Simone Coutinho, our Assistant Director of Operations, ELS, created this heart-warming list of important lessons she’s learned during this global crisis.  

First of all, I want to thank all of the ELS Teachers for the wonderful and creative videos and activities they have posted on their classroom blogs and for their engagement via Zoom meetings with classroom children and parents. An additional shout out to Stephanie for making sure we continued to celebrate Shabbat as a community and a special ‘thank you’ to Carly, Daniel, Ryan, Adam, Lexie, and everyone at the JCC who has been working so hard to make our community Havdalah and Shabbat celebrations so joyous. 

During this unexpected and unusual time where the world is facing the Coronavirus crisis and we, the JCC/ELS family, are all in quarantine, I am having the opportunity to reflect and learn some important lessons:

1.  I used to not have enough time to accomplish all that I needed and wanted to do and now I am receiving time as a gift and learning to value it again.

2. I have been given an extraordinary opportunity to express kindness and love to colleagues, friends, neighbors, and family members. It has allowed me to re-discover relationships–to talk on the phone without concern of time restrictions and time zones (my brothers, who live in three different continents, are also in quarantine). 

3. This time of quarantine is also giving me an opportunity to exercise patience and perseverance.

4. I love nature and am enjoying walking around the neighborhood trails.

5. I really miss all of my JCC/ELS colleagues, children, parents, and community.

6. I miss my morning routine–going into every classroom and saying good morning, being greeted by the teachers’ and children’s smiles. I miss hearing Ines, Bradleigh, Jonah, Anna, Ryan, Piper, Asher, and Miller saying “Bom dia” which means good morning in Portuguese. I miss seeing Ryan’s huge smile and hearing his excited voice calling me ‘Mone’ and I miss Lucca’s sweet smile. 

7. I miss hearing Meira’s, Hayes’s, Bradley’s, and Zephyr’s exciting voices as they run towards me saying “Simone” and giving me a morning hug. 

8. I miss saying to Noah in room 101 “buenos dias mi amor” and hear him giggling while he runs to hug me.

9. I miss all the sweet and smart infants in rooms 114 and 116, including Chase’s big smile and Avi’s cuteness. I miss playing and holding sweet Nora, Emory, Thea, and Jake.

10. I miss seeing the children’s excitement about a new day filled with new learning adventures.

11. I miss hearing the children singing with Stephanie at Shabbat and with Andy as she teaches them Music and Movement. 

12. I miss hearing the children’s laughter in the playground and in the gym with Cory. I miss seeing the children having a blast swimming with Pete.

13. I miss Oliver’s hugs and his visits to my office searching for a surprise. 

14. I miss Lainey, Lev, Addie, Emmet, Jake, and their mom’s sweet good byes at the end of each school day. 

There are countless special moments I share with the children, their parents, and staff daily that I truly miss. Each memory is unique and special to me and I look forward to the coming memories.

Please stay healthy!


Thanks so much, Simone. We miss all of the smiles and sweet kiddos at the ELS, too!