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Welcome! Take a moment to check in here: https://www.menti.com/6yzqcy9z9v and tell us what 3 words you use to describe how you have been feeling over last two weeks.
Are we aware of how powerful our connections are with families?
“Teachers are the text the students never forget.” Abraham Joshua Heschel
For families, the teacher and director are lifelines, connections, experts, Jewish specialists, seers of the power of young children. We are sharing in the daily life of families. We are connectors. We help families feel less alone in their journeys.
How might we use today’s data to shift and grow our practice in the days, months, year to come?
Welcoming Debbi Cooper, Director of Engagement for PJ Library in North America.
How are you connected to PJ Library in your community?
How are your families/org connected to PJ Library?
We use PJ library books at our PreSchool
I get to work with Alison to learn and connect with New York family engagement professionals
we have so many families at our center that are getting PJ books
We encourage families to sign up for the books.
—Thinking about accessibility in our work. No matter where they are coming from, readers can find the content accessible.
We (Barnert Temple) use it as a resource for much of our learning through preschool engagement and our religious school learning K-2
—Just launched in Portugal! In Tokyo! In Dubai! Reaching 30 families in the Amazon Jungle in Brazil.
—Today, talking about North America.
—Shared language and community around these books worldwide.
—Today: Looking at North American families: A pulse survey, connecting with families to get a sense of how they are doing. We endeavor to be user-centered, and therefore needed a tool to know how families are doing and what their needs are. This is different than previous approaches, which have been evaluative. This was research for our growth. Quantitative and qualitative questions.
-5,000 families responded and their input is already impacting our forward planning.
—Feb 21-March 5 was when the survey was fielded.
—’Twas the dark of winter…
-38% of US families reported lay off, furlough, or wage reduction during the pandemic.
—Major gap between Canada and US as to who had children in full-time school (more kids in school in Canada, according to survey)
(Key Q: What is happening with families? How might we adapt our work to adapt to families’ needs)
—Three words to describe how families are doing: Families said: Tired, overwhelmed, and happy/grateful.
—Today WE said Tired, Overwhelmed, Anxious, Busy.
These bubbles did not change from early fall to end of winter. (This recent study was the second of 2 pulse surveys)
—Tired increased 9 points in the U.S.
Things were more magnified this time. Compounding effect.
no use of the word education
—What might be behind the words? Asked families about their biggest concerns. Mental health and wellbeing if my family (49% US/ 53% CA); health and safety due to COVID (46%); my children’s development (33%).
I wonder how education and children’s development can overlap?
—Parents own mental health challenges, challenges in their children. Isolation, mental strain, mental illness, self worth, stress, anxiety, stress of not having enough help.
I feel like development comes from the child naturally and education is guided by the teacher
—Debbi Recommends NYTimes parenting section editor Jessica Grose “negotiating and mitigating danger.” https://www.nytimes.com/section/parenting
Focus on politics and racial justice in the fall. 1/3 of people’s comments now were about themselves and family, and beyond that people are aware of the environment in which they operate.
—In the U.S., 90% I’ve missed connecting in person with friends; 71% My children have missed visiting their grandparents; 76% I’ve found it harder to balance various responsibilities.
—Q What does this make us think about right now??
What resonated with you? What stood out?
I think it is all about patience and kindness
What data point made you say, hmm or YES!
I have seen so much more grandparent involvement in schools this past year - I’m curious how we can continue that!!
At PJ always kept an upbeat tone in our communications, and we needed to meet families where they are better. Needed more sensitivity.
Debbi, tell us more about how you and others are thinking about the high number of people financially impacted by the pandemic?
Astonishing to see how many people’s finances have been impacted.
I think also it is making people change their physical space and how much time families spend outdoors.
First, we screened our communications to see if we are being financially sensitive.
Hearing where families are, we realized that families are having basic needs, more than a focus on self-actualization. How could we at PJ Library be a connector to existing resources.
I feel that reading outdoors is different than reading inside. It's a beautiful thing, reading outdoors.
I agree Jean. I believe the shift to outdoor education for many will continue post-pandemic.
97% felt as though celebrating Jewish Holidays was implant to them as a way to connect to Jewish identity in some way
For 60%, it has felt especially important for my family to connect to our Jewish identity in some way. Among those, 97% said celebrating Jewish holidays was v or moderately important…
Jewish media and books - did PJ influence that answer? What other media are parents using/consuming?
Jewish values are used as a way to frame the challenges of this time
Shabbat was key as a way to connect and express their idenity
What is it about Shabbat and holidays that make them so easy to connect to? Routine! Gave a sense of time
Sensory / physical aspect of lighting candles and it gave them sense of control
What are families willing to do when they are so exhausted?
Shabbat and holidays gave a sense of control, joy and connection during stressful times
Families took it upon themselves to engage in Jewish ritual for the first time in their homes - sense of empowerment
How do we understand what is meaningful for families?
More than 1/3 of families established a new or more regular shabbat ritual! Huge!
Families making bread - challah every week!
Less organizational loyalty - more experimentation
Could access any virtual programming !
How does social media play a role in inspiring families to engage in ritual?
Even in the virtual world, people are choosing activities based on having a family invite them to a new space
What are we learning about the role of ritual or tradition for families ?
How do we help families continue the traditions they find meaningful when “normal” life continues?
Cooking baking/ outdoor activities and exercise both became very popular - how can we continue this trend?
Lots of concern about health and safety. Different families each have their own boundaries about what feels "safe"
Some people like the things online - there is confront and easy from participating from home
What are our school’s role as a connector? What is formal and what is informal?
How do we as professionals help alleviate families’ anxieties ?
This slide about new parents seem very important for the Jewish community to address. It goes to new parents' mental health and wellbeing.
In what ways do you see yourself as a partner with the families in your classroom?In your current experience, what are some of the greatest challenges faced?What changes can you make to help support the families as they face the transition to summer?What changes might you consider related to supporting families as you begin think about planning for the 2021-2022 school year?
I am curious if anyone has already provided space for parents to talk together or already partnered with other orgs or agencies to offer support to parents during this time?
Alison Goldberg (she/her)
Especially parents with their first child born in the past year, they are eager for connection and support and parent connectors are bringing them together. This summer may be their first time venturing out into the world more as a parent!
Exactly, Allison - a great opportunity.
Recovering from the Trauma of the Pandemic
TODAH RABAH for sharing all this important information.
recording and notes will be posted here soon!