Skip to Main Content


  • 03 Sep 2021 by Tricia Ginis

    The pandemic has undoubtedly had an impact on early childhood education. The continuing public health crisis has made an already stressful and challenging job even more difficult.

    It is not surprising to find directors and teachers feeling stressed out, overworked, and underappreciated. It can feel very isolating in a building where stress is coming from all directions. You have parents worried about the health and safety of their children, teachers who feel underpaid and overworked, and Temple administration and lay leaders (with declining Congregational membership), who are more than ever looking toward ECE programs as a source of income. 

    What has been a bright light and a source of nurturing support are the private forums and webinars offered by ECE-RJ.  They are places where members can go to be with others who are having the same experiences and experiencing the same feelings and emotions.  They are places to share, vent, and find an empathetic ear. This is not the time to go at it alone. We all need each other.

    If you are looking for a network of early childhood educators to provide guidance and support, ECE-RJ is the place to be. I’d love to share more about ECE-RJ and how we can support the work that you do. Feel free to reach out!


    Tricia Ginis
    Executive Director, ECE-RJ

  • 03 Sep 2021 by Fern Katz

    Dear Friends,

    This month, as we begin another year of unknowns (but really, isn’t every year unknown?), I was asked to write about how ECE-RJ has impacted me. I think the request was to write from a professional viewpoint – but the effect has also been very personal.

    Nine years ago, at about this time of year, I joined ECE-RJ. At the time, I thought, “Why not join?”

     I had been an Early Childhood Jewish Director but not a director of a congregational preschool.  Maybe it would help me learn the ropes.  I had no idea what to expect but thought I would give it a shot. Now, as I begin my tenth year at this congregation, I look back and think, “Joining ECE-RJ was one of the best decisions I ever made.”

    The difference that ECE-RJ has made in my professional and personal life is monumental.

    The beginning of my ECE-RJ experience was a pretty quiet one. I did not know anyone when I went to my first conference in Morristown, N.J., and I did not know what to expect. I stayed in the background, learned a lot, and had some great discussions with other members. It wasn’t until the last night, when I signed up to go to dinner with people I had never met, that I made my first ECE-RJ friend (she is still one of my favorite people).

    Over the next several months, I followed the Listserv and saw there were many educators who shared similar experiences and were ready to help each other along the way. As a side note, a few years ago ECE-RJ moved away from the Listserv to forums on the ECE-RJ website, a much better way to share and support!

    A year after the conference, I found I needed to connect with someone I had met in New Jersey. My daughter was traveling to a place where she did not know anyone, and neither did I, or so I first thought. I remembered I had met one person at the ECE-RJ conference who lived in the area, so I reached out, reintroducing myself and asking if she would be an emergency contact to calm a nervous mother. She wrote back and said she would be honored. “Honored,” I thought. “Who says that?”

    Well, a kind and loving ECE-RJ member who would help another in her ECE-RJ community. Fortunately, my daughter did not have any emergencies, and even more fortunately, I made a lifelong friend.

    After that, I slowly became involved in a committee, doing small tasks and meeting more people. Soon, I had contacts and friends all over North America. That grew into more and more involvement that has proven to be so rewarding. But it began with small steps and taking a risk – saying I wanted to help.

    From small steps and risks comes growth.