Over 40 Jewish kindergarten teachers gathered in Kyiv at the end of last month for a three-day training seminar organized by FJC’s Darkeinu educational curriculum. Darkeinu strives for educational excellence in its Jewish studies curriculum and organizes professional-pedagogical seminars a few times a year for every group of teachers in the program as part of its School of Pedagogical Mastery project.
This time the seminar was aimed at Darkeinu’s pre-school educational staff and brought together kindergarten directors, teachers and trainees from five countries – Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Germany.
“This seminar had a two-fold goal for participants: one is networking and connecting, which is very important for any professional, and the other is learning and staying in tune with Darkeinu’s vision for Jewish education, which strives for excellence in the field,” said Mrs. Sarah Rut Vernick, Darkeinu’s pre-school programs coordinator. “Besides printed manuals, library resources and webinars, all of which Darkeinu provides, kindergarten teachers need inspiration, peer support and updates on innovations, which is what this seminar was all about,” she said.
The three-day seminar combined master-classes and workshops on education in pre-school programs, meetings with early development psychologists, exchange of ideas and new techniques learning. As part of the less formal program, participants were also taken on a tour around Ukraine’s capital and learned about its Jewish history.
“I am bringing more energy and enthusiasm for the job back to my hometown than I ever had, I think. It was a great seminar that reminded us that together we are part of a most important undertaking – bringing up and teaching Jewish children!” said one of the participants, Mrs. Lilah Shnypova from Kamenskoye, Ukraine.
The Darkeinu Jewish studies educational curriculum was first developed for elementary and high school students over ten years ago. Since then the Darkeinu team constantly updates and edits textbooks and workbooks for every grade, publishes new teaching manuals, planners, lesson aids and more. A few years ago Darkeinu also developed a curriculum for pre-school Jewish education, and now over 80 Jewish kindergartens throughout the FSU and other countries use Darkeinu for their teaching needs.