Celebrating Blue Week, Hanukkah and Peace

Our last week before winter break is a special one. We host a blue-themed week and share a bit about Hanukkah. This is an opportunity to take a break from the pervasive red-and-green Christmas decorations in public spaces, Christmas  tunes on the radio, and the general assumption that Christmas takes center stage for all people– and to honor an aspect of Jewish culture. While we do this in a light and playful manner, this is a somewhat revolutionary act. It is an effort to make space for a marginalized group of people–Jews– to maintain connections to our history and heritage, rather than succumb to the pressure to assimilate in a Christian dominated culture. I am grateful for the opportunity to embrace my own Jewish heritage, to honor the practices of other Jews in our school community and to share a bit about our people with other children and families at HFP.

While many adults wish other “Peace on Earth” during this time of the year, we’ll continue to consider what peace means to us. In many ways, our tiny preschool community practices peace on a regular basis, as we uphold the importance of being kind, caring and inclusive in our classroom. I introduce a peace song I made up  to the classic folk song “Bingo.” I remember “Bingo” fondly from my own childhood and am tickled to extend the excitement of singing and clapping while replacing the traditional, fairly meaningless lyrics about a dog and it’s name, with rich lyrics that encourage cooperation and consideration of others.

We indulge in blue-themed snacks, emphasizing blueberries. We paint, play and build with shades of blue.





2160p from Hawthorne Family Playschool on Vimeo.

A special thanks to the talented Michelle Alany, O’s aunt, for joining us at circle to share some lively music with us. Michelle Alany plays violin and sing in traditional styles inspired by the folk music of Mediterranean, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, especially including klezmer and Sephardic music. You can check out her recordings here.
This post is dedicated to my beloved Jewish grandparents, Sadie and Harry, who immigrated to the United States to flee pogroms when they were both young children. May their memory be a blessing.

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