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  • 16 Dec 2021 by Tricia Ginis

    The Pandemic Has Changed How Things Are Done

    It is easy to take something you have done repeatedly for granted. For example, planning a staff meeting, providing professional development opportunities for teachers, or connecting families with congregational leadership. It does not take much each time you do it. Maybe a few tweaks here or there, but that is it. We almost never reinvent the wheel when it comes to such tasks.

    The pandemic has really changed how things are done. We have had to completely reinvent very interaction, every activity, every step along the way has been uncharted territory. We are continually evolving and changing everything from welcoming families into the preschool and temple community to coordinating drop-off and pick-up.  The way directors have had to work to engage and connect their staff in a virtual world, and how teachers have adapted to a new normal either in the classroom or in a virtual learning situation, is incredible.

    There have been no blueprints or instructions to refer to when needed. Directors and teachers are relying heavily on each other to share what works and what doesn’t. ECE-RJ continues to play a vital role in figuring it all out.

    We have worked to provide resources and support for members through:

    • Publishing a monthly newsletter chock-full of ideas and information
    • Producing the annual conference by shifting to a virtual format while still finding ways to build relationships and a supportive community
    • Holding virtual professional development opportunities for teachers and directors, featuring the top experts in related fields and in partnership with organizations like Paradigm Project and the JCCA.
    • Engaging in advocacy efforts to raise the pay and benefits of people in our field
    • Providing online forums to network, share information, and ideas
    • Providing consultative services for congregations going through a leadership staffing search and those needing guidance and support with their early childhood center. This includes re-evaluating a program, staffing, curriculum, COVID-19 processes & procedures.
    • Hosting a national job board

    ECE-RJ continues to be committed to building vibrant, contemporary, and inclusive educational communities whether we are in a pandemic or not. Our membership works to bring people together in our institutions and to ensure the radiant and sustainable future of Jewish Early Childhood Education. Please feel free to reach out for more information about what ECE-RJ has to offer and let us know how we can support the early childhood professionals in your congregation.






  • 16 Dec 2021 by Fern Katz

    Grateful to Have ECE-RJ Leading Us Into 2022

    We have almost reached the end of 2021 and even though we are only a few months into 5782 and only a few months into the 2021-22 school year, we are still closing out 2021. This has been an important year in Jewish Early Childhood Education. As a field, we have been successfully operating preschools and childcare centers in a pandemic and we have done it with courage, grace, and many new challenges. We have witnessed the inauguration of new President of the United States, an unprecedented female Vice President who happens to have a Jewish spouse and a mezuzah now hangs on the doorpost of Number One Observatory Circle.

    2021 has been a year of difficult changes, staff shortages, and worry. It has also been a year of advocacy, exciting changes, and joy. We have seen increased opportunities in professional development, partnerships and now we are at the cusp of the passing of the Build Back Better Act which has brought awareness to the needs and plight of early childhood education, that we have lived with for far too long; and hopefully funding for families with young children and preschools.

    I cannot predict what will happen in 2022, but I am glad and grateful that we have ECE-RJ to lead us into the new year and pave the way for more changes, more opportunities, and more joy.