Special Needs Program for Educators

This past weekend saw the launch of the Matan Institute of Greater MetroWest, bringing the national organization to our community to run a year-long program for our local congregational religious school teachers and directors. The program is designed to provide participants with concrete tools and strategies for reaching all students and including children with special needs in Jewish education.

The 23 participating teachers from across our community attended a two-day program on Sunday and Monday, will have a one-day seminar in January, and another two days at the end of the program. In between they participate in three webinars that provide additional training, as well as work with an assigned Matan Mentor for ongoing support on a specific inclusion goal. They are also connected with a network of like-minded Jewish professionals (fellow participants from around the country) with whom to engage on an ongoing basis.

A number of speakers presented to the group on topics such as Learning Styles, Special Needs in Congregational Schools, The Success of Every Child, and Hands-on Differentiated Instruction. The teachers in attendance left the seminar with an abundance of practical materials and inspired to put what they learned into practice with their students.

“We as teachers must continue to learn, just like our students,” said participant Karen Lillienfeld, a religious school teacher at Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel. “Wonderful programs like this keep us energized to make the religious school experience exciting for the children.”

Greater MetroWest ABLE is offering this program in our community thanks to a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ, as well as funding from the Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life, Jewish Federation, and the Lester Z. Lieberman Special Needs Fund.

For more information on this and other programs for families with special needs in Greater MetroWest visit the MetroWest ABLE website or contact Rebecca Wanatick at (973) 929-3129 or metrowestABLE@jfedgmw.org.