Editor's Note: This roundup, intended for educators and directors of early childhood education centers, is part of a series of pieces that curates coronavirus response resources for specific congregational roles. Additional pieces in this series are available for clergy, presidents, executive director and temple administrators, and K-12 educators.
The unfolding and dynamic reality of the coronavirus outbreak is likely occupying much of your workday right now – and you are working under extraordinary circumstances.
Caring for each other, as well as for our children, families, and staff, doesn’t stop when challenges surface. But it is also during these difficult times that we reinvent ourselves and meet the needs of our community more than ever.
The Reform Movement is committed to helping you continue to support your community’s needs during this challenging time. Here, the URJ and the ECE-RJ are compiling resources that may be helpful for teachers, parents, and other who interact with families and their young children on a regular basis.
1. Engage families with young children online.
Looking for resources to connect families with young children from your community online?
- [Webinar] Strategies for Ongoing Jewish Learning in a Time of Coronavirus: In collaboration with ARJE and HUC-JIR, we recently hosted this session that, while not specifically designed for early childhood educators, can provide helpful principles.
- [Webinar] Responding to Coronavirus through Digital Engagement: This webinar from the Jewish Education Project provides best principles of building community online while meeting your content goals in this time of uncertainty.
- [Webinar] Zoom Training for Clergy, Educators, and Lay Leaders: Zoom is a flexible and powerful tool for virtual meetings that can help you maintain social connections even as you’re practicing physical distancing. Watch this tutorial on how to Zoom, with a particular focus on the needs of congregational clergy, educators, and lay leaders.
- "10 Critical Insights for Successful Online Gatherings": These recommendations are divided into three categories: Technical smarts, cultural skillfulness, and strategic value.
2. Help children stay resilient.
Use the Sesame Street Toolkit on Resilience to help children build self-confidence, problem-solving skills, and emotional tools to help them cope with these uncertain times.
3. Keep professional development going.
Professional development for staff of early childhood education centers can and should still continue, even if your building is closed. Through the JCC Association’s ShevaTalks Lens Video Project, Cantor Ellen Dreskin provides helpful teachings about Shabbat (part 1 and part 2), tikkun olam (part 1 and part 2), and Passover (part 1, part 2, and part 3), and more.
4. Connect with other Reform Movement leaders.
Join the discussion and access resources shared with and by congregational leaders in The Tent. Search #CoronavirusECECandFwYC for a collection of resources for early childhood education centers educators, which was aggregated from the greater Jewish education community. For all resources and conversations related to coronavirus in The Tent, search for #Coronavirus.
5. Browse the full list of URJ resources on coronavirus response.
Looking for something more specific or want to review everything we have to offer? Check out “How Reform Congregations are Coping with COVID-19 (and Tools to Help),” which is being updated as new resources become available.
6. Share relevant Jewish resources with families.
With schools and childcare centers closed, many parents now find themselves at home with young children, day in and day out, and in search of ways to keep them both entertained and educated. Here are some helpful resources to share to help families pass the time and have meaningful conversations with their kids.
- Shabbat ShaMorning: Join us - along with Shira Kline and Ellen Allard - on Saturday mornings at 11am ET for 30 minutes of song, dance, and love for families with young children. Tune in with your little ones for heartwarming time together and a weekly pause for collective joy. All are welcome! Register once and come as often as you’d like.
- ReformJudaism.org Resources: This content from ReformJudaism.org is designed to help your congregants stay busy and Jewishly engaged and "do Jewish" from home.
- PJ Library® Resources for Quarantined Families: Our partners at PJ Library share ideas to stay busy and have fun at home, including book activities, arts and crafts, recipes, and more!
- Shalom Sesame on YouTube: From the creators of Sesame Street, Shalom Sesame is a cross-platform media initiative developed to introduce American children to Jewish culture.
- PJLibrary Radio & ReformJudaism.org Spotify playlists: Stream Jewish music for kids and families, organized by holiday themes.
In these times, please know that the entire Reform Movement is behind you – and together, we will help our members through this moment, emerging strong and hopeful for the future.