EDUCATORS EXCHANGE IDEAS AT UAHC EARLY CHILDHOOD CONFERENCE
(FEB. 10, 2003)--Sixty-six Reform Jewish educators recently returned from a two-day early childhood conference in New York sponsored by the Reform Movement's Union of American Hebrew Congregations. These educators, representing congregations from across the continent, came to learn from the leaders in the field at the third such national conference held at the Union's New York headquarters.
As part of the conference, the group voted to create a new association, the Union of Reform Judaism-Early Childhood Educators, which will work to build visibility as to the role of early childhood in a synagogue community as well as provide resources and benefits to those who are in the profession.
"This new group will raise awareness about the role early childhood education can play in the synagogue community, and also provide early childhood educators with the network of support they need to establish their curricula and teach young children." said Nancy Bossov, the UAHC's director of early childhood programs. "Instilling Jewish values in our children is an essential part of pre-school education."
The Union of Reform Judaism -- Early Childhood Educators is open to all who are involved in teaching young children in Reform synagogues. Dues are paid on a sliding scale, with directors of early childhood programs paying $72 per year and teachers paying $18.
The agenda for the two-day conference included a model Tot Shabbat, taught by Jewish musicians and teachers Ellen and Peter Allard, which showed how music, dancing, and storytelling could be integrated into the celebration of Shabbat for families for young children.
Dr. Becky Bailey of Loving Guidance presented research-based theory about how children best learn within a safe environment. Her techniques of "Conscious Discipline" were explored during two keynote addresses.
Other presenters at the conference included musician Judy Caplan Ginsburgh, puppeteer and storyteller Marilyn Price, and Jon & Josh Nelson of the Nelsongs. In addition, the conference participants had the opportunity to meet and learn from Rabbi Daniel Freelander, vice president of the UAHC, Rabbi Jan Katzew, director of Jewish Education, and Nancy Bossov, director of Early Childhood Education at the UAHC.
For more information about the how the UAHC can help congregations with their early childhood programs or the Union of Reform Judaism Early Childhood Educators, contact Nancy Bossov UAHC Department of Jewish Education, 633 Third Ave., New York, NY, 10017 212.650.4111 Nbossov@uahc.org.
The Union of American Hebrew Congregations is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, uniting 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues. UAHC services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programs, and the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC.