Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Bolotin.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Amy. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be around children. When I was very young, I wanted my own dozen (I read Cheaper By the Dozen many, many times!) but then I realized maybe it would be wiser to work with children rather than have so many of my own.
Eventually, I made my way to graduate school when I found a program with a particular focus on very young children – birth to three years old. I love early childhood education because the very nature of the work means you have to develop a relationship with a whole family, not just the children you care for.
Working with parents was initially terrifying, but it has grown to be one of the most rewarding aspects of my work. I loved being in the classroom but grew to want something a bit different.
I’m quite restless by nature, so when I finished graduate school, I went to work in Early Intervention. The variety of doing home visits, running small playgroups and visiting different programs appealed to me. I worked part-time when my first child was born and then after having my second child, I turned my focus to my own family for a bit. I was drawn back into teaching as my children went through preschool at a local synagogue that we then joined. It took another 6 years (that’s a whole other story!) before I really came back to the world of early childhood education full time.
JCC Greater Boston offered me the opportunity to once again work with infants and toddlers at the Godine Early Learning Center in Newton. 7 years – and a lot of learning and growing – later, here I am, director of an early childhood program. Being the director of the JCC Early Learning Center in Brookline is an opportunity that I am so grateful for. I love that I can be immersed in the education world while also being the Jewish world at the same time. I’ve really come to appreciate that as one of the great perks of my job.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I believe that few roads worth traveling are smooth! I am a cautious learner in many ways. I like to observe, reflect and then quietly try things on my own before I let other people see/know what I know. As a supervisor in a fast-paced environment, dealing with many personalities, I was forced to grow comfortable with making mistakes – and making them publicly.
What I’ve come to understand – and value – is that we are all learning all the time and as long as I am trying, as long as I am honest and authentic in the work I do, making that learning visible to others is a good thing. Leaders should not be striving to look perfect, to make the work they do look easy. It’s not – and pretending otherwise sets unrealistic expectations for others.
Please tell us about JCC Early Learning Center.
My school is one of 4 Early Learning Centers (ELC) that JCC Greater Boston runs. Our ELC is on the smaller side. We have 5 classrooms and enroll children 15 months through 5 years. We are a full-day, full-year program and while we offer part-time enrollment options, the majority of our families enroll full time.
I think what makes our school unique is the quality of relationships we build with families and with children. I believe all learning happens in the context of relationships and our staff strives always to provide children with rich learning experiences that are happening in a caring, loving environment.
The JCC has made a commitment, through the implementation of the Sheva educational Framework, to aligning its educational philosophy – that all children are born curious and capable of deep learning – with a strong belief in the value of Jewish thought and tradition. We view learning through the lens of Jewish values and in doing so, offer children (and their families) a very rich experience.
- Address: 20 Sutherland Road,
Brighton, MA 02135
- Website: bostonjcc.org/earlylearning
- Phone: 617-278-2950
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Other: @JCCGreaterBoston