Breakout Sessions


Breakout Sessions

Session 1

Thursday, January 17, 2019
10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Session 4
Friday, January 18, 2019
10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Session 2 Thursday, January 17, 2019
1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Session 5 Friday, January 18, 2018
1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Session 3 Thursday, January 17, 2019
3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Presenter Bios

Session One  
Thursday, January 17, 2019
10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Peace in the EC Classroom: An Oxymoron or Reality   Teresa Bobkowska/Michelle Berumen/Elexa Fischer (TH1)
Hear how three teachers of different age groups ranging from mini-tot to twos promote and establish peace in the classroom.  Through authentic examples of practices and videos the team will share what a peaceful community of young learners looks like and what components contribute to the establishment of shalom.  Areas of focus include environment, parent/teacher relationship, rituals, consistency and modeling.  


Preparing for Retirement: Plan-Strategize-Enjoy!   Nancy Bossov, RJE /Alyce Gunn (TH2)

Retire? Me? What? When? How?
Don’t panic! It’s doable and you are working toward it! Now you need a plan! Nancy Bossov, RJE URJ joins RPB’s Alyce Gunn, CFO and Stephanie Berger, Director of Marketing & Communications to share model exit strategy plans from the communal, professional, personal and financial perspectives. You will also learn about the six elements of a financial plan, how to invest for your retirement, and how RPB’s plan works for you after your retirement.


Talking Tables: Building Community One Conversation at a Time   Carol Paster (TH3)
Do you pass by people at your synagogue oneg, in your local diner, or in a train station sitting alone who look like they could use a friend?  Are you unsure how, or if, you should approach the person? Let's face it. These can be awkward encounters that many of us avoid, not because we don't care, but because we care very much about imposing on other people's space and time. Based on the Buddy Benches for elementary school children, this workshop will explore ways in which to break down those barriers using Talking Tables for adults.


Sacred Partnerships as a Tool for Building Peace   Deborah Niederman, RJE/Lisa Lieberman Barzilai, RJE (TH4)
What does it take to create and maintain sacred partnerships in the congregation and promote peace in our communities? Explore the Jewish values that are at the core of sacred partnerships. Consider how you can strengthen and maintain your sacred partnerships and promote peace in your early childhood center and throughout your congregation and community. What are your sacred partnerships strengths and how can you create a path for personal and communal growth?


Creating Peaceful, Inclusive Classrooms   Jessica Frank (TH5)
My workshop will focus on the importance of developing relationships with the families of the children in your class, and how in doing so, your class will run more peacefully.  Additionally, I will focus on strategies teachers implement such as classroom routines, sensory baskets, 
and peace tables to create a peaceful environment for the entire class.


Teaching Intergenerational Peace   Rabbi Joel Thal Simonds (TH6)
how to teach parents and how to create community of family-activists.  Encourage parents to bring their passions and their activism to their children and their community in a peaceful, loving and positive way.

Presenter Bios

 Session 2

Thursday, January 17, 2019
1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Part 1 of 2:  4 Magic Words for Your Prayer Service  Shira Kline, AKA “ShirLaLa”  (TH7)
Did you know that all of our prayers can be boiled down to four basic emotions? Together we will trace through the essential outline of a prayer service in order to understand how this structure addresses the emotional and spiritual needs of our early childhood community.  We will learn basic prayer vocabulary, stories, and plenty of songs.   Armed with this tree of knowledge, you will craft a prayer service that fits your home community or your personal practice.


Making Peace Where There is Strife: A Jewish Look at De-stressing  Rachel Stern (TH8)
Life is anything but peaceful these days! We feel stress in our own lives and we see others around us feeling the same way. This session will 
explore what stress is and how it can affect us individually and in the other roles we play such as parent, teacher, community leader and more. We will be looking to Jewish texts for guidance and will learn how as a Jewish community we can be there for each other.


Mindfulness, Meaning, Presence and Peace   Linda Janasz (TH9)
We can't just overcome our hardwiring, but we can create practices and cultivate tools and strategies to create meaning, 
purpose and peace in our lives and those around us. By using evidence-based techniques, including didactic and group dynamics, including the science and strategies for reducing stress and suffering, individuals can learn to live more presently, productively and peacefully.  Using movement, breath, meditation, mindfulness, compassion, engagement, we can go from state to trait and create more joy, presence and peace.


Sh'lom Bayit (Peace in Our Home) Moving from "Us vs. Them" to "We"  Marisa Kaiser, RJE/Jamah Maman/Cathy Rolland, RJE (TH10)
Congregations are increasingly recognizing the critical importance and value of early childhood education as a central element in a congregation’s engagement efforts. Temple Sinai Preschool (TSPS) is no different.  For many years, TSPS had operated largely independently of the rest of the synagogue.  That began to change over the past four years when Temple Sinai brought in new leadership, which led to heightened awareness of the cultural divide between the school and the synagogue.  It also brought new emphasis on financial management and transparency and quantified the significant investment being made by the synagogue. The Board of Trustees concluded that TSPS should undergo a comprehensive strategic planning process that addresses each of these issues, offering detailed strategies for how to continue the high standards of the preschool, strengthen its financial position and fully integrate it into Temple Sinai. Hear about the process, the findings and the lessons learned.


Cultivating a School Community of Peace  Shelly Sender/Heidi Kutchin (TH11)
Your school community includes many components each with their own unique needs.  Cultivating peace within and among these groups is possible through intentional policies and protocols. 
Join in the conversation of how peace is evident in the school culture at Temple Emanu-El ECEC.


Presenter Bios

Session Three

Thursday, January 17, 2019
3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Part 2 of 2:  4 Magic Words for Your Prayer Service  Shira Kline, AKA “ShirLaLa”  (TH12)
Did you know that all of our prayers can be boiled down to four basic emotions? Together we will trace through the essential outline of a prayer service in order to understand how this structure addresses the emotional and spiritual needs of our early childhood community.  We will learn basic prayer vocabulary, stories, and plenty of songs.   Armed with this tree of knowledge, you will craft a prayer service that fits your home community or your personal practice.


Singing Shalom: Prayer and Peace  Emily Teck Ed.D. (TH13)
Jewish texts and traditions include a petition for peace throughout multiple points of each day. This workshop will include an examination of the text of several different prayers for peace followed by a Shalom Song Session. The songs shared will include ways to use the tunes as tools for teaching and multi-model engagement in early childhood environments: incorporating movement, props, yoga, visuals and creative expression.


What does Early Childhood Education have to do with Social Justice? Julie Ehrnstein (TH14)

An informational workshop about what is happening in the Social Justice arm of Reform Movement and discover how you can get involved. We will discuss how your ECC can contribute to the efforts of the Religious Action Center and how you can bring the concepts of Social Justice to your children and families.


SPARKS of Judaism: Shalom as a Fundamental Concept to Frame Judaism  Nancy Bossov, RJE (TH15)
SPARKS of Judaism is an online interactive methodology of stimulating thoughts and feelings among educators in our Jewish preschools.
Thiscustomized on-line, interactive series focuses on the theme of Peace and how it can be woven throughout our Jewish early childhood education centers. Its practical applicability promotes creative thinking and exchanging of ideas for both lesson plans and emergent learning. 


Sensory Regulation and the Art of Classroom Design  Lindsay Grant (TH16)
In this workshop, you will discover how the physical design and layout of your classroom can impact a child's learning potential. Using the principles of Sensory Regulation, learn creative ways to make your classroom warm and inviting, without being over-stimulating. Experience firsthand how different sensory input, such as visual, auditory, tactile, and movement affect your own internal sense of calm and focus. Learn strategies to increase student attention and participation in classroom activities, while supporting their development of emotional regulation and impulse control. You will leave with immediate tools to create a peaceful, calm, and nurturing classroom environment.

Presenter Bios

Session Four

Friday, January 18, 2019
10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Recognizing and Accommodating the Needs of Every Child in the Early Childhood Classroom Meredith Polsky (F1)
Early childhood educators are often the first people to notice areas of concern in children's development. This workshop will help you understand best practices for meeting the needs of all children in your class, whether they are developing typically or have special needs. It will give you the tools to better recognize both typical and atypical development and provide you with methods to assess and support complicated situations.


Mindfulness: Peace in and out of the Classroom  Mary Passell (F2)
This workshop will focus on activities to help improve well-being, self-awareness, self-regulation, and reflective practices.  We will engage in a variety of mindful practices for self (directors, educators), young children, and learn ways to incorporate mindful activities in your life and also in the classroom.  Mindfulness is present-moment, nonjudgmental awareness. 
Practicing mindfulness allows us monitor and become aware of our life experiences and how we react to them.  As a result,  we learn to take things less personally and engage in more effective problem solving, which leads to more positive interactions with colleagues, parents/caregivers, staff, and children. 


Brain Architecture: Building the Brains of Tomorrow  Tammy Kaiser (F3)
Early experiences affect the development of brain architecture, which provides the foundation for all future learning, behavior, and health. Just as a weak foundation compromises the quality and strength of a house, adverse experiences early in life can impair brain architecture, with negative effects lasting into adulthood. In order to create a more peaceful and just society, it is imperative that early childhood educators learn the importance of building better brains. This workshop will include the opportunity to build a model brain. 


Creating Peaceful Practices in Your Classroom Environment  Mariah Ornstein (F4)
Learn techniques to help children find their inner peace and practice their self-regulation skills by creating a Peaceful Place (a space for one) in your classroom learning environment. Discover
thephilosophy behind having a space for one, how it’s used and different ways you can enhance this space to make it inviting. Additionally, we will talk about using mindful techniques and practices that will help to create an overall feeling of peace in your classroom. 

New Measures of Success- Relationships, Meaning & Impact   Cathy Rolland, RJE/Lori Kowit (F5)
We have all measured our success by how many families attended our programs, if there was enough food at Tot Shabbat, and if parents were on their cell phones…. While these are important measures, they are also not sufficient to examine our success. Wanting to create experiences that provide a strong connection to our families, we must think about how we help families with young children develop relationships with our community and with each other and find meaning in what they are experiencing. This session will explore how to measure relationships, meaning, and impact to gain a deeper understanding of success.


The Silver Thread: A Promise of Peace  Cantor Mark Horowitz (F6)
Building and maintaining relationships are at the core our lives, and all the more so as early childhood professionals. The recipe for a true and meaningful relationship includes many ingredients; sacred time and space, the acknowledgement of our creation B’Tzelem Elohim, (in the image of God), care and attention and more. Mr. Rogers teaches us that “there is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person”.  Join us for conversation and play that will inspire us in our work of building and supporting relationships between all of our stake holders, and how it can lead to our communal sense of peace.

Presenter Bios

Session Five
Friday, January 18, 2018
1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Gender Identity Formation and the Early Childhood Classroom  Jennie Rubin, RJE (F7) Participants will acquire a basic understanding of gender identity formation. They will feel connected to the subject matter, which will ensure that every student within their school/classroom feels valued and nurtured. This should result in greater reflection on choice of language, a warm and inclusive classroom environment, and culture that is sensitive to gender within the classroom and school. “Research has shown across different cultures that understanding of gender constancy is usually attained by age 6 to 7.” (Halim & Linder) This means that while students are attending pre-school, they are still determining which gender they identify with. In order to ensure the safest, most nurturing environment, we must be sensitive to the fact that some of our children may not identify with the gender that they were born. Approximately 80% of children who struggle with their identity attempt suicide before they become adults. If we can create environments and a culture that starts them off with a firm foundation of self-esteem, hopefully we can help reduce this number to zero. 


Creating Zen for our Most Energetic Children  Johanna Perlin/ Kat Horion (F8)           Our classrooms today, more than ever, are made up of a unique and diverse population of young learners, at varying developmental levels, social-emotional competency, capabilities, and energy levels.  A natural outdoor learning environment can offer regular opportunities to develop and achieve confidence, self esteem and self regulation. Learn about strategies that utilize the outdoors and immerse your indoor space in natural elements that offer positive outlets for children to exercise, engage in risk taking, and realign their energy to be more peaceful attentive and collaborative learners. We will explore classroom management and risk assessment strategies to help determine the needs of children with challenging behaviors. Be inspired by Jewish and Nature Preschools across the country, who are successfully implementing these strategies. Through a combination of hands on outdoor activities, small group discussion, and sharing of resources, we will help you develop an action plan that can lead to peace for the energetic, safe spaces and a sense of place for everyone.


Pathways to Navigate Difficult Decisions  Susie Wexler (F9)
This workshop will provide attendees with a toolbox of strategies to approach difficult conversations.  Relationships can be strained when challenging topics are addressed with parents and staff. Combining a social work-style approach with the best practices of early childhood, intentional planning increases the positive outcome of any interaction. This interactive presentation will allow for an honest exploration of the hardest part of the Jewish early childhood honest communication through a compassionate channel.


"Peas & Violins" - a workshop focused on the promotion of communication, cooperation and  compassion  Susan Klein, M.Ed (F10)
this workshop participants will learn the strategies and components of an anti-violent curriculum - environmental setup, daily routine, transitions, and themes - as well as hands-on literacy, art, music, games, and circle time activities.  Participants will also receive information on the importance of how to include parents and families in your program.


Teaching Tough Topics with Regular Books  Jeanne Zamutt (F11)
Zamutt explores using secular books to teach about acceptance, children’s rights, civil rights, diversity, empathy, human rights, immigration, justice, peace, refugees and special rights (disabilities).  A plethora of secular children's books are available to teach these Jewish concepts and values.

Presenter Bios