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Jewish Life and Learning

Jewish Early Childhood Education:
Pittsburgh JECEI and Bonim Beyachad

Jewish Early Childhood Education InitiativeEarly childhood education represents a unique opportunity to engage both young children and their parents in a rich and meaningful Jewish communal life.

The Pittsburgh Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative (JECEI) is a comprehensive multi-year systemic change initiative that includes three core components: quality early childhood education, engaging families in meaningful Jewish living and learning experiences and shared leadership. Pittsburgh JECEI sites include the Squirrel Hill Jewish Community Center, Temple Ohav Shalom and Temple Emanuel.

Jewish Early Childhood Education InitiativePittsburgh JECEI places unparalleled emphasis on the importance of serious Jewish inquiry and dialogue on the part of the entire family in the community of the early childhood center. A central goal is to significantly upgrade the Jewish experience and commitment of families who enroll in an early childhood center. Immersion in Jewish values, community and life will transform the face of families involved in these programs, regardless of family background. Research shows that an excellent early childhood school experience offers an unrivaled opportunity to engage families with young Jewish children and deepen their Jewish connection.

Another partnership designed to inspire and support excellence in Jewish Early Childhood programs, Bonim Beyachad – Growing Together, was launched at Community Day School three years ago and currently serves a number of sites. Bonim Beyachad provides on-going, targeted and site-specific support helping each program to meet its own unique and customized goals in providing quality early childhood experiences in our Pittsburgh Jewish community.

Jewish Early Childhood Education InitiativeThe approach of both Pittsburgh JECEI and Bonim Beyachad draws its power from the unique blend of the Reggio Emilia approach and constructivist education. The acclaimed Reggio Emilia approach immerses children in a dynamic learning process while engaging parents and families in meaningful experiences. Parents are viewed as partners, collaborators and advocates for their children's Jewish ideas and values.

We are working closely with educational consultants in Jewish constructivist education and in the Reggio Emilia approach to reach into all Pittsburgh Jewish early childhood education centers with a cutting-edge approach referred to as “Reggio through a Jewish lens.”


For more information about Early Childhood Education initiatives through the Jewish Federation, please contact Carolyn Linder, Director, Early Childhood Education, at 412-697-6648 or clinder@jfedpgh.org.

Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
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