History of our School
Twenty-five years ago, Dassie New made a telephone call to Sara Carter asking for her help to start a Chabad pre-school in Atlanta, Georgia. Besides providing an environment shaped by Chabad philosophy, they wanted a school that would truly be developmentally appropriate. Their aim was to be free from rushing small children through activities, to be free from worrying about whether the children would be “prepared” for the next year. Instead, they wanted to be free to give each child the time to grow according to his own rhythm of progress and to give teachers the time to get to know their children and to respond to their needs.
The school began with nine students in the basement of a house that existed on the property where Congregation Beth Tefillah now stands. Word spread, and the enrollment kept increasing. With the purchase of the house next door, the school moved into a much larger 2-story space and was able to welcome 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds from several Atlanta neighborhoods.
At one point Mrs. New began to research the Montessori philosophy and to observe Montessori classrooms. She decided to adopt this approach while selecting from it those elements that support Jewish beliefs. The Montessori acknowledgment of the powers that exist within young children, their innate drive to learn, and their immense potential fit well with the Torah’s view of each Jew as an infinite treasure of spiritual strength which fuels a Jew’s mission in life. Thus began Mrs. New’s own training in Montessori and the search for Montessori teachers who would appreciate the Torah context of the school. The school’s name changed from Chaya Mushka Preschool and Kindergarten to Chaya Mushka Children’s House, with an enrollment that continues to increase.
In 2013, Chabad of Georgia completed the construction of the Jeff and Carrla Goldstein Youth and Education Center, and Chaya Mushka Children’s House found its permanent new home. The school building was carefully designed to provide the physical environment needed to further the purposes of this progressive Jewish Montessori education.
Soon many parents of the kindergarteners began to make an urgent request, “Can we continue this approach into 1st grade and higher?” Their enthusiasm kept this question alive until finally, Chaya Mushka Children’s House offered a 1st grade in 2010. Each year new grades were added, and the current enrollment of 65 students includes 1st through 7th grade with 12 teachers, including 3 rebbeim. These teachers and their students are presently housed in a temporary location not far from the Chaya Mushka Children’s House.
In October 2015 CMCH hired Rabbi Michoel Druin as Head of School to take CMCH Elementary to its next phase of growth.