Say “Cheese,” then SayPic, add text and send. . .
It’s a beautiful mess. And there’s an app for that. Put parents with smartphones together with adorable toddlers; snap up pics at the speed of life and really, what’s not to “Like” on Facebook?
Think: “Bubble” and there’s an app for that too.
It’s a learning process. But it’s starting to work its magic. With the foresight of the Jewish Federation to unleash the power tools of social media in the realm of Jewish early childhood education, (note the hashtag: #JewishECE) the Alliance for Jewish Education recently engage Darim Online, a nationally recognized consultant specializing in communications strategies, networking and community-building for Jewish organizations in the digital age.
“Social media is more social than it is media,” says Lisa Colton, Chief Learning Officer for See3 Communications and President of Darim Online.”Jewish early childhood education is not only an opportunity for children to connect and learn, it’s also an opportunity for parents to connect with one another and build their social community. Schools need to learn how to use widely adopted tools like Facebook and Twitter both to connect with current (and prospective) families, but also to connect those families to one another.”
For NEXTGen parents taking those first steps into day care or preschool programs for their young children, Early Childhood Education with a Jewish spin can have a strong emotional appeal.
“I love that how my daughter had developed over the years with the program. I have seen so much growth that I could only credit the teachers and staff for doing such an excellent job.” – Brett Panter
“We love hearing about our daughter’s learning each day from science to Hebrew. It’s a wonderful education program, let by passionate people.”- Rebecca Hurwitz
“ Aside from all the wonderful, enriching things they learn, we love that our kids love school. It really feels like an extension of family where our children are cared for and nurtured just as they would be in their own home.” — Jodi Feld
All in the family
“ Jewish Early Ed is not just for little children,” says Jeff Lasday, Director, Alliance for Jewish Education.“The strength of Jewish early childhood education is that the process and benefits are holistic and very empowering. For many young parents, entry into an early childhood center or program operated and supported by the Jewish community is a warm and embracing ‘welcome back’ after years of hiatus from their own Jewish education. For others, it’s an introduction or immersion into our community – and an opportunity for adults to grow and make lifelong Jewish friends alongside their children.”
The Social Media Academy
Working with teams of educators representing seven of the area’s programs for ages 0 to 4, the Alliance partnered with Darim Online to develop the Social Media Academy, an intensive 8-month curriculum designed to sharpen networking and social media skills. Through webinars and one-on-one coaching, participants have gained invaluable experience in transforming their web presence into lively, interactive community sites.
“The schools have begun to reach the point in their learning where we are seeing great impact – through analytics like tracking posts and increased visibility,” observes Amy Newman, Senior Associate, Alliance. “Recently we’ve launched a campaign highlighting parents who are happy to share just how much they ♥ their Jewish Early Childhood program in our community. To help spread the word about the value of Jewish early childhood education, we are encouraging families with children in these programs to reflect on their positive experiences, and ‘to share the love’ with their own personal networks online. Sharing these insights is akin to an invitation for other families to explore Jewish early childhood education and hopefully enroll their children for the upcoming school year.”
Schools in the Academy include Temple Beth El Early Childhood Center (Bloomfield Hills), Temple Emanu-El Childhood Center (Oak Park), The Susan and Rabbi Harold Loss Early Childhood Center endowed by the Audrey and Bill Farber Fund at Temple Israel (West Bloomfield), Gan Shalom, Congregation Beth Shalom ( Oak Park), Hillel Day School Early Childhood Center (Farmington Hills), Akiva Hebrew Day School Early Childhood Center (Southfield) and the Sarah and Irving Pitt Child Development Center at the Jewish Community Center (West Bloomfield).