Dear Wise School Early Childhood and Parenting Center Parents,

Over the last year, I have been a fellow in the inaugural cohort of JECELI-LA, the Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute. It is a program sponsored by Jewish Federation and run in partnership with Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Jewish Theological Seminary. It has been an incredible opportunity, and a period of great growth for me as a leader. I am so thankful to Wise School for making it possible to be a part of something so extraordinary.  These last several days, in addition to my new level of work, work, I have also been attending, virtually, the final sessions of our 18-month program, during which each fellow presented an action research project to the rest of the group. As I prepared to present my action research project to the rest of the cohort, we had an interesting side conversation about children on Zoom, and it got me thinking about some of the challenges you may have experienced with your own child. How IS your child feeling about the Zoom sessions? Do they participate? Do they cry and not want to engage at all?

A child who continually did not want to engage actually thought that her friends and teachers were all together, while she was alone at home. Another child saw recordings of his teacher in the classroom and thought she was at school while he was told he needed to stay at home. Yet a third child thought maybe it was make-believe, just like watching a television show. That was disturbing to the child, as the “program” was made up of people she knew. I urge you to unpack this with your child, have conversations about where everyone is physically. Many children are worrying about or not understanding these things on some level, and that sense of security they will get from you around this is so very important to their emotional well-being. Acknowledge the wide range of feelings they may be experiencing around this or any other aspect of our lives right now.  If you are struggling in this area, Carla Elkins, MFT, our student support consultant in our Pre-School program, is available to speak with you and/or your child. Please email me to set up a phone consult with Carla. We are here to support you in any way that we can.

I welcome you to our Thursday activities, ALMOST all of them centered on Passover!

Storah Time– In case you missed Storah Time with Rabbi Sari yesterday, catch it here. She sings Passover songs AND reads the book, “The Littlest Levine.”
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?” with Teacher Judy
Passover Story, Part 2, with Teacher Lashelle. What a hit this was yesterday! If you missed part one or you just want to watch again, check it out here!

Hebrew and Judaics:
Explanation of the Four Questions and symbols, in Hebrew, by Teacher Meirav, translated by her daughter.
Israeli Dance, Part 2. Did you get a chance to dance along yesterday? Join us again for a new song and dance and activities to follow!

Making Cards  -Maybe there are family members your child is missing, or friends they haven’t been able to see. Talk about their feelings and make cards. You can take pictures of the cards an email them off!

Bakers Clay, from our atelierista, Joanne. The timing for this is perfect, as Bakers Clay will rise much like matzah, which is to say, it will not rise at all!  You can ask your child to hypothesize (and many of our children KNOW this word from school) as to what they think will happen when you put the shapes in the oven.  Allow them to draw a picture of what they think will happen before you do the baking, then see what happens and let them make a new documentation based on evidence!
Moses Basket– All you need is a paper plate and some colorful yarn or string for this weaving project. Children can work on their fine motor skills and practice their pattern making!

Passover Story – Work with loose parts in a desert environment and set up your favorite scene from the Passover story.

Chocolate Toffee Matzah– Because who doesn’t need some chocolate right now?!?

Family Tree – So often, our holiday celebrations are filled with extended family.  As we come up on one of those holidays, it may be difficult for both you and your child not to have those loved ones right there with you. This is a wonderful time to work with your child on their family tree, talk about those people that make up their family, where they are and what they will be doing during the holiday. Be sure to point out that each of your family members will be in their own homes, and not all together while you and your child are home.

Have a wonderful day. I look forward to celebrating Shabbat with you tomorrow!