Words from Our Hearts: A Prayer Exploration for Early Childhood

Posted on 12/25/2020 @ 07:00 AM

Tags: Jewish Schools & Educational Services

CAJE’s Early Childhood Education Department is honored to receive a 2021 Incubator Grant from the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. The project is a collaboration between Joy Schandler, CAJE Director of Early Childhood, and Evelyn Goldfinger, the founder and director of Torahtron, an acclaimed local Jewish Educational Theatre ensemble that engages children, families and adults all around the world in live and virtual performances.

Words from Our Hearts: A Prayer Exploration for Early Childhood offers an opportunity for our youngest learners, their teachers and their parents to immerse themselves into the spiritual language of prayer. Prayer concepts are introduced to the children through simple everyday words like: Todah- gratitude, B’vakasha- please, S’licha- forgiveness, and Halleluyah- praise and wonder. 

Before each concept is introduced to the children, their teachers will be participating in their own professional development sessions, developed and led by Joy and Evelyn, exploring the prayer concepts through Jewish text study and personal meaning making. 
Then children, their families, and teachers will enjoy virtual performance pieces from Torahtron that model the prayer concept through words, stories, songs, puppets and more.  
And finally, teachers and children will be incorporating these prayer concepts into their own spiritual expressions as they learn and celebrate throughout the year.

The grant is significant in many ways:
  • As a result of the pandemic, ECE budgets are tighter than ever and funding for teachers’ professional development is quite limited. The grant allows CAJE and Torahtron to offer our ECE community high quality teacher learning on Jewish prayer concepts, a topic that offers both universal and personal connections and importance.
  • As we all journey through the pandemic, this is a most opportune time to offer teachers, children and their parents, words, phrases and prayers to uplift their spirits
  • We know how powerful the arts are as a medium for learning and personal expression, yet theater is relatively expensive to bring in to learning programs. This incubator grant makes it possible for many of our ECEs to bring the gift of the theater arts to their children and families. 
  • A by-product of the pandemic is that we now clearly see that ECE educators are “essential workers.” The more we nurture our ECE teachers, the greater their reach will be in developing impactful relationships with families of young children who are beginning their Jewish journeys.

As we bring Words from Our Hearts to life, CAJE extends a sincere expression of gratitude to the Greater Miami Jewish Federation for recognizing the significance of Early Childhood Education as a foundation for lifelong learning.