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Crises in Jewish Early Child Care

Photo Credit: Talya Oberfield

Photo Credit: Talya Oberfield

I have been involved for years in Jewish early childhood education (teacher, then preschool director, director of an early childhood department, consultant, college instructor, supervisor of education students for local college), so I am well aware of the problems in this field. 

Just a quick glance at Glassdoor profile for Jewish Community Centers shows that early child care professionals are paid less than many other staff members. Most workers in this field are women (and for some, perhaps, their pay is considered a supplemental income; it would be impossible to support a family on this salary). In some states, in facilities at JCCs in particular, salaries are beginning to rise, although not enough to compete with salaries in public and/or other programs, such as church-related facilities, since many churches subsidize their schools. 

But the crisis that concerns me beyond salaries is the lack of Jewish literacy among teachers/staff in non-Orthodox schools. Oftentimes, attempts are made to give staff rudimentary knowledge of Jewish holidays and rituals, but this only goes so far.