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  • 18 Feb 2021 by Fern Katz

    Dear Friends,  

     “And so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.”  Amanda Gorman

     I am writing this on the day of the Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris with many thoughts running through my head. No matter where our political ideals lie, which side of the aisle we are on, who we supported in the presidential race, or how we feel about the past four years; it is a time of change- a time for a change.

     My first thought today: I have wondered over the past four years, really missed more than wondered – kindness. Where did the kindness go? We used to have kind people as leaders. How did we get away from kindness? We have witnessed behaviors in adults that we usually see in toddlers. Temper tantrums, name-calling, untrue stories that are told as if they are true, etc. As directors and teachers, we know that the tone of the organization, school, classroom, is set at the top. If we treat our coworkers, children, and families with respect, compassion, and kindness it will likely spread. A change we desperately need in our country.

     Another thought as I watched the news clips today: I am represented! We are represented! You may have seen the meme “A Catholic, a Woman of Color, a Teacher, and a Jew walk into the White House. No punch line. Just amazing progress.” A woman, a teacher, a Jew—that’s me! If you are reading this, you likely wear at least one of those labels, too. For the first time, I feel that some of our country’s leaders know me, what I believe, what I think is important.  This was a long time in coming, a change we have waited for and are ready to embrace.

     And my final thought at the end of the day: The Hill We Climb, a poem by Amanda Gorman. I was mesmerized listening to her read the phenomenal poem she wrote for the inauguration. If you haven’t heard it yet, I am sure it is online. It is well worth the time. In a poem of unity, a poem for all of us, Gorman writes, “If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.” ECE-RJ is on this journey.  Change--our children’s birthright.



  • 18 Feb 2021 by Tricia Ginis

    A year ago, this month, we were in St. Louis for five days of learning, inspiration, rejuvenation, and reflection.

    We focused on the art of Intentionality, where deep connections were cultivated in a very intentional and meaningful way. We practiced mindfulness as a prerequisite suited for intentional learning and reflective practice. The scholar in residence, Rabbi Andrea Goldstein touched our lives and impacted us deeply. She awoke our souls and hearts, teaching compassion, patience, and mindfulness. Rick Recht, the incredible musician in Jewish music, not only brought us sounds that moved us, but also provided the most innovative and amazing leadership training. Shira Kline, AKA “ShirLaLa”—presenter, musician, and spiritual leader— infused soul-lifting songs and intentional practices into everything we did. How fortunate we were to learn from the best of the best!

    Little did we know how much our world would soon change. We could not even imagine that those five days, for most of us, would be the last time we had the opportunity to collaborate.

    Here we are, a year later, February 2021. ECE-RJ is looking to the future and preparing for our members to be together once again, after so much time apart.

    Please mark your calendars for April 14-17 for the ECE-RJ virtual conference. It will be a time to reflect and rejuvenate, which we all need.  It will be a time to look to the future of early childhood education and how we as a community can bring professionalism and best practices to the work that we are so committed to.

    Going forward we will need to repair the developmental damage done through isolation, virtual learning, and minimal social interaction. The conference is a great place to learn how to take on these new challenges. I am hopeful and optimistic we will have a better future and this conference will be a great place to start this new journey.