2021 Conference Recap

Olam Chesed Yibaneh

Healing Our World with Light and Love

The first-ever ECE-RJ Virtual Conference, Olam Chesed Yibaneh – Healing the World with Light and Love was a huge success!  With over 435 registrants, this ECE-RJ Conference provided global early childhood education practices, social networking, and spiritual connections through deep conversations and meaningful experiences. Representatives of four different countries presented workshops on a wide range of topics throughout the four days of the conference.

One of the joys of a conference is reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. Having the opportunity to share stories, network, and laugh about the ups and downs of our professional lives is fostered in an environment of camaraderie and learning. It was amazing that all of this was experienced so fully during the virtual conference. Participants went away feeling strong connections.

“The 2021 ECE-RJ Virtual Conference was, quite simply, amazing. As a first-time attendee, I felt embraced by the warmth of the entire organization from beginning to end and was inspired and moved by the presenters who shared such profound insights and relevant tools for us to bring to our practice as educators. Several days after the conference ended, I am still thinking about the things that I learned and know that they will stay with me because they resonated so deeply…” Cindy Grebow, Early Childhood Director, NY

The conference opened with a concert by Nefesh Mountain. It was a beautiful way to start; singing and reflecting on all that we share and embody. The warmth and spirituality lifted us up and set the tone for what was to come. Nefesh Mountain returned for a unique and intimate Shabbat experience that gave our participants a welcomed entrance to the full Shabbat experience.

“…I was thrilled to see Nefesh Mountain as part of the conference. Their music always fills my soul… I loved sharing Shabbat with them. It felt like a small group of friends reuniting…” Jennie Rubin, Early Childhood Director, NJ

Educators from Mount Scopus Memorial College in Australia shared their approach to community, diversity and inclusion. The spiritual philosophy and mindfulness practices of our presenters from Japan were brought to life through meditation and a video excursion. The virtual visitation to the Junkyard playgrounds in Israel revealed the history, the philosophy and the practicality of play spaces with real world items.  As our presenter from Iceland shared that there is “no bad weather and only bad clothing”, we were inspired and enlightened by the 52 ideas of the activities in nature.

“It was wonderful to travel around the world in four days and get great takeaways from inspiring educators.  The conference was well organized with a variety of options.It was fascinating and even that the conference was held online it still felt like we were together in person. Although it was my first conference that I attended I felt very connected and loved the time we could network and get to know each other. Wonderful people and community.”  Lilach, Teacher

In a year filled with trauma, Betsy Stone gave us the language and understanding of how to navigate the after-effects within our classrooms and our lives. Our Covid journey continued to bring us together despite the fact the miles between us are so far apart.

“…The presenters have been amazing and the conversations in the chat were rich and thoughtful.  It has been beyond anything I could have imagined. Thank you for all you have done.” Carol Paster, Early Childhood Director, NJ

Shabbat day brought meaningful interactions with Shira Kline, Ellen Allard, Tamar Andrews and the Challah Prince (Idan Chabasov).  Our Shabbat Sha-morning with Shira and Ellen was followed by meaningful conversations about Torah, ritual and practice. Tamar’s Chicken Soup journey was as much for our soul as it was for our bellies. The Challah Prince took kneading and braiding to a personal, spiritual and creative level.

“…Saturday’s diverse programming was the bonus to an already incredible line up of learning… Every thoughtful moment gave me time to indulge in my own personal growth. It was a smorgasbord for my spirit…” Heidi Baker, Early Childhood Director, MA

Our time together concluded with deep and meaningful reflections with Shira Kline and Rachel Margolis. Havdallah marked the end of both Shabbat and our time together. It is always difficult to say goodbye, but we knew that as we brought the world into our homes, we had also put ourselves out into the world; creating new pathways with new friends and new ways to share learning from afar.

Conference Recordings Are Available

All of the conference sessions were recorded and are available for conference attendees to watch.

ECE-RJ is now making the recordings available for purchase for Directors. These recordings can be used with your colleagues to provide unique and exciting professional learning.

Directors can allow staff members to watch at their convenience or they can be used as a ‘watch party’ with guided discussion.

If you are interested in purchasing the recording links, please contact Tricia Ginis, Executive Director, ECE-RJ at [email protected], or use the form below.

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