February 1, 2023

Our Right Start to Jewish Early Childhood Education

Emily Fox Director of Jewish Educational Initiatives

I remember dropping off my older daughter for the first time when she started in the 2’s program at our synagogue’s early childhood center like it was yesterday! My husband and I walked in with her, hand in hand in hand, and joyfully found her classroom that she had visited the week before.  

Her teachers were waiting with warm, welcoming smiles, and her new friends we had met at the Welcome Back BBQ were already exploring the exciting materials in their new room.  My daughter walked right in, as if she had attended for years, and started playing in the kitchen, pretending to make challah. My husband and I waved goodbye, and I walked away a bit teary-eyed.  

That first year was filled with so many wonderful memories, both for her and for us. She explored light with flashlights and an old school projector during Hanukkah. Together with new friends, I attended monthly parenting sessions led by the Rabbi. She gained confidence and a sense of responsibility, each week gleefully taking on a new “job” in the classroom – her favorite was the delet (door) holder. My husband got involved on the Parent Committee, and immediately made new friends in our community. The school and synagogue became our core community, and now some our very best friends are those we made in our daughter’s first year of school. 

I think my family’s experience could be that of any family attending a Greater MetroWest Jewish early childhood center. As much as they offer excellent education and care for our children, they are also warm and welcoming homes for the entire family. A Jewish early childhood center can be such an easy way to begin your family’s journey, as they focus on values that are both universal and Jewish by nature; celebrating holidays in simple, fun and meaningful ways; and honoring diversity and how each unique family is essential to the community. At the same time, it sets the foundation for your child’s education – both Jewish and secular – fostering a love for learning and curiosity, along with opportunities to explore science, math, literacy, arts, and more! 

When my daughter started kindergarten at our local Jewish day school this past fall, she was ready for everything! Academically, she could already write her name and recognize letters. Socially, she was ready to share and be kind, and able to articulate her feelings with simple language. Jewishly, she was ready to continue soaking in the richness of our traditions and values, bringing them home each day to share with us. 

This was absolutely the right start for our family, and I hope it will be for yours too! 

I’m excited to announce a new Federation initiative – GMW Right Start – which provides $1,000 grants to eligible families enrolling their child in a 2s program in a participating Jewish early childhood center for the first time. Learn more here.