JCC Association of North America and the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) have announced a major new partnership to address immediate challenges facing the field of Jewish early childhood education and family engagement. This marks the first time JCC Association and the URJ, the two largest providers of Jewish early childhood education in North America, are partnering on a joint initiative of this scale. Their work together impacts more than 65,000 children from 50,000 families and 10,000 educators across 475 early childhood centers in the United States and Canada.
The partnership, which officially launched during an Early Childhood Engagement Summit at the URJ Biennial in Chicago, will embark upon three major task forces to address the challenges confronting the recruitment and retention of qualified teachers in early childhood education; explore a new high-quality credentialing process for early childhood professionals; and reimagine the business model for Jewish early childhood education centers in their many settings, including JCCs and synagogues. All three task forces will convene in early 2020 and meet regularly thereafter. Significant progress is expected to be presented at JCC Association’s JSummit in May.
The partnership launch event featured 110 philanthropists, expert practitioners and thought leaders and included representation from organizations within the Conservative and Reconstructionist movements, as well as major independent Jewish early childhood centers.