TBI Preschool Expands Its Mission and Rebrands as the “Tree of Life Children’s Center”

Many exciting changes are happening at Temple Beth Israel Preschool, including the announcement of the renaming as “Tree of Life Children’s Center at TBI.”  The school remains committed to the successful developmental philosophy that has guided it for over three decades – meeting children where they are and helping them thrive. 
    This philosophy also extends to engaging families and building community  as Temple Beth Israel continues to welcome children from all faiths in the surrounding community. Hundreds of local families of diverse backgrounds have developed lasting relationships which started when their children attended preschool at TBI. This tradition will continue and move forward at the Tree of Life Children’s Center.
    Another transition will be taking place at the school as long-time Preschool Director, Deborah Pruitt, announced her retirement as of July 1. Temple Beth Israel is excited to welcome the new Director, Robin McConnell, who will take the reins of the Tree of Life Children’s Center at that time.
    Reflecting on her time as Preschool Director, Pruitt states, “My 32 years at the preschool has been an amazing experience. I move into retirement feeling confident that the school is in great hands and that it will continue to offer a rich nurturing learning environment now and in the future. I am thrilled that Robin, who’s already had so much success at our school, will be taking the helm at Tree of Life Children’s Center.”
    Pruitt said she was especially proud that the TBI Preschool was able to successfully reopen in August 2020 and that by following best practices during the pandemic, not one child or staff member contracted  Covid-19; a record that the school intends to keep by continuing to follow public agency guidelines and best practices moving forward.
    McConnell was a loved and respected lead teacher at TBI Preschool from 2012 to 2018 where she planned and implemented the play-based curriculum for two-to-three-year-olds. Her strong commitment to the field of early childhood education is evident as she both taught preschool and was Adjunct Faculty in the Human Development Program at Pacific Oaks College.  More recently, McConnell was the Early Childhood Program Director for the Family YMCA of the Desert, Palm Desert where she was responsible for three preschool sites of 60-100 children each.
    “I am delighted to return to TBI Preschool as Director of the Tree of Life Children’s Center and just love the name. The six years I was lead teacher were among the most enriching of my career. Carrying Deborah’s legacy into the future is an honor and I look forward to welcoming hundreds of families into our Children’s Center during the next few years,” added McConnell. 
    Becoming Director of the Tree of Life Children’s Center at Temple Beth Israel gives McConnell the opportunity to work closely with families and teachers as they collaborate to provide children with the best possible developmental environment. In addition, she looks forward to working together with the entire TBI community.
    “We are thrilled to welcome new and returning families who will benefit from expanded hours and options,” said Christine Akin, incoming TBI Vice President of Education. “Our new schedule is now more flexible, including 2, 3, or 5 days a week plus half, extended, and full-day programs.”  The Temple community is excited about our new direction and leadership.
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