Migdal Or

Organization: The Central Agency for Jewish Education in Collaboration with the Department for Jewish Zionist Education, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Miami, FL

Grant Year: 2000

Project Director: Margie Zeskind

Type of Grant: Signature

Grant Amount: $187,500.00 (1 year)

Website: http://www.caje-miami.org/

To support Migdal Or Jewish Early Childhood Models of Excellence Project (MOE). MOE sought to develop practice sites in Jewish Early Childhood Education to serve as laboratory schools and provide of a model environment conducive for mentoring educators in need of pedagogical assistance. The Jewish Early Childhood Programs that engaged in this project became part of a comprehensive process that included intensive work in Judaic studies, Early Childhood Education theory and practice, experimentation, documentation, and evaluation.

The MOE Project sought to improve Jewish Early Childhood Education through an investment in (1) intensive training for the Early Childhood Education staffs; (2) the restructuring of the learning environments; (3) the global education of the parents, lay-boards, and clergy of the Early Childhood Education programs that have agreed to be part of the process.

Five Jewish Early Childhood Programs volunteered to be a part of this change process. The program also led to the compilation of documentation of the MOE process as a product for dissemination.

The program sparked a shift in the organizational cultures of the participating Early Childhood Centers and helped puncture the myth that Early Childhood Centers were equivalent to day care facilities. Teachers became more knowledgeable and standards shifted. All lead teachers were expected to have higher education degrees, educator roles were professionalized, and educators’ communities became communities of learners.