Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Purim Megillah

The details and characters in the Purim story are enthralling, easily capturing the attention of our young friends.

The story can cause a sense of worry at times. What is going to happen? Is the mean Haman going to get away with his wicked plan?  What will Rabbi Mordecai and Queen Esther do? Will the Jewish people be ok?
Morah Tzivie: I know at times the story can sound scary, and make us worried. I want you to know, that it has a really good ending.  The Jewish people are saved, Hashem is always with them.
With that reassurance, the children embrace the story. They "try on" the different characters.
It can be fun to be silly Ahasuerus, but we don't want to really be him.
      Natan: We can think for ourselves.
Ari: I see aleph bet and gimmel.
Natan: This is Hebrew, my dad could this.
It can be different to be mean Haman, but he is not fun to be for long.
     Sroli: NO one would want to play with him!
Sroli: This is Haman's hat.
Abigail: He was not a nice guy.
It is fun to be the leader of the Jewish people.
     Evan: He helps everyone.
Evan: I have Rabbi Mordecai and Queen Esther who are nice.
Ari: Yeah, I have the mean guy, Haman who is just mean.
It is fun to be queen, particularly Queen Esther who was so well liked for being thoughtful and helpful.
Abigail: Queen Esther was good.
Morah Katie: Queen Esther Olivia  how is your crown?
Olivia: Well it doesn't really fit, I don't really need it.
The Purim story can remind us of actions which demonstrate thoughtfulness and caring.
Morah Katie: When we use kind manners we show the people around us we care about them.
I'm going to pretend to be either Haman or Esther, depending on what I say and how I say it guess who I am. I won't be showing you my face.
   (in a very mean bossy voice) I want the ball! Give ME the ball!
Kids: Haman!
   (in a calmer voice) I would like to play with you,may I please join you?
Kids: Esther!
  (in a mean voice) I want more oranges! Give ME MORE oranges!
Kids: Haman!
  (in a calm voice) May I please have more oranges?
Kids: Esther!
   Who would you like to spend a day with?
Kids: Esther!
Natan: Where is Esther? Oh POP there she is!
Morah Stephanie: Matan, what do you have?
Natan: My Esther.
Morah Stephanie: Is she nice or mean?
Natan: Nice.   
Being kind shows others we care about them.
Sometimes it is hard to be kind. We may need to work at being more like Esther than Haman, particularly when we are wanting to "be Esther".
Abigail is holding the pink dress.
Amelia: No Abigail, I want the dress.
Abigail: No, I took it off the table.
Amelia: I want it.
Morah Stephanie: I didn't see what happened, what can we do to solve this problem?
Abigail: The timer! (our classroom tool to assist taking turns)
Amelia: NO. I had it first. 
Abigail: I did, I took it off the table. We can use the timer.
Amelia: No, I want to wear it. 
Morah Stephanie:  The dress will have to have a time out, we couldn't come to a solution. When you decide on a solution, let me know and we can bring the dress back.
After snack and playtime...
Abigail: Morah Katie can we have the pink dress back?
Morah Katie: Did you and Amelia come to a solution?
Amelia: Well, we could use the timer.
Abigail: Good! You can even wear it first Amelia!
Kindness, as it often does at The Gan, won out. 
With kindness comes smiles, giggles and joy.
The children created a megillah. 

(please read the children's megillah right to left)
Each drawing shares a moment from the story that impacted them.
 Morah Tzivie read the retelling at group time. 
And just like Morah Tzivie said, it does have a good ending: the Jewish people are saved from Haman and his wicked plan.
A celebration was had in Shushan, and one is had in preschool as well.
People are dancing.
Graggers are being made,
and crowns and masks are being created to wear.

Friday, February 20, 2015

A trip to old Persia

Our week began normally.
Children became engaged in activities.
Ari: This is the instruction book. We can build number 45. 
Anton: Ok we need to look at the picture to do it.

Ari: I also like to do number 43 from the instruction book.
Natan: I like that one too. There are so many ways build.
Olivia: I am a little tired. I have been shopping with my babies. I need a rest.
Judah: I am matching the blocks with Natan.
Natan: We are going to match them all.
Matan: Hi Evan.
Evan: Hi Matan.
We shared tzedakah, and played together.
Evan: Natan, can I please use your green paint?
Natan: Sure, we can share it because I am using it too.
Natan: This is my duck.
Morah Stephanie: Can you make your duck sit on the log?
Matan: Yeah!
Morah Stephanie: Can you make a frog sit on the log?
Matan: Yeah! Frog on log!
Yet, midway through the week our classroom transformed. 
It became ancient Persia. 
A palace appeared.

Abigail: What is that? A castle?
 A lovely, inviting home belonging to a generous, kind Jewish leader also appeared in the classroom.
Clara: We are going to get dressed up and go on a trip.
Amelia: Yeah, to the palace!
The palace did look pretty, but it seemed all the activity was occurring in Rabbi Mordecai's home.
We shared meals, and read books.
We worked on our lessons and created art.
Ari: Clara can I paint with you?
Clara: Sure! You can use the yellow too!
Morah Katie: Why has our classroom been transformed?
Where can we pretend to be living?
Sroli: It's the palace in Persia for Purim.

Morah Tzivie:  There are a lot of exciting things about Purim. 
We eat special foods and have special mitzvahs.
What is this? 
Anton: A torah.
Morah Tzivie: It is like a torah.
Sroli: A megillah!
Morah Tzivie: This is a scroll. It tells the Purim story.
This is how I know about the story of Purim. Listening to the story is a mitzvah.
Other mitzvahs we will do is to give gifts of food to friends, and give extra tzedakah.
There are many other interesting and exciting things to do and learn. 
Next week we will learn about the people of the story, a silly king, a mean guy, a kind wise person, and another kind person who liked to help others.
Abigail: Remember when Haman gets trash on his head? I will keep it in my head forever!
Morah Tzivie: I do remember!
Sroli: Esther has to be far from Haman because she is nice and he is mean. 
Isaac: It makes a loud noise. If it goes slow or fast it is loud.

Natan: Haman has a mean face, like this.
Judah and Evan trying to look like mean Haman.
The classroom is full of excitement for our new holiday.