Wow! Teves flew by so quickly; it is hard to believe that we are already in Shevat! It was delightful to have the kids for an uninterrupted month as we absorbed so many new and exciting themes and lessons.
Our themes for Teves included developing a strong sense of self-identity, exploring how we each have unique strengths to assist us with overcoming our struggles, and the value of being part of an Orthodox community. We broke out our themes with some short physical demonstrations. First, we had two bags sitting on the table, one filled with books and one empty. A boy blew both bags and the empty one blew away with one breath, while the full one didn’t budge! We explored the concept of being a “full” person and how “being full” will help us stay strong in our values and principles, even with pressure around us. Next, we had two boys build two rows of dominos – one with them each standing right next to each other with no spaces, and one spaced the regular amount for dominos. One of the boys tapped each of the two rows lightly, and the group watched as the row with spaces all fell down immediately while the row that was standing back-to-back with each other did not move at all! We began to process how important it is to be part of a strong Orthodox community. The kids had an awesome time as we ended the day with a pinata! The group explored how difficult it was to break because it was built in a strong manner and “full” inside.
As the month continued, the kids each decorated and filled out their very own “identity” trees. The group was provided with a beautiful template of a tree with 12 blank lines and a list of 25 character traits. The children chose which traits they identified with the most and filled in the lines. Once complete, they decorated and framed their tree and brought it home! As the month continued, we played a game of “strengths” bingo to further explore this theme of self-identity. The children filled out a blank bingo board using strengths that they thought they had and the leaders read mini scenarios about people who had to utilize different strengths to get through different situations. The kids had to guess which strength matched each story, and when they got a “bingo” they chose one of the strengths in the bingo line and shared how they personify that character trait. The children flawlessly participated in both of these activities! It is so gratifying to see how comfortable they are with themselves, already, only halfway through the year!
Later on in the month, the group made “no-sew pillows,” which symbolized many of our monthly themes. One theme connection that many children pointed out, was the importance of tying every tie tightly, for the pillow to be “strong,” and function as a pillow should. The group explored how important it is for us all to use our strengths to come together as a strong and solid community. Many kids also pointed out that it is uncomfortable to sleep on a flat pillow! They drew that parallel to being a “flat” person and not standing for anything, versus being a full person and having a strong self-identity.
As we break out our new themes for Shevat, Tova and I are so excited to touch base with all our parents in person! It has been an absolute pleasure meeting with those of you who we’ve already met with and we are looking forward to meeting with the rest of you. We are so grateful for the amazing children we have this year and are enjoying sharing all of your children’s wonderful qualities with you face to face. As a reminder, please bring a copy of your child’s immunization records to your session, or, email them to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d like to end off with one more quick reminder about our Foundations program. Foundations is an online Atideinu initiative, that started this year, that provides activities and table talk discussions for families to implement at home with their own children. Each month there are new resources uploaded to our website that are reflective of our monthly themes. To become a member or to find out more go to https://atideinu.org/foundations/.
I wish you and your family a wonderful month ahead and a fantastic winter vacation!
Chana Perel Handler