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Educational Alliance Preschoolers Meet with Seniors in Sandy Aftermath
The Educational Alliance Preschool (serving children ages 2 to 4) has been considering carefully how to weave Jewish values into our program in a way that is both relevant to the children’s understanding and reflects the rich diversity of our families. Since the beginning of the year, we have been discussing hospitality, charity, and responsibility.
Hurricane Sandy was an unfortunate opportunity to consider how to engage the children in conversations about their own experiences as well as their feelings of gratitude and compassion for others. We have been discussing the experiences of the storm and many of the children reflected on their own feelings of vulnerability and fear. The parents expressed the challenge of being without power, water, and heat with young children but also their overwhelming sense of gratitude for their relative well-being. They were particularly concerned about the seniors in their neighborhood who are generally vulnerable and particularly in this situation.
This seemed like a wonderful opportunity for our preschool to partner with one of the Senior residences.
The educators and children decided to count the money they had been collecting this year for tzedakah (charity) and to purchase something to bring some joy to the seniors in the neighborhood that had recently survived a traumatic experience. They carefully purchased flowers, baked challah, and decorated a vase. They selected their three favorite songs to perform.
Friday’s visit with the seniors brought joy, laughter, song, and much gratitude from both sides. It’s amazing how even 2-year-olds can grasp concepts like empathy, generosity, and compassion when giventthe proper opportunity.