CAJE Program Gets National Exposure

Posted on 07/30/2021 @ 08:00 AM

Tags: Jewish Schools & Educational Services


Words From Our Hearts: A Prayer Exploration for Early Childhood Education (WFOH) is an original program that introduces Early Childhood teachers and children to concepts of spirituality expressed through a Jewish lens. 


'Words from our Hearts' was developed, written and taught by Joy Schandler, CAJE’s Director of Early Childhood and Congregational Education and Evelyn Goldfinger, originator and director of Torahtron, a Jewish experiential educational theater production company.
 
Created to address the stress of living through the Covid-19 pandemic, Words From Our Hearts introduces teachers to research on the spiritual development of children, explains the prayer language in Judaism that expresses our deepest spiritual reflections, and explores myriad ways to bring this spirituality into every aspect of the ECE classroom. For example, by recognizing the natural beauty that surrounds us and articulating our sense of gratitude, we can more consciously connect to the blessings in our lives, even when we are experiencing tough and uncertain times.
 
After a successful first program in the Spring 2021, which was piloted by 8 ECE programs, Joy and Evelyn will be presenting Words From Our Hearts at the annual NewCAJE conference, held virtually this summer. NewCAJE is the national organization, Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education, a professional organization for Jewish educators from all denominations who are involved in all different Jewish education venues- from preschool and day schools, to Jewish camp and youth groups. 
 
In addition to presenting and teaching other Jewish educators about the spiritual development of children and how to bring Jewish blessings and spirituality into their classrooms, Joy had the opportunity to learn with Dr. Deborah Schein, one of the experts in the field of spiritual development in children. 
 
Dr. Schein is the author of several books and led two important sessions at the NewCAJE conference. It is her belief that by nurturing children’s innate senses of wonderment, awe, and empathy, children become citizens of the world who care for one another and work for everyone’s benefit. 
 
In Pirke Avot, the Sayings of our Sages, we read in Chapter 1 verse 2: Shimon haTzadik said: On three things does the world stand (exist)- on Torah, on prayer and on acts of loving kindness.
 
To Dr. Schein: The world stands on three things: Wonder, Awe and Empathy. When children, and people of all ages, hold these three qualities close to their hearts and souls and act on them, the world will be a healthier and more loving place. 
 
We gratefully acknowledge the Greater Miami Jewish Federation for awarding CAJE an incubator grant to develop Words From Our Hearts and we are looking forward to presenting Part 2 of the program to Miami’s Early Childhood Centers this Fall 2021. 


For more information on Words from Our Hearts or Torahtron, please contact: Joy Schandler