Jewish Federation announces investment in early childhood centers


Photo: Bill Motchan

Brett Kalmes picks up his son, Elliot, at the end of the day at B’nai Amoona’s Linda Rotskoff Early Childhood Center.

Recognizing the importance of the impact of Jewish early childhood centers in the St. Louis Jewish Community, the Jewish Federation of St. Louis has announced a $125,000 investment over the next 16 months into a new collaborative initiative for all 10 early childhood programs in the community.

The ECC Initiative will provide a unique opportunity for the programs to collaborate and support one another as they build and strengthen themselves, with a focus on long-term sustainability and success.

The initiative will provide resources and professional development opportunities for the staff, including a spring 2022 conference and the establishment of a new teacher fellows program. 

The initiative will also showcase the various programs and develop strategies to recruit new teachers.

”Jewish early childhood programs connect families with the Jewish community at an important time in the family’s life, providing support, strengthening relationships with other families and deepening a family’s Jewish identity,” stated Emily Bornstein, director of community investment and evaluation. “This is why Jewish early childhood is a high priority of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, in our efforts to expand and strengthen an engaged, vibrant, and flourishing St. Louis Jewish community.”

Tamar Shulman has been hired as the coordinator of the initiative. 

Lauren Lourie, director of early childhood education and engagement at United Hebrew Congregation, is the new chair of the ECC Directors’ Council, following Anita Kraus, director of early childhood at Congregation B’nai Amoona.

Shulman holds a master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education in early childhood general and special education / infant and family development and early intervention.