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LA Jewish Preschools Connect Students to the Outdoors

Over 275 educators representing over 40 Jewish preschools in greater Los Angeles will convene on Monday, January 10, 2011 for the 31st annual BJE (Builders of Jewish Education) Bebe Feuerstein Simon Early Childhood Institute, held this year at Adat Ari El Rose Engle Early Childhood Center, a BJE-affiliated preschool. Participants will attend sessions on a variety of topics throughout the day and can opt to tour the early childhood center at Adat Ari El to learn how to set up “The Outdoor Classroom,†which is the theme of the conference.

Renowned in their fields, Patricia Hunter McGrath, Eric Nelson, and Susan Wood are among the presenters at BJE’s Early Childhood Institute. McGrath, Director of Branches Atelier, specializes in the methodology of Reggio Emilia, an inquiry-based educational approach developed in Italy. Nelson and Wood, of the Cal Tech Outdoor Classroom Project, will conduct sessions about outdoor activities, including using the natural environment around the school in early childhood education and how to build an earth science curriculum around children’s natural interest in rocks. Other workshops of the day include: “Jewish Connections to Nature and the Outdoor Classroom,†“Using Literature to Connect Children to Their Feelings,†and “Growing Scientists.â€

At the conference, the Lainer Distinguished Educator Awards for Early Childhood Educators and the Smotrich Family Educator Awards will be presented. Andrea Leonard of Temple Adat Elohim Early Childhood Center, Lois Bell of Adat Ari El Rose Engle Early Childhood Center, and Simin Imanuel of Yeshivat Yavneh will receive Lainer Awards. Smotrich winners for Innovative Curriculum are Tara Farkash and Carolyn Rosenfeld from Adat Elohim, Tali Soffer and Vivian Belmont of Adat Ariel, and Orly Hershtik from Gan Israel in Tarzana.

To register, contact Linda Taylor at 323-761-8635 or ltaylor@bjela.org. View the conference schedule on online here: http://bjela.ujcfedweb.org/local_includes/downloads/45398.pdf.

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