A Summer Learning Series for Nursery Educators + Administrators

JCC Manhattan is proud to host Come Learn With Us, a workshop on August 30 and 31, 2016. Early childhood educators will have the opportunity to learn with highly regarded educators in full- or half-day workshops. 


  • Participants can register for one full-day workshop on either or both days. The second day features two half-day workshops. Participants can register for either or both of these. Registration for each workshop will be done individually.
  • All workshops except two are "full day" and will run 10 am-5 pm, with a lunch break from 1 pm-2 pm (kosher lunch provided). The lunch break will also serve as a networking opportunity.
  • Wednesday features two half-day workshops, a morning session from 10 am-1 pm and an afternoon session from 2 pm-5 pm. Participants in each half-day workshops are encouraged to attend the 1 pm-2 pm lunch that day as well.
  • Registration is $90 for a full-day workshop or $45 for a half-day workshop.
  • Each workshop will be limited to 20-25 participants.
  • Register here. Please contact Jamie Schneider, conference coordinator, at jschneider@jccmanhattan.org with any questions. 


JCC Art Gallery 2012 - 010.jpg


Tuesday, August 30: 10 am-5 pm

1. Social-Constructivism and the Value of Empowering Children
A Year-Long Classroom Investigation in Decision-Making and Social Negotiation.  We use an actual long-term preschool classroom investigation to reflect on the meaning of social-constructivism and the value of empowering children. The children take charge of their life at school, taking ownership of decisions, while developing complex strategies for group negotiation.

Come learn with Paola Trigari, an educational consultant with experience in the Constructivism, Social-Constructivism, and the Reggio Emilia-inspired and Project-oriented educational philosophies. Paola worked as pedagogical director and program director of the Reggio inspired Inquiry based International Italian School in San Francisco (La Scuola of SF). Paola has held seminars and consulting appointments throughout the U.S. and in Europe in Switzerland and Spain. She consults for preschools to primary schools and collaborates with pedagogical institutions and universities. She is the co-director of a new program In Early Childhood Education at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Paola is an ECE Site Supervisor (from the state of CA). She holds a BA from Bocconi University in Milan and an MSc in economics from UPF (Barcelona) with a final thesis on the Returns to Education. She has lived and worked in London, San Francisco, Barcelona, and New York. A native Italian speaker, Paola also speaks English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

2. Preparing Ourselves to Create Rich Jewish Environments in Our Early Childhood Classrooms
You are invited to explore, study, inquire, and collaborate with colleagues using Jewish sources to expand and deepen intellectual and spiritual thought regarding teaching and learning in Jewish EC settings. The session will focus on developing strategies and templates for future planning and teaching of developmentally appropriate practices in Jewish early childhood Settings. Sources will be presented in English; all are welcome to join the conversation to enhance Jewish knowledge and thereby strengthen early childhood classrooms.

Come learn with Chaya R. Gorsetman, Ed.D, clinical associate professor of education and co-chair of the education department at Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University. Chaya specializes in supervision of student teachers and curriculum studies with an emphasis on the constructivist theory of education. Her research has focused on mentoring novice teachers in Jewish day schools and, as the educational director of the Educational Leadership Advancement Initiative of the Lookstein Center of Bar Ilan University, she has been mentoring those in educational leadership positions. Additionally, she is interested in how gender is expressed in day schools and as such served as the director and co-author of the JOFA Gender and Orthodoxy Curriculum Project, Bereshit: A New Beginning—A Differentiated Approach to Learning and Teaching. She is the co-author of Educating in the Divine Image: Gender Issues in Orthodox Jewish Day Schools (Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, October 2013), which won the National Jewish Book Award in 2013. Chaya is a member of the Israel International Research Group on Jewish Education in the Early Years.

3. Learning the Language of Kindness
Through interactive workshops, discussions, and reflection, participants explore the meaning of kindness, compassion, and empathy, and how to integrate these essential values into curriculum, classroom environment, and school community. Follow-up resources are included.

Come learn with Fretta Reitzes, an educational consultant who has been at the forefront of early childhood and parent education for 35 years. She was the director of the 92nd Street Y's Goldman Center for Youth & Family, and is the founder of the Wonderplay Early Learning Initiative and annual conference. Fretta is the coauthor of Teaching Kindergarten: Learner-Centered Classrooms for the 21st Century (Teachers College Press), and two books for parents of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, Wonderplay and Wonderplay, Too!. She is a frequent presenter at conferences, provides professional development for educators, and serves on the advisory board of schools, community centers, and educational institutions across the country.


Wednesday, August 31: 10 am-5 pm

1. Reggio Emilia: Bringing Philosophy and Practice to America
Start the morning with an overview of the theoretical influences of the Reggio philosophy, the developmentally appropriate early childhood practices that mesh with it, as well as its historical origins. In the afternoon, participants will experience examples of art provocations in a hands-on attempt to bring theory and practice into harmony. Using everyday materials, we will create, then discuss the significance of the work and how to use appropriate teacher language to discuss it and validate children’s work without judging it. 

Come learn with Rick Ellis, M.Ed., adjunct professor of early childhood education at Bank Street College, as well as at Rider University. He teaches a short course about the Reggio philosophy, based on his visit to Italy and the schools. In addition to working at the college level, he does a variety of consulting projects for teachers and parents in the field of early childhood. Most recently he led a Reggio study in Stockholm, Sweden. 

2. Go to the Source: Teachers Talking with Teachers to Improve Team Dynamics
A successful teaching team is a complex and delicately balanced relationship based on mutual respect, trust, and the ability to share and listen with an open mind. We'll explore ways to create a successful school environment leading to more competent and confident children, healthier partnerships with parents, and a more fulfilling workplace for teachers and administrators. Please come prepared to engage fully!

Come learn with Jean Schreiber, an early childhood educational consultant in the greater New York metropolitan area and Instructor in the Continuing Professional Studies Program at Bank Street College of Education. For over two decades, Jean has developed and directed early childhood programs and parenting centers. She serves as a consultant to early childhood and elementary school programs and provides guidance to parents in both individual and group settings.

3.  Striking a Balance: Students as Teachers and Teachers as Learners (10 am-1 pm)
In this presentation, you will be introduced to classroom systems that promote reflective and inquiry-based learning throughout the school year, including the Making Table and peer-to-peer teaching in child-led workshops. A hands-on component in this workshop will allow participants to explore how recycled materials can be used to support and facilitate creativity and teaching in their early childhood classrooms.

Come learn with Yeshnaya Dougherty, M.Ed., consultant for Teaching Beyond the Square. Yeshnaya has used her experience applying the Reggio Emilia philosophy in progressive New York City schools, including Blue School and Beginnings, to develop systems that empower and inspire children to co-create curriculum that fosters creativity, collaboration, and academic learning in the classroom. 

4.  Exploring Gender in the Nursery Years (2-5 pm)
This interactive workshop focuses on exploring three areas in early childhood associated with gender: how young learners come to build identity and self-concept, how the learning environment shapes this learning with particular emphasis on providing gender equality and equal opportunity environments including Jewish early childhood settings, and, lastly, considerations for providing partnered and supportive environments for parents and families of young learners.

Come learn with Alex Reynolds, Hayley Richard, and Jamie Schneider. Alex Reynolds holds a BA in music education and an MA in early childhood education. She is a former music teacher who has been working in early childhood at JCC Manhattan for two years. Her past research focused on gender.

Hayley Richard has been a head teacher of the 2s class at the JCC for the past three years. She holds an M.Ed. from the University of Sydney and recently completed a dual master's degree in infant and family development/early intervention and early childhood general and special education from Bank Street College. Over the past decade, her work within the classroom and educational programs has focused on art education and special education.

Jamie Schneider is a co-head teacher at the Saul and Carole Zabar Nursery School at JCC Manhattan. Jamie received her BA in early childhood education from Yeshiva University and her MA in early childhood special education from Hunter Graduate School of Education. Jamie has a special interest in fostering inclusive practices in the classroom.