New professional development program infuses best practices in early childhood education with Judaic teachings

The United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education and CAJE (Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education) have developed a customized professional development program for early-learning center administrators and directors in the CAJE network. United Way combined its expertise in training early childhood professionals with CAJE’s understanding of the values and philosophies of Jewish early childhood education to create the unique program.

The United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education customizes trainings for early learning centers that share interests and/or characteristics. In this instance, it is offering representatives from 10 CAJE early learning centers tailored instruction for 18 months, allowing them the opportunity to further their knowledge of current early childhood management philosophies, enhance their leadership skills, and increase the level of quality in their early childhood centers, while taking into account elements of Judaism.

“This program helps administrators of Jewish early childhood education centers in our network do their jobs better by increasing their expertise and experience in the areas of teaching skills and leadership,” said Julie Lambert, director of professional learning initiatives and congregational and early childhood education strategy, CAJE. “We are able to draw from the latest research in Jewish education, and education at large, and provide our centers with a developed program philosophy aligned with their core values and mission, and informed by the highest standards of early childhood education.”

The program is made possible by CAJE, Robert Russell Memorial Foundation, the Jack and Harriet Rosenfeld Foundation and the Program in Jewish Education at the University of Miami.

“At United Way we promote diversity and understand that flexibility is key when teaching children and adults alike to ensure they learn and their needs are met,” Gladys Montes, vice president, United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education, said. “We are excited to partner with CAJE in customizing a training program that will help them further enhance the young lives they touch every day.”

United Way utilizes three components to create and facilitate trainings: analysis, learning experiences and evaluation. Throughout the 18-month process, participants and their respective early learning centers are observed and assessed, and the findings serve as the baseline measure of growth and help shape the information and workshops offered. The “learning experiences” component is designed for each group to maximize learning and collaboration, and teaches participants how to implement what they’ve learned through projects, workshops and visits to early learning centers that demonstrate best practices. At the end, the quality and efficacy of the learning experiences are evaluated through data collection, post-surveys and exit visits.

For more information on how the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education can help your network of early learning centers, visit or contact

About CAJE-Miami (Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education)

The Mission of CAJE-Miami is to promote quality Jewish learning and identity-building opportunities throughout Miami; strengthen the capacity of Jewish organizations to deliver engaging and enriching educational programs; and serve as a catalyst for connecting Jews of all ages to their rich heritage. CAJE is a subsidiary agency of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. For more information, visit