Over the past three weeks, Nitzanim kindergarteners have heard three different endings to the Chanukah story: from Maccabees I, Maccabees II, and the Talmud. As kindergarteners heard the story, I encouraged them to close their eyes and imagine what the temple being described really looked like. Then, we moved into CREATING the temple they imagined. Each kindergartener got a choice of the set of materials they used. Different materials: gems, magna-tiles, blocks, shells, branches, pawns were set out to be used creatively. Some children chose to work alone, and others worked in pairs.
Here are some of their creations:
After we read Maccabees I, one child focused on the detail that some Jewish people chose to exercise in Greek gyms at the time leading up to the war. He built “Syrian Greek people exercising in their gyms with weights.”
I was really interested in the way that many children, when they presented their creation to the (kevutzah — group), acted out a dramatic scene that involved moving pieces around. Many of their creations were dynamic and included characters acting, not just a built structure.
In building their vision of the ending of Maccabees II, kindergarteners focused on the fact that Jews did not get to celebrate sukkot, so they celebrated when they re-entered the temple and made it special again.
The חנוכייה (chanukiyah) and the שמן (shemen — oil) were the main features of kindergarteners’ creations based on the Talmud’s answer to the question “Why Chanukah?”
Stay tuned for more of our creations based on the Rabbinic source for Chanukah (Babylonian Talmud Tractate Shabbat 21b)!