Bridges: Guiding Families through the Early Childhood and Elementary Years


In synagogue life, it is often the case that families’ primary engagement with the congregation is through their child’s education. For many of those families, it can be a jarring transition as their children leave the cozy nest of early childhood and transition into more formal elementary school years. Providing a smooth and engaging transition from congregational preschool to other engagement and educational experiences takes energy and attention by the professionals and volunteer leaders of the congregation. Bridges, a new network from Jewish Learning Venture, supports congregational teams ready to focus their energy and attention on families preparing for and experiencing this life transition.

Unlike our Berger program that assists congregations in finding new member families with young children, Bridges will assist in identifying families with young children that are already part of your congregational community and how to engage them more deeply and in an ongoing way.

Through a grant from Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia (valued at $700.00), your congregation can receive up to five (5) hours of individualized consulting services from one or more of our staff members at no cost.

Bridges Congregations will:

  • Create a Bridges team that includes the Early Childhood Director, Education Director, two parents, and at least one volunteer leader
  • Receive up to 5 hours of consultation from a member of JLV’s staff to help them identify and achieve their goals
  • Use enrollment and membership data to inform their decisions
  • Create an action plan for change
  • Experiment with new ways of engaging and supporting families in the transition years.


October 31   Bridges Network Registration Deadline
November   Assemble membership and enrollment data to prepare for initial
  team meeting
November 15 – December 15   First meeting with Bridges team and JLV Staff members:
  Identify Goals
  Create action plan and communication plan
Jan 25, 1:30 to 2:30   Check-in Conference Call 1: Sharing our Plans (School Directors)
Feb – Apr   Program Implementation
May   Individual Meeting with JLV staff – Where Do We Go From Here?
May 25, 1:30 to 2:30   Check-in Conference Call 2:
  Sharing our Successes and Challenges (School Directors)


To get started or for more information, please contact:

Ellen Walters, Director, Early Childhood Education