Jewish Life & Learning

JECEI & Bonim Beyachad

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.

What is JECEI?

A comprehensive multi-year systemic change initiative

Jewish Life and Learning

Quality Early Childhood Education

Family Celebrating Shabbat

Engaging Families in Meaningful Jewish Living & Learning Experiences

Jewish Life and Learning

Shared Leadership

Pittsburgh JECEI/Bonim Beyachad Pilot Schools Professional Development Series for Early Childhood Educators

Reggio through a Jewish Lens

Early Childhood Education Professional Series Sessions

Stay tuned!

Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative: Pittsburgh JECEI and Bonim Beyachad

Early 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.

Pittsburgh 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.

A parallel initiative designed to inspire and support excellence in Jewish Early Childhood programs, Bonim Beyachad – Growing Together, was launched at Community Day School several 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, relating to our community's Shared Goals for Excellence in Jewish early childhood education, in providing quality early childhood experiences in our Pittsburgh Jewish community.

The 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. Additionally, the Reggio Emilia approach inspires our educators to serve as guides and researchers alongside of the children by asking open ended questions, encouraging critical thinking and helping children to make connections.

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.”

Early Childhood Education Shared Communal Goals

Under the auspices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, nine Jewish early childhood centers in the Pittsburgh area have worked together to create Shared Communal Goals for excellence in Jewish early childhood education. Our community’s Shared Communal Goals create standards that operationalize and define in concrete terms what “excellence” looks like in Jewish early childhood education. Our collaborating directors have created rubrics for the series of goals, to identify different levels of excellence that will allow each center to assess its progress as it continues its own plan for growth.

Included with the rubric program’s design are three core components: quality early childhood education, engaging families in meaningful Jewish living and learning experiences, and shared leadership.

See the Shared Goals.

Read About the Development and Implementation of the Shared Goals.

Self-Assessment Manual

Pittsburgh JECEI/Bonim Beyachad Self-Assessment Training Manual

Self-Assessment Manual

The self-assessment process keeps the schools on a path moving towards excellence. Self-assessing helps school leadership to determine what steps to take to further strengthen their school. 

Self-Assessment Workbook

Pittsburgh JECEI/Bonim Beyachad Self Assessment Training Workbook

Self-Assessment Workbook

Overtime, it will allow a school to see where and how it has grown. Assessment, reflection, planning, and implementation are all part of a continuous cycle of improvement, a commitment of striving for excellence.

Survey Data Report Template

PowerPoint template for presenting reports of self-assessment survey data

Survey Data Report Template

Measuring the core areas of

Educational Excellence
Jewish living and learning of families
Shared leadership

Carolyn Linder

Carolyn Linder

Senior Manager
Jewish Life & Learning

Want to learn more about JECEI
and Bonim Beyachad?

Contact Carolyn Linder for more information.

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