The First 36 Project was a ground-breaking pilot program developed by the Simms/Mann Institute, in partnership with Builders of Jewish Education (BJE) and The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. The First 36 Project provided a select group of parent-baby instructors with an exclusive professional development experience designed to amplify their ability to support parents as they build strong, meaningful bonds with their children.

The First 36 Project helped form a community of parent educators to share with each other ways to apply and implement their ideas. First 36 also used professional coaching to help parent educators make their content accessible and actionable to parents of young children.

Desired Impact

The Institute recognizes that as facilitators of parent-baby and transition classes, parent educators can have a powerful influence on how parents interact with their children. The more prepared parent educators are to work with parents, the more tools parents can use to support their children’s growth and development. The research-based information that parent educators share with parents offers straightforward, evidence-based practices for effective parenting.

Between 2015 and 2020, the First 36 Project trained more than 50 parent educators from early childhood centers in Los Angeles and Colorado on topics including the importance of secure attachment, understanding temperament, self-regulation, executive function, communication, and empathy. Now, the Institute teaches these same topics directly to parents through its CuddleBright® initiatives.

The First 36 Project Fellows

Shoshana Dubinsky

Toras Emes, 2019

Julie Dubron

Adat Ariel, 2019

Diane Germansky

Temple Akiba, 2019

Jamie Hoffer

Temple Isaiah, 2019

Rachel Klein

Pressman Academy, 2019

Bri Naiman

Leo Baeck Temple, 2019

Jennifer Pearlman

Wilshire Boulevard Temple, 2019

Claire Peikon

Maimonides Academy, 2019

Liron Rosenberg

Maimonides Academy, 2019

Sara Rosenthal

Emek Hebrew Academy, 2019

Susan Rudich

Wilshire Boulevard Temple, 2019

Alex Yedidsion

Sephardic Temple, 2019

Chana Blugrind

Yaldei Yisroel, 2018

Juliette Portnoy

Valley Beth Shalom, 2018

Chana Herzog

Gan Israel, 2018

Elana Banafsheha

Wise School, 2018

Genene Turndorf

Wise School, 2018

Kira Rappaport

Pressman Academy, 2018

Andrea Segall

Temple Aliyah, 2018

Edita Leifer

Temple Aliyah, 2018

Paula Hoffman

Ilan Ramon, 2018

Ailee Dembo

Valley Beth Shalom, 2018

Rachel Tuch

Lainer School, 2018

Jacqueline Lafer

Kehillat Israel, 2018

Youna Yaghoobzadeh

Lainer School, 2018

Emily Glickman

Leo Baeck Temple, 2017

Nicole Mevorak

Wise School, 2017

Debbie Myman

Wise School, 2017

Jenna Pitson

Wise School, 2017

Shayna Goldman

Yeshiva Aharon Yaakov Ohr Eliyahu, 2017

Michal Rosenbaum

Yeshiva Aharon Yaakov Ohr Eliyahu, 2017

Cheryl Ibgui

Harkham Hilel Academy, 2017

Alana Levitt

University Synagogue, 2017

Molly Mills

Wilshire Boulevard Temple, 2017

Jayne Rosen

Temple Israel of Hollywood, 2017

Jessica Smiedt

Temple Isaiah, 2017

Sari Abrams

Pressman Academy Early Childhood Center of Temple Beth Am, 2016

Miri Avraham

Pressman Academy ECC of Temple Beth Am, 2016

Samantha Loveman

Sinai Temple, 2016

Sarah Manor

Sinai Temple, 2016

Shanti Greenspan

Temple Beth Hillel, 2016

Sari Edber

Temple Beth Hillel, 2016

Lisa Whitman

Temple Judea, 2016

Erin Aghai

Temple Judea, 2016

Susy Shapiro

Valley Beth Shalom, 2016

Parastou Bassirat

Valley Beth Shalom, 2016

Dana Nicole Lerner

Wilshire Boulevard Temple, 2016

The First 36 Project filled my ‘toolbox’ with positive adaptive strategies for growth and change…[it was] a life-changing experience.”

Jessica Smeidt, First 36 Fellow, 2018