Jewish Early Childhood Education

How can Jewish early childhood education serve as a gateway for greater and long-term involvement in Jewish life?

CASJE is overseeing a research program, funded by The Crown Family, to explore how Jewish early childhood education can serve as a gateway for greater and long-term involvement in Jewish life. The program's launch was preceded by a Problem Formulation Convening on Jewish Early Childhood Educational Leadership in May 2015, also supported by a grant from the The Crown Family.

Dr. Tamara Halle, Senior Scholar at Child Trends, a nationally-recognized nonprofit research organization specializing in the study of children, youth, and their families, and Professor Mark I. Rosen of Brandeis University, who has been studying Jewish families with young children since 2003, are co-leading the study, working closely with experienced researchers at Child Trends and in the Boston area.

The three-year research program is focusing especially on better understanding opportunities around interfaith families and families that are not currently involved in a synagogue or other Jewish institution. We hope that, over time, a series of studies that are integrated and replicated can inform the development, training, practice improvement efforts, and impact of Jewish educational leaders and leadership in Jewish early childhood educational settings.

Already, the research team completed a literature review on defining and measuring “engagement” of Jewish families with young children, and a content analysis of over 1,200 survey items usedfor measuring engagement. They also conducted over 50 key informant interviews with stakeholder groups to inform how they understand Jewish engagement.

Original Research Team

Dr. Tamara Halle

Senior Scholar, Child Trends

Professor Mark I. Rosen

Brandeis University

Thanks very much for including me in CASJE’s work on [Early Childhood Education]. I learned a lot and am excited to hear more about what you conclude. It was great to apply my work [in Early Childhood Education] in a creative new way and I found the meeting to be stimulating and very well-run, using the learning engagement practices we all know about but seldom seem to use in these settings.

Melissa Litwin, Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation

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