Parents are under enormous social, emotional, and work-related pressures that leave them constantly renegotiating relationships and wondering if they are “doing it right.” They need support and validation as they begin to grapple with the rituals and patterns that will define the future of their families. The URJ is deeply committed to expanding and enhancing Jewish engagement for families with young children throughout North America. We believe that the continued vitality and strength of the Jewish community hinges on providing successful experiences for families with young children. It is our experience that every synagogue has the capacity to engage parents of very young children, regardless of whether or not it has a preschool or early childhood education center (ECEC).
The URJ is passionate about engaging families with young children and takes pride in responding to the latest research in the field. We have a keen, deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities in working with families with young children, based on years of experience interacting with synagogues, JCCs, and other communities who specialize in early childhood.
Being a part of the largest network of congregations in North America enables us to use their excellent "on the ground" day-to-day work to form best principles that we can share with the whole URJ community. Our communities of practice provide our congregations with numerous opportunities to experiment and implement with us on a local, regional, and national level. The Project Excellence for Early Childhood Congregational Education (PEECCE) provides congregations with early childhood education centers with a customizable tool designed to facilitate a self-reflection process. Each congregational leadership team is guided by a URJ-trained coach, who helps them discover how the congregation and ECEC function in relation to each other, identify and prioritize areas for growth, and create an action plan to move their community forward.