This week highlighted many new beginnings for our Nursery and Junior Kindergarten (JK) students including meeting new teachers and other students, learning new spaces and routines, and for some, it was being in a school setting for the first time. We celebrated these new moments as well as honored how trying new things can be hard but can get easier by practicing the mantra “we are strong, we are brave, we can handle new things.”
To support the celebration of a new school year, all Nursery and JK students sang the Shehechiyanu blessing. Shehechiyanu (Hebrew: שהחינו, "Who has given us life") is a special Jewish blessing for saying thank you when we experience something new for the first time. We model for our students to appreciate and celebrate new experiences all year round and recite the Shehechiyanu blessing when we celebrate these special occasions. It was a wonderful way to begin to build kehillah (community) in each classroom as we reflected on the new things the children noticed and encountered this week. Some examples included learning each other’s names through creating a collaborative “shalom canvas” and preparing for the new week with our Havdalah service.
It is important to reflect and connect with your family this time of year as we prepare for the upcoming High Holidays beginning with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. We encourage the children to make deeper connections and understandings of the holiday symbols by supporting their innate curiosity and desire for discovery. This week, much of our investigations centered around shofarot, apples, bees, honey and new fruits. The students explored the holiday symbols with their different senses by tasting apples dipped in honey and listening to the blasts of the shofar to remind us to wake up and get ready for the year to come.
We look forward to a wonderful new year filled with love and deeper connections to our Jewish values and spirit. Shanah Tovah and a happy and healthy new year to you and your families!