Professional & Leadership Development for Early Childhood and Family Engagement Professionals

We are committed to developing the human resources needed to lead excellent early childhood centers and family engagement experiences now and in the future. Through collegial conversations in peer support networks, conferences, and intensive projects such as Project LEAD (see below), leaders are given support and encouraged to take on the challenge to lead change and experiment with innovative approaches. Our early childhood professional development opportunities are always built on Jewish values and aligned to best practices of relationship building, constructivist learning, and modeling experiential, innovative approaches. They reflect the best and newest educational ideas and resources from all educational fields both secular and Jewish.  

Networks | Conferences | Project Lead | School Visits

Networks

The Early Childhood and Family Engagement staff offers opportunities for both early childhood professionals and family engagement practitioners to meet others in their field, strengthen relationships and help spread amazing ideas and innovative practices in the Jewish community. Some networks take place regionally and in-person, while others take place online thereby bringing educators together across regions. Enrollment for the year begins in late Summer and continues through until the first meeting in September or October, however, some of our networks offer continuous enrollment.

View our network descriptions below or click to see details and register for an Early Childhood and Family Engagement network. If you have any questions about these networks, please contact Andrea Judas, ajudas@jewishedproject.org.

To learn more about The Jewish Education Project's approach to Networking and view our full catalog of networks you can visit Networks.

Bridge Network
This network will provide an opportunity for teams of colleagues from congregations to create and implement action plans that build or deepen a culture of continuous engagement. You will find new ways to support families as they transition between the early childhood setting and the congregational school setting. In addition, you will serve as critical colleagues for network members to experiment with and implement new strategies.

Early Family Engagement Professionals Network
This network will help family engagement educators develop best practices, be reflective about their work, and refine their skills and abilities to engage families with young children in more creative and successful ways. You will have the opportunity to learn from (and with) your colleagues doing similar work as we explore new topics such as the power of family stories, strategies for involving grandparents and using materials and the environment more creatively to enhance engagement.   

Emergent Curriculum and Jewish Values (Formerly Reggio 201 )
The action network is a follow-up of Reggio 201 and designed for early childhood professionals who are looking to deepen their practice of the Reggio philosophy. Together with experts from Teaching Beyond the Square, we will focus on emergent curriculum and how Jewish holidays and the JECEI Lenses can intersect with ongoing classroom investigations. 

Directors Round Tables
Regional network meetings for Directors and Assistant Directors in Jewish Early Childhood settings take place monthly for educators from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, and Westchester. Networks are specialized for Yeshiva Day Schools and Congregational Early Childhood settings. Educators share and develop best practices in incorporating and supporting constructivist and child-centered Jewish learning as well as address topics that are timely and relevant.

Jewish Early Childhood Day Camp Directors Roundtable
This network will be a community of practice to support and deepen the work of Jewish Early Childhood Day Camp Directors. Together we will explore both big ideas related to vision, philosophy, core values, and policies as well as share practical strategies that can be helpful in the day to day running of the camp. We will examine artifacts from our practice, discuss case studies of successes and challenges, and provide each other with practical suggestions and helpful wisdom. Our network can be a safe space where we can raise questions that can expand thinking and improve practice. This is a new network that will be co-facilitated by network participant Naomi Kachel along Suri Jacknis and Sasha Kopp, from The Jewish Education Project.

Jewish Music Educators Network
This new Jewish Education Project network will bring together Jewish Music Educators who are embedded in a community and working to impact children, youth and families over time. Co-facilitated by a Jewish Music Educator and a Jewish Education Project staff member, it will be a community of practice that will encourage participants to share their successes and challenges to help them grow as professionals. Participants will also share wisdom, repertoire, and resources, experiment with new strategies and consider how Jewish Music Education can help their congregations thrive. Group members will take the lead in determining topics of focus and in presenting case studies from their own practice.

Outdoor Environments in Jewish Early Childhood Settings 
This action network will deepen educators understanding of nature-based learning while enriching their knowledge, strategies, and approaches taking place in their own school setting. Educators will explore the elements and environments that support more self-directed and independent play and unpack some of the benefits for children’s learning and social-emotional wellbeing. We will look at existing frameworks that lay the foundation for more natural play and outdoor learning. Participants will be encouraged to identify a goal for improving their practice and environment and to observe and share noticeable outcomes on your children and families. Participants will also gain more confidence communicating with families. This online network will include the sharing of photos and other documentation from each other’s schools as well as one or two site visits during the year to see nature play in action.

Project LEAD Network
Are you an early childhood director supporting change in your school toward Jewish constructivist child-centered emergent learning? This network will enable you and a designated lead teacher to gain support from colleagues who share the same vision for constructivist environments and to develop your coaching skills so that you can support your staff to develop intentional language, deep observation, documentation and co-constructed emergent Jewish curriculum.

Teacher-Leaders Action Network (Manhattan)
This network is comprised of teachers nominated by their school directors as recognized leaders within their schools. Together we will examine important tenets of leadership within Jewish Early Childhood settings. You will have the opportunity to think beyond your current role in the classroom with the hope of further immersing yourselves in non-classroom responsibilities within your institution. In this highly participatory community you will also craft and commit to partnerships and experiments that will further your leadership potential.


Conferences

Conferences for school staff and leaders are held each spring in Westchester and on LI, and in some years in Manhattan. These professional days of learning are part of a year-round strategy with early childhood center directors and their faculty around innovative practices in early childhood such as nature-based learning and Reggio-based constructivist practices. Participation in our professional days is open to all educators in early childhood. Learn more about our yearly conferences below.

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Project LEAD

The Project LEAD Network supports early childhood directors and their teams in deepening constructivist practices in their schools. A cohort of 12 schools began their journey in 2015 and participated in two years of focused conversations, seminars, ongoing executive coaching and on-site training to support teachers in the classroom. What has emerged since is a network of dedicated leaders engaging in a deeper level of learning and continuing to create a paradigm shift in their school towards Reggio-inspired teaching and learning which views and honors children as competent and capable. Learn more about Project LEAD and which schools are participating.


School Visits

Our site visits are designed to introduce innovations in early childhood and help improve Jewish early childhood practice. In-site-ful Journeys launched in 2012 as a series of site visits to area schools, connecting colleagues in ongoing learning and spreading successful innovative practices. During site visits, educators have the opportunity to observe a school in session and see adaptations of change in early childhood practice first hand; participants interact with each director and learn how each made their vision a reality. Through learning new ideas and connecting people to each other across the NY Metro area, attendees are supported towards taking the next steps in their own innovation journey. Site visits and conversations continue in person, in the field each year, and through our webinars. Dates and details can be found in the Events section of our website.

We have built an inspiring collection of previous visits that we call Site Visit Journals, complete with resources from each visit, that can be accessed at anytime through our Insights & Journeys section