Fanny Koyman, the lead Hebrew and Judaic studies teacher for transitional kindergarten and kindergarten at Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School in Northridge, brings Hebrew and Judaism to life for her young students. During her imaginary trip to Israel, students design their own passports and board a mock El Al plane headed to the Holy Land, where they travel around stations that simulate Israeli experiences. At the shuk station students taste Israeli produce, while at the Dead Sea station they experiment with floating eggs in salt water. Mrs. Koyman's classroom is such an exciting place to be that parents say their children often ask to go to school on the weekends.
To carry on her grandfather's legacy as a teacher of Torah, Mrs. Koyman left a career in fashion design in Israel to study child development at UCLA. Now in her 30th year at Heschel, Mrs. Koyman's creativity and innovative programs have set hundreds of the school's youngest students on their educational journeys with confidence and pride in the joy of learning. "There is nothing more beautiful than seeing my students' eyes open wide with astonishment and wonder as they sing, pray and speak the beautiful Hebrew language," says Mrs. Koyman. She brought 3-D printing into the classroom to represent the Creation of the world and teach the children that "their imaginations have no limits, just like G-d." Now student-designed and fabricated 3-D mezzuzot adorn the kindergarten classroom and playhouse doorways. Her young pupils explore basic programming by participating in the worldwide Hour of Code--in Hebrew.
During the "Hospitality Event," another program implemented by Mrs. Koyman, students reenact Abraham's tent and host their own parents, learning the importance of having guests and helping others. It's all part of their teacher's main goal: to instill the importance of Torah and "plant the seed of Jewish values that will stay with them for life."
Note: This biography was current at the time this educator received the Award