Sharona Grinsteiner, or “Miss Sharona” as we fondly refer to her, is passionate about early childhood education, children’s literature and Jewish culture. Of Yemenite descent, she was born and raised in Israel and brings a direct, creative approach to learning combined with abundant warmth. She has taught in many classrooms and camp settings all over
Denver with children of all ages. When it came time to develop a camp program for our youngest kids, ages three through five, we had an assignment I knew could integrate her special gifts.
Since in 2009, the Mizel Museum has been the recipient of a MazelTot® grant from the Rose Foundation. MazelTot® provides parents-to-be and families with children under age five with information and discounts on hundreds of activities offered by dozens of organizations in the Denver and Boulder areas. The grant presented the opportunity for the Mizel Museum to offer a camp that would be fully discounted for eligible families. So, together with Sharona, we created Stories that Jump Off the Page! Now in its fourth year, the program incorporates a ground-breaking curriculum that uses award-winning storybooks from the PJ Library® collection and Israeli storybooks in Hebrew from Sharona’s own library (and heart).
Preschool-age campers are in a magical time, being pre-readers with an innate love of stories and the world of imagination. In Stories camp, kids are exposed to wonderful tales through participatory storytelling and projects that bring the books to life. Books such as Bagels for Benny and It Could Be Worse are explored through creative drama, music, dance and a myriad of art projects.
Stories That Jump Off the Page! has grown in popularity over the last several years and is now offered at Temple Sinai, Temple Emanuel and the Hebrew Educational Alliance (HEA). Parents appreciate the focused fun on books and often find that their children are reciting entire passages when they get home!
Based on the success of Stories camp, we have developed a new camp for the next developmental stage—early readers in kindergarten through second grade. Tall Tales, Big Kids uses book selections for “bigger kids,” again, from the PJ Library® and Sharona’s collection. Kids will delve into juicy books with twists and turns through drama, art-making and zany, hands-on fun. Campers will also get the chance to meet and speak with several local children’s book authors. Miss Sharona has a way of generating a “contagion of joy.” Her vehicle is always a good story and lots of love and acceptance. What a better way to cultivate a lifetime love of books and reading?