Whether you are a returning family or new to the school, it is my pleasure to welcome you to our wonderful community preschool.
We know that children learn best when they feel safe, secure and (most importantly) loved. This is why we work to create an environment where children are truly seen and celebrated and where they have the opportunity to challenge their minds and their bodies. We want every child to feel confident and competent and feel that the world is an exciting, interesting place. When it’s time to start kindergarten, we want every child to walk into that big building feeling like a super star!
As the mother of three children -- all in their 20's -- I know how quickly the years pass. I also know that parenting is a lot more fun when you share the journey with others. I hope that you will enjoy your own preschool years here –- most especially by making new friends (adult play dates are awesome).
Our preschool community is made up of families from all different faiths and backgrounds, all committed to raising children who will grow up to make the world a better place. I hope Adat Reyim is a place of joy for every one of you and that many years from now, when your own little one is ready to go out in the world, you look back on your time here as something unique and wonderful.
L’Shalom – Therese Fournier
Note: Adat Reyim Preschool requires that all staff receive yearly health screenings, biyearly TB assessments, and biyearly first aid and CPR training.
Karen Murdoch is the lead teacher in our Pre-K classroom. She is an experienced educator who has taught children of all ages. Her passion is helping each child find their inner strength and independence and equipping them with the skills that they will need to enter the elementary school years. Karen holds degrees in both Elementary Education and Library Science. She has taught in both the public and private school sectors, on the preschool level, and she is the past director of the Children's Village preschool in New York. An Army spouse, Karen has lived all over the country. She is an accomplished pianist and handbell ringer and has volunteered with a number of nonprofit organizations. Notably, she coached the Hidden Pond Envirothon team to a ninth place finish in the North American environmental competition. Karen has also been a presenter for the Virginia Association of Environmental Educators. Karen and her family reside in Springfield.
Paula is the lead teacher in our Pre-K class. She believes building a community facilitates a welcoming and safe environment where learning comes naturally, and children feel confident and comfortable to try new things. Communication and developing connections play an important role in fostering this environment. Previously, Paula was a teacher in Adat Reyim’s Twos and Threes classes. After a few years living overseas, as a leader for USA Girl Scouts Overseas and volunteering at her children’s school, she has returned to a community she missed. Paula has a Master of Business Administration degree, with a minor in psychology, from the University of South Dakota. Born and raised in Minnesota, she has since lived around the world due to her husband's career with the U.S. Department of State. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking and spending quality time with her family. She currently resides in Springfield with her husband and two children.
Suzy is the lead teacher in our Threes class. She enjoys facilitating a child-led, experiential classroom which sparks curiosity and promotes a lifelong love of learning. She empowers children to investigate and explore the world around them. Suzy earned a BS in Communication Disorders from the University of Maryland and an MS in Speech Pathology from William Paterson University in NJ. Prior to working at Adat Reyim, Suzy worked as a speech pathologist in a private special education school for 12 years. Suzy is a a member of the Adat Reyim congregation and she is also a Girl Scout leader in the local community. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and going to Maryland basketball games. She lives in Springfield with her husband and three children.
Natalie leads the Twos class. She has a background in Waldorf education, which emphasizes the cultivation of children’s imagination and creativity in the classroom. She loves co-constructing knowledge with her students and she creates environments and conditions for her preschoolers to gain social, emotional and cognitive skills. There is much sensory, movement, listening and observing in Natalie’s classroom. As such, she knows that her presence in the classroom creates the climate for learning and she takes her role very seriously. She studied Biology at the University of Cincinnati and is currently pursuing a degree in Occupational Therapy. Originally from Kentucky, she now lives in West Springfield with her active duty Army husband and three sons.
Suzie McDonald is the STEAM teacher for Adat Reyim Preschool. She is passionate about giving children a way to express themselves, and help them begin to understand science from bugs (her picture is with an awesome patent leather beetle) to chemistry, to basic engineering process and physical science. Whatever she does is “hands on” so preschoolers can get their “zeal” for learning, experimenting, and understanding science. Suzie has her degree in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State University and has taught for Fairfax County Public Schools for almost a decade. Suzie got her "zeal" for science from her father who was a biologist for the US Government and The George Washington University. She became interested in teaching from her mother who was a FCPS math teacher for 30 years. Her daughter, who is in college with a major in STEM (Chemistry), worked at Hidden Pond Nature Center. Suzie lives with her husband and her high-school-aged son in Springfield. Suzie’s husband is an engineer and a professor of engineering. Both Suzie and her husband always have interesting experiments to do!
Adat Reyim's STEAM enrichment is a part of the core school hours. Classes meet with Suzie in the Imagination Studio to work on school-wide projects.
Ariel is a certified Rhythm ’N’ Ruach instructor from Northern Virginia. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Music and Psychology from The American University. Ariel is excited to have found a career that combines all of her passions -- music, Judaism, and teaching children. She also loves being able to work in the community she grew up in. Outside of education, Ariel is training as an opera singer and has also started branching into pop music. Ariel hopes to foster the love of music and the connection that it brings into every community she works with.
Adat Reyim's Music enrichment is a part of the core school hours.
Cristina is a teacher in our Pre-K class. She believes that children are young scientists who are in charge of their own learning experience and that the teacher’s job is to facilitate their journey while the child leads the way. Her favorite sentence is “How can you solve this problem?” Cristina loves to bring boxes and recycled materials into the classroom to spark creativity, to develop imagination and to grow building skills. She has a BS in Tourism, Recreation and Hospitality with a minor in Theatre Arts. Cristina is originally from Brazil, where her journey in education began managing, leading and planning educational and ecotourism trips around Brazil for K-12 students for over a decade. While out of the classroom, Cristina enjoys camping, hiking, biking and paddle boarding with her family. She lives in Fairfax with her twin daughters and her husband, who is an engineering professor at GMU. Her passion in life is traveling and exploring National Parks.
Andrea is a teacher is the Pre-K class. She thoroughly enjoys coaching children and encouraging their independence as they learn to complete tasks on their own. Andrea has previously worked in both the Threes and Pre-K programs and knows the importance of establishing a skill set in order for the child to progress successfully from one year to the next. Prior to working with preschoolers, Andrea was a special education teacher for eight years in private and public schools in DC, Arlington County and Alexandria City where she taught in the primary and upper elementary grades. She has a Master’s degree in Special Education from The American University. Andrea is originally from Brazil and has been living in the US for more than 20 years. She lives in Burke with her husband, daughter and son where they all love to spend time outdoors hiking and biking. Andrea enjoys cooking, reading and going to the pool in the summer.