Students learn by engagement at Temple Judea.
So when it came to renovating the synagogue’s Margaux Early Childhood School, the Coral Gables congregation wanted the physical learning environment to be just as contemporary and collaborative as the teachings for the infant- and toddler-enrichment programs and middle- and high-school religious curriculum.
The finished multimillion-dollar project added 9,000 square feet of space, a two-story building and nine new classrooms to the renamed education center, now known as the Frank Family Education Center. The renovations include an outdoor playground, teen lounge and updated technology and Wi-Fi connectivity to the temple, located at 5500 Granada Blvd.
The building hadn’t been updated since it was erected in the 1960s, temple officials said.
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“We’re trying to foster a love of learning,” Rabbi Judith Siegal said. “And a lot of that is promoted and done even better in a beautiful space.”
Previously, the temple didn’t have enough rooms for all its programming, and the spaces weren’t age-appropriate: Fourth-graders used to learn in the same rooms used for 3-year-olds, said Beth Young, the director of education.
“When you have a 9-year-old coming into a 3-year-old’s classroom, that doesn’t feel like their space,” she said.
Now there’s a space for everyone. Infants and toddlers play in bright, colorful classrooms with miniature seats and desks, and the middle- and high-school students have a hip and edgy lounge with a large-screen Apple TV, sofa and foosball table.
Private donations from the community helped make the temple’s dreams a reality.
The Frank Family Education Center was named in honor of the Temple’s largest donors: Howard and Mary Frank, and Jocelyn and Eric Woolworth. (Jocelyn is the daughter of Howard and Mary Frank.)
“This is a dream come true,” Howard Frank said at the center’s grand opening. “There is no greater pleasure in life than to help others.”
The director said the center can even have more simultaneous programming with different populations, which is something it couldn’t do as much before.
“What the spaces allowed us to do is just incredible,” she said.
Cresonia Hsieh: @CresoniaHsieh