Friday, September 6, 2019

You asked for it, we're answering - important information about the opening day of school

Shalom Horim/Dear Parents: (Long, so please read when you're not in a hurry [HAHAHA!]

This past June we gathered together a group of parents and members for a visioning session for our school*. One of the topics to come out of the meeting was that parents wanted greater home educational opportunities with their children. This fits in very nicely with our new values-based curriculum this year. Let me point out to you some of the new things we're doing, what to look for, and what you can do.

1. As you know, we've made our start time earlier: 3:45. During this time the students will gather in the Social Hall, have physical activities, snack, go to Sanctuary for T'filah/prayer, and go over the letter of the week and the Value of the Month.

2. Letter of the Week: Each week we will highlight a different letter of the Alef-Bet. This letter, and several words starting with that letter, will be displayed on our bulletin board  and in each classroom, and I will send an update with the letter. (see enclosed picture). It would be really great if you could reinforce this at home, such as asking if they can think of English words starting with that sound, then asking if they (or you) know any Hebrew words starting with that sound.

3. Value of the Month: Every month we are highlighting a Jewish value, posting a poster on our bulletin board, reinforcing it in the classroom. Again, reinforcing it at home would help.

4. Snack: will be done collectively in the Social Hall

Our first Jewish Value is Hiddur Mitzvah - Beautifying or Enhancing the Mitzvah/Commandment. You can read more about it here:

What we need from you:

1. Our first day of school, please send in with your child a Judaic object from your home (such as a Kiddush cup, Candlesticks, Menorah, Seder Plate, challah cover). bring a card with it with your family name, and if it has a history, what that history is. We will then display it in our school that day, where we will have a VIRTUAL Museum and a real museum (with your objects)

2. We will send projects for you to do, at home, with your child, such as decorating a Kiddush Cup, making a Challah Cover; decorating Candlesticks or a Havdallah Spice Box (these are grade determined). You will have 3 weeks to make them, returning them here on October 3rd, to be displayed at Temple. Again, please have a small index card or Post-it with your child's name to go with the object. 

3. Parent Greeters:
Isn't it nice to come into a space and have people greet you? I try to do it at school but often things need my attention so I cannot always be at the door.  Please let me know if you would like to greet the children when they come in, and direct them into the Social Hall

4. Snack:
The past few years we've had parents bring snack to their child's class, resulting in having to bring in snack 4-5 times/year. This year we're doing a collective snack which means you'll need to bring in snack only twice a year. We have 30ish students in the school, (and 7 teachers) so if two parents each week bring snack each really only needs to provide snack for 20 people. If it is your snack week, we ask that you stay to set it up (in the Social Hall), and clean up afterwards (which means, keep it simple!). 

5. Class parents:
I have 3 committed parents so far for grades 6, 3, and 4-5. I'm looking for a class parent for Grades 1 and 2. What does a class parent do? Coordinates the class dinners, finds families from without the class to help with setting up and cleaning up after the dinners; helps with any other things the class wants such as purchasing a gift for the teacher, getting together outside Temple [if you want to do that as a class]; other ideas are up to you.

Other things we'd love to see:

*host the families in your child's class for a pot-luck havurah (1-2 hour shabbat or havdallah meal / candle lighting / social gathering)
*greet people and let them in during Hebrew school
*drive students in my child's class on a local field trip 
*substitute teach
*tutor students one-on-one in Hebrew once a month for 30 minutes
*make latkes (at the synagogue) for Hannukah
*bake treats for Purim
*lead a workshop or activity 

If you are interested in doing any of these, let me know.  

I guess that's it! I hope to see many of you tomorrow evening for our Welcome Back to School BBQ (Thank you, Brotherhood for your grilling skills), and if you're coming, please bring a side, salad, or dessert, if you're able.

Shabbat Shalom,
Morah Judy

*If you're interested in attending future visioning sessions - our hope is to create a Mission Statement and come up with a new name for our school - please let me know.

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