Networks for Early Childhood and Family Engagement

The following Networks are led by the Early Childhood & Family Engagement team and are part of a larger array of Network opportunities at the Jewish Education Project. If you have any questions about these specific networks, please contact Rachel Polsky. You can access all Network information by clicking on Networks in the main menu. 

Directors Networks
Regional network meetings for directors of Jewish early childhood centers take place monthly for educators from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and Westchester. Networks are specialized into Yeshiva Day Schools, Congregational Early Childhood settings, and JCCs.

Bridge Network
In 2014 the Bridge Initiative Network launched to bring together early childhood directors and congregational learning directors from various institutions. These educators share and collaboratively discuss strategies and ideas for helping families navigate the transition from preschool to congregational school.

New Directors and Assistant Directors Network
Established in 2015 on Long Island this network recognized leadership changes taking place in the schools in our community as more and more veteran directors approached their retirement. Filling their positions are first time directors or directors who are switching schools. Both of these can be challenging in a school environment and bringing these educators together can provide the support they need to lead with passion and clarity. This network is for those who have held their positions for five years or less in a new school.

Early Family Engagement Network
The Coalition of Family Engagement Innovators represents a cross-section of institutions and thought leaders who are committed to engaging families with children 0-5 in innovative ways. The Coalition provides networking opportunities and professional support to educational leaders and program entrepreneurs in and beyond the NY metro area who strive to deliver creative enrichment experiences for families, both in and out of traditional settings. Through regular gatherings and phone conversations, educators investigate current resources, share ideas and reflections from their practice, and support each other in deepening their impact and reaching new audiences.
Click to visit the Coalition of Family Engagement Innovators Facebook Group

Teacher Leader Community of Practice
The Teacher Leader CoP is comprised of teachers nominated by their school directors as recognized leaders within their schools. Together we examine important tenets of leadership within Jewish Early Childhood settings. Teachers have the opportunity to think beyond their current role in the classroom with the hope of further immersing themselves in non-classroom responsibilities within their institution. In this highly participatory community teachers also craft and commit to partnerships and experiments that will further their leadership potential.

Coaching Community of Practice
Changing one’s habits of mind and practice as a leader is not easy no matter the field. Doing so often depends on great leadership coaching. While we have been fortunate to collaborate with Teaching Beyond the Square to work with their coaches in supporting our Project LEAD participants, we recognize the need to grow a cadre of Jewish Early Childhood coaches for the future growth of our leaders here in NY. To that end we began the Coaching CoP in fall of 2015. This CoP is for Early Childhood Directors that are committed to, and have experience leading change in their systems. In collaboration with The Jewish Theological Seminary and facilitated by Sony Shoptaugh, a former JECEI coach (Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative), this CoP meets every other month and provides virtual coaching to each director in between group meetings. Participants are documenting their professional growth as a coach by creating a journey binder.

Jewish Outdoor Environments & Education Network
More often referred to as the “nature network”, this is a growing network of school directors, educators, and nature specialists working in schools throughout the NY metro area committed to a nature approach. Focus is on understanding how children learn differently outdoors in stimulating environments and with natural materials indoors. Resources are offered to support the selection of materials; planting and gardening efforts; Jewish environment topics; facilitating play and exploration; communicating the value of risky play; being outdoors in all weather; understanding and documenting the learning taking place; and spearheading improvements to more traditional playards.