Early Childhood Institute

Early Childhood Institute

The Early Childhood Institute, founded in 1987, is dedicated to expanding and deepening the Judaic and pedagogic knowledge and skills of educators, clergy and professionals working with children and families (infant through Grade 2). Our professional development programs reach out to many communities within and beyond the Greater Boston area.

Annual Early Childhood Jewish Education Conference

Drawing on its many years of experience as a provider of professional development for early childhood educators in the Jewish community, the annual Early Childhood Conference offers educators, clergy and professionals working with children and families (infant through Grade 2) in day schools, congregational schools, preschools or family education settings, a series of professional development workshops designed to increase Judaic and pedagogic knowledge and practice. Learn more about our past annual Early Childhood Conference.

Boston-Haifa Early Childhood Educators Connection

CJP Boston Haifa Connection

The Boston Haifa Early Childhood Educators Connection strives to build meaningful and long lasting bridges between educators, students and their families in Haifa and the Greater Boston area.  The program includes a personal exchange in which educators from Boston partner with preschool teachers, or "gananot," in Haifa. These ambassadors, or "shagrirot" are involved in ongoing professional development programs. Participants in the program are engaged in constant communication utilizing Facebook, blogs, video conferences, email, package exchange and in-person seminars in both Boston and Haifa.

Throughout the program, knowledge of and connection to Israel and the Jewish Diaspora is enriched. Participants learn and share programs and curricula drawn from their experiences with their own classrooms, schools and communities, strengthening leadership and forging deep personal and professional partnerships. Since its establishment in 2001, the Connection has influenced thousands of Jewish educators.

This program is funded by Hebrew College, the Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Haifa municipality and Department of Education.

See our two year report. See our ten year report.

Greater Boston Early Childhood Directors Council

The Early Childhood Directors Council provides a central platform for the professional development, collaboration, engagement and personal growth of a diverse community of early-childhood preschool directors. Approximately 30 Jewish preschool directors participate in the council, which is funded by Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston.

On-site, School-based Professional Development

The Early Childhood Institute sends its faculty to teach an entire preschool staff, based on a topic of interest, at their site. The impact of learning as a community can have a transforming influence on a school. Some of the topics the ECI has offered include:

  • Bringing Israel to the Early Childhood Classroom
  • Fall Holidays
  • Spring Holidays
  • Teaching Hebrew to Young Children
  • Shabbat and Havdalah: The Why, the What and the How?
  • Trees in Jewish Texts and Thoughts: An Orchard of Relationships
  • K’lal Israel for Young Children: Cultural and Ethnic Diversity

Community-Based, Professional-Development Programs

The Early Childhood Institute offers professional development to communities in various localities based on their needs and interest. These sessions can be delivered in person, online or a combination of both. Funded by the Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation, we currently serve the community of the North Shore of Massachusetts. Educators from day schools, religious schools and preschools meet five times during the semester. Topics explored in the past have included “Teaching Hebrew to Young Children: Circle Time,” “Teaching Hebrew to Young Children: Celebrations” and “Enriching the Early-Childhood Jewish Curriculum Using Children’s Literature.”

The PJ Library: Going Beyond the Books

The Early Childhood Institute provides a distance-learning seminar designed for book-based family program coordinators. The seminar’s intent is to advance participants’ skills in conducting meaningful book-based programs for families with young children. In 2010-11, the year-long series of webinars “All Around the Year with the PJ Library: Techniques and Tools for Creating Meaningful Book-Based Family Programs” reached more than 100 participants from across the country. The program is fully funded by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.


Rachel Raz

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