Source: eJewish Philanthropy
Sixteen Jewish Early Childhood Educators from around the country had just completed the fifteen-month Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute We had engaged in intensive Jewish learning, inquiry and reflective practice, leadership development, and community building. The new task before us was to continue this meaningful experience by not only sharing our learning with our host institutions but also by deepening and strengthening the connections we had already formed. We were determined to continue our relationships, our community and our learning. We decided we would create for ourselves a COP (community of practice) among this tightly established group of educators that had formed in JECELI.
One year later, as we reap the rewards of the rigorous, relational, member-led Community of Practice we co-developed, we reflect on the key ingredients needed to create a successful online community of practice. We do this as we prepare to meet with JECELI’s new graduating cohort to assist them as they consider their own steps forward. Our message will be clear: this need only be the beginning. Here are the elements that catalyzed our success; we believe they offer a model for other cohorts seeking to continue meaningful work just when the formal program seems to be ending.
As we embark on our second year together, we are energized by our success. By setting up a clear structure that included commitment, shared leadership, technology, trusted teachers and retreat opportunities, we were able to establish a vibrant community of practice. We did so with relatively modest means – less than $5,000 in outside funding to support webinars and facilitation – filling in the costs of the retreat ($400 per person plus travel) either personally or through the generosity of our schools. Just as we had hoped when JECELI ended and we sang “You shall be a blessing, lechi lach,” our group continues to depend on one another for professional growth, moral support and inspiration.
Read more at eJewish Philanthropy.