Explore Early Childhood and Family Engagement

For more information on any of the following programs, please contact Leemor Ellman, Director, Engagement for Families with Young Children at LEllman@ThePartnershipNJ.org or 973-929-2979

Family ConnectorsDirector's Network Special Needs Consultants PJ Library  Professional Practice  Conference  Jewish Day Camps Early Childhood Directors Network Meetings  Choosing a Jewish Early Childhood Program  Resources for Engaging Families JConnection Montclair

Our strategy can be described as

"Teach the Child, Reach the Family!"

Many young people leave organized Jewish life after their Bar/Bat-Mitzvah or Confirmation never to return…until they grow up a bit, marry and bring a small Jewish soul back with them as they register for a Jewish early childhood program!  The moment that family walks back into our community's Jewish spaces is our brief window of opportunity to inspire them to continue their family's Jewish engagement long after their child "graduates" from that early childhood program.

Through The Partnership's efforts, our community and our early childhood educators have come to recognize the enormous opportunity presented to us by each new Jewish family that entrusts us with their child.  As much as they on focus interaction with the child, Greater MetroWest early childhood educators have begun to broaden their efforts to (re-)engage the child's family Jewishly and to develop educational and family-oriented initiatives to capitalize on this moment.

Our Initiatives:


Letter-P-dg-icon.pngLetter-E-blue-icon.png Family Connectors

The Partnership has Family Connectors in three Greater MetroWest communities. Click here to learn more.

Letter-P-dg-icon.pngLetter-E-blue-icon.png Director's Network

The Partnership convenes all Greater MetroWest early childhood directors through monthly meetings of its network. While the directors sharing plans and ideas about a wide range of topics, the consistently central agenda item is family engagement.

Letter-P-dg-icon.pngLetter-E-blue-icon.png Special Needs Consultations

Greater MetroWest early childhood centers are invited to participate in the Special Needs Professional Consultation Consortium which provides professional consultants to early childhood directors on issues of children with special needs.

Letter-P-dg-icon.pngLetter-E-blue-icon.png PJ Library

Greater MetroWest is one of the first North American communities to partner with PJ Library in bringing high-quality, age-appropriate books and music cds to thousands of Greater MetroWest children ages 6 months to 5.5 years.  The PJ Library is a powerful way to bring parents and children together over beautiful and meaningful Jewish ideas.  Understanding that The PJ Library is a powerful tool for family engagement, The Partnership has built programs around the book subscription program that we call "PJ Plus."  These programs include:

PJ Programs - Community-based and PJ Library-themed family activities that Bring Jewish Learning to Life for all Greater MetroWest families;

PJ Books for Schools - Greater MetroWest is unique in having arranged for all Jewish early childhood centers to receive a set of their own PJ Library books to enrich their classroom activities.

Letter-E-blue-icon.png Professional Practice

The Partnership works with Greater MetroWest early childhood directors to plan in-service opportunities for all early childhood educators—for their professional development and to fulfill New Jersey licensing requirements. We sponsor The Annual Early Childhood and Family Engagement Conference which attracts over 450 educators for interactive learning to enhance their skills and practices.

Letter-E-blue-icon.png Conference

The Annual Early Childhood and Family Empowerment Conference will be on Thursday, October 29, 2015.

Click here to register today!

Letter-E-blue-icon.png Early Childhood Directors Network Meetings 

Directors of Greater MetroWest early childhood programs meet regularly. Our 2014 - 15 meeting schedule is as follows:

September 16 – 1:15pm meeting at Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, 60 Temple Drive, Springfield

October 14 – 1:15pm meeting at The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life

November 13 – 1:15 meeting at Congregation Shomrei Emunah, 67 Park Street, Montclair

December 10 – 1:15 meeting at The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life

January 22 – 6:30pm meeting at Oheb Shalom, 170 Scotland Road, South Orange

February 9 – 1:15 meeting at The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life

March 10– 1:15 meeting at Temple Sinai, 208 Summit Ave, Summit

April 21 – 1:15 meeting at The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life

May 13 – 1:15 meeting at B’nai Israel, 160 Millburn Ave, Millburn

Letter-P-dg-icon.png Jewish Day Camps

Click here for a list of Greater MetroWest Day Camp Programs

Letter-P-dg-icon.png Choosing a Jewish Early Childhood Program

The Partnership works closely with more than 30 Early Childhood Centers in Greater MetroWest. We can help you find a program that fits your family. Click here for a list of Greater MetroWest Early Childhood Centers. In association with the Alliance for Jewish Early Childhood Education, we are pleased to bring you "A Parent's Guide for Choosing a Jewish Early Childhood Program." This brochure will help explain the benefits of a Jewish early childhood education. Note: As an added bonus for Early Childhood Directors, you can customize this brochure with your own school's contact information.

Letter-P-dg-icon.pngLetter-E-blue-icon.png Resources for Engaging Families

Our early childhood directors have been exploring ways to engage families with young children. By providing a welcoming environment, meaningful Jewish experiences,and working as a team within the institution clergy, educators and lay leaders reach out to families, impacting on the Jewish identity and enriching the Jewish journey of the family.

One measure of successful family engagement during the early childhood years is when a family chooses the next step for their child's Jewish education upon completing the 4's early childhood program.  To learn more about programs that work, incentives, and a quiz to see how your program measures up, view: 4's taking the next step.

Our Community of Practice (EC CoP) focused on factors that impact on engaging families: who are our parents of today? what programs really work? what has lasting impact? To read some of their insights and advice they would offer to other early childhood programs, click: EC CoP: Lessons Shared

Resources for Educators and Families
 "Burn Prevention Techniques During the Jewish Holidays and Throughout the Year"

Letter-P-dg-icon.pngLetter-E-blue-icon.png LaZuz Grants

"Lazuz" means "to move" In Hebrew. The Partnership provided several grants to Greater MetroWest early childhood programs to develop innovative programs for families outside-a-Jewish-institutional-setting to inspire lifelong learning and to bring Jewish learning to life. We said our goal was to promote "moving Jewish experiences " for families with young children. Funding was provided by Tova and Howard Weiser through The Fund for Innovation at The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life.  LaZuz III Final Reports: (click each title for printable version)

Letter-P-dg-icon.png JConnection Montclair -- Meet Whitney Blom

The mission of JConnection Montclair is to empower families with young children to chart their Jewish journeys and bring Jewish learning to life in Montclair.  By collaborating with synagogues and programs in Montclair and the surrounding areas, this family concierge program brings programs to families

JConnection and Whitney Blom, The Montclair Concierge locates and engages Jewish families with young children who live in the Montclair area, including Bloomfield, Verona, Cedar Grove and Glen Ridge, and connects them to each other as well as to the many programs and services that already exist for Jewish families. 

Whitney is available to meet with families on an individual basis and help them navigate their Jewish path.

This program is a collaborative Greater MetroWest Initiative between The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life, JCC MetroWest and Federation.

Whitney can be reached by email at wblom@jfedmw.org, by telephone at (973) 929-2968, on Facebook, or Meetup.

For further information, please contact Leemor Ellman, Director, Engagement for Families with Young Children at (973) 929-2979 or LEllman@ThePartnershipNJ.org

Do you like this page?

Search our site:

Our Initiatives

Letter-P-dg-icon.png Parents, make sure to check out programs marked "P"

Letter-E-blue-icon.png Educators, make sure to check out programs marked "E"