More than 200 children and adults tackled exhibits, noshed on party food - pizza, cookies and juice boxes for the tykes; veggies and soda for the adults - and just plain old socialized last week at the Please Touch Museum in Center City to benefit the Terri Lynne Lokoff Early Leaning Center in Ambler, operated by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia's Early Learning Services.
"This is our second annual 'Family Night Out' fundraiser," said Michelle Bernstein, director of the center, which provides day-care services for infants to prekindergarteners. "The goal is to raise money for special programs like Hebrew-enrichment classes, baby sign language or maybe even yoga."
In addition to the $10,000 that co-chair Laurie Jubelirer Langman said she expected the event and Chinese auction to bring in, the school had much else to celebrate. Last fall, the center was granted accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, an honor that according to Federation, only a very small percentage of area child-care centers - Jewish and non-Jewish - are given.
Bernstein said the accreditation highlights the school's high-quality education program and its increased staff training.
While 19 FELS programs exist in Greater Philadelphia, the Lokoff center is one of just four to have earned the recognition.
"Children leaving the program typically have higher academic and social skills," noted Bernstein. "We meet the needs of the individual child and involve the parents in a variety of ways."
Parents concurred that the school offers a great deal to tots, and that events like these allow them to offer even more.
"I feel very strongly about the importance of what the school teaches about being Jewish and the customs and holidays," said Langman. "I'm grateful for the center, and feel I have to support the school by giving back."
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