My name is Tamar (Tami), and I am an Israeli living in the USA since… long, long ago. I am a mother, a wife, a preschool teacher, a pet lover, a Hebrew preserving crusader, a book reader, an event organizer, a volunteer and more.
I graduated in 1993 with a B.Ed in early childhood education from the Kibbutz Education department of Seminar HaKibbutzim in Tel Aviv and I have been teaching ever since.
I earned my M.A in teaching Hebrew as a second language at Middlebury College in Vermont.
In Israel I taught at Kibbutz Usha before relocating to Dallas, TX, in 1997. In Dallas I began teaching at the local JCC preschool in the 2 and 3 year-old class. Shortly after arriving at the JCC, I was offered the opportunity to initiate, develop and head a Hebrew program. I successfully ran the program for a few years until my family relocated for my husband’s work.
In 2003 my family arrived in Rockville, MD, where I started Gan Gurim, my home-based program that offers a unique, warm, loving, and rich environment for children to grow in. It is an interesting story – how Gan Gurim came to happen, but it’s a separate story.
My program follows the kibbutz-style curriculum involving a lot of “out of the box” thinking, creativity, encouragement – and it is conducted entirely in Hebrew. I based the choice to create a full Hebrew Immersion program on many years of experience teaching Israeli /Jewish children outside of Israel, away from their extended family, and I'm happy to elaborate more about it here.
Since 1997 and until today, I have worked with hundreds of children whose heritage (native) language is Hebrew while the dominant language (the environment) is English, as well as with monolingual English speakers. I have a tremendous amount of experience and an extensive understanding of both the day-to-day operations and the challenges involved in teaching in this style and setting.
As a mother of 3, I also know first hand the challenges and difficulties of raising children in an English speaking environment, away from the extended family in Israel. I found a few ways to ease the difficulties and implement them at Gan.
Since it opened, more than 100 children have attended Gan Gurim, and I am still thankful for the fact that I can wake up every morning to a job that I love so much.