Educators from Chabad preschools in the New York area gathered for a joint inspirational Inservice Day, learning fresh new ways of helping the children develop and grow.
On Yud Shvat, January 21, teachers and educators from all over the NYC area (Connecticut, New Jersey, and the boroughs of Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn) joined together to learn and network at a joint Inservice Day organized by Mrs. Devora Krasnianski. Mrs. Krasnianski is the director of the Chabad Early Childhood Education (CECE) Network, a project of The Shluchim Office that provides services and support to directors and staff of Chabad preschools.
The CECE’s joint Inservice Days bring high quality workshops and presenters to the many small and large Chabad preschools in the area. There are so many wonderful things happening in the different schools and forums such as these provide the framework and opportunity for educators to share and gain inspiration from each other’s experiences and work.
At the recent event, Mrs. Perl Abramovitz shared the VICTORY method on encouraging children by focusing on their efforts and acknowledging their small victories. In her very engaging way, Perl showed how effective choices of wording can teach the child how to acknowledge the small steps of victory; this builds their sense of self and self-esteem and can help them get through the challenges that they will inevitably face in life.
In a second workshop, Ms. Ruth Landsman, a master teacher at Bais Rivka Head Start and other Chabad preschools addressed the importance of Play and how much the children learn through their play. Ruth pointed out how language and social interactions are developed through effective play, and how many other subjects can be developed through a well-planned ‘learn through play’ program. Ruth also shared many of the ideas that worked in her classrooms.
In a third workshop, Mrs. Devora Krasnianski shared Purim ideas from the many Chabad preschools around the world. She spoke about the value of really choosing what to teach, what to intentionally not teach, things to consider when planning the lesson, and how to avoid getting distracted by the details.
One interesting idea that she shared from Gan Camarillo (Chabad of Camarillo, CA): the preschool class built a mini Mordechai house in Shushan Town instead of focusing on the king and queen’s palace of Shushan. The children brainstormed about what might be in Mordechai’s house (Siddur, tzedakah, other Mitzvot) and since he was an important person who worked in the king’s palace, he probably had a nice house too – with all the Shushan town palace frills such as pillows, curtains, Persian carpets and more. This gave the children an insight into Jewish life in the Purim era, and into the life of a tzadik of those times. The kids loved brainstorming, creating and building the house, and then playing in it.
In the final session, Mrs. Devora Krasnianski shared practical ideas that the teachers can do to showcase the learning and all the wonderful things that happens in a school – maximizing the exposure of the preschool. She included promotion through blogs or newsletters, inviting parents into the school, sending the learning home with discussion starters, choosing crafts and activities that really showcase the philosophy of the school, putting on events that really resonate with the parents, and many more very practical points.
In separate facilitated small group settings, the teachers met with peers and shared ideas, tapping into the intentionality and planning processes of other schools to build their own quality programs. Afterwards, many teachers expressed their gratitude for being able to hear ideas from so many schools in this type of setting. These relationships will hopefully continue throughout the year, so that all schools in the region can learn and gain from each other’s experiences.
The CECE has arranged many exciting workshops and learning and networking opportunities for preschool educators throughout the Kinus weekend. See the list of events here.
The CECE (Chabad Early Childhood Education) Network was established six years ago by The Shluchim Office to serve as a central support and resource network for those who run or direct a Chabad preschool. Its goal is to help directors make their local Chabad preschool the preeminent choice within their community. Dr. & Mrs. Joseph Walder of Skokie, IL are the dedicated visionaries who support this critical institution.
The CECE Network provides for its members a framework for deeper thinking about how an excellent preschool can create long-lasting connections with Judaism. Among its many services, the CECE Network provides an online forum, annual and regional conferences, a peer review system, online workshops, conference calls, seminars, articles, and guided online discussion groups.
For more info, visit http://www.shluchim.org/CECEabout