The Crown Family is funding a three-year CASJE research project with two primary aims: 1) to better understand the factors that make Jewish early childhood education programs most successful in reaching and engaging families that are not currently involved in a synagogue or other Jewish institution; and (2) to better understand the approaches that are most successful in bridging these families to greater and long-term engagement with the Jewish community. I have seen first-hand the power of strong early childhood programs to touch families and knit them to the Jewish community. We are eager to unpack the elements that drive the success of these programs, so that the impact can grow.
Early childhood is a pivotal life stage during which families are uniquely open to engaging with the Jewish community. We believe that CASJE’s efforts will add to the knowledgebase of the early childhood field, providing concretely useful data that practitioners and funders alike can use to advance our work in Jewish education and engagement. As a funder specifically, CASJE’s research program has the potential to provide valuable information that will help us give even more strategically to approaches most likely to achieve the outcomes we seek.
The research in early childhood education will begin soon, and I am excited about CASJE’s opportunity to provide rich data to inform our work. Moreover, I welcome the progress within the other areas of focus in which CASJE is creating a body of academically rigorous data that can support informed decision making across Jewish education. Through CASJE, I have seen practitioners, researchers, and funders come together, sparking productive conversations that move the field forward.