Jewish Foundations for Preschool Education
When many parents think of the concept of curriculum, they focus on units of study that include shapes, colors, transportation, the seasons or bugs. Here at Bet Torah, topics like those are included in our secular curriculum, while the study of Jewish holidays, customs and traditions also are components of our Judaic curriculum. Woven together, these two strands of our curriculum fill each day with wonder, discovery and learning. The early years in your child’s education are also pivotal in developing moral behavior and life-long Jewish values, another vital strand in the Bet Torah Nursery School curriculum.
Each day, our teachers impart and model good values and practices, laying the ground work for children learning and “living the learning.” This year in particular, we are focusing schoolwide on three early childhood Jewish values: Ma Norah HaMakom Hazeh, the value of wonder; Mitzvah Goreret Mitzvah, Jewish learning leads to Jewish living; and Kol Yisrael Arevin Zeh b’Zeh, relationships within our community foster friendships and kindness.
The most familiar of Jewish values for many families is tzedakah or charity. We encourage our children to bring in coins for the class tzedakah box on Friday.
But did you know that the shoresh or root of this Hebrew word has a wider connotation? Tzedek means justice and righteousness. Giving tzedakah is the just and right thing to do. It’s giving back. It can include giving money, clothing, food or time in doing good deeds.
Each month, the Nursery School participates in a “mitzvah of the month”. For example, in October, we participated in the American Cancer Society’s Real Kids Wear Pink initiative . In November, Nursery School families help collect juice boxes for Midnight Run, while students decorate lunch bags in which the meals are distributed. Many families contribute items to Bet Torah’s annual rummage sales, which provide an inexpensive means for many less fortunate in the community to purchase clothing and housewares. At holiday time, we collect clothing or toy items for distibution to underserved families. In the spring, our students bring cereal boxes to the local Interfaith Pantry.
This year (throughout the year), make a point of showing your children that tzedakah is more than pennies in a pushka. Make mitzvah month, every month and share the good news with us. We’re happy to highlight your acts of kindness on our bulletin board and in our newsletter.
Jewish values and the mitzvot and behaviors that result all help to make us kadosh (holy and special). As we teach these values to our children, we forge a foundation that will remain for the rest of their lives.