CASJE, the Consortium for Applied Research in Jewish Education, today announced that it will embark on a new research program to further explore how Jewish early childhood education can serve as a gateway for greater and long-term involvement in Jewish life. The three-year research program will focus especially on better understanding opportunities around interfaith families and families that are not currently involved in a synagogue or other Jewish institution.
With the general focus of the research determined, CASJE now will identify a group of up to ten researchers to participate in a virtual “research question generation” session. Following this session, some or all of these researchers will then be invited to submit proposals for one of two possible “awards”—a larger award, likely $400,000, to conduct a large scale, longer duration study (maximum of three years), and up to four smaller awards of $50,000 each to conduct smaller, shorter term studies designed to get learnings into the field within 6-8 months. CASJE anticipates receiving proposals from March-June, with a goal of making awards at its June Board meeting.
This new research program will build on the limited Jewish ECE studies that already exist. These findings show that when children enjoy Jewish learning and rituals at school, they bring them home, introducing them to the entire family. Studies also show that parents in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who choose Jewish preschools in part do so because they seek a network of other Jewish parents with whom they can build community. Parents who form Jewish peer groups through their child’s ECE center are more likely to be actively engaged in Jewish life in the future.
Founded in 2011, CASJE is a unique and growing community of researchers, practitioners, and philanthropic leaders who work together to improve the quality of knowledge that can guide the work of, and investment in, Jewish education.
Read more at the CASJE website.