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.
Jill is the lead teacher in our Five-Day, Fours class. Jill enjoys teaching Pre-K because it allows learning to take place through a variety of experiences that involve all of the senses. These enriching opportunities happen through process art, science discovery, building/constructing, imaginative play and child-led exploration. Jill earned a BA degree in English and Communication Arts from St. Mary's University in San Antonio, TX and completed a post-baccalaureate Early Childhood Education certification program at Columbus State University in Columbus, GA. She taught first grade in North Carolina for several years before eventually moving to Springfield, where she has been teaching Pre-K for the last 5 years. While originally from Texas, Jill has moved all over the United States for the past 17 years as an Army Spouse. She has two elementary-aged children, a cockatiel, and enjoys going to Zumba and playing the ukulele in her free time.
Paula is the lead teacher in our Five-Day, Threes 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 class. 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 Three-Day, 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.
Chantal is a teacher in our Five-Day, Threes class. After having two children of her own, she learned that she has a passion for enriching children’s lives with kind words and helpful encouragements. She is a D.C. native who grew up in Northern Virginia and has also lived in London, New York City and Southern California. She has spent a year substitute teaching for primary and secondary schools in FCPS and decided going into teaching was one of the best life decisions she has made. Prior to entering teaching, she worked in the U.S. aerospace industry for 10 years where she served as Manager of the National Security Division and Executive Secretary for the National Aerospace Standards Committee. She traveled internationally to European and South American airshows, where she translated for the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force on CNN Español in Santiago, Chile. She was an avid traveler before having a family and worked directly with students in Malawi, Africa where she provided vocational training and promoted the Malawi’s Children’s Village program to help support orphaned children. Chantal is fluent in Spanish and French and holds a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University. She enjoys painting with watercolor, yoga, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.
Sanela is a teacher in our Three-Day, Threes class. She values the curiosity and enthusiasm that children bring to every situation and believes that her primary role as an educator is to foster this natural inquisitiveness. Originally from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sanela lived in Germany for ten years before emigrating to the United States. From her travels, she learned to speak four languages. Sanela is a military spouse and a mother of three children, all of whom attended Adat Reyim Preschool. In her free time, Sanela enjoys cooking, hiking, and volunteering at a non-profit community support organization.
Francisca is a teacher in our Twos class. She brings a rich background of working with children of different ages from preschoolers all the way up to middle school. Francisca has a Bachelor’s in Spanish Literature and Language. She is originally from Los Angeles, but has lived throughout the United States for the last 20 years as a Marine Corps spouse. Since her husband’s retirement from the service, they have chosen Burke as a resting stop to raise their children. Francisca likes to bake, read, travel and go on walks with her family and her dog.
Angela is a teacher in the two-year-old class and has spent most of her life working in various forms of childcare as well as a few years as a personnel officer in the Air Force. She has a Masters in elementary education and has also worked as a nanny, babysitter, and before and after school care director. All three of her daughters are now in elementary school, but each spent their preschool years at Adat Reyim. So, when the opportunity arose, Angela was thrilled to return to the AR family as a teacher. She was raised in Louisiana, but has lived all over the US and in Germany due to her husband’s job in the military, and has lived in Springfield for the past seven years. Her favorite ways to spend her free time are reading, hand embroidering and traveling.