiece of our small town,” said Laurie Vecker, who has taught at the school since its 2003 opening. “It is amazing for the City of Parkland to recognize the importance of what we achieve in our school each and every day.”

Among the event attendees were city officials, past congregation presidents, teachers, students, and their families.

Early Childhood Center Celebrates 20 Years in Parkland 1
State Representative Christine Hunschofsky, Mayor Rich Walker, Commissioner Ken Cutler, Rabbi Bradd Boxman and Kol Tikvah President Andrew Rader {Photo by Bob Hersh}

State Rep. Christine Hunschofsky remembered when the ECC opened because her sons were in a nearby preschool, Mary Help of Christians, down the street. “When they started, both had very similar philosophies – a developmental approach to early learning, giving children the room to play and discover.”

With preschool classes for children ages 12 months through five years, the Phylis J. Green ECC offers academic programs, childcare services, and a Voluntary Pre-kindergarten Education Program (VPK), all of which exceed state requirements, according to the school.

“What an amazing resource for the members of Congregation Kol Tikvah and the community at large,” said Hunschofsky.

Sydney Berlin, ECC director since 2016, said most teachers have been with the school for at least a decade, some as many as 20 years. “It speaks volumes to our commitment to the children and our heritage.”

Currently the head teacher for the three-year-old team, Vecker’s first class are now college graduates.

“I frequently see the families whose children I’ve taught in Publix and Target — that is the beauty of living in the town in which you work,” she said.

The celebration will continue on February 4 at 7 p.m., at Congregation Kol Tikvah’s annual fundraising event – Love & Legacy– with dinner, dancing, cocktails, casino fun, and an auction.

Tickets and Sponsorships are available here.

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Author Profile

Jill Fox
Jill Fox
Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.