The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life recognizes the power of early childhood education in inculcating Jewish identity and beginning a life-long commitment to Jewish learning and life. Moreover, outstanding Jewish preschools have the capacity to not only enrich a child’s identity, but to inspire an entire family to choose Jewish living. Simply put, an excellent Jewish preschool experience is a gateway for the whole family to increased Jewish education and involvement in the synagogue and community.
The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, in partnership with The S. Daniel Abraham Foundation, The Helen Bader Foundation, The Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Ben and Esther Rosenbloom Foundation, The Schultz Family Foundation, UJA-Federation of New York and Combined Jewish Philanthropies/JCCs of Greater Boston, launched the Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative (JECEI), a nationwide initiative designed to create models of excellence in Jewish early childhood education, increase the number of families with children attending quality Jewish early childhood centers, and raise the number of families continuing to engage in Jewish learning and living after pre-school. To accomplish this, JECEI provided grants, mentoring, accreditation, co-branding, and marketing with the aim of transforming Jewish pre-schools into centers of Jewish educational excellence.
Although JECEI ceased operation in 2011, the Steinhardt Foundation maintains its website and the resources thereon as a service for Jewish Early Child Education developers and practitioners