An Opportunity to Spark Teachers’ Curiosity and Deepen their Knowledge of Judaism

An Opportunity to Spark Teachers’ Curiosity and Deepen their Knowledge of Judaism 

As we all know, early childhood teachers can have a lifelong impact on young students and their families.

The relationships teachers build every day during these critical years of brain development help young children develop learning, social, and emotional skills, and encourage their individuality to fully blossom. Teachers in a Jewish early childhood setting also play a critical role in the Jewish journey of children and their families. 

Since many of us come from diverse backgrounds and have different levels of experience with Judaism, it is important to ensure that everyone is knowledgeable about the traditions and culture of Reform Judaism.

Recognizing this need, ECE-RJ has partnered with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) to offer Sparks of Judaism, a four-session online course designed especially for teachers, educators, and specialists in early childhood centers who are new to Judaism, teaching in a Jewish setting for the first time, or who seek further insights into Judaism. This online course is available exclusively to ECE-RJ members

The goal of this interactive online course is to spark participants’ curiosity through the introduction of spiritual, historic, and creative aspects of Judaism. Participants learn how to actively integrate Jewish texts, values, traditions, and stories into their classrooms. They are also given time to process and discuss the concepts as a cohort to stimulate creative collaboration and lesson planning.  

Two cohorts of URJ Sparks of Judaism will be offered in November 2018: 

Infant/toddler teacher cohort: 

  • Thursday, November 1, 7:00-8:00 p.m. ET  
  • Thursday, November 8, 7:00-8:00 p.m. ET  
  • Thursday, November 15, 7:00-8:00 p.m. ET  
  • Thursday, November 29, 7:00-8:00 p.m. ET  

Preschool/Pre-K teacher cohort: 

  • Wednesday, November 7, 7:00-8:00 p.m. ET  
  • Tuesday, November 13, 7:00-8:00 p.m. ET  
  • Tuesday, November 20, 7:00-8:00 p.m. ET  
  • Tuesday, November 27, 7:00-8:00 p.m. ET 

Participants should plan to attend all four sessions. Registration for both cohorts is open through October 25th.  

Participating in URJ Sparks of Judaism can deepen teachers’ understanding of Judaism, helping them become more confident and knowledgeable educators. It may even spark some participants’ personal journey with Judaism. Past participants have found this course to be beneficial in many ways: 

  • “This class has made me want to learn more about Jewish traditions and bring them to my students and classroom.” Stephanie Ramirez, University Synagogue, Los Angeles, CA 
  • “My interest is sparked about how to better partner with parents for the benefit of the children.” Ally Musano, Temple Emanu-El, Westfield, NJ 
  • “I will definitely be able to use a lot of ideas that we discussed tonight about Rosh Hashanah in my classroom.” Jamie Pomerance, Temple Kol Ami, Plantation, FL 

This is an opportunity to grow professionally by expanding our knowledge and engaging with other teachers across North America. We will be exposed to exciting new ideas that we can bring into our classrooms. We will understand more deeply the culture and philosophy that grounds our early childhood center and the Reform Movement. This learning experience can boost our confidence to creatively guide the Jewish journeys of our families with young children. 

 By Nancy Bossov, Associate Director of Early Childhood Education, Union of Reform Judaism